The sci-fi psychological thriller “Arrival” has been lighting up the internet since the trailer’s, ahem, arrival this week. The November 2016 movie of alien contact (not, as some originally may have thought, a comedy of manners surrounding a visit from distant out-of-town relatives) has already been stirring up buzz not just around the performances of its A-list stars and its eerie, geopolitically touchy posters, but around the text “Arrival” was originally based on.
Believe it or not, this entire feature film was drawn from a short story, “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, which won the Nebula Award for Best Novella in 2000. (That’s a pretty prestigious science fiction award.) Now, movie critics and sci-fi film fans alike are hastening to their computers to order copies of Chiang’s short story collections, uncovering a whole new fantastic reservoir of writing that they might never have previously thought to seek out.
What better argument, in today’s film-rich environment, for the value of the humble short story? One day, that unassuming little flight of fantasy you leafed through in 20 minutes could be on the big screen. Need more proof? Here are 16 gripping, mind-bending, whimsical, poetic short stories that ended up as major motion pictures ― some of them may surprise you: