Author’s Notes: This is a rough draft of Chapter 1 for a book I am writing, tentatively called The Adaptation. This is one of three different chapter 1’s I wrote, and this is the second-ish draft of it. I know it still needs some work, which is why I’m posting it here and why I am submitting it to The Dom for critique. I am certain I will alter this chapter quite a bit as I continue writing, but I wanted to include certain details to give an idea of what the story was about. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to offer constructive criticism.
Chapter 1: Kingston Graves
Kingston Graves was one of the most hated men in America. If he walked down the street anyone who recognized him would either glare at him or flip him off. His inbox was filled with hate mail and death threats. The people he used to hang around no longer wanted to be seen with him. He couldn’t even rent a motel without using an alias.
What did Kingston Graves do to upset so many people?
Graves was a Hollywood producer. Not just any Hollywood producer, but the Hollywood producer behind the train wreck adaptation of the sci-fi novel series Galactic Angel. The series was a bit of a cult hit, never quite reaching the mainstream consciousness but being well known enough to catch the attention of Hollywood. Unfortunately, this means it caught the attention of Graves. Which didn’t have to be an issue. Except for one thing.
Graves did not like Galactic Angel.
He didn’t dislike it either. Graves had no opinion on the series at all really. It just happened to be just popular enough that he saw potential to make a successful franchise out of it. And it happened to be just obscure enough that he felt he could mess with it without pissing off the mainstream audience.
Graves was wrong.
The producer mandates and alterations he made transformed the movie into something that didn’t even resemble the original story. It had become Galactic Angel in name only. A soulless shell of an adaptation that upset its fans and was so poorly written and cliched that it couldn’t even please non-fans either.
The changes were as follows:
The book starred a young woman named Angel Toriyama, the youngest ship commander in the Earth’s fleet. The story involved her proving herself to be deserving of her rank to the doubters, saving the Earth from an alien invasion, exposing the Earth’s leader of conspiring with the invaders, and gaining the respect that she was owed. It was a compelling science fiction adventure that had a female lead that managed to be a good role model and held a message that you shouldn’t judge people because they are “inexperienced”.
The movie starred Francesca Rose as Angel, now named Angel Tori, who was still a young ship commander that saved the world from aliens. But that’s where the similarities ended. For starters, Angel Toriyama was Japanese. Francesca Rose, unsurprisingly, was not. In addition, Angel in the book had no interest in romance. While some fans theorized she was meant to be asexual, neither the books nor their author had ever confirmed this. The books and author never denied it either though. Regardless, the books had a unique concept in not shoehorning in a romantic subplot in its action packed sci fi story. It kept the focus on the mystery of the invaders and Angel’s growth as a warrior, not on her love life.
In the movie, she had a love triangle involving one of her shipmates…and one of the alien invaders.
Said invaders, in the book, were monsters with multiple limbs, skull-like faces and bodies that writhed and changed in shape and size constantly. They were completely vile creatures, that appeared to communicate with pheromones. These pheromones also caused volatile emotional reactions to humans. Terror, depression, suicidal thoughts. There was a chapter in book three in which Angel had to infiltrate an invader ship. She became exposed to a rather nasty batch of pheromones that caused her to experience nightmarish hallucinations. Despite her mounting horror, she fought through the psychological hell and completed her mission. Throughout the remainder of the series Angel suffered from PTSD from the experience, another great example of not only how strong of a character she was, but also how mature the series could be. The author wrote Angel as strong enough to push through the spiral of terror but still showed her as a human, with limitations.
However, the film portrayed the invaders as simply green human men. Just regular humans, but green. They had red eyes, and some had darker green markings, but mostly they were just green human men. And Angela fell in love with one. That’s because in the film, their pheromones had the opposite effect that they had in the book. They created positive feelings in humans. Feelings of love, affection, and desire.
They made humans horny.
So on top of changing the main character from asian to white, and making her blatantly heterosexual instead of intentionally vague as to her sexuality, they also made the terrifying alien conquerors that induced feelings of horror into humans into sexy green men that made women wet. And that was still not all of the changes the film producer made. Just the major ones.
These changes had some major ramifications. The movie ended up failing. Badly. Reviews had called it “The worst adaptation ever”, “an insult to the source material”, and “shit, just shit”. The film ended up being pulled from theaters well over a week early. Everyone involved from the cast to the crew, including Graves himself, had their careers hurt or ruined by the movie.
Fans of the books were in an uproar. The author publicly blasted the movie and called the director a hack, as well as calling for Graves’ resignation. Francesca Rose, its star refused to acknowledge the movie. In interviews, when asked about it she just changed the subject or pretended she had no idea what they were talking about. The film’s director publicly apologized for his involvement, while also trying to shift all blame to Graves.
And Graves had gone on an indefinite hiatus. He’d basically spent most of the last year in hiding. Originally, Graves planned to wait out this mess in his fabulous mansion. But soon he found he couldn’t enjoy his infinity pool or his private bowling alley. That was because no matter where he was in his home he could hear the angry fans outside his property, screaming insults and threats at him on a daily basis. Everyday the same old thing. They’d all gather around and shout at him from outside his gate. Eventually it became too much for Graves.
And so he’d gone on “vacation”. As far as the public knew, Graves was on some island in the Southern Hemisphere, sipping on mai tais and sexually harassing the local women. In reality, Graves had not gone that far. In fact, he had just barely left California.
Graves had gone to Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas in fact. No one recognized him there. He’d gone to Vegas once in his life, when he turned 21. Graves had been in and out of several shabby motels. He’d hated it, but he knew no one would look for him in a place like that. Plus they were cheap which saved his money for “other” expenses. Liquor, drugs, women. Graves was going through all of them in an attempt to make his situation more accomodating.
Tonight in fact, Graves had gone out and grabbed himself a bottle of whiskey, some nose candy, and had ordered himself a “date” for the evening.
The “date” in question was just outside the door. Her name was Gina, and she was dressed in her finest neon pink tube top and leopard print mini-skirt. Her dirty blonde hair hung just below her shoulders and was frizzy and unkempt. Crimson lips formed an annoyed scowl on her face and she rolled her raccoon painted eyes as she tapped her foot and checked her watch again. It was now ten minutes past the appointed hour of the “date” and she was getting impatient. Not only was she underdressed for the chilly night air but she was kind of on a schedule. Graves wasn’t the only “date” she had tonight.
Finally she decided that enough was enough. Graves was now ten minutes late. His motel room was dark, no lights on at all. Gina had come to the conclusion that the jackass had run off to grab something or just fucked off for some unknown reason. She cursed him under her breath, calling him several choice words. She began to turn to walk away, but decided to give his motel room door a good kick first. When she did the door swung open.
It was unlocked.
A smirk ran across Gina’s face as she placed her hand on her face. “It was unlocked,” she though to herself with a chuckle. She opened the door and walked in, hand in face, and started to say, “Sorry, totally forgot to check if the door was already unlocked. Guess you like it in the dark huh? Well, since I wasted ten minutes of your time I can either bump $20 off the price or give you a free crack at my…”
Gina trailed off as she stood in the cheap motel room. The room was silent. Shockingly so. Quieter than any room she’d been in for quite some time. A weird, smell hung in the air. It was familiar, but she couldn’t place it.
As her eyes adjusted to the darkness she noticed a figure by the window. It was slumped in a chair, a hand visibly clutching an empty glass. She could not make out anymore detail. Gina sat in the silence a minute more, dread creeping upon her with each breath she took. Finally, she decided to turn on the light. As her hand found the light switch, her mouth went dry. A silent prayer echoed in her mind as she nervously flipped the switch.
The lights came on and Kingston Graves was revealed to her. He was totally nude, and was sitting in and armchair, legs crossed. One hand at his side, the other clutching a recently drank glass of whiskey. His red, moppish hair hung disheveled on his dome, recently washed but never combed. His glasses hung off the edge of his nose, barely clinging on to his sharp, angular face. His once green eyes now glassy and cold. His middle aged chest, covered in hair and freckles bared a deep, jagged wound and was covered in his blood. His throat had been cut, a small trickle of blood from the jugular slice meeting the splash of the red sticky liquid on his chest.
Gina stared horrified and bewildered. A million thoughts ran through her mind, not one of them the least bit helpful. Panic set in as she turned ghost white. Tears poured from her eyes as she screamed and turned to run away.
Gina stopped dead in her track as she saw the door behind her. Written on it in blood was this message:
For his betrayal
And a Grave mistake
Kingston sealed his fate
Angel Toriyama will be avenged
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