Read them, watch them, do both.

When I was little, I loved watching a movie called The Brave Little Toaster. (Yes, it was indeed about a toaster. And yes, he–did I mention the toaster was a he?—was very, very brave, but that’s beside the point.)

Anyway, I recently found out this movie had been adapted from a novella which, not so incidentally, was also called The Brave Little Toaster and was written by Thomas Disch. That novella, in turn, had first been published by The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, a company I once worked for. Needless to say, I found it pretty cool (okay, and also amazingly random) to have worked for a company whose book had led to one of my favorite childhood films.

Outside of my own 6 degrees of [book] separation, I’m always surprised how many wacky, interesting connections movies based on books or movies that became books have. And with the season being almost over, these are just a few of the summer blockbusters you either caught already or what are you waiting for? For as sure as fireworks on the fourth of July, there are few things more tried, true, and fun than the flash-bang-and-occasional-crash of the summer blockbuster movie—and the books that inspired them.

Wonder woman

JUNE

New and Happening: Highly anticipated (and about time, seriously), the first ever Wonder Woman movie finally came out this June 2nd. But I bet you would never guess just how long the character of Wonder Woman has been around. So let me tell you: 76 years and counting. Wonder Woman first debuted in All Star Comics #8 written by William Moulton Marston. You can relive how Wonder Woman has evolved through the years in this awesome anniversary box set.

Oldie, but a Goodie: Jaws hit the big screen on June 20, 1975 and quickly became an iconic blockbuster movies that made everyone think twice before swimming in deep water. Before Jaws the movie, however, there was Jaws the book, written by first time author Peter Benchley. And, in a rather ironic twist of fate, Benchley, creator of the killer shark craze, did a complete 180 pivot after the movie: he became a shark conservationist. In fact, the last book he ever wrote was not another shark-infested thriller, but rather a non-fiction book about sharks called Shark Life.

Planet of the apes

JULY

New and Happening: On July 14th, the third installment of the Planet of the Apes franchise, War of the Planet of the Apes, will be coming to theaters. But as humanity continues their Earthly battle with their ape counterparts, you may to be curious to learn that the book which started it all, also called Planet of the Apes, was really out of this world. Literally. First written in French by author Pierre Boulle, the original planet of the apes book was set on an entirely different planet and—get this—humans learned of that planet’s fate through an intergalactic message in a bottle retrieved from outer space.

Oldie, but a Goodie: Forrest Gump, which debuted on July 6, 1994, is a beloved classic of a simple man who changes the lives of many people through ways heart-warming, sad, and often with a hint of the absurd. But none is quite as absurd as what happens in the original novel Forrest Gump by Winston Groom where in one section Gump is actually sent on a NASA mission outer space with a gorilla named Sue and, upon crash landing back on Earth, briefly ends up being taken hostage by cannibals. For the record, Groom allegedly wrote the book in just 6 weeks, so there’s that.

The Gunslinger

AUGUST

New and Happening: Most people are familiar with author Stephen King and it might not come as a surprise to see another of his books, this time The Gunslinger, make it to the big screen under the name The Dark Tower. What you might not know, however, is that the story of The Dark Tower is far more expansive than you could ever imagine—practically all of Stephen King’s books, and by default his movies, are actually all interconnected in this Dark Tower universe. So keep that in mind next time you watch Stephen King movies like Carrie or The Shining—and get ready for even more Dark Tower movies.

Oldie, but a Goodie: Babe, a touching movie about a pig who herds sheep, first debuted in US on August 4, 1995 after a successful run in Australia. The book that led to the movie, however, was actually called The Sheep-Pig and was written by Dick King-Smith. Not only was King-Smith an actual farmer, but he didn’t start writing until his 50s—and then didn’t write the Sheep-Pig until he was 61 years old. Not a bad way to ease into old age.

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