Despite having written a guest blog post about who I'd like to see in a movie version of A Darkling Sea, I'm pretty certain that it's one book which will never be filmed. As I pointed out in the blog post, it's about the most unfilmable novel ever written. Most of it takes place in pitch darkness, and half the main characters are giant lobster-things.
But, as I was dropping off to sleep one night recently, it came to me that A Darkling Sea would make a pretty awesome stage musical.Seriously! You wouldn't even need much of a set. Most of it would be black, or maybe very faintly blue-lit, with spotlights on the characters. The Ilmatarans can be giant puppets, with spotlit singers doing their dialog and musical numbers, à la The Lion King.
Picture it: we start off with a big rousing showstopper for Henri Kerlerec, setting him up as the center of the story. We give Broadtail a song about how much he wants to be accepted by the company of scholars. Kill off Henri while the Ilmatarans sing a reprise of his own song.
Romantic duet for Rob and Alicia as she lures him out of his self-imposed isolation. Then the Sholen arrive, with another big number about how much they care about protecting Ilmatar. Comic montage of them interviewing the humans. Alicia shows Tizhos the glowing bacteria.
Broadtail has his fight and trial. We end the act with a split number as the Ilmatarans of Broadtail's community sentence him to exile while the Sholen tell the humans they have to evacuate . . .
Am I crazy for thinking this could be great? Would any theater audience actually sit through a full-length show about singing lobsters on another planet?
There is this to consider: musical fans and science fiction fans look more and more alike with each passing year. They tend to be obsessive about certain works, have their own vocabulary of in-jokes and quotes, and often dress up oddly. As far as I know, there aren't conventions for musical fans (yet), and the SF fans don't have to make pilgrimage to New York and shell out $100 for a seat. A good science-fiction musical could effect a fandom merger.
If any aspiring songwriters want to take a crack at this, get in touch with me. It'll be great: we can use the old barn, and everyone will come!