Movies have been based on real events, operas, plays, tv shows, comic books, songs, video and board games, amusement park attractions, even bubblegum cards, but no form of adaptation remains as constantly controversial as that of the cinematic transformation of a novel. Some authors fret over the slightest alteration of their work, many others take the money and run. A small few have even learned not to worry about the issue at all, like William Gibson, who recently wrote (in a slightly different context) "I no longer get very wrought up over the liminals, myself, except to be annoyed by people who seem to assume that feature films are the ultimate stage of novelistic creation, thereby relegating the book to the status of dull gray chrysalis".
In the current Bookforum, Philip Lopate tracks the line between the written word and the celluloid frame and finds more to defend than to condemn. In sidebars, various literary and film folks tell their own experiences in seeing a work made cinematic and list a few notable adaptations.