More and more movies, mainly blockbusters, are seeing novel adaptations that either reveal new scenes not shown in the movies or prequels explaining some of the blockbuster’s history. Though these novels will never be considered classics, these adaptations will be read by fans of the movies or uberfans of the franchises these movies are based on. These adaptations are sometimes better than the movies, other times the movies prove better. An example of a good prequel movie adaptation is Alan Dean Foster’s Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday.
On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 departed from Earth on a mission that would go down in history. While the world was watching this momentous event, another shuttle called Ghost 1 was being launched elsewhere using an alien technology no human, other than the government secret Sector Seven, had ever seen before. Ghost 1 was meant to explore the galaxy and discover whether the “Ice Man” was the only one of his kind. Little did the crew of Ghost 1 know that they would find others like their “Ice Man,” and that these others were fighting a war that would soon be brought to Earth.
Taking place nearly 40 years before the events of Transformers, Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday sheds light on unexplained events in the movie, mainly about the government organization Sector Seven, how Megatron was moved from the Arctic to Hoover Dam, and where the Autobots and Decepticons were before arriving to Earth. Due to all of these events, the story jumps around a lot and it can, at times, be confusing to follow. However, Foster does an excellent job at keeping the different story lines organized.
There are about four different story lines the reader follows and they are all separated from one another until the end where they begin to merge together. As aforementioned, it can be a bit overwhelming to read all of the different story lines, but it is fascinating how Foster executed them. Bouncing from Sector Seven to the crew of Ghost 1 to the Autobots to the Decepticons, the reader is able to get into the mind of nearly every character in the book to see what he or she is thinking and feeling during the events that transpire.
This ties in very nicely to the characters in general. Granted, all of the humans are original, so each has his or her own personality, but the Transformers are the characters to really focus on. Foster did an excellent job at keeping both the Autobots and the Decepticons true to their character personalities. The only ones mentioned are from the movie (Autobots Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Jazz, and Ratchet; Decepticons Megatron, Starscream, Barricade, Blackout, Frenzy, Bonecrusher, and Scorponok), so those who are unfamiliar with the Transformer characters will not feel lost. This makes a good intro of the bots to those who are new to the franchise while also pleasing long-time fans with accurate character depictions.
With a fairly unique story and decently written characters, Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday is a good introduction for both old fans and new to Michael Bay’s Transformers movie. Foster is very knowledgeable when it comes to writing science fiction and it shows in his writing style. Using words, he paints unique pictures of space battles between giant robots and a secret government agency trying to movie a giant “ice man” across the frozen Arctic landscape, just to name a few scenes. Even with the sometimes confusing jumps between story lines, Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday is worth the read if one is curious about the events that transpired before Transformers.