Inception As A Book?

The below post is spoiler free, in case haven’t seen the movie yet.

Have you ever watched a movie and thought, “I really wish this was a book?” And I don’t mean one of those book adaptations that follow the script exactly, written after the movie was made. I mean a movie that was first written as a novel.


For me, that movie is Inception. I loved the movie (I am a total Christopher Nolan fangirl), but when it was over I wanted more – and began to wish I could experience the story as a book too.

Don’t get me wrong. The movie is visually stunning, and it would be hard to capture that in a book. We’d certainly lose a few things (the wedding ring theory, for example), but without the burden of time constraints we could go so much deeper into the amazing world Christopher Nolan has created.

Here are the three things that could be further explored in a book, which might make the experience better than the movie:

1) The Rules

The rules of the dream world are explained, but can be confusing and sometimes seem arbitrary. Why does one rule apply here but not somewhere else? Why wasn’t this rule mentioned earlier? In the movie we are given little time to absorb a new rule before the action takes over, but in a book the system could be better explained and foreshadowed more. We’d have a deeper understanding of how the dream world works and how the characters can interact within it – which would make us enjoy the plot even more without being bombarded with new things to learn all the time.

2) The Characters

Inception has such interesting characters, but most are only briefly touched upon. We never get to explore their past, their goals, how they got mixed up in dream heists, and so forth. Although all the characters are compelling in the movie, in a book they could have real histories and character arcs, which would allow us to care about them much more. Take Arthur, for example. We know he is good at what he does, but why does he help Cobb? How did he get involved in this line of work? Why doesn’t he get along with Eames? And how did he get to be such a snappy dresser?

3) The Setting

There is so much hinted about the world in Inception that I’d love to see more of. What kind of society do these characters live in where a person can enter someone else’s dreams? We know there are a few powerful corporations, some of which deal with stealing secrets in dreams, but we know little else about how the world works. In a book we could explore this world and get a glimpse of how this technology has changed society. Do regular people know about this technology, or is it only a select few? Is it available to everyone, or can only the wealthy afford it, or is it restricted but traded on the black market, or…? These are the kinds of questions I had after watching the movie.

Inception performs a rare feat in science fiction and fantasy: it makes you believe that it takes place in a real world that exists before and after the movie’s running time. If Inception was a book the plot would remain the same, but we’d be able to further explore this world, learning more about the dream rules and the brilliant characters Christopher Nolan has created.

What do you think – would you read Inception the novel? Are there any other movies that you wish you could read as a book?