One of the holy grails of writing a book is selling its film rights. While that isn't a 100% guarantee that the project will ever make it to the big screen, it's an important first step. The potentially good news for readers is that they might get to see the stories they love told in a new storytelling medium. Or, even if the project doesn't get past acquiring the rights, it points new readers to stories that were interesting enough for people to lay down some serious money. To that end, here's the latest roundup of books that might be headed to a theater near you.


Time travel stories have been a hallmark of science fiction since the days of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Even today it remains a rich source for excellent stories. Case in point: Wesley Chu's new novel Time Salvager. The story starts in Earth’s apocalyptic future, where time travel is used as a means to pilfer the past for valuable resources that will aid in the struggle for humanity’s continued survival. But even desperate times call for adherence to some rules. In the case of time travel, the rule is simple: change the past and you die. Chronman James Griffin-Mars knows this rule, yet that doesn’t stop him from saving a scientist from the past and bringing her to the future, where they both become fugitives.

It was recently announced that Paramount Pictures has acquired the rights for a feature film franchise based on Time Salvager. This is one of those rare cases when the option to film an adaptation of the book was acquired before the actual publication date of the book. Director Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon) is attached to direct the time travel project. Perhaps the best news of all is that Chu himself is set to executive produce the project. Here's hoping that the author's involvement will keep the story's core vision intact.

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SEEKER by Arwen Elys Dayton

Seeker, the first is a proposed trilogy, is a young adult novel that mixes science fiction and fantasy. In it, young Quin Kincaid and her two fiends rigorously train their entire lives to become "Seekers," champions for their society who are charged with protecting the weak and the wronged using a whipsword to dispense justice. Just when Quin and her fiends are set to take their final oath, everything changes. Information is learned about the true nature of the Seekers and what they do. That revelation upturns Quin's worldview and the three friends find themselves at odds with each other.

Film rights foSeeker_SFSignalr Seeker were optioned earlier this year by Columbia Pictures shortly after the book's release. The film's producer is Mark Gordon, whose credits include Speed, Saving Private Ryan, and Source Code. The writer is Callie Kloves, an up-and-coming writer who happens to be daughter of Steve Kloves, the screenwriter for the first Harry Potter film. It's a given that the studio, looking to strike Hunger Games gold, has plans for the next two books in the trilogy.

THE EMPEROR’S SOUL by Brandon Sanderson

The focus of The Emperor's Soul is Shai, a forger who can recreate objects by rewriting their history. Shai is caught and imprisoned by the authorities when she attempts to forge a Moon Scepter. Her only chance at avoiding the death penalty is to undertake a mission to save the Emperor's soul. The Emperor was rendered unconscious by a failed assassination attempt that took the life of the Empress. The Emperor's fate is unknown to the Empire since the Emperor has 100 days to mourn the death of his wife. If Shai cannot save his soul by then, the Empire will be lost.

It was recently announced that film and television rights for The Emperor's Soul, Sanderson's Hugo Award–winning story, have been acquired by DMG entertainment. The dust hasn't settled on this one. They are still fleshing out the details, but it was noted that Sanderson himself is working with the studio screenwriters to make the setting more diverse.

STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson

This is a good time to be a Brandon Sanderson fan! Steelheart is Sanderson's urban fantasy superhero story and it, too, has been optioned. It takes place 10 years after a mysterious event that granted extraordinary powers to some people, who were thus referred to as "Epics." Epics deem themselves Gods and wish to rule ordinary humans. None would oppose them, until a band of humans called Reckoners rise up to fight them. In the city that was once Chicago, a seemingly invincible Epic named Steelheart is about to learn that his self-proclaimed rule does not go unchallenged. His main challenger is the young man named David, who is fueled by revenge against Steelheart for killing his father.

What studio isn't looking for a successful superhero franchise?Steelheart_SFSignal In this case, Fox Studios nabbed the rights to adapt a film based on Sanderson's superhero story. Carter Blanchard, who worked on the Independence Day sequel, Resurgence,is writing the screenplay. Since Steelheart is the first book in a series, you can bet the studio has their eyes on those as well.

DEATHLESS by Catherynne M. Valente

Steeped in Russian folklore, Deathless is named after Koschei the Deathless, an evil figure in Russian culture and a character in the Valente's book. In the story, young Marya Morevna transforms herself from a clever child of the Communist revolution to Koschei’s beautiful bride, and ultimately to his undoing. That doesn't even begin to describe Valente's culturally rich and intricate story, which is a tapestry of real history, magic, and mythology.

Seeing as how Deathless is steeped in Russian folklore, it's no surprise that it's Russian filmmaker Aleksander Rodnyansky who has acquired the film rights for Valente's 2011 novel. Not much is known about the project at this point, but then that's the nature of book-to-film adaptations. But readers get to experience them today anyway.

John DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, the Hugo Award-winning group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. You can follow him on Twitter as @sfsignal