Hollywood regularly mines the field of literature for TV and film ideas. Science fiction and fantasy in particular are genres ripe with blockbuster ideas that thrill moviegoers. They are adapting books so fast, it's hard to keep track of them all. Fortunately, you have this hand guide to help you out. Here's the latest roundup of speculative fiction novels being adapted for television and film.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Naomi Novik's Uprooted is a fantasy novel that's grounded in folklore and fairy tales. It’s about a young woman named Agnieszka who lives near a wooded area that is home to evil. Agnieszka's village is protected only by a wizard who calls himself The Dragon. But The Dragon's protection comes at a cost. Every 10 years, The Dragon demands as payment a young woman to serve him for a decade. That selection time is fast approaching. Agnieszka fears that The Dragon will pick her best friend, but she should be worrying about herself.
Uprooted has been targeted by Warner Bros for a fantasy film adaptation. The production company handling the project is A Very Good Production, which is a production company run by Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman. It's still very much in the early stages, and we all know that means this could never see the light of day. In fact, back in 2006, Peter Jackson optioned Novik's popular Temeraire series and we're still waiting for that one. Time will tell if Uprooted has more luck.
Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald
If you think corporations have stranglehold on society now, just wait until they get their hands on space colonies. That very premise is what Ian McDonald explores in his new novel (the first of a proposed duology) called Luna: New Moon. It's set about 100 years into the future, or 50 years after the moon has been colonized by five powerful corporations called The Five Dragons. Competition still exists in the future. The Five Dragons are fierce rivals, in fact, each vying for control over the Moon and its feudalistic lunar society. The novel's point-of-view character, Adriana Corta, is one of the corporations' matriarchs who fought hard for her family’s new status. Now, nearing the end of her life, Adriana must ensure the survival of her legacy, which includes her five children on whom it falls to defend their mother’s empire.
Although just released a few months ago, McDonald's novel of corporate lunacy has already been optioned by CBS Television Studios after what is being called a “fiercely contested auction.” The showrunner, Shane Brennan (who works on NCIS: Los Angeles) is also set to produce the series and write the pilot episode. The series, which is being called "a major television event," has enlisted author Ian McDonald as one of the executive producers, which is fitting since he already has experience in the television industry.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen takes place in a world separated by blood. The Silvers—the silver-blooded elite—are a genetically engineered group with supernatural abilities. The Reds—red-blooded commoners—are forced into servitude to the Silvers. Mare Barrow is a 17-year-old Red thief who steals from the Silvers to get by. But when Mare is confronted by the Silvers, she learns that she possesses a mutation that grants her an impossible ability all her own. To cover up the undesirable truth, the Silvers force her to play the role of a long-lost Silver princess who marries the prince. But Mare's loyalty really lies with rebel Reds, and she's working from the inside.
Red Queen was a #1 New York Times bestseller and Hollywood took notice. Elizabeth Banks, an actress who you may know from The Hunger Games films, is taking a turn at directing a film adaptation of Red Queen. The film, like the book, will play up the story's fantasy romance aspects, which force Mare to choose between loyalty and love. The film was originally optioned in 2013, but stalled. The new news attaching Banks as director means the wheels on this are turning again.
Alien Hunter by Whitley Strieber
Alien Hunter is about police detective named Flynn Carroll whose wife disappears, never to be heard from again. There is no evidence of kidnapping and, in fact, there are signs that she left of her own accord. But Flynn knows better and he becomes obsessed with finding her. His investigations lead him to cross paths with Special Agent Diana Glass, a member of the most secret police unit on the planet—one tasked with finding extraterrestrial terrorists.
If the idea of a task force who regularly goes after extraterrestrial bad guys doesn't sound like the premise for a weekly television series, I don't know what else does. Alien Hunter is indeed being adapted as a weekly television show by the SyFy channel. The show's working title is simply Hunters. The executive producers are Gale Anne Hurd (who works on AMC TV's successful zombie show The Walking Dead) and Natalie Chaidez (who works on SyFy's 12 Monkeys, a television show itself adapted from Terry Gilliam's film that starred Bruce Willis). This series is already in production and will air in April 2016.