These days, you can't shake a book without someone in Hollywood taking notice. Here's proof! Take a look at the following books, which have recently been optioned for film and television adaptations. No, an option to adapt is not a guarantee that the story will be made…but it's still fun to see which books might be headed to a screen near you.
3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey is a cinema classic. The film was based on a short story by Arthur C. Clarke, who went on to adapt the screenplay into a novel, and went even further by writing 3 sequels. One of those sequels (1982's 2010: Odyssey Two) made it to film (as 2010, released in 1984). Now comes word that Ridley Scott’s production company, Scott Free Productions, and Warner Horizon Television are developing a miniseries based on the last sequel, 3001: The Final Odyssey, first published in 1997. (They are skipping over the release of the 1987 sequel 2061: Odyssey Three.)
In the story of 2001: A Space Odyssey, astronaut Frank Poole embarks on a mission to investigate the appearance of strange monolith that appears on the moon and transmits a signal that leads an exploration team to the planet Jupiter. 3001: The Final Odyssey picks up the story of Frank Poole, whose freeze-dried body is discovered 1,000 years after the events of the first book. Humanity fears that the Jovian monolith, believed to be monitoring Earth so that its alien creators could pass judgment on it, will soon receive the go-ahead to destroy human civilization.
Old Man's War/The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
When it comes to accessible science fiction books, nobody does it better than John Scalzi. Case in point: His Old Man's War novel is a great entry point into science fiction and is quite fun to read. It's about a 75-year-old man named John Perry who enlists into the Colonial Defense Force to fight a centuries-long war for man’s expansion into the cosmos. Technology allows experiences and consciousness to be transplanted into younger bodies that are outfitted to endure the harsh rigors of war in space. Old Man's War is just the start of a fast-paced, entertaining military sci-fi series.
Recently, the SyFy television channel announced it is developing a drama series based on the series. They are calling it The Ghost Brigades (named after the second novel in the series). Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, In The Line of Fire, Air Force One, The NeverEnding Story) and Scott Stuber (Safe House, Ted) are developing the series for television with Jake Thornton and Ben Lustig signed on to write the screenplay.
Honor Harrington by David Weber
Speaking of military science fiction, one of the most popular military sci-fi series is David Weber's Honor Harrington series, named after its principal protagonist, Honor Harrington, who is a smart, genetically-engineered officer in the Royal Manticoran Navy. The series, which has been described as "Horatio Hornblower in space," depicts Honor's advancement through the military ranks and eventually the halls of politics and diplomacy. The series starts with On Basilisk Station and it takes place 2,000 years in the future when hyperspace travel allows humanity to colonize deep space.
So what medium is Honor Harrington best adapted to? Apparently all of them! Evergreen Studios announced that it is adapting Weber's popular series to film, comic book, digital game, webisode, and television series formats. The collective title of the project is Tales of Honor. I don't think you'll be able to miss this one if you tried.
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
In 2007, Karen Russell made her debut with St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, a collection of 10 stories about supernatural and strange occurrences set in the Florida Everglades. Each story dials up the imagination factor and whisks readers away on magical adventures. In the title story, a pack of girls raised by wolves are rescued and re-educated by nuns. In another story, two young boys visit a boat graveyard at midnight to find their dead sister, who sailed away on a giant crab shell.
ABC TV is set to adapt Russell's magical tales. The television version will focus on a pair of mysterious and attractive 16 year-old twins named Claudette and Felix, who show up at the elite St. Lucy's boarding school and change it forever. Channing Powell (The Walking Dead) will write the script for this enchanting series.
Pride, Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Everybody loves a mash-up. At least that's what Cross Creek Pictures hoped when they acquired the rights to Seth Grahame-Smith's 2009 retelling of the 1813 Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. The book, as you may have guessed, adds a horde of undead zombies to Austen's story, which necessarily changes as a result. In the updated version, Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters are trained by their father in martial arts and weaponry to protect against the all-too-real threat of the undead. In keeping with the original, the women deal with relationships. Unlike the original, they also deal with zombies.
This adaptation has been long time coming. Ever since the book made waves when it first appeared in 2009, several attempts were made to adapt this as a film. The latest attempt by Cross Creek Pictures seems to be the one that stuck; casting is complete and principal photography has already begun.