If you're like me, you get excited at the prospect of seeing books you've read being adapted into film. Not only do you get to re-live the story, but you get to see how Hollywood has, inevitably, changed the story to suit the medium. Readers of the source material get meta-level of enjoyment from such movie-watching experiences. With the usual caveat that a book being optioned for film does not guarantee that it will actually get made, join me now for another roundup of books that are on their way to being adapted to film and television. Read the books now and get a jumpstart on the adaptation!

Defenders by Will McIntosh Defenders

It's rare that a book gets optioned for film before the book itself even hits bookshelves. The science fiction thriller Defenders by Will McIntosh is one of those rare books. How did Hollywood know about the story before it was published? The novel Defenders is actually based on the author's short story of the same name which first appeared in Lightspeed Magazine in August 2011. Based on the strength of that short story, Warner Bros. studios scooped up the film rights. The film will be written by screenwriter Will Simmons ("Murder City").

You may recall Defenders from last week's roundup of best speculative fiction picks of the month. Defenders is a different kind of alien invasion story. The invaders in this case are the Luyten, an alien race determined to rid the Earth of humans, who they see as inferior. The Luyten have not only a technological advantage, but they can also read human minds as well, making any strategy we come up with to defeat them essentially ineffective. That is, until mankind genetically-engineers a race of 17-foot-tall humanoids called the Defenders that are immune to telepathy. The problem? What is a race of beings created for war supposed to do once the war is over?

Continue reading >


  These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars, the first book in the Starbound series, starts with bang. The luxury spaceliner Icarus is pulled out of hyperspace and crash-lands on into the nearest planet. A pod from the spaceliner holding two of the ship's passengers, Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen, also lands on the planet. Lilac is a rich heiress thrust into a situation for which she is not at all prepared. Tarver is a young war hero with little tolerance for pampered rich people. The story, told from their alternating perspectives, is about the two of them working together on a trek across the alien planet to find the crash site of the Icarus and, hopefully, other survivors. 

This exciting space adventure was optioned for television by four executive producers. One of them is Eric Balfour (writer, director, producer and actor currently starring in the television series Haven). Balfour sees television as the perfect medium for this project because only the extended, episodic nature of television provides a canvas big enough to explore the transformation of the characters over the period of time covered in the book.

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Fancy a little horror, do you? How about entering a world of Benjamin Percy's Red Moon, a world knowingly divided between humans and werewolves? The Lycans live amongst humans but are second-class citizens because of their disease. For years the Lycan threat has been kept at bay by laws specifically targeting Lycans, by violence against them, and because of drugs that suppress their monstrous other-selves.  But that uneasy balance may be about to change as the war between human and Lycan escalates. Caught in the middle of this conflict are Patrick Red MoonGamble, a man who survived a deadly Lycan massacre as a boy, and Claire Forrester, herself a Lycan whose parents were murdered by the government.

Red Moon is currently being adapted as a television series for FOX TV. Percy himself will co-write the series pilot along with Akiva Goldsman, screenwriter behind I Am Legend, the 2007 film adaptation of Richard Matheson's vampire classic.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Set in a dystopian Martian future, Pierce Brown's Red Rising (first in a planned trilogy) is a novel about class warfare. The story revolves around its narrator, Darrow, a member of the color-coded society of the future. Darrow is a "Red," one of the lower social classes, and he works in the Martian mines, working desperately for (or so he is told) the coming day when mankind can live on the surface. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. The ruling elite have been living on the surface for generations, and they've been keeping the working class in the dark. Darrow plans on seeking revenge for this betrayal and the loss of a loved one by infiltrating the elite "Golds."

This futuristic tale of the haves and have-nots will be getting the book-to-film treatment from Universal Pictures, which won the rights to produce the film adaptation of Red Rising, with Marc Foster directing. Foster most recently directed another book-to-film adaptation: World War Z starring Brad Pitt, which was based on the hit zombie novel by Max Brooks. Here's hoping that Red Rising, unlike World War Z, will be more than a name-only adaptation.

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