Readers often ask authors, “Where do you get your ideas?” If moviegoers were to ask filmmakers the same question, the answer might very well be, “From authors!” These days, it seems as if there’s no shortage of books that are being adapted to television and film. This is good news for readers and moviegoers because both get to experience the stories they love in another medium. With that in mind, here’s another batch of books that are being adapted for the visual media.
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
Kim Stanley Robinson was writing about the near-future colonization of Mars before it was trendy. His novel Red Mars is considered by many to be the quintessential story of the colonization of the red planet because it’s grounded in realistic science, politics and social issues, as well as offering an eye-opening depiction of the ecological challenges associated with terraforming a planet. For those who are more concerned with plot, rest assured there’s a fair amount of love, betrayal and murder to keep the story moving along. Red Mars is the first book of a trilogy (followed by Green Mars and Blue Mars) that ultimately examines the effects that advanced technology has on the society that develops it.
There's good news for fans of Robinson’s superdetailed trilogy: It’s recently been reported that Vince Gerardism, the co-executive producer of HBO’s Game of Thrones, is bringing a television adaptation of the entire Mars Trilogy to Spike TV. Robinson himself will be on hand to consult on the series, and that’s always a good sign that the adaptation will stay true to the source material as much as possible.
"Minority Report" by Philip K. Dick
What can you say about Philip K. Dick’s 1956 short story “Minority Report” that wasn’t already said the 2002 Steven Spielberg film of the same name? Apparently lots of things, since there is a new television series being adapted that’s based on ideas put forth in the story—the main idea being that in the near future, criminals will be punished before they commit a crime, thanks to the future-seers known as Precogs. This simple idea is a wonderful springboard for exploring weighty issues like ethics in our justice system and determinism vs. free will.
The new television adaptation, in addition to receiving Spielberg’s blessing, has him actively involved in the production. But this is not a straight adaptation; it’s more of a sequel to the 2002 sci-fi thriller which starred Tom Cruise. It takes place a decade after the events of the film and focuses on one of the three Precogs and a detective who solve crimes together. Fox is the studio involved in this new production and they’ve already picked up the pilot episode written by Max Borenstein, the scribe behind this year’s Godzilla remake. To get yourself acclimated to this believable future, check out Philip K. Dick’s original story, most recently collected in The Minority Report (Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick).
The Origin Mystery by A.G. Riddle
A.G. Riddle’s technothriller The Atlantis Gene is something of a self-publishing success story. The story was made available for sale with very little fanfare, but eventually it gathered a cult following as other novels in The Origin Mystery series (The Atlantis Plague and The Atlantis World) were written. The story itself is about a talented geneticist named Kate Warner, who partners with a dedicated international counterterrorism agent when a global pandemic threatens to wipe out the entire human race. The story is a thrill ride that includes ancient conspiracies, global genetic experiments, the mysteries of human evolution and many thought-provoking moments.
Adding to this success story is the announcement that CBS Films is going to adapt Riddle’s entire technothriller trilogy. Not much more is known at this point, but one thing’s for sure, Riddle’s book is “the little self-published book that could.”
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
Many readers already know Douglas Adams as the author of the science fiction comedy classic The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and its sequels. But real fans know that Adams wrote another science-fiction comedic series centered on a charismatic-but-troubled detective named Dirk Gently who, for better or worse, has the supernatural ability to detect disturbances in the fabric of reality. In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Gently sets out to prove the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things” by solving a murder mystery. But, this being a gonzo novel that includes just about everything, it also has time travel, ghosts, an Electric Monk, aliens, humanity’s origins, said humanity’s possible extinction, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and pizza. The book was followed by The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul and the posthumously published The Salmon of Doubt.
IDW Entertainment and Ideate Media recently announced that they have optioned the worldwide television rights of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and its sequels. Max Landis (son of director John Landis and a respected filmmaker in his own right—see the terrific superhero film Chronicle) will write the series pilot and will also serve as executive producer. (Landis is also working on another adaptation, for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, starring Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy.)