Long gone are the days when readers lamented about the lack of films based on their favorite books. These days, Hollywood routinely mines the written word for film ideas. Here's another handful of evidence: 5 science fiction, fantasy, and horror books that are working their way to film and TV. Read them now and add them to your watch list for later!

 

SF_SevenSeveneves by Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson is known for novels that are downright ambitious. Often meticulously detailed and epic in scope, his novels tend to immerse readers deeply into one well-imagined world or another. Last year's Seveneves is no different. The premise is dark, but intriguing: mankind has about two short years to save the entire human race from the end of the world. The problem begins at the book's opening, when Earth’s moon is obliterated by an unknown agent. The effects are catastrophic for the moon and for Earth; within two years, the pieces of the moon will begin falling to Earth, rendering it uninhabitable. What follows is mankind's frantic rush to save as much of humanity as possible…and a peek at five thousand years into the future when the progeny of the survivors, now comprising seven races, attempt to return to Earth.

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One thing you can be sure of: any adaptation of a Neal Stephenson book is likely to be as ambitious as the novel it’s based upon. You would hope that the people producing it have the know-how to deliver. Fortunately, the creative team behind 1995's hit film Apollo 13 are tackling this project. Specifically, Apollo 13 director Ron Howard is on board to direct the film, Apollo 13 screenwriter William Broyles Jr. is signed up to write the screenplay, and Apollo 13 producer Brian Grazer will produce it. In other words, this adaptation is in good hands.

 

SF_ShamblingThe Shambling Guide to NYC and Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty

What's better than one fun novel being adapted into a film? How about 2? Better still: what if both books are part of the same series? Well, you're in luck! It's been announced that Netflix has optioned the rights to the two books in Mur Lafferty's "Shambling Guide" series: The Shambling Guide to NYC and Ghost Train to New Orleans. This is still very early in the production cycle. There's not even a clearly stated plan yet as to whether they will adapt it as a movie or a television series. One thing's for sure: if it's true to the atmosphere of the book, it will be a fun addiction.

Despite the fact that zombies, vampires, fay folk, and other assorted monsters roam the streets of the cities, these two novels are more urban fantasy than horror. The Shambling Guide to NYC is about a travel writer named Zoë who takes a job with a shady New York publisher where she's assigned to write a travel guide to the city aimed at the undead. Zoë's job becomes downright dangerous when the precarious balance between human and monster starts to tip. In the sequel Ghost Train to New Orleans, Zoë is (put on your meta hat) sent to New Orleans to write a sequel to her previous in-book book, The Shambling Guide to NYC. Zoë also has another task: to find the one person who can save her boyfriend from going full-tilt zombie. Meanwhile, a new threat endangers people like Zoë, who have the supernatural ability to talk to cities.    

 

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

It's a good year for Joe Hill! Not only is his recent novel The Fireman being adapted for film, but his 2013 vampire novel NOS4A2 has been optioned for the small screen, too. AMC television is developing a series based on Hill's supernatural suspense novel, which debuted at No. 5 on the New York Times Best Seller List.

The creepy novel concerns the nefarious Charles Talent Manx, who drives around in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with a "NOS4A2" vanity plate (say it slowly – get it?) and abducts children, taking them out of this reality into a strange place he calls "Christmasland". The protagonist, Victoria McQueen, is a girl who has a knack for going places via an alternate universe constructed from her imagination, and who is the person to ever escape Manx's clutches. Now Victoria is all grown up, still hoping to forget her encounter with evil. Instead, she must face it head-on after Manx returns and abducts Victoria's son.

 

SF_thegatesThe Gates by John Connolly

John Connolly's The Gates pits good against evil and tests the courage of an 11-year-old boy. Young Samuel Johnson tries to show initiative by trick-or-treating three days before Halloween. Unfortunately, he stumbles across some weird events at a neighbor's house. The Abernathys—who shouldn't have been flirting with the dangers of the underworld in the first place—unintentionally create a gap in the universe that exposes the gates of hell. It's up to Samuel and an outcast demon to stem the flow of monsters coming out of the underworld and into our world.

Seems like perfect movie fodder, right? Amblin Partners and Michael De Luca Productions will be producing a movie adaptation of Connolly's young adult novel, which is equal parts fantasy and science, but also includes a generous dose of humor.  Blaise Hemingway is writing the screenplay.  It's developed as a "potential franchise starter" which is a nice way of saying that the filmmakers are hoping this is a gift that keeps on financially giving. So, keep Connolly's sequels (Hell's Bells and The Creeps) on your radar.

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