Readers usually experience a mixture of excitement and nervousness upon hearing about their favorite books being adapted to television and film—the former at seeing a story they like told visually, the latter at how it may differ from the source material. The way I see it, the story has to change to at least some degree to suit the storytelling medium. Others see that as anathema. Either way, it's good to know what coming so you can prepare yourself. Here's the latest roundup of Science Fiction and Fantasy adaptations that could be heading your way...
Wild Cards edited by George R.R. Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass
Given the success of superhero films and television shows, is it any wonder that producers would be turning to the pages of an already-established universe for more? They could do a lot worse than George R.R. Martin's shared superhero Wild Cards universe. The series, now co-edited with Melinda Snodgrass, continues to this day, having spawned a multitude of novels and short fiction anthologies. The alternate history premise revolves around the idea that an airborne alien virus was released in 1946, killing ninety percent of the world's population and affecting the DNA of the survivors, thus creating a number of superheroes and supervillains. The setting is so rich, in fact, that Hulu optioned it for two television series. Melinda M. Snodgrass is on board as one of the executive producers on the project. Aces and Jokers, assemble!
The Strange Case of The Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
Imagine if some of the most famous literary horror and science fiction characters co-existed in the same world. That's the premise of this creative mashup, which features Sherlock Holmes and the daughters of Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Dr. Rappaccini, Dr. Moreau and Dr. Frankenstein. The women band together to solve a series of gruesome murders in Victorian London. Another mystery surrounds their origins—no surprise to readers who are familiar with the stories The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, "Rappaccini's Daughter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. Both mysteries will be explored in the television series based on this novel announced by the CW. Sounds like fun.
Discworld: The Watch by Terry Pratchett
When it was announced that Pratchett's beloved Discworld series was being adapted, not many details were given about which imaginative corner of the vast world would be the focus. More details have since emerged. The forthcoming BBC America adaptation is called The Watch and it revolves around the misadventures of the City Watch, a group of bumbling, misfit cops in the city of Ankh-Morpork, one of the central locations of the series. The new show was inspired by the City Watch subset of Discworld novels which includes Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, Night Watch,Thud!, and Snuff. The network describes the series as a punk rock thriller. Count me in.
Rolling In The Deep by Mira Grant
Mira Grant's 2015 mermaid horror novella Rolling in the Deep was expanded (as they sometimes are) into the 2017 novel Into the Drowning Deep. In the novella, a film crew sails out to the Mariana Trench to film a mockumentary about mermaids. They expected a series of unverifiable eyewitness accounts that would nevertheless suffice to peddle real life monsters for good ratings. What they found, however, were actual mermaids…with very sharp teeth…and they're not happy. Grant's page-turning novella was recently optioned for film. Mary Lambert (Pet Sematary) will direct the adaptation written by Sean Hood (Conan the Barbarian, Halloween: Resurrection).
FKA USA by Reed King
This satire, which is labeled as "possibly prescient," takes place in 2085 America, or what's left of it after a series of environmental disasters and the catastrophic policies of its final president. An unambitious factory worker named Truckee Wallace is tapped by the President for a critical political mission: to deliver a talking goat across the continent (like you do). Along the way (in a Wizard of Oz-like fashion) he meets a former convict who was lobotomized in Texas and an android who just wants to be human. Did I mention there are fanatics who worship Elvis and virtual reality addicts? Warner Bros. was so eager to get this one, they picked up the film rights to Reed's post-Dystopian ahead of the book's June release. Keep your eyes peeled!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG and More Classics by Roald Dahl
If award nominations and wins are any indication, streaming services have proven that they are just as viable a platform as any television studio. They're equally capable of producing top-notch entertainment, whether based on original ideas or adaptations of existing work. Netflix has a chance to prove that again; they've recently announced that they are producing an animated series based on the classic works of author Roald Dahl, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG and more. This will be the first animated adaptation of Dahl's work, a move that Dahl's widow sees as a great vehicle for getting Dahl's work in front of as many children as possible for them to enjoy. Production begins this year on the series, but Netflix's teaser trailer already does a pretty good job of tapping into our nostalgia.