There's good news for readers who like to compare and contrast books with their television and film adaptations. I've previously mentioned science fiction and fantasy film adaptations that are already on their way to theaters, and I've already shared some sf/f books that have been optioned for television or film adaptation, but it turns out there have since been even more books that have caught Hollywood's collective eye. Here's an updated look and at some speculative fiction books whose rights have been scooped up for adaptation to television and film. Same disclaimer as before: Until it hits theaters, there's no guarantee that these will ever see the light of day. That said, it still gives us a good excuse to talk about books.
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Lauren Buekes burst onto the literary scene relatively recently. In 2008, she released Moxyland, a high-tech fable set in an alternative futuristic Cape Town, South Africa. In 2010, she released Zoo City, a modern fantasy whose characters are magically partnered with animals, which went on to win the Arthur C. Clarke Award. This year she released an exciting time-travel thriller called The Shining Girls and not only is it turning heads in literary circles, but it's also been acquired by MRC and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way for the purposes of a television adaptation. The Shining Girls tells the story of a serial killer who escapes the authorities using time travel, at least until one of his victims survives and begins to figure out the truth. The surprising thing about this particular adaptation is that it was announced nearly simultaneously with the book's release. How's that for a fast-tracked project?
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
A book with a title that sounds so uncommon should have a premise that is equally unique, and this one does. When family tragedy strikes, a 16-year-old boy named Jacob journeys off to a remote island off the coast of Wales where he discovers the abandoned ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. He discovers horrifying things about the children that were kept there and that they may have been quarantined to the island with good reason. Worse: They may still be alive. Riggs' terrifying tale was a unique reading experience, interestingly augmented with photos to enhance the experience as a whole. Perhaps that’s why this novel was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 52 consecutive weeks. It certainly caught the eye of director Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland), who knows a thing or two about peculiar. This one already has a theatrical release date of July 31, 2015.
The Moon and The Sun by Vonda N. McIntyre
Some films take longer to percolate through the mysterious machine that we call Hollywood. Vonda N. McIntyre's historical fantasy novel The Moon and The Sun, for example, was originally published back in 1997. It went on to win the Nebula Award the following year...and it's only now been optioned for film. Pierce Brosnan is the actor set to play Louis XIV and Sean McNamara (whose credits include Soul Surfer) will direct the adaptation. The story of The Moon and The Sun is one inspired by legendary tales of ancient sea monsters. It's an alternative-history fable that's set at the 17th-century court of King Louis XIV, and the shows the desperate efforts of the so-called "Sun King" to achieve immortality. His plan: stealing the life force from a captive mermaid. The King's efforts are hampered by his own 18-year-old illegitimate daughter, Marie-Josephe, who has fallen in love with the mermaid's keeper and wants to set both of them free.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
There are few rock superstars in the world of science fiction and fantasy. Neil Gaiman is one of them. It is perhaps no surprise that his book American Gods (published in 2001), is now being adapted into a series for HBO. Gaiman's work is not new to Hollywood; his wonderful book Coraline was adapted by Henry Selick and made into a beautifully animated feature film in 2009. But American Gods made such an impression that HBO is planning to run it for at least 6 seasons of 10-to-12 episodes each. The first two seasons will cover the novel, but by then Gaiman hopes to have published a sequel. The central premise of American Gods is that mythological gods exist in our everyday, modern world, but their power and influence comes from humans' belief in them. Against this backdrop is the story of a man named Shadow, his tragedy and his dealings with his enigmatic employer.