Science fiction fans, rejoice! Filmmakers can't wait to adapt your favorite sf novels and stories for the screen. Here's the latest roundup of stories that will be (or already are) available at a screen near you...
Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler
Butler's powerful 1980 novel (part of the Patternist series) is about two immortals named Doro and Anyanwu. Doro is a thousand-year-old malevolent spirt who can take control over other people's bodies and who uses his powers to breed the perfect race in a small African village. Anyanwu is a centuries-old shapeshifter who uses her supernatural healing abilities to help people. What makes their story powerful is that their clash through the years—as well as their manipulation and ideological contention—serves as an excellent metaphor for social issues like feminism and slavery, lending weight to an already exciting premise. Recognizing this as fertile ground for thought-provoking storytelling, Amazon Prime Video is developing a drama series based on the book. It's being co-written by award-winning sci-fi novelist Nnedi Okorafor and Rafiki filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu.
"Beyond the Aquila Rift" and "Zima Blue" by Alastair Reynolds
Alastair Reynolds, widely known for his excellent Revelation Space stories, is also quite good delivering riveting short sf stories. Two of them are available right now as episodes of the animated Netflix series Love, Death & Robots. "Beyond the Aquila Rift" is about a cargo ship powered by an alien faster-than-light drive that ends up light years off course. "Zima Blue" is about an enigmatic artist who reveals his mysterious past and an unexpected new work of art. You can read both stories—and many more—in the collections Zima Blue And Other Stories and Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Here's a dystopian future with a twist. In the future of 2059, according to a security force called Scion, clairvoyance is a crime, and Scion controls major cities around the world. Paige Mahoney, a clairvoyant in London who reads other people's minds for the criminal underworld, is captured, arrested and put in a voyant prison. The prison, however, is run by powerful, otherworldly creatures known as the Rephaim, who enlist the “voyants” as soldiers in their army. The Bone Season (first of a proposed seven-book series that also currently includes The Mime Order and The Song Rising) has been picked up by the Lunar Park production company for adaptation as an 8-part television series. But you already knew that…didn't you?
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
Recently selected as one of the best reads of July, Wanderers is about what happens when most of humanity becomes victim to a sleeping sickness epidemic that drives them all to the same location…and an artificial intelligence that may know how to fix it. Wanderers has received critical acclaim and that has not gone unnoticed. The rights to Wendig's socially relevant novel have been picked up by QC Entertainment (Get Out) for production as a television series.
The Warehouse by Rob Hart
Set in a corporate panopticon of a massive company, The Warehouse (one of this month's best SF/F/H reads) is an example of how science fiction can serve a cautionary warning. Said company is Cloud, a tech giant that makes up most of the world's economy. Cloud houses its employees in sprawling live-work facilities, replete with garish shiny entertainment halls, open-plan offices, and vast warehouses—a preferable alternative to the political strife and climate change impact of the world outside. Secret operative Zinnia has infiltrated Cloud as an employee and she sees in fellow coworker, Paxton, a pawn to be used to ferret out Cloud's darkest secrets. If Hart's thriller sounds to you like cutting edge commentary on the taste of corporate greed, excess, and power...you're not alone. Film rights have been sold to Imagine Entertainment and Ron Howard is set to direct
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Set in the year is 2380, this young adult adventure takes place ate the Aurora Academy, where Tyler Jones oversees a squad of misfit cadets, some of whom are alien. When Ty and his squad rescue a long-lost girl from interdimensional space, they learn that's Aurora Jie-Lin O'Malley, whose sudden appearance after being stuck in cryo-sleep for two centuries spells major trouble for the galaxy. As the first book in the series, this space opera heist promises even more adventure. Perhaps that's why MGM Television has optioned this bestseller to develop as an episodic TV series.
School's Out Forever (The Afterblight Chronicles) by Scott K. Andrews
The Afterblight Chronicles is a post-apocalyptic shared-world setting, meaning that multiple authors contribute to the world building. Scott K. Andrews has written 3 books in this setting (School's Out, Operation Motherland and Children's Crusade) collectively known as School's Out Forever, a book you can read along with your kids. This trilogy looks at how kids might handle a post-apocalyptic life. To find refuge, they do what they know: they return to school. Only, instead of worrying about homework and peer pressure, they contend with cannibalistic gangs and religious fanatics. Rebellion, the publisher of the series, is branching out into filmmaking and School's Out Forever is their first project. (Other Rebellion properties, like Judge Dredd, are sure to follow.)
"The Message" by Ken Liu
I'm glad that Hollywood recognizes the power of short fiction. What else can be drawn from the news that the film rights to Ken Liu's 2012 short story "The Message" have been purchased by production companies FilmNation Entertainment and 21 Laps? The story, set in the future, is about an archeologist whose job is to investigate extinct civilizations on distant planets and preserve their legacy. He is also reunited with the teenage daughter he never knew he had. Liu's fiction is outstanding. Whether based on myth or just imagining a possible future, his stories are imbued with warmth and emotion. "The Message" first appeared in issue #242 of Interzone and you can listen to an audio version of the story at the Starship Sofa podcast.