Over the years, Filmmakers have increasingly turned to the pages of books to find their Next Big Hit, and they're not coming up empty handed. Here's a roundup of the latest science fiction and fantasy books that have attracted Hollywood's attention enough to purchase filming rights and will hopefully be making their way to film.
The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell
In the imaginative world of Cowell's young adult novel, there are Wizards, who know the craft of magic, and Warriors, who don't. They each live in their separate kingdoms and are at war with each other. But all that could change when two misfits—the Wizard King's son, a prince who lacks the ways of magic, and the Warrior King's daughter, a princess who possesses a magical object—meet in the woods between their kingdoms. Both are chasing a witch, who were thought to be extinct. No doubt that the authors' trademark wit, already proven a hit in her previous bestseller How to Train Your Dragon, will be on display when Dreamworks Animation adapts the book to film. Not a bad reception for a novel that doesn't even come out until next month.
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
Haig's bittersweet story revolves around a man named Tom Hazard who, to all outward appearances, looks like an average forty-one-year-old. But looks can be deceiving. Tom was born in 1581 and has a rare condition that that has greatly extended his lifespan. Since he doesn't age, Tom has to change his identity frequently. He's well suited to his latest cover: a history professor who teaches through first-person accounts of historical events. What makes the story bittersweet is Tom's one rule for his specific kind of time travel: never fall in love. Moviegoing audiences will eat this up when they see Benedict Cumberbatch playing Tom if the film project, being produced by Cumberbatch's production company, ever finds its way to theaters.
The God Wave by Patrick Hemstreet
Locus Magazine reported that Patrick Hemstreet's technothriller The God Wave was optioned for film by Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell of Stone Village Productions. (I imagine if a film version goes well, the adaptation of the sequel, The God Peak be too far behind.) The God Wave revolves around an amazing discovery made by neuroscientist Chuck Brenton that allows him to tap into the unused parts of the human brain. Through this process, humans can seemingly become gods. Such a discovery can change the world and even the course of human evolution. But the ability to unleash massive amounts of brain power does not quench the thirst for control. A group of influential power brokers are determined to control what they see as Brenton's army of superhumans, and they will stop at nothing to obtain that control.
The October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire
Seanan McGuire's hugely popular October Daye urban fantasy series, which began with Rosemary and Rue, revolves around a simple "What if?" premise: What if fairy tales were true? Across the series, October "Toby" Daye, the half-human/half-Fae changeling protagonist of the series, has tried rejecting her Fae heritage instead of competing for the hard-won respect of her immortal brethren…but somehow gets pulled back into their world. In the series opener, the catalyst is the murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, which Toby must solve before the dying woman's curse catches up with her. Ten more novels follow that one (with at least two more already planned) which made it a tantalizing urban fantasy pick-up for Kung Fu Monkey Productions. Fans would love to see this one become a reality.
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
In case you're wondering what projects Leonardo DiCaprio has on his plate, you should know that one of them is a film adaptation of Kayla Olson's near-future sci-fi young adult thriller The Sandcastle Empire, spearheaded by his production company. The book is set in post-sea-level-rise America amid a future global war. A group called Wolfpack controls Earth and its resources, consigning people to labor camps to maintain their hold on their power. Eden may have a way out of the labor camp, though. She knows the coordinates of the last remaining neutral territory on Earth, a place called Sanctuary Island. Eden and three other girls escape and arrive on the supposedly friendly shores, but find that the grass is not always greener.
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
Continuing in the grand tradition of space operas, The Collapsing Empire is about a far future where humanity has spread throughout the stars and established a new empire (called the Interdependency) by using an extradimensional field called the Flow, which allows for faster-than-light travel. Through the Flow, the human worlds of the Interdependency are banded together as a single Empire, ready to ward off any potential threats. That is, until the discovery that the movement of the unpredictable Flow could potentially cast entire worlds outside the realm of humanity's reach. A mission is thus launched to save the Empire, one that Working Title Television thinks would make a great TV series. They've purchased the television rights to this accessible space opera which, being the start of a new series, has lots more solid entertainment heading your way.
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
If stories about ancient magic set in a small town in Virginia sounds like your cup of tea, you'll be happy to hear that Universal Cable Productions has acquired the television rights for Maggie Stiefvater's 4-book Raven Cycle series, with Catherine Hardwicke attached to direct and produce. The story arc of the books (which begin with The Raven Boys) is the search for a sleeping Welsh king named Glendower in the mountains of Virginia. The protagonist is Blue Sargent, the daughter of a psychic whose latent powers lead her to four privileged private school boys and their quest. Blue learns that she will either fall in love with one of the boys or kill him. Another boy has the ability to take things out of his dreams and make them real. Together, their quest takes them realms long forgotten, like the magical forest called Cabeswater, which exists outside of time.