Variety is reporting that Robert Silverberg’s short story “How It Was When the Past Went Away” has been optioned for film by Focus Features. The producers will be Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen of Temple Hill Entertainment, who also produced Twilight. The writers are brothers David and Alex Pastor.

The film is about what happens when the residents of city suffer as mass amnesia. In the story, a criminal drugs San Francisco’s water supply and people begin forgetting who they are and all the details of their lives. It follows multiple characters, each of whom is affected differently, through what reads like a disaster movie.

Deadline is reporting that another film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic 1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes is in the works.

The literary classic, which combines elements of fantasy and horror, is about two 14-year-old boys who visit a traveling carnival that is more than it appears. The carnival is run by the evil “Mr. Dark”, a mysterious figure trades dreams for souls; Mr. Dark bears a tattoo for every person that has been lured to the park by the possibility of living out their secret fantasies, and who subsequently became bound to servicing the carnival.
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Deadline is reporting that Frederik Pohl’s classic, multiple award-winning science fiction novel Gateway is the new television project of Entertainment One Television and De Laurentiis Company. No writer has been named yet, but the producers, who had been pursuing this project for years, had always envisioned it as a television series, which provides a larger storytelling canvas allowing them “the opportunity of exploring the rich world of the novel and the complexity of its characters”.
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Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Andrew Smith’s brand new coming-of-age young adult dystopian novel Grasshopper Jungle was just optioned for film by Sony Pictures.

For those unfamiliar with the book (which Entertainment Weekly rated with an A-), here’s the synopsis:

In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend, Robby, have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.

This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.

Funny, intense, complex, and brave, Grasshopper Jungle brilliantly weaves together everything from testicle-dissolving genetically modified corn to the struggles of recession-era, small-town America in this groundbreaking coming-of-age stunner.

Reviews for the book make no bones about this being a story about a teenagers coming to terms with their emerging sexuality. It also has giant bugs.

The story is being adapted by Scott Rosenberg, screenwriter for such films as Con Air, Beautiful Girls and High Fidelity. Deadline describes it as Stand By Me meets Attack The Block.

/Film is reporting that Drew Goddard (writer of Cloverfield and director of The Cabin in the Woods) is in talks to do a film adaptation of Andy Weir’s new book The Martian. Goddard will write the screenplay about a man who is stranded on Mars, left for dead by the other people on his crew, who subsequently tries to find a way to get back home.

This is till in the early stages here, so not much more is known, but here’s the book description to help you fill in some of the blanks:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

[Thanks, Richard Derus!]

Deadline is reporting that none other than J. Michael Straczynski has optioned Harlan Ellison’s 1965 science fiction classic short story “Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktock Man”.

The story — a winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards is reported to be one of the most reprinted stories ever — is about a future society that has become overly-punctual, trading freedom for conformance. Keeping people in line and on time is the infamous Ticktockman, who gets more than he bargained for when ordinary man Everett C. Marm disguises himself as the chaotic Harlequin and goes around causing disruption and disorder.

Science fiction fans know J. Michael Straczynski as the creative talent behind Babylon 5. His other recent film work includes World War Z and Thor. He has also written several short stories and three horror novels (Demon Night, Othersyde, and Tribulations) as well as the non-fiction book The Complete Book of Scriptwriting. Deadline reports that Straczynski sees Ellison’s cautionary tale as “especially relevant in a post-Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street environment, or even Edward Snowden, in a story of a man who goes against the system and must pay the price for his actions”.

[via SFScope]

Over at the Kirkus Reviews blog this week, I look at the latest batch of films being turned into television and film adaptations.

Check out New Thrillers That Are More Than They Appear. IF YOU DARE! [Insert ominous music here...]

Deadline is reporting that John Scalzi’s 2012 Hugo-Winning novel Redshirts is getting a limited television series run on FX.

Redshirts takes place in a Star Trek-like future where newly assigned ensign Andrew Dahl realizes something is amiss. Specifically, he notices that the ship’s away missions almost always result in death of low-ranked ensigns while the captain, science officer and handsome Lieutenant move about largely unharmed. It’s a lighthearted novel that pokes fun at the genre without being condescending to its fans.

The FX project only has three names attached thus far: producer Jon Shestack (Dan In Real Life), producer-director Ken Kwapis (Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants) and Kwapis’ partner Alexandra Beattie. Kwapis is going to direct the opening episode.

John Scalzi hasn’t mentioned much yet beyond a pointer to the Deadline article.

BBC News is reporting that Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman’s 2005 fantasy novel, is being adapted into a BBC TV miniseries. Not much is known about how this is going to play out, but Gaiman is optimistic that the production company, Red, will be truthful to the material.

Anansi Boys, which won a British Fantasy Award, is about the two sons of the African trickster god Anansi, both polar opposites and meeting for the first time.

Gaiman appears to be on an adaptation streak. In addition to the film adaptations of his novels Coraline and Stardust, both American Gods and his Sandman graphic novels also recently got picked up and are getting the adaptation treatment.

ComingSoon.net is reporting that Evergreen Studios is adapting David Weber’s Honor Harrington…and not just to film, but also in comic book, digital game, webisode, and television series formats.

Tales of Honor is what they’re calling their multi-platform adaptation, and no word yet on which part of the Honorverse — which includes dozens of novels and anthologies — will be adapted.

The Honor Harrington military science fiction series is named after its principal protagonist, Honor Harrington. She’s an intelligent, genetically engineered officer in the Royal Manticoran Navy of an interstellar monarchy, and she see lots of action and makes lots of enemies. Through a series of adventurous missions, Honor advances through the ranks, playing the roles of military heroine and later, an influential politician. The series, intentionally re-imagined as “Horatio Hornblower in space”, is set 2,000 years in the future when hyperspace travel allows humanity to colonize deep space.

Adaptation Watch: VICIOUS by V. E. Schwab Optioned for Film

Deadline is reporting that V.E. Schwab’s novel Vicious, just recently published by Tor, has been optioned by producer/financier Story Mining & Supply Co and Scott Free. Ridley Scott is tied to the project as producer .

Vicious is about two former college roommates who have a shared interest in examining the possibility that humans can develop super powers. Of course, their experiments prove to have some merit and the reality of their new situation pits these former friends as enemies. Vicious is a story about the gift of superpowers going horribly wrong, and a friendship that’s destroyed by corruption and the hunger for power.

Adaptation Watch: Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN Will Star Joseph Gordon-Levitt

It looks like the newest adaptation is coming from the pages of Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel, Sandman.

Comics Alliance is reporting that actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt announced that he is working with Neil Gaiman and David S. Goyer on a new Warner Bros. project based on Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novel which included artwork by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, Shawn McManus, Marc Hempel, Michael Zulli and Dave McKean. Gordon-Levitt himself will star as Dream (a.k.a. the Sandman) who rules over the world of dreams.

Gordon-Levitt’s use of the #Preludes hashtag would seem to indicate that the film is being just based not off the original issue of Sandman, but off of the Preludes & Nocturnes volume, which includes the first 8 issues.

Deadline is reporting that MTV is developing a television adaptation of the Shannara books by Terry Brooks. Jon Favreau (who directed Iron Man) is set to direct the drama series which will be written by Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar. The first season of the potential series will actually be based on The Elfstones Of Shannara, the second book in the original Shannara series which now includes 26 novels.
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Variety is reporting that FX has ordered 13 episodes of the television adaptation of Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain, which is based on the novel he co-authored with Chuck Hogan. The pilot episode was co-written by the writing duo and del Toro himself directed it.

They are calling The Strain a “high concept thriller” about Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team, who is summoned to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak in New York City. Surprise! It’s an evil strain of vampirism, spreading fast until Ephraim and his ragtag team of vampire hunters fight for humanity’s continued existence.

The novel The Strain (reviewed here) was only the first book of a trilogy. It was followed by The Fall and The Night Eternal. (Note to self: you forgot to read the third book!)