The Hollywood Reporter is, er, reporting that Robert Charles Wilson’s Hugo Award-winning science fiction thriller Spin is being adapted for television by Universal Cable Productions, who acquires the television rights. Producers attached to the project are Rob Morrow (best known for his acting roles in Northern Exposure and Quiz Show) and Olympus Pictures’ Leslie Urdang (Beginners, Rabbit Hole). No actors or network has been named as being attached to the project.

The story focuses on the lives of three childhood friends against the backdrop of the Earth being seemingly and inexplicably enclosed in an artificial barrier that blocks humans from seeing any stars besides the sun. NASA learns that time is traveling a billion times faster outside of the barrier and civilization on Earth will last another five years before the sun expands and consumes the planet.

Deadline is reporting that Margaret Atwood’s recent Dystopian trilogy — consisting of Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009) and MaddAddam (2013) — is being adapted as a series called MaddAddam for HBO. Darren Aronofsky is attached as executive producer and will possibly direct the series. Aronofsky is apparently a big fan of Margaret Atwood and her series, saying about it that he “realized how amazing it was, how significant a piece in the sci-fi canon it was”.

The story in the books takes place before and after a massive, catastrophic plague kills most of the world’s population in a mid-21st century where genetic modification is common and corporations have replaced governments.

It’s too soon to know any details about the adaptation…but it has to be a good sign that the guy running things is a huge fan of the source material.

[via Tor.com]

It was just announced that IDW Entertainment and Entertainment One Television will be devloping a television series based on the V-Wars, the vampire antholoy edited by Jonathan Maberry that also spawned a related graphic novel series (written by Maberry and others).

The pilot is being written by Tim Schlattmann (Dexter, Smallville), who will also server as executive producer on the series. It’s being pitched as a new take on vampires.

V-Wars puts a new spin on the vampires by grounding the premise on a millennial-old virus that affects different people in different ways, based on their DNA. This leads to vampires that are as diverse as humanity.

Maberry, who is quoted as saying “V-Wars is a head-on collision of real-world science, terrorism, special forces action, ethics, politics and an exploration of what defines us as human,” is also the author of the popular Joe Ledger series, which re-invented the zombie novel as a taut thriller with Patient Zero.

In the meantime, a second anthology of V-Wars (V Wars: Blood and Fire) is scheduled for release this July and features stories by Kevin J. Anderson, Scott Sigler, Larry Corriea, Joe McKinney, Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse, James A. Moore, and Jonathan Maberry.

[via Keith R.A. DeCandido]

Adaptation Watch: IT by Stephen King

Hollywood loves Stephen King!

The Hollywood Reporter is, um, reporting that a film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1987 horror novel It has been picked up by New Line. Although an It film has been in development at Warner Bros. for some time, apparently going nowhere, this indicates that the project may finally get to move forward.

The story is about a group of people — childhood friends from the town of Derry, Maine — who reunite to battle an evil creature they call “It”. Why? because they defeated that very same evil twenty five years ago which, instead of being killed, was apparently lying dormant.

According to /Film, the adaptation is being planned as a two-film series, with one focusing on characters as children, and the other focusing on those characters as adults.

I read It many tears ago and loved it. I briefly wrote about it late last year at Kirkus Reviews. There was a television mini-series back in 1990 starring Tim Curry (as “It”, who manifests himself as an evil clown), Richard Thomas, Annette O’Toole, John Ritter and Harry Anderson. It was fairly corny. Here’s hoping any new film adaptation that gets made will be closer to the book’s horror origins.

Crossing fingers!

Wertzone tells us that Richard K. Morgan’s futuristic noir thriller novel Thirteen (released in the U.K. as Black Man) is being optioned for film.

Transcendence producers Kate Cohen and Marisa Polvino are attached to the project. Kenny Golde (who most recently adapted Isaac ASimov’s End of Eternity) will be writing the screenplay.

The 2008 novel was the winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award. It’s about a man named Carl Marsalis who was genetically engineered by the U.S. government to be a new breed the ultimate military fighting machine. Marsalis and his fellow “Thirteens”, branded as mutants by a frightened public, are exiled to a desolate Mars colony. Marsalis manages to slip his way back into human society (and earn a nice living as well) as a skilled bounty hunter and hit man — until he is caught and lands in jail. But the government gives him a new choice: finish his days in prison or use his skills to capture another fugitive. The problem? That fugitive is another Thirteen, and a murderous psychotic one at that.

Screen Daily is reporting that author Patrick Ness has adapted his novel A Monster Calls into a screenplay for Focus Features, who will distribute the fantasy/drama in the U.S. in October 2016.

The story is about thirteen-year-old Conor O’Malley who, in addition to being bullied at school, has nightmares about his mother’s failing health. But the monster he sees outside his bedroom window is real. It’s an ancient tree come to life, who tells Conor stories and asks him to tell the truth. Conor’s relationship with the tree monster helps him come to terms with his mother’s illness. The idea for the book came from award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself.

The film is being directed by J.A. Bayona, the director of The Impossible and the just-announced World War Z 2 (according to IMDB). Stars attached to the project include Felicity Jones (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) as the boy’s mother and Liam Neeson as the monster.

Congratulations to Chuck Wendig, who just announced that his novel Blackbirds has been optioned as a television show at the Starz channel.

Blackbirds is the first in the Miriam Black series. Here’s what the book description:

Miriam Black knows when you will die.

Still in her early twenties, she’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name.

Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Touch Of Death | The Future Is Written | Free Way | Surviving ]

As Chuck warns, there’s no guarantee that this is a done deal…but there are some good signs: the novel has been very well received; the executive producer/showrunner tied to the project (John Shiban) has had success at Starz with Da Vinci’s Demons; Shiban himself adapted the book; Chuck himself says that the project is an “appropriately faithful” adaptation of the book.

Deadline is reporting that the Syfy channel is developing a series based on Lev Grossman’s 2009 fantasy novel The Magicians.

Elevator-pitched as “Harry Potter for grown-ups”, The Magicians is a novel about a teenager named Quentin Coldwater who discovers that the magical world he’s discovered in books is actually real when he becomes enrolled in an exclusive college for magicians in upstate New York. Quentin learns that magic is not all it’s cracked up to be, but it does prepare him and his friends for an adventure upon graduation…one that’s both thrilling and dangerous.

The Magicians is the first book in a trilogy; it was followed by The Magician King (2011) and The Magician’s Land (coming in August 2014).

SyFy recently put the television adaptation of The Magicians into development. ASsociated with the production are Sera Gamble (former showrunner for Supernatural), John McNamara, and producer Michael London. Gamble and McNamara will write the script.

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.

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