“Looking beyond just the worlds of the Tolkiens and Martins...”
December 21, 2017 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Why TV studios should stop playing it safe when it comes to fantasy. [The Verge] “While I’m personally intrigued by what a TV version of Lord of the Rings might look like [Previously], the announcement poses a very reasonable question: we already have Peter Jackson’s trilogy, so do we really need another take on Tolkien’s epic? I’m going to withhold judgment on the show until it actually materializes, but Tolkien’s Middle-earth is vast, with a rich history and backstory to plumb for season after season, and I suspect that there’s a good TV show in there somewhere. But going back to the well to revisit Tolkien feels like a missed opportunity, because there are a ton of other works that are equally deserving of the wider audience that television can bring.”

• All of Your Favorite SFF TV and Movie Adaptations in the Works [TOR]
“Thanks to major properties like Game of Thrones and Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, we’ve entered a golden age of sci-fi and fantasy properties being developed for film and television. It seems that nearly every network and studio has snatched up the rights to old and new classics, with a bevy of projects in production or premiering in the coming months. To keep you on top of the latest news, we’ve updated our master list of every SFF adaptation currently in the works, from American Gods to Y: The Last Man.”
• 8 Fantasy Series We Could Adapt Besides More Lord of the Rings [The Mary Sue]
“Amazon is going to use The Lord of the Rings series as their way to create their own Game of Throne-style series, by allowing themselves to explore the vast universe of Middle-Earth. While is this … definitely a choice one could make, I find myself wondering why couldn’t those millions of dollars have been used to create an adaption that was more—I don’t know—obscure. Less known. Less already adapted into multiple massive blockbusters. Science fiction and fantasy are filled with material that is ripe for proper adaption. While The Hobbit movies were a pestilence upon this Earth, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is one of the world’s cinematic gifts as both a series of films and a literary adaption. Therefore, while there is room for more Middle-Earth, methinks there are also many other universes worth exploring.”
• HBO orders new sci-fi series from author Nnedi Okorafor and producer George R.R. Martin [AV Club]
“HBO has officially closed a deal to grab a new TV show from George R.R. Martin, with Deadline reporting that the network has finalized plans to develop a Martin-produced adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s 2010 novel Who Fears Death. Set in a post-apocalyptic Africa, the book tells the story of a young girl who seeks to discover the meaning behind her own magical powers, as well as the nature of the powerful forces trying to end her life. Okorafor first announced that the project was being optioned by the network back in July, although formal deals weren’t finalized until today. Meanwhile, it’s hard not to see the deal as a reaction, at least in part, to the upcoming ending of Martin’s Game Of Thrones. Not only does this new series keep the author in the corporate family as part of his ongoing deal with the network; with its Afrofuturist themes and predominantly black cast and creative team, there’s also a implication buried here that the network is hoping to deflect some of the criticisms that have plagued HBO since it announced its modern-day slavery drama Confederate, the follow-up series from Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss.”
• Lin-Manuel Miranda and Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles Is Going to Showtime [Vulture]
“On Thursday, Showtime announced it will be home to a new TV show based on Patrick Rothfuss’s beloved Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy. It was previously announced that Lin-Manuel Miranda was developing a TV series, and multiple movies, based on the books, acting as executive producer and songwriter. The Kingkiller Chronicles tell the story of Kvothe, a roguish magician — and famous musician — who has met mysterious disaster and gone into hiding. Lionsgate is already planning a series of films, beginning with the first book in the trilogy, The Name of the Wind. (The third book in the series has yet to be published.) While details are scarce about what story, exactly, the TV show will tell, Showtime has announced it will take place in the same universe as the books and tell a sort of origin story, set a generation before the events of the first novel.”
• Four book series that are shaping the future of science fiction on television [Ars Technica]
“The trend started with the surprising announcement in late 2016 that Lin Manuel-Miranda's next project—after completing his run on Hamilton and writing the music for Moana—would be to adapt Patrick Rothfuss' cult fantasy series The Kingkiller Chronicle for TV and film. Just in the past two months, three more gamechanging options were announced: HBO will adapt Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death, award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay is working on a TV adaptation of Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy, and TNT has snapped up N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. All of these books represented major shifts for the science fiction genre and, until recently, would probably have been considered unfilmable.”
• N.K. Jemisin's Hugo-Winning The Fifth Season Is Being Adapted for TV [io9]
“It’s a great time to be a fan of scifi-fantasy author N.K. Jemisin. Her latest book, The Stone Sky, just came out yesterday. The previous novel in her Broken Earth series, The Obelisk Gate, won a Hugo last week. And the first book in the series, The Fifth Season (which won the 2016 Hugo), is being adapted into a TV series. Deadline reports that TNT is developing the series with producer and writer Leigh Dana Jackson (24: Legacy; Sleepy Hollow; Helix), who helped get the rights to The Stone Sky even before it got its Hugo nomination; its eventual win for Best Novel made Jemisin the first black writer to win in that category. (Now she’s the second, and... well, a three-peat next year seems entirely possible.) According to Deadline, Jackson will write the script for the proposed drama series, which has a lot of material to draw from.”
posted by Fizz (113 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
Q: What distinguishes Martin and Rothfuss from Jemisin and Okorafor?

A: The first two can't finish series even when people are waving fistfuls of money at them; the second churn out award-winning titles almost metronomically. There are other differences as well.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:16 PM on December 21, 2017 [46 favorites]


I think I commented to this effect on a previous thread, but I would love to see a "Shadow of Harad" video game or TV series or something. Show the real human beings who made up those faceless enemy armies that got a couple of lines at most in the actual books. Show that not all of them were on board with their leaders who sided with Sauron, show them fighting back against hopeless odds the same way our more familiar heroes did.

You can use the familiar universe as a jumping-off point to tell new stories that we haven't seen before.

That being said, I'm even more excited for projects like the Broken Earth adaptation, even though I'm fully expecting somebody in the chain of command there to fuck it all up.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:19 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'd love for someone to adapt Tanith Lee's Tales from the Flat Earth series. Just take all of my fucking money.
posted by Fizz at 12:22 PM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'm kinda indifferent to cross-media adaptations but super happy to see Jemisin on that list.
posted by PMdixon at 12:28 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


How the fuck are Titan, Wizard, and Demon missing from that list? the Gaean trilogy is unbelievably visual. You'd need someone with deep pockets and able to take on a rather NSFW story and species, but holy hell, it'd be mind-bogglingly amazing to seen translated to a visual medium. And don't get me started on Cirocco Jones, one of the best flawed heroines around. Total badass, drunken mess, leader of a rebellion against a certified (practical)god, she's a complex character.

Ringworld is on the list, but Gaea's much smaller scale would translate far easier to mind-blowing visuals. For more Varley fun, there's no doubt his Eight Worlds setting would make a fantastically fun Expanse-like series as well. The nonstop gender fluidity of a world where one's sex can be swapped at whim could be loads of fun to see as well.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 12:30 PM on December 21, 2017 [11 favorites]


HBO is developing an excessive five spinoffs to its wildly popular Game of Thrones series to replace it when it goes off the air next season

Wow... I'm a big GoT fan and that sounds exhausting, especially as they get ropier and ropier the less book material they have to work with.
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on December 21, 2017 [8 favorites]




Patrick Rothfuss’s beloved Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy

STOP LYING
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:38 PM on December 21, 2017 [28 favorites]


I find myself wondering why couldn’t those millions of dollars have been used to create an adaption that was more—I don’t know—obscure

It's the last word here, for sure. If the plan includes millions of dollars, obscurity gets in the way of winning over an audience to recoup the cost. Tolkien is a sure thing (at least for garnering eyeballs) on a risk that has to be as production-big as Game of Thrones.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:45 PM on December 21, 2017


That enormous list of projects in the works is both awesome and also a clear sign that we’re sowing the seeds for a widespread revolt toward stark realism in a few years.
posted by thivaia at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


On a less bitchy note, I'll be thrilled if they ever do manage to get the Dragonriders of Pern onto the screen. I've got a soft spot for them, mainly because I still remember reading them as they came out. I also remember working out the implications of all those green dragons and male-only riders, much to the shocked, titillated and gleefully-excited-to-see-myself-represented queer teenage boy I was.

I now know how fucked up and backwards McCaffreys views on being queer actually were. But honestly, she's dead now, her odious mistaken beliefs were never made explicit in the writing, and a good screenwriting team could absolutely run with the subtext and implications. It'd be glorious.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 12:50 PM on December 21, 2017 [19 favorites]


My 'someone has to pick up a sword at some point' fantasy fantasy list is: Bridge of Birds by Hughart, The Drawing of the Dark by Powers, and Alanna by Pierce.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:55 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


"All of Your Favorite SFF TV and Movie Adaptations in the Works"

Clicks link.

Ctrl+F "Guy Gavriel Kay"

0 results.


(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by dnash at 12:58 PM on December 21, 2017 [10 favorites]


Bummer, no Moorcock or Lieber. Glad to see some Zelazny; for some reason I have the impression most of his material has significant rights issues (which is why the Amber books are out of print).

Great to see Scalzi, Howey, and Bacigalupi in the queue.
posted by mwhybark at 12:59 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


I also remember working out the implications of all those green dragons and male-only riders, much to the shocked, titillated and gleefully-excited-to-see-myself-represented queer teenage boy I was.

Though I also read and enjoyed them as a gay teenage boy, for some reason I don't remember noting the green dragon riders nearly as much as I probably should have. On the other hand, my vision for what the "riding leathers" looked like was really far off the mark for the practical protections they were supposed to be designed for...
posted by dnash at 1:02 PM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


I don't remember noting the green dragon riders nearly as much as I probably should have

To be fair, McCaffrey didn't note the green dragon riders nearly as much as she probably should have, either. Half the fun of a Pern adaptation would be to see the same world through the eyes of someone who's not so blinkered - if you actually got that. I'd be afraid they'd stick carefully to the original sexual politics of the books.

Ctrl+F "Guy Gavriel Kay"

I actually don't know about this... I love some of Kay's works, but I'm not sure how much I would love them onscreen. Kay often leaves things unspoken, and I'd be afraid that without a really skilled team capable of translating the emotional impact of those things, you'd just end up with more tits-and-gore soap opera in the vein of Game of Thrones.

Bacigalupi

I'm not thrilled about this one. Bacigalupi's has an exploitative obsession with abused sexbots that I'm just so over. But it will play well to certain audiences, I guess, who will get to enjoy their T&A while congratulating themselves on watching a "feminist" work that at least questions whether that T&A is ethical.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:13 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I feel that I'd rather have animated adaptations in almost every case, but I can't quite put my finger on why -- every reason I'm coming up with on the spot feels like a post-facto justification for something more obscurely rooted.

Seeing Eric Heisserer's name on the next Chiang short story adaptation makes me grimace; I hated what he did to "Story of Your Life". "Liking What You See" is perhaps slightly more adapted to television (miniseries format, hopefully) than "Story of Your Life" was to feature film, but Arrival was so much worse than I even in my cautiousness anticipated -- although maybe the glowing reviews were partly to blame for that.

I do feel that Seanan McGuire's stuff would make pretty good moving-picture material, whatever the format. She's a great storyteller, but I find that her first-person (and even some of the closer third-person) POVs tend not to read very distinctive from one another for me, despite the characters having different traits etc. Her story and dialogue + a bit of a visual hook seems like a winning formula.
posted by inconstant at 1:20 PM on December 21, 2017


There are not enough women authors in here.

That said, I would be stoked to watch Kirkman ruin Zelazny's Amber for me. Leiber would also be a good one. Moorcock would probably be better as film anyway. If it's childish T&A they want, why not Pellucidar?

"His Dark Materials" is owed another shot at cinematic glory; the film is just so . . . flat.

Has no one taken on Butler's "Parable" or "Patternist" stuff? A proper treatment of "Wild Seed" would be amazing.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:25 PM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


dnash, I made specific reference to wanting an adaptation of the Fionvar Tapestry in that MetaTalk thread. It's such a hodge-podge of fantasy tropes and ideas, but in the right hands, I think that would just work. I still want to see Paul playing chess in the middle of the night with the King and Dave hunting with the Dalrei. It'd be so beautiful.
posted by Fizz at 1:29 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'd be afraid they'd stick carefully to the original sexual politics of the books.

Regarding the Pern novels, that's a really good point. Beyond Ms McCaffrey's bizarre views on being queer, there's the entire way she presenst Lessa and other women as being at the mercy of the men's desires. In the end, they're mostly incredibly strong characters, but much of the knowledge of their strength relies on inner dialogue rather than deeds.

Insofar as you could make a really, really interesting study on the implications of consensual/nonconsensual sexuality and its impact on gender identity when your mind has been (arguably forcibly) melded to the mind of an alien species, it might be fascinating in the right director and screenwriter's hands. But the odds of that are slim. It'd no doubt be reduced to hot-dragon-sex. Can you imagine the body horror/dismorphia a good director could weave into Impression. There's such a vein of pure horror that could be mined from the human-dragon link that would make a fantastic unspoken subtext to it.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 1:34 PM on December 21, 2017 [10 favorites]


I made specific reference to wanting an adaptation of the Fionvar Tapestry in that MetaTalk thread.

Confession: I haven't actually read the Fionvar books. One of these days, I promise! I really, really love his historical period books, though. They seem like such easy targets for movies to me.
posted by dnash at 1:34 PM on December 21, 2017


Guys, the Fionovar books are going to be made. GGK just posted the press release like...two days ago. I have many feelings about it, including YAY, OH NO THEY WILL MESS IT UP, and "Fionovar and not one of the historicals?" and also FLAIL AND RUN AROUND I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

Here's the press release:
Toronto, Canada – December 18, 2017 - Temple Street, a division of Boat Rocker Studios, has secured the television rights to international bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Fionavar Tapestry. Published as three volumes in the mid-1980s (The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire
and The Darkest Road), the trilogy has sold more than a million copies around the world, and has been dubbed by The Guardian one of the classics of modern fantasy. New York Times bestselling writer Brandon Sanderson has called Kay “the greatest living author of fantasy literature.”

The Tapestry tells the tale of five young men and women who are brought to Fionavar – the first of all worlds. Told they are simply to be guests for the 50th anniversary celebration of a
king's ascension to the throne, each of the five discovers they have a greater, dangerous role to play as they're thrust into a war between the forces of good and evil, whose outcome will affect all worlds, including our own.

Kay draws upon a variety of creatures and mythologies, predominantly Celtic and Norse, to create the world of Fionavar, and the saga also features the legendary story of King Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere, heroes of medieval literature.

“Guy’s work is exhilarating and cathartic, and we can’t wait to share this epic story with audiences around the world,” say Boat Rocker’s co-executive chairmen David Fortier and Ivan
Schneeberg. “Given the current appetite for big budget, high-fantasy adaptations, the timing for Fionavar couldn’t be better. We’re excited to start assembling the creative team to help realize our vision.”

"I'm truly happy that David and Ivan and the impressive team at Temple Street are the ones bringing my trilogy to television. I know The Tapestry has had a powerful impact on readers – and on other writers – and that's part of why I've been careful with the rights. I'm excited and anticipate this adaptation will bring new people to Fionavar, while rewarding longstanding fans," says Guy Gavriel Kay.

Fortier and Schneeberg will executive produce for Temple Street (Orphan Black, Killjoys), along with Kris Holden-Ried (Vikings, Tudors, Lost Girl). “The magic of Fionavar transcends the page. It’s a clarion call to that which is best in all of us, and it’s an honour to be bringing the emotional poetry of Guy’s books to the screen,” says Kris Holden-Ried.

Temple Street’s Senior Vice President Kerry Appleyard and Senior Development Producer Lesley Grant will oversee series adaptation for the studio, and Boat Rocker Rights will control
worldwide rights
posted by PussKillian at 1:41 PM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


Oh wow, I had not heard about this at all PussKillian. I'm thrilled and worried all at the same time.

I felt this way when they adapted the Terry Brooks Shannara series and I'm not a fan of the direction they took that series. It's a bit too CW for my tastes but I am glad that it's doing well enough to warrant a 2nd season.

It's good that we have alternatives to Game of Thrones though, we need more variety and more representation of different types of fantasy.
posted by Fizz at 1:47 PM on December 21, 2017


Bummer, no Moorcock or Lieber.

BLOOD AND SOULS FOR MY LORD ARIOCH!
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also a full-on Tales from the Flat Earth would be marvelous. So incredibly marvelous.
posted by PussKillian at 1:52 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's a bit exciting to see Gateway listed as a possibility. The story eventually expands to a truly epic scope (re-architecting the universal constants, iirc), but starts off as something much smaller, with a rather bleak view of future life on Earth, and the desperate measures it drives us to. The Heechee asteroid base of ships and the mystery journeys always felt wonderfully creepy.

I also am on board like the rest of you with the Tales of the Flat Earth. I remember only reading them as a kid, but the story of Death and the immortal city buried under the sea always haunted me. And I've never forgotten the origin story of cats and why they hiss when frightened.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 1:55 PM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


I know right, I'm in the middle of reading the Flath Earth series and I find myself squealing with the images that my mind has painted. It's such a lovely series, filled with wonder.
posted by Fizz at 1:55 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Avram Davidson. John James. K J Parker / Tom Holt. Tim Powers (although I presume he can no longer sell On Stranger Tides ). Diana Wynne Jones, so much richer and better-conceived than Rowling. Patricia Wrightson – I'd like to know how she's seen by Aboriginal Australian authors before recommending her wholeheartedly, though. Michael Swanwick, oh yes! Ah, I had better get back to work.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:57 PM on December 21, 2017


But Fritz Lieber!!! And P C Hodgell who is criminally underrated.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:58 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Tales from Gavagan's Bar is perfect for a Netflix anthology adaptation, especially if they make it period-appropriate.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 2:04 PM on December 21, 2017


I, too, would love to see some good dragons onscreen, but if GoT didn’t make a Pern show or movie happen then I don’t know what else will.

Between the sex and the dragons, if HBO isn’t working on it now then I fear they never will.
posted by wenestvedt at 2:04 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Can Nathan Fillion be in the Fahfrd & Mouser series, please?
posted by wenestvedt at 2:05 PM on December 21, 2017 [7 favorites]


Still waiting for the Solar Cycle announcement by Disney.

This is important though. Most mainstream sciffy is emotionally stunted and regressive. There have been a few cracks lately. We need more, of the scifi that isn't to start to be represented. Sci fi should be terrifying and awesome at the same time.
posted by bonehead at 2:05 PM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


I, too, would love to see some good dragons onscreen, but if GoT didn’t make a Pern show or movie happen then I don’t know what else will.

Naomi Novak's Temeraire series would be so much fun but I feel like maybe that would be better adapted for a larger screen instead of a series on television/netflix. You'd need a massive budget because it's basically Black Sails with Game of Thrones.
posted by Fizz at 2:08 PM on December 21, 2017 [7 favorites]


Why can't we just get the Cordelia Arc of the Vor-whatever universe? It's basically Dovetown Abbey with lasers.
posted by uandt at 2:11 PM on December 21, 2017 [10 favorites]


Gladstone’s Craft books would be awesome.

Sarah Monette’s The Doctrine of Laberynths would be plenty grim enough, but I can’t imagine itgetting made.

How aboutEllen Kushner’s Swordspoint? There’s some sequels if the first season does well.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:14 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


TV needs more Tanith Lee (She did some Blake's 7). There the The Secret Books of Paradys too.
posted by bonehead at 2:18 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, my vision for what the "riding leathers" looked like was really far off the mark for the practical protections they were supposed to be designed for...

I keep coming back to this and laughing maniacally.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 2:25 PM on December 21, 2017 [8 favorites]


Iain Banks! The Player of Games should be fairly adaptable, and Against a Dark Background would be quite fitting to light the mood in these troubling times.

Still, I would dearly like to see The Malazan Book of the Fallen realised, but the scope of that series would require a significant number of seasons.
posted by bouvin at 2:26 PM on December 21, 2017 [8 favorites]


Still, I would dearly like to see The Malazan Book of the Fallen realised, but the scope of that series would require a significant number of seasons.

10 books stretched out over 30 seasons should probably do it justice.
posted by Fizz at 2:42 PM on December 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


Le Guin or GTFO.

I know, Earthsea has seen some adaptations from Studio Ghibli and I guess I'll have to mention the terrible SyFy stuff, and Lathe of Heaven did get a period-serviceable rendering. But the material deserves better and it'd be a better world if the author were more widely recognized and appreciated.
posted by wildblueyonder at 2:49 PM on December 21, 2017 [12 favorites]


Nix’s Old Kingdom series would be fucking PERFECT for Netflix or HBO. That’s my wish.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:50 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


Yes to Gateway! It's one of my all time favorite books, and I think it would adapt very well to the screen.

And while we're on the subject of John Varley (which we totally were), I maintain that it would be possible to make a very good adaptation of Millennium without any connection to the Kris Kristopherson/Cheryl Ladd debacle.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:12 PM on December 21, 2017


It's a bit exciting to see Gateway listed as a possibility.

Sorry to dampen your spirits, but I would be flat-out shocked if that project actually came to fruition. In general, while I largely do not have direct knowledge of that Tor list, the mere fact that something's been optioned doesn't mean much. It certainly doesn't mean that a given project has funding, without which you are dead in the water.

Nix’s Old Kingdom series would be fucking PERFECT for Netflix or HBO.

Yep, that would rocknroll my world.
posted by desert outpost at 3:16 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's a bit exciting to see Gateway listed as a possibility.

For the last hour or so I was reading this as Death Gate instead of Gateway and was excited at the possibility of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's wonderful dragon/wizard/portal series being adapted.
posted by Fizz at 3:19 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


What category would something like The Wicked + The Divine fall under?
posted by divabat at 3:23 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sorry to dampen your spirits…

It's merely the possibility that's exciting. Any Sci-Fi fan that thinks more than a tiny percentage of these will ever either be adapted, or emerge from one as a good adaptation, is out of their freakin' minds.

Having said that… please oh please oh pleeeaaaase bring me the stories of the Technocore, Brawne Lamia, Saul Weintraub, the Consul, Martin Silenus, Meina Gladstone, True Voice of the Tree Het Masteen… I just want to see dinner on a treeship shown on the screen, powered by Ergs, is that so much to ask?
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 3:35 PM on December 21, 2017 [7 favorites]


What category would something like The Wicked + The Divine fall under?

Same as The Magicians and Legion, I'd think.
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on December 21, 2017


I'd love to see Mistborn on screen but I doubt it'll happen .
posted by WaterAndPixels at 3:42 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think Gene Wolfe's Latro series would be fun. And Kim Stanley Robinson's Years of Rice and Salt, maybe not everyone considers it fantasy but it would make a good series. And if you want a long series, is anyone making Glen Cook's Black Company?

Also I like Rosemary Kirstein's Steerswoman books and I would like to see them produced.

I don't know though, trying to watch some long TV series would really cut into my reading time.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 3:54 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


. And if you want a long series, is anyone making Glen Cook's Black Company?

Malazan's Book of the Fallen Bridgeburners is very much modelled on Glen Cook's Black Company. I'm not sure which would be better adapted.
posted by Fizz at 4:02 PM on December 21, 2017


Personally I'd favour an animated approach to most sci-fi and fantasy. An anime Dune or Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser by a top production studio could be spectacular rather than disappointing, which is the feeling I get from most live action adaptations.
posted by juiceCake at 4:06 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


An anime Dune

I'm up for this, but I'm also excited by what Denis Villeneuve is going to do with his adaptation. Sadly, the real Dune we should have had just never happened, looking at you Jadorowsky's Dune! It was such a missed opportunity. I'll forever be angry that it never happened.
posted by Fizz at 4:08 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Jodor Dune would have been a lot of things, but it would very definitely have been Jodor Dune and not Dune.
posted by Artw at 4:10 PM on December 21, 2017 [12 favorites]


I think the October Daye books by Seanan McGuire would make a great TV series.
posted by Pendragon at 4:11 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Personally I'd favour an animated approach to most sci-fi and fantasy. An anime Dune or Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser by a top production studio could be spectacular rather than disappointing, which is the feeling I get from most live action adaptations.

I would kill for an Anime version of The Fifth Season/Broken Earth done in the style of Avatar/Legend of Korra. So many of the visuals in the books lend themselves to the otherworldly aspects you can get with good Anime, not to mention an entire race of people that either move incredibly fast or not at all, which seems laughably perfect for Anime. Oh well, I'll have to be content with the live action version.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:48 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


re Seanan Macguire: I would be into a TV adaptation of Every Heart a Doorway if they spent some time diving into the whole portals thing before launching into the murder mystery. I felt like the book went into the murder mystery a little too quickly and didn't really give us a chance to explore the ramifications of being kicked out of Faerieland (or your local equivalent) without any way of return.
posted by divabat at 5:01 PM on December 21, 2017


I would kill for an Anime version of The Fifth Season/Broken Earth done in the style of Avatar/Legend of Korra.

I've not read Fifth Season/Broken Earth yet but it's comments like this that remind me I really need to make time for it. Because this sounds amazing.
posted by Fizz at 5:11 PM on December 21, 2017


Mythago Wood!!!
posted by triage_lazarus at 5:28 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


Right? Marvel is a great example. By far my favourite Marvel stories are the lesser characters like Thor and the Guardians. While some of my more purist (nerd) friends see those as fluff and prefer the more "serious" Shield/ Hydra stuff. Which bores me to tears. I really like the way they let each set of characters and story tell it's own self in that universe. Dr Strange is the only boringly formulaic movie they've really made, which we can all agree on, and Iron Fist the only terrible TV show. They've totally sucked me in because I like seeing different stories told consistently well.

I am not very interested in watching another Tolkien series though. I like the movies, I'd prefer that team tell a new story than a rehash of one they did very well on a budget.
posted by fshgrl at 5:29 PM on December 21, 2017


Oh man I was thinking of Mythago Wood earlier today and forgot to add it in to a comment. There's so much lurking dread in that story, and there's just such a dream-like feel to the whole thing. It'd be perfect for a lower budget adaptation on a streaming service.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 5:32 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I personally would love to see a serious Prestige TV version of Jack Vance's "Planet of Adventure" or "Demon Princes" series, and I definitely hoped that the list of fantasy series would have included "Lyonesse", although I accept that there is definitely some creepy-ass ephebophilia shit going on there.
posted by tftio at 5:51 PM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


And if you want a long series, is anyone making Glen Cook's Black Company?

Bungie did the lord's work with Myth, but yeah, there's a pretty good Prestige TV series in there.
posted by tftio at 5:52 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


The fact that there's talk of adapting Kingkiller utterly dampens my hopes that the trilogy is a massive troll, and that the delay of book three is because Rothfuss doesn't have his bug-out plan for life as a fugitive from enraged fans worked out.
posted by wobh at 6:09 PM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Rothfuss doesn't have his bug-out plan for life as a fugitive from enraged fans worked out.

I just assume Book 3 is going to be a rehash of this comic. **contains spoilers for book 2**
posted by Fizz at 6:13 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


It's been many years since I read Demon the last book of Varley's Gaean Trilogy, but there's no way anyone is adapting that for the screen, wonderful as it would be. I like to imagine Jodorowski reading the script and saying, "We gotta tone this way down, it's too much."
posted by wobh at 6:32 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


It's been many years since I read Demon the last book of Varley's Gaean Trilogy, but there's no way anyone is adapting that for the screen

Hah! I ask you, what sane human wouldn't want to see a 50 foot clone of Marilyn Monroe battling a giant python? It's because that last book goes so gleefully off the rails that I'm so desperate to see it in film. Well, that and seeing Titanides, living blimps, Gaby Plauget, buzzbombs, smilers, Snitch (shudder), millennial sag, Robin the nine-fingered…
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 6:48 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


Please don't use properties that require big budgets, because then the network requires changes to lower the cost and the show stinks, example: The Mist. Ugh. That's why I'm skeptical that anything involving Tolkien's work is going to be successful with anything less than a huge budget.
posted by Beholder at 7:47 PM on December 21, 2017


Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series, I think just the first trilogy, was optioned ages ago but that option has to be expiring soon. If they can figure out a way to handle the rape early in the first book (which actually is the act of violence that creates all the problems all the way across the entire rest of the 10 book series), that would be an excellent thing to be able to watch. It might be too internal with Covenant's constant questioning and self-doubt, but again, in the right hands, that could be conveyed well.
posted by hippybear at 8:07 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


hippybear, I've recommended that book series to a few people in the past (back when I worked at a book store), people looking for something different in the fantasy genre. But I've had to warn them about that scene because it's pretty awful and traumatic. I realize it's a driving force for so much of the rest of the narrative and a big part of the his character arc, but it's a hard sell. I've only made it through the first trilogy and now it's been so long I've forgotten about most of that world/series outside of that first scene when he enters the other universe.
posted by Fizz at 8:19 PM on December 21, 2017


Fizz: The thing about that scene is, it is literally the thing that breaks the world he's entered, and for literally 9 novels after that, Covenant is paying for/trying to repair the damage he did.

It's brutal and awful, but as a symbol of how men ruin the worlds women inhabit when they subject them to sexual violence and harassment, it's a powerful one.

I don't know that Donaldson intended it that way. He's pretty awful to women in basically all of his books. But he's awful to men too, only not in such an intensely personal way.

We don't have to discuss Donaldson in-depth here, really. And I've read everything he's written so I'm definitely not the best person to discuss it with. But yeah, it's a good series, and could work well, I think.
posted by hippybear at 8:26 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I just want an Enchanted Forest/Patricia C. Wrede series! There is a ton of potential there.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:40 PM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think a series based on Sherri Tepper's Song of Mavin Manyshaped and it's related series would be really interesting. Weird psychic powers, teen body issues, interstellar space travel, female protagonists. There's a whole lot going on there.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:07 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I am so glad i’m not the only person who wants to see the Gaian trilogy onscreen! I love those books; i’ve always thought they would make amazing movies.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:31 PM on December 21, 2017


Me nth on the Varley oeuvre. The Gaian trilogy would be awesome and I think that CGI is good enough handle it now.

Steel Beach and The Golden Globe wouldn't be any more difficult than The Expanse. The Thunder & Lightning books would be so easy to adapt. Please, won't someone take my money?
posted by monopas at 10:51 PM on December 21, 2017


Any book or series by Barbara Hambly has the potential to make great TV/film, but my dearest wish would be to see someone do the Star Hawk and Sun Wolf series.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 10:53 PM on December 21, 2017


mygothlaundry, monopas, have you seen the page at Varley's site where he links to the (sadly) very short render someone did of Gaia's interior? It's six years old and clearly an amateur effort, but no less glorious a view of it for all that.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:55 PM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Fizz:
I just assume Book 3 is going to be a rehash of this comic. **contains spoilers for book 2**
Spot on. I enjoyed the first volume, but a better title for the series, rather than “The Kingkiller Chronicles”, would be “Marty Stu, Sulking”.
posted by bouvin at 12:18 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


A far better use of Patrick Rothfuss’ talents would be an animated series based on The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle.
posted by bouvin at 12:42 AM on December 22, 2017


Unfortunately the series adaptation of Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars trilogy looks dead in the water...
posted by PenDevil at 2:13 AM on December 22, 2017


Personally I'd favour an animated approach to most sci-fi and fantasy. An anime Dune or Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser by a top production studio could be spectacular rather than disappointing, which is the feeling I get from most live action adaptations.

Could we do the Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser stories in the style of Mike Mignola's graphic novels?
posted by octothorpe at 3:27 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


Why make Star Wars? There's just a ton of award winning Science Fiction, just begging to be made into a movie.

Yeah, but everyone's *heard* of Star Wars. And Star Trek. And the Lord of the Rings. The barrier to entry with an existing property is just a lot lower, and so justifies much bigger bets. I hear the Expanse is *amazing* but if it was happening in a galaxy far far away, viewership would be 10x with almost an identical script.
posted by effugas at 6:20 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Fionavar

Good series, but not really “looking beyond” Tolkien, is it? It’s basically Tolkien fanfic from the ghostwriter of The Silmarillion. If I had a production company, I’d be pitching one of his pseudohistories with pseudovikings.
posted by rodlymight at 6:24 AM on December 22, 2017 [4 favorites]


> Any book or series by Barbara Hambly has the potential to make great TV/film, but my dearest wish would be to see someone do the Star Hawk and Sun Wolf series.

The Dogwizard stuff. Supercomputers and mad magicians, in the style of Stranger Things.
posted by Leon at 6:52 AM on December 22, 2017


A while back, I was having a conversation about next fantasy series to become major TV series with a friend.

Me: I'm surprised that no premium channel has jumped on Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. All of the kinky sex is already built into the series, so you don't have to rely on sexposition to bring in the boobs. It also has all the intrigue and plot twists.
Friend: You're right.
(Pause)
Friend: It might be because in that world rape is unthinkable.

And then we were both silent for a while.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 7:31 AM on December 22, 2017 [8 favorites]


I've never seen an SF&F movie or TV show that comes close to the books that inspire it, except two that were made in parallel to their source material: "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Scott Pilgrim", and a complete outlier: 'A Scanner Darkly'.

As a lifelong SF fan, I don't really care about Film/TV adaptations. If they're good, I'll happily watch them, if they're not, I'll skip. Neither case affects or informs my enjoyment of the original books.

I don't really get the underlying idea that fans have been 'waiting to see this all their lives'. If you love a book, the book's sufficient, and is not in any way completed or realized by moving images on a flat surface. I also don't get the 'ruined the book for me'. The book is still the book even if there's a crappy movie of it somewhere.

I'm not saying you can't enjoy or hate say the Harry Potter movies or the Expanse TV series, I just don't see how the experience of reading the book should be subordinate to watching its derived AV products.

I'm general, I don't think that SF&F works on screen; the times are too limited, the need to show things makes everything too concrete, there's a tendency to make everything an action movie. I doubt any movie or tv show could do any sort of justice to The Culture, say, or Saga or Perdido Street Station. Or Dune. Or the Earthsea Cycle. Or the Lord of the Rings.

TV and movies are fine as gateway drugs, many people got into SF&F in the first place from Star Wars or Star Trek movies and tv, but the good stuff, the reason SF&F exists at all, is 99% in its written form.

The other 1% is podcasts.
posted by signal at 7:33 AM on December 22, 2017 [8 favorites]


It's a bit exciting to see Gateway listed as a possibility.
I totally missed that! This would be amazing.

I'm terrified about anyone tackling Iain Banks; just don't know how you could turn those into films. So much of the humor and character of the books relies on tiny invisible ironies.

The Thomas Covenant stuff would be amazing in the right hands, what with all the crazy blood and mud magic. It's no more inherently problematic than GoT, which I actually find way more gratuitous.

What about Andre Norton? She seems largely forgotten, but "Starman's Son/Daybreak - 2250 A.D." would be awesome.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:16 AM on December 22, 2017


I want a word-for-word huge budget Animorphs show. C'mon, universe, you owe us.
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 9:22 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


What happened to that Sex Criminals adaptation we couldn't believe would actually happen?
posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on December 22, 2017


I could totally see Brian McClellan's Powder Mage series as a television show. Mixture of fantasy and magic with the technology level of muskets and gunpowder.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:52 AM on December 22, 2017


Joe in Australia Q: What distinguishes Martin and Rothfuss from Jemisin and Okorafor?

In addition to what you mentioned, and the obvious, I think there's one other essntial difference, which Jemisin touched on in her anti-orc blog post. Namely, she doesn't write "real fantasy", you know stuff with elves, orcs, dwarves, and a few bold white people out to slay the baddies and rescue the princess.

Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy made me realize that fantasy could be good after I got over my teenage male fantasy phase and thought I'd grown to dislike the entire genre. It turns out what I'd grown to dislike wasn't fantasy qua fantasy, but "real fantasy". You know, the stuff with elves, and orcs, and bold white heroes to kill the ugly people and take their stuff.

Problem is, Jemisin's writing is new, different, and doesn't just wallow in the stock fantasy tropes. Which means to a lot of readers and viewers it simply isn't "real fantasy", which makes her more of a risk for the suits who run things at the studios.

Plus, of course, her inconvenient casting of characters who aren't white men...
posted by sotonohito at 10:00 AM on December 22, 2017


#1 on my list would be an Elric adaptation, #2 Chronicles of Amber, not sure why we haven't seen a Wild Cards series given its RR Martin, hell even a grown-up take on Conan with art direction of "every frame a Frazetta painting" would be great.

More interesting (and less probable especially given his political leanings) might be a China Mieville Bas-Lag aeries. The budget would have to be ridiculous.

Oh, and where is a period procedural anchored in Lovecraft? How the hell has this NOT happened?
posted by BigBrooklyn at 10:53 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


Oh, and where is a period procedural anchored in Lovecraft? How the hell has this NOT happened?

No *quite* that but Lovecraft Country may be getting a show. Hits racism head on too, which is always going to come up when Lovecraft is invoked.
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


No - that's perfect Artw, just the way I would have wanted it. Thanks.
posted by BigBrooklyn at 11:14 AM on December 22, 2017


“Looking beyond just the worlds of the Tolkiens and Martins...”

Oh lordy... so I just went looking for the post from, I was thinking, only a little while ago that had the Martins et al as a radical and dangerous alternative to the classic high fantasy of Tolkien of old instead of lumping them in together, and...

* I found it.
* the link goes to Brietbart, of all places. And is dead. Here's the wayback link if you want to read a real stupid article form 2011.
* That was 2011. I'm really fucking old.
* No GoT on TV back then. Not much high fantasy of any sort really.
* Pretty sure everything it complains about is absolutely mainstream now and people who moan about it have moved on to moaning about Broken Earth etc...
posted by Artw at 11:19 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


If you missed Lovecraft Country, run (or skitter on diamantine pseudo-feet) to your nearest spec fic section for a copy. You know, before it's too... late.
posted by bonehead at 11:49 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


(also Winter Tide which should really scratch that Crimes that Man Was Not Meant to Know itch)
posted by bonehead at 11:53 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


(I've watched that Gaea rendering so many times now, I cannot get enough. Need a flythrough.)
posted by wobh at 1:17 PM on December 22, 2017


(Acknowledging up front, some difficult aspects exist for each of these works)

The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley, for a couple short mini-series. Colonialist-era fantasy on a different world.

The Girl Genius webcomic/novels. (Gaslamp-era fantasy.)

The last seven years of webcomic El Goonish Shive have been great, but the early installments need a lot of reworking. Modern suburban fantasy/sci-fi .
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 2:39 PM on December 22, 2017


Problem is, Jemisin's writing is new, different, and doesn't just wallow in the stock fantasy tropes

Jemison is great and all, but could we acknowledge that fantasy wasn’t just about orcs and dwarves?

Tolkien-derived epic fantasy was one strain of fantasy, and a heavily male dominated one at that. But - for example - the lost-colony-discovers-magic subgenre (Pern, Darkover, etc.) had a ton of female writers and pretty much dominated the bookshelves for decades. Andre Norton’s novels were just as widely read as Heinlein, even though no one talks about them.

And yes, all this stuff is problematic. But it’s not Tolkien, and pitting Jemisin vs Tolkien is a way of erasing everyone who wrote in a largely female dominated genre for decades. (I believe Jemisin has said s much herself.)

Personally, I want to see a miniseries of Mary Gentle’s _ASH_ novels. Grimdark-ish historical fantasy with a female lead? Yes. HBO should love it.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 4:03 PM on December 22, 2017 [7 favorites]


What's given you the impression that HBO cares about female leads?
posted by Squeak Attack at 5:12 PM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what happened to the MaddAddam trilogy adaptation that was supposed to happen at HBO? Since Margaret Atwood series are popular right now, I'm surprised that's still stalled out.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 5:20 PM on December 22, 2017


It's been many years since I read Demon the last book of Varley's Gaean Trilogy, but there's no way anyone is adapting that for the screen

I never did read the third one. I read Titan and Wizard in high-school but the last one didn't come out until I was in college and wasn't really reading for pleasure at that point. By the time I had time to read again, I would have had to start from the beginning.
posted by octothorpe at 6:14 PM on December 22, 2017


“Metropolitan” by Walter Jon Williams would brilliant.

The world in Question exists in sort of a Dyson sphere that surrounds the planet, gives of CONSTANT light, & prevents anyone from leaving. The planet is completely paved over with thousands of years of architecture & buildings.

Thing is, buildings (their size, position, relation to each other) generate magical energy, which is how this entire society runs & feeds itself, wages war, etc. It’s like electricity, metered and billed for. City-states are the national entities.

The protagonist is a low-level functionary in the municipal magic utility (from an ethnic minority’s to boot) who discovers a MASSIVE untapped, hidden source of magic. And what follows is a fascinating meditation on power, politics, & revolution.

I would love to see this get the GoT treatment.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:22 AM on December 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


Metropolitan and it's sequel City on Fire are so amazing, I didn't even want to bring them up. What I need isn't an adaption, but the follow-up novel(s). If you loved these books or believe you might love them, definitely check out the backstory posted on WJW's blog over a few days.

Metropolitan: the Worldbuilding
Metropolitan: Writing and Reception
Metropolitan: the Lawyers
posted by wobh at 1:38 PM on December 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


IIRC, Walter Jon Williams has indicated that the Metropolitan series has been orphaned and a continuation is unlikely to be commercially viable. I think this bit about the series' reception from wobh's links was quite wry:
I think, once again, part of the problem is that I’m not British. If I were British, Metropolitan could have been slotted into the stream of Mervyn Peake-descended works now called the New Weird. But I’m not British, so I’m not allowed to be New Weird or New Space Opera or, basically, New.

I’m just this guy in New Mexico who wanted to write a fantasy novel that would change the world, and failed.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:27 PM on December 23, 2017


If we get a visionary showrunner, I dream that it gets made into a series AND we get the continuation from WJW. “City On Fire” ended at such a ripe moment. The characters are just perfect to delve into deeply in a long-format series.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:44 PM on December 23, 2017


It's been so long since City on Fire I think the only hope for resolution lies with ourselves as fans.
posted by wobh at 5:18 PM on December 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


The sentence I omitted was that it begins with a (not particularly gratuitous but could probably be cut) rape
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:00 PM on December 23, 2017


I'm always surprised that nobody has yet tried to adapt Eric Flint's 1632/Ring of Fire books. It seems like it would be a great candidate for a GoT-style one-season-per-book format.
posted by MrBadExample at 6:30 PM on December 23, 2017


Why make Star Wars? Indeed.
posted by sneebler at 10:05 AM on December 24, 2017


What a dislikable article. It does at least acknowledge some new SF, from diverse authors even, otherwise it would be pure Sad Puppies "science fiction was ruined in year X by story Y" nonsense.
posted by Artw at 10:15 AM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


(As the world ends, I feel like I could be serious about this. DM if you think you might be too.)
posted by wobh at 6:45 PM on December 26, 2017


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