Fantasy and science fiction novels have never been more fertile in terms of TV series blockbuster potential. Viewers are hungry for them and ecstatic at the announcement of any new upcoming series, especially if it’s based on an exciting book or set of books. If you’ve written a gripping fantasy/sci-fi novel, the small-screen gods may well notice it. It could happen tomorrow or in several years (as evidenced by the following novel-turned series selection), so be patient…and always hopefully proactive. Someone with the right connections is bound to bite.
The Expanse – 2015-present
Series of science fiction novels, novellas and stories by James S. A. Corey, the pen name of authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. The first novel, Leviathan Wakes, was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2012.
Storyline: Two hundred years in the future, in a fully colonized solar system, police detective Josephus Miller, who was born in the asteroid belt, is given the assignment to find a missing young woman; Julie Mao. Meanwhile, James Holden, the first officer of an ice freighter, is witness to an unprovoked attack upon the ship, by craft believed to be from Mars (MCRN Federation). As news of the attack spreads throughout the system, the incident’s flow-on threatens to destabilize already tenuous relations between Earth, Mars and The Belt. Far away from the struggles in deep space, on Earth, Chrisjen Avasarala, a powerful United Nations executive and diplomat, works to prevent war between Earth and Mars by any means. Soon, the 3 find out the missing woman and the ice freighter’s fate are part of a vast covert conspiracy which threatens all humanity.
The Handmaid’s Tale – 2017-present
Dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, originally published in 1985.
Storyline: A religion-based autocracy has taken over most of the United States, renaming the country Gilead. In this country women are second-class citizens. Anyone trying to escape is punished. One such person is June, who is captured while trying to escape with her husband and child and is sentenced to be a handmaid, bearing children for childless government officials. As a handmaid, June is renamed Offred. This is her story.
Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams – 2017-present
Perhaps most famous as a novelist, Philip K. Dick wrote more than one hundred short stories over the course of the 1950-1980 period, each as mind-bending and genre-defining as his longer works.
Storyline: A sci-fi anthology series with stand-alone episodes based on the works of Philip K. Dick.
11.22.63 – 2016
Published by Stephen King in 2011.
Storyline: A teacher discovers a time portal that leads to October 21st, 1960 and goes on a quest to try and prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which is complicated by the presence of Lee Harvey Oswald and the fact that he’s falling in love with the past itself.
Midnight, Texas – 2017-present
Based on Charlaine Harris’ trilogy published over the 2014-2016 period
Storyline: Follows the lives of the inhabitants of a small town where the concept of normal is relative. A haven for vampires, witches, psychics, hit men, and others with extraordinary backgrounds, Midnight gives outsiders a place to belong. The town members form a strong and unlikely family as they work together to fend off the pressures of unruly biker gangs, questionable police officers, and shades of their own dangerous pasts.
The Magicians – 2015-present
Adult fantasy novel by the American author Lev Grossman, published in 2009
Storyline: After being recruited to a secretive academy, a group of students discover that the magic they read about as children is very real and more dangerous than they ever imagined. But will getting hooked on the thrill of magic distract them from honing their powers when they need them most?
Childhood’s end – 2015
1953 science fiction novel by the British author Arthur C. Clarke.
Storyline: After peaceful aliens invade earth, humanity finds itself living in a utopia under the indirect rule of the aliens, but does this utopia come at a price?
The Last Ship – 2014-present
1988 post-apocalyptic fiction novel written by William Brinkley.
Storyline: Naval Destroyer Nathan James is sent on what they’re told is a research mission in the Arctic. Accompanying them is scientist, Rachel Scott. After a few months in the Arctic while Scott is on the ice doing research, some men attack them. They get back to the ship and the Commander, Tom Chandler asks the doctor what’s going on. She says that a deadly disease broke out a few months ago. At first, they thought it was contained but they had no cure. They felt that the cure was in the Arctic which why she’s here. But she has since received word that it has now spread to most of the globe. Chandler tries to call the President but learns the President and Vice President are dead and the US government might not have long to survive. The current President tells him that the Nathan James was not in the hot zone so he and his crew are OK. But now it’s up to them to safeguard Scott because she holds the key to the planet’s survival.
Altered carbon – 2018 debut
2002 science fiction novel by Richard K. Morgan
Storyline: Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored in cortical stacks implanted in the spine, allowing humans to survive physical death by having their memories and consciousness “re-sleeved” into new bodies. The story follows specially trained “Envoy” soldier Takeshi Kovacs, who is downloaded from an off-world prison and into the body of a disgraced cop at the behest of Laurens Bancroft, a highly influential aristocrat. Bancroft was killed, and the last automatic backup of his stack was made hours before his death, leaving him with no memory of who killed him and why. While police ruled it a suicide, Bancroft is convinced he was murdered and wants Kovacs to find out the truth.
Game of thrones – 2011-present
First novel in A Song of Ice and Fire, a series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, first published in 1996.
Storyline: In the mythical continent of Westeros, several powerful families fight for control of the Seven Kingdoms. As conflict erupts in the kingdoms of men, an ancient enemy rises once again to threaten them all. Meanwhile, the last heirs of a recently usurped dynasty plot to take back their homeland from across the Narrow Sea.
The vampire diaries – 2009-2017
Young adult vampire, romance and horror series of novels created and written by L. J. Smith. Originally published as a trilogy in 1991, pressure from readers led Smith to write a fourth volume, Dark Reunion, released in 1992.
Storyline: The vampire brothers Damon and Stefan Salvatore, eternal adolescents, having been leading “normal” lives, hiding their bloodthirsty condition, for centuries, moving on before their non-aging is noticed. They are back in the Virginia town where they became vampires. Stefan is noble, denying himself blood to avoid killing, and tries to control his evil brother Damon, who promised to Stefan an eternity of misery. Stefan falls in love with schoolgirl Elena, who has an uncanny resemblance to the Salvatore brothers old love, Katherine; and whose best friend Bonnie is a witch.
The Shannara Chronicles – 2016-present
Trilogy by Terry Brooks, published over the 1977–1985 period.
Storyline: An Elvish tree, known as the Ellcrys, is dying. The bad news is that the tree has been the only piece of magic that protects the Four Lands from the Demon World. Amberle Elessedil is the only one who can save the tree. But she has to unlock magic that the Elves haven’t used in thousands of years. With the help of Wil Ohmsford, she travels to find the lost magic. But it won’t be an easy task.
Westworld – 2016-present
Published by Michael Crichton in 1974, not as a novelization, but a script for the 1973 film. The TV series is based on the same script.
Storyline: Westworld isn’t your typical amusement park. Intended for rich vacationers, the futuristic park allows its visitors to live out their most primal fantasies with the robotic “hosts.” However, the robotic hosts have evolved an artificial consciousness that is similar to, yet diverges from, human consciousness. No matter how illicit the fantasy may be, there are no consequences for the park’s guests, allowing for any wish to be indulged; but there is a price to be paid.
The 100 – 2014-present
Series of young adult science fiction novels by Kass Morgan. The first book in the series, The 100, was published in 2013.
Storyline: Set 97 years after a devastating nuclear war wiped out almost all life on Earth. The only known survivors are the residents of twelve space stations in Earth’s orbit prior to the war. The space stations banded together to form a single massive station named “The Ark”, where 2,400 people live. Resources are scarce and all crimes no matter their nature or severity are punishable by death (“floating”) unless the perpetrator is under 18 years of age. After the Ark’s life support systems are found to be critically failing, one hundred juvenile prisoners are declared “expendable” and sent to the surface in a last ditch attempt to determine if Earth is habitable again. The teens arrive on a beautiful planet they’ve only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. However they discover that not all humanity was wiped out.
Honorable Mentions: As we all know by now, even comic books make great series. So if comic-book creation is your thing, you’re in luck! Here are a few series from Marvel and DC powerhouses. I’ll leave you the pleasure of looking them up.
MARVEL: Agents of SHIELD – 2013-present
Daredevil – 2015-present
Luke Cage – 2016-present
The Punisher – 2017-present
Black Lightning – 2018 debut
DC: Arrow -2012-present
The Flash – 2014-present
Gotham – 2014-present
Supergirl – 2015-present
Krypton – due out 2018
Metropolis – due out 2019
A big thanks to Carl Daoust for this guest post. Carl is the author of The Boy Who Set Fire to the Bible and a Top 10 finalist in the 2015 edition of the World’s Best Story contest.
Book Website: www.boysetfiretobible.com