The sci-fi TV and film adaptations we want to see

Here are the sci-fi and fantasy books we'd most like to see brought to life on screen. 

31/05/2018
2 minutes to read

With more and more book adaptations coming to screens big and small, here are the sci-fi and fantasy books we'd most like to see brought to life. 

Recently we’ve seen more and more book-to-screen adaptations, many of which have been brilliantly realised, but some of the best speculative fiction seems much riskier to translate to screen. Of course, the technology for bringing these incredible worlds to visual life is old news, but unlike bankable superheroes and gritty fantasy, the metaphysical locations, meandering plots and moral ambiguity of speculative fiction has yet to find the same foothold in film and TV.

However, weird fiction fans have cause to start feeling giddy – in the space of a month, two poster children of the genre have hit the small screen, bringing new hope for the ‘unfilmable’.

Enter China Mieville’s The City and The City on iPlayer, and Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation on Netflix. They – along with the Netflix intelligent sci-fi renaissance (Star Trek, Mute, The Expanse, Altered Carbon) – could seriously pave the way for a modern golden age of new, old and weird as hell fiction on our screens. And here are some of the adaptations we crave the most.

Reckon there are some even better candidates? Let us know on Twitter – not that we can promise to make them happen...

The Vorrh

by Brian Catling

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Brian Catling’s speculative, slightly mythological fiction concerns the probably-sentient eponymous forest, and the incredibly odd ensemble cast its mysteries attract. It was likely a big inspiration for Annihilation, and endures as a cult classic. The sheer weirdness, the vast expanse of the forest and the disjointed chronology conspire to make it seem an implausible adaptation. However, with its reputation and the riskier bets Netflix et al are taking, it could an incredible experiment.

The Charmed Life of Alex Moore

by Molly Flatt

Book cover for 9781509854523

The recently released novel begins as a slow-burning urban thriller set around the – shall we say inimitable – Shoreditch start up scene, and fast becomes more speculative and pastoral. It’s hugely accessible, hooking readers with a satirical yet familiar locale, features a kick-ass yet nuanced female protagonist and, without spoiling anything, taps hugely into the (post?) millennial zeitgeist.

Murakami (any!)

by Haruki Murakami

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One of, if not the, best known contemporary Japanese literary export, almost all of Haruki Murakami’s magical-realism novels would make delightfully weird small-screen adaptations. Perhaps the man himself has no desire to see the meandering pacing, creepy undercurrents, low-key urban locales and flights of surreal fancy that characterise his novels turned into visuals? It just seems hard to imagine that cats, urban fantasy and jazz loving protagonists wouldn’t go down a storm right now.

The Three-Body Problem

by Cixin Liu

Book cover for 9781784971557

Heavily rumoured to be the target of a $1 billion Amazon deal, China’s premier hard sci-fi export could become a super-dense, philosophical and multi-series adaptation for real in the near future. This sprawling trilogy is essentially about an alien invasion – that humanity has 5,000 years advance notice of. The theoretical astrophysics, [MILD SPOILER] large jumps in chronology [MILD SPOILER ENDS] and long tracts of characters not doing much other than thinking in solitude don’t sound screenplay ready but if it does come to pass, this could blow things wide open.