Sci-Fi Storm


The Wheel of Time TV series pilot that no one knew about

by on Feb.11, 2015, under Books, Television

Did you know FXX aired a pilot for a series based on the late Robert Jordan’s hugely-popular Wheel of Time book series? And that it aired in the wee hours Monday morning? Nope, no one else did either.

How could such a momentous occasion pass by so unnoticed by so many? Well, first let’s just say that “momentous” is most certainly not the correct word to use. Second, it was less about producing a true pilot as much as it was to meet a contractual requirement to retain the rights.

As we’ve learned from the Dungeons & Dragons rights suit, as well as Fox reportedly rebooting Fantastic Four just to retain the rights, most rights contracts for adaptations have clauses that say some minimum level of production is required to retain the rights, or they revert back to the owner of the original work. It doesn’t necessarily have to meet quality goals, unfortunately.

In this case, Jordan sold the rights back in 2004 to Red Eagle Entertainment to produce some films (although there were likely other options – reportedly some games were tried as well), with those rights apparently set to expire on February 11th, 2015 – today – if some goal wasn’t met. And getting a pilot on TV is ( or is at least believed to be) a goal.
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Spike TV developing Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy for TV series

by on Sep.24, 2014, under Books, Television

It’s been nearly six years since we reported that AMC was working on a TV series based on Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy of novels, with then-Sci Fi Channel passing on it before that. Alas, instead of reporting that it is finally coming to the screen, it’s back at square one…Spike TV is now working on the adaptation, focusing on Red Mars to start, with Vince Gerardis (Game of Thrones) producing.

It may remain in Development Hell still, but at least it hasn’t disappeared…

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Warner Bros creates “Harry Potter Global Franchise Development” team

by on Jul.30, 2014, under Books, Movies

Three years removed from the last film and five from the last book, but hot on the heals of a theme park expansion, Warner Bros is hoping to keep Harry Potter fresh and in the minds of people who spend money. They just created the “Harry Potter Global Franchise Development” (HPGFD) which will oversee the relationship with author and HP creator J.K. Rowling, with Josh Berger, currently a Managing Director and the President of Warner UK, Ireland and Spain, at the helm.

What does it mean? For the most part, the group will manage the strategic vision for the brand across all the ancillary business units, including merchandise, online (web sites like Pottermore), theme parks, etc. And who’s to say they won’t also be asking for some more material to work with from J.K.? A new film is already on the way (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them) along with two more theme park lands (Universal Studios Hollywood and Japan), and a stage play opening in London next year. And the fans want more Harry (perhaps to Daniel Radcliffe’s chagrin), so I think we’ll someday see at least more words written about the Boy Who Lived.

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Pohl’s Gateway novel to get TV series adaptation

by on Mar.10, 2014, under Books, Movies

Deadline reports today that Fredrick Pohl’s classic SF novel Gateway is being adapted as a drama series for TV by Entertainment One Television and De Laurentiis Co.

De Laurentiis has been watching the rights for Gateway for a while, and pursued it aggressively when it became available, always with the idea of it being a TV series as opposed to a feature film. “Television gives us the opportunity of exploring the rich world of the novel and the complexity of its characters,” executive producer Martha De Laurentiis said. De Laurentiis has a long history with novel adaptations, with the 1984 massive Dune the best known.

Gateway revolves around a space station discovered inside an asteroid built by an alien race called the Heechee, who have long since disappeared. Humans struggle to learn the technology left behind, with little success. Among the abandoned equipment are approximately one thousand small starships, capable of taking one, three, or five crewmembers on a potentially highly profitable journey – but incredibly dangerous, as while they have figured out how to select a destination, they have no idea how long it will take to get there, in which case starvation is entirely possible, or what other dangers they may face along the way or when they arrive. Many never return, but for the chance of untold riches many volunteer. Robinette Broadhead is one of them, having one a lottery to make enough money for a one-way trip to Gateway, and the chance for more. He returns very rich – and very haunted…

Gateway won the 1977 Nebula Award and 1978 Hugo, Locus and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards for Science Fiction Best Novel.

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Author Richard Matheson, 1926-2013

by on Jun.25, 2013, under Books, Obituaries

Richard Matheson, well known science fiction and fantasy author, passed away on Sunday from natural causes.

Matheson is perhaps best known for having written numerous episodes of The Twilight Zone, including the famous Will Shatner episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, as well as the novel I Am Legend, which has spawned three official feature film adaptations, the most recent starring Will Smith. He also wrote several other novels that were adapted into films, including What Dreams May Come,The Shrinking Man, Hell House, Somewhere in Time, and A Stir of Echoes. He also wrote the episode “The Enemy Within” for Star Trek.

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Summer Falls, the book from the Doctor Who episode, available as an e-book tomorrow (UPDATED – available Thursday)

by on Apr.01, 2013, under Books, Television

Summer Falls coverDid you notice the book featured in the recent Doctor Who episode, “The Bells of St. John”, called “Summer Falls”? The one that Clara asked Artie about?

Clara: What chapter you on?

Artie: Ten.

Clara: Eleven’s the best. You’ll cry your eyes out… The good kind of crying…

“When summer falls, the Lord of Winter will arise…”

Sharp-eyed viewers will have noted the author’s name: Amelia Williams. We didn’t hear that name much, but it was in fact Amy Pond’s proper married name. And I’m sure the references to Ten and Eleven were wry references to current (and eleventh) Doctor Matt Smith and his predecessor. But what’s more interesting is that this book exists – or rather, will exist, starting tomorrow when BBC Books releases “Summer Falls” worldwide as an e-book.

Here is a description of the story: “In the seaside village of Watchcombe, young Kate is determined to make the most of her last week of summer holiday. But when she discovers a mysterious painting entitled ‘The Lord of Winter’ in a charity shop, it leads her on an adventure she never could have planned. Kate soon realises the old seacape, painted long ago by an eccentric local artist, is actually a puzzle. And with the help of some bizarre new acquaintances – including a museum curator’s magical cat, a miserable neighbour, and a lonely boy – she plans on solving it.

“And then, one morning Kate wakes up to a world changed forever. For the Lord of Winter is coming – and Kate has a very important decision to make.”

This isn’t the first time a fictional fiction book jumped from Doctor Who episode to reality. “The Angel’s Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery” was released after “The Angels Take Manhattan”, in which it was an important plot device.

Update 4/2: The e-book is available for pre-order on Amazon now, but due to some confusion it won’t release until Thursday.

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Divergent film adds Jai Courtney

by on Mar.14, 2013, under Books, Movies

Jai Courtney (A Good Day To Die Hard) will join Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) in Divergent, based on the dystopian Veronica Roth novel often being compared to The Hunger Games in young adult circles (and not just because of the similar-looking symbol on the cover of the book…).

Divergent is about a future in which everyone is divided into factions based on their personality. Those who don’t fit exactly into one of 5 factions are labeled as Divergents. Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Woodley) is a Divergent, showing traits of 3 factions. After undergoing a trial to join the brave Dauntless faction, she discovers what it really means to be Divergent – and why it can be dangerous.

Courtney’s role has not been identified yet. Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman ) wrote the script and it will be directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist ).

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Could we see “Director’s Cut” type enhancements to Harry Potter novels, plus a side story?

by on Sep.26, 2012, under Books

It seems that J.K. Rowling wishes she spent more time on a couple of her Harry Potter novels – and she may do something about it.

Currently doing publicity for her first adult-aimed novel The Casual Vacancy (released tomorrow), she spoke with BBC arts editor Will Gompertz, and mentioned the desire to re-work a couple of the books, saying she didn’t spend enough time on them.

“There were a couple of the Potters and I definitely knew that they needed another year,” she said. “I had to write on the run and there were times when it was really tough. And I read them, and I think ‘Oh God, maybe I’ll go back and do a director’s cut’, I don’t know. But you know what, I’m proud I was writing under the conditions under which I was writing, no one will ever know how tough it was at times.”
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Terry Brooks Shannara fantasy series to be adapted for TV

by on Sep.11, 2012, under Books, Television

Variety reports that Sonar Entertainment has acquired the rights to Terry Brooks long-running bestseller Shannara fantasy series and plans to adapt it for television in partnership with Farah Films.

Plans are to start the first season based on The Elfstones of Shannara, the second book of the original trilogy (with The Sword of Shannara and The Wishsong of Shannara).

No distribution outlet has been signed yet.

Warner Bros had previously owned the rights and planned to adapt a movie directed by Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), but the rights reverted in 2010.

The Shannara stories are based hundreds of years in the future in a post-apocalyptic Earth that has reverted to medieval times and in which magic has re-emerged. The 20th book, Wards of Faerie, was just released and is the first of a new trilogy, The Dark Legacy of Shannara.

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2012 Hugo Award winners announced

by on Sep.03, 2012, under Awards, Books, Conventions, Movies, Television

The winners of the 2012 Hugo Awards were announced last night at Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention. Neil Gaiman, with several Hugos already, picked up another – but instead of getting Best Novel, he won the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form award for the Doctor Who episode, “The Doctor’s Wife”.

Here is a list of the winners:
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