Hollywood has an intense relationship with science fiction, since the very beginning of the medium; Georges Melies’ A Trip To The Moon was the first sci-fi film way back in 1902. The 70s and 80s were clearly breakout years for the genre (Alien, Star Wars, Star Trek, E.T.), and the pace has only increased given the effectiveness of CG.
More recently, several prominent sci-fi authors and their works have been embraced in film and TV (Philip K. Dick, Orson Scott Card, Michael Crichton), while others have been strangely overlooked (Isaac Asimov, Joe Haldeman, Robert Heinlein).
Meanwhile, one of the overlooked aspects of Netflix’s rise has been it’s focus on sci-fi (Stranger Things, The Defenders, Black Mirror). As the streaming service increases its investment in original content, sci-fi fans might understandably be wondering what’s in it for them? Turns out, quite a lot.
One of the brightest lights in sci-fi literature has been (and continues to be) John Scalzi, who’s “penned” many accomplished works, such as “Redshirts,” “Fuzzy Nation,” and “Lock-In.” Scalzi’s novels are dense and cerebral, addressing big themes like endless war, artificial intelligence, and human cloning… but his books are also action-packed and very approachable.
If you haven’t read Scalzi — and you should, he’s exceptional — his work is similar to Stephen King’s, in that he writes highly readable stories that focus upon very human characters in impossible situations, often including wild twists and turns.
Deadline reports that Netflix has signed Scalzi’s best and most popular series, the Hugo-nominated Old Man’s War — the first in a six-book franchise — as an original film. Old Man’s War tells the story of a 75-year-old widower, John Perry, who’s mind is transferred into a genetically-superior clone/cyborg-body, which is capable of superhuman feats of strength and intellect. Perry and hundreds of other former retirees agree to enlist in the interstellar Colonial Union, defending Earth from incredibly vicious alien aggressors. While serving in combat, Perry encounters his a clone of his dead wife, Jane, which changes everything for him.
I’ve read most of Scalzi’s work, and I firmly believe that Old Man’s War is his best; a truly enthralling and engaging sci-fi classic. The book is on a par with Haldeman’s Forever War and Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Seriously, it’s that good.
This is a massive coup for Netflix. If they can successfully translate the material, this could be their Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. It is unclear if Netflix plans to adapt the rest of the books in this series, but if fans embrace the first one, it would be shocking if they didn’t continue. I’m sure hoping that they do!
Have you read any of John Scalzi’s books? What do you think of this signing? Let us know in the comments down below!
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