In its quest to find the next “Game of Thrones,” Amazon Studios is reportedly adding three science-fiction series to its list of production prospects, including Seattle author Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash.”
The two other projects mentioned in Variety’s report would be based on Larry Niven’s “Ringworld” and Greg Rucka’s “Lazarus” comic book.
Variety quoted from an internal email in which studio head Roy Price said he was “bullish” about the lineup emerging for 2018 and 2019. “The biggest takeaway is that once again, our overall content investment is increasing, which will allow us to continue to meet customer demand around the world for high quality and engaging programming,” Price was quoted as saying.
We reached out to Amazon, but the company says there’s nothing to report beyond what’s been written.
Amazon Studios has burnished its image with award-winning original series such as “Transparent” and “The Man in the High Castle,” but in an interview with Variety earlier this month, Price said he aspired to have a hit of “Game of Thrones” proportions.
“Everybody wants a big hit, and certainly that’s the show of the moment in terms of being a model for a hit,” he said.
Could one of the sci-fi series reportedly in development catch fire? All three of them have a storied past:
- “Snow Crash” was arguably Stephenson’s breakout novel in 1992. The story’s main character is Hiro Protagonist (get it?), a pizza-delivery driver in a post-U.S. Los Angeles who is also a master hacker in the virtual world known as the Metaverse. Hiro and his allies find themselves ensnared in a plot that involves a mind-altering virus (in biological as well as digital form). Variety says the show is a co-production with Paramount Television, and has Joe Cornish (“Ant-Man”) and Frank Marshall (“Back to the Future”) as executive producers.
- “Ringworld” is one of Niven’s best-known sci-fi novels, published in 1970. The futuristic tale centers on an earthling who joins an alien crew that’s given the task of exploring a mysterious artificial ring encircling a sunlike star. Several attempts to turn the book and its sequels into TV shows or movies have fizzled. Now Amazon is taking up the challenge as a co-production with MGM.
- “Lazarus” is a comic book series that was created by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, making its debut in 2013.The main character is Forever Carlyle, the military leader for one of the 16 warring families that rule a dystopian world. (Sound familiar, GoT fans?) Variety says Rucka will serve as writer and producer for the Amazon project, along with Michael Lark (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) and Angela Cheng Caplan.
“Snow Crash” isn’t the only project in the works that’s based on Stephenson’s novels. Last year, word emerged that Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (of “Apollo 13” fame) were working on a film adaptation of “Seveneves,” Stephenson’s millennia-spanning story about what happens after the moon blows up.
Neal Stephenson and Andy Weir, author of “The Martian” and “Artemis,” will be at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park on Nov. 30 for a conversation about creating science-fiction worlds. Check Third Place Books’ website for details and ticket information.