10 Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy Books to Read Ahead of Their Upcoming Adaptations

10 Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy Books to Read Ahead of Their Upcoming Adaptations

Last year, Gizmodo took a look at Hollywood’s upcoming calendar and assembled a reading list of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror books tapped for movie and TV adaptations—some of which, like The Changeling and The Fall of the House of Usher, have since been released. We’re still waiting for others (Dune: Part Two is soon, but Mickey 17 when?), but in the meantime, we have 10 more titles for you to consider.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

We were fans of Wayward Pines, the post-apocalyptic Fox series adapted from the Blake Crouch novels a few years back. Now there’s another Crouch adaptation on the way, taking on his parallel-universe novel Dark Matter; last week, he tweeted out the above teaser and wrote “I wrote the book. I wrote the show. The show is better.” It stars Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Connelly, Alice Braga, and Jimmi Simpson, and premieres April 8 on Apple TV+. You can pick up the book version here.

If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Noted masterful adapter and Stephen King superfan Mike Flanagan (The Fall of the House of Usher, The Haunting of Hill House, Gerald’s Game, Doctor Sleep) has The Life of Chuck, drawn from King’s novella If It Bleeds, coming to screens soon. There’s no release date yet, but the director announced it had wrapped late last year, and it has a ensemble cast that includes Tom Hiddleston, Mark Hamill, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Karen Gillan, and Jacob Tremblay. You can pick up the book version here.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Image: Flatiron Books

If the author’s name sounds familiar, Leigh Bardugo also wrote the YA novels sourced for Netflix’s Shadow and Bone. Though that series has since been cancelled, it assembled a sizable fan base that is no doubt eager for this next adaptation, taking on her first fantasy release aimed at adult audiences. First announced in 2019 as an Amazon Studios project, Ninth House is still very much in the works according to a 2023 interview Bardugo did with Collider, in which she said “We have a pilot that I absolutely love and that it has been a complete delight to work on. Unlike with Shadow and Bone, I actually got to get in there and work on the writing, break the story, deal with notes in a much more hands-on way. And I loved it.” You can pick up the book version here.

Austral by Paul McAuley

Image: Gollancz

In 2021, Variety reported that this climate-change thriller from Philip K. Dick and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author and botanist Paul McAuley had been picked up for an “epic series adaptation.” No major updates since then, but it’s got a great premise, following “an edited person adapted to the unforgiving climate of the far south, feared and despised by most of its population” who commits a desperate crime and must go on the run amid the harsh landscape of the world’s newest nation, the Antarctic Peninsula. You can pick up the book version here.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Image: Penguin Classics

We told you to read (or re-read) Bram Stoker’s Dracula on last year’s list; that recommendation still stands, since we’re very much in heightened vampire times. However, what with Poor Things and Lisa Frankenstein out in the world now, and Guillermo del Toro and Maggie Gyllenhaal both working on their own takes on Shelley, it’s an excellent moment to revisit Frankenstein too. You can pick up the book version here.

The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin

3 Body Problem | Official Trailer | Netflix

March 21 heralds the long-awaited arrival of Netflix’s series adaptation—by way of Game of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and True Blood writer Alexander Woo—of Liu Cixin’s highly acclaimed sci-fi novel. You can pick up the book version here.

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Image: Pantheon

Charles Yu’s National Book Award winner explores themes of racism, especially in Hollywood, so it’ll be especially intriguing to see how this adaptation comes together. In 2022, Variety reported that Hulu had ordered a 10-episode series with Jimmy O. Yang starring as main character Willis Wu, and Yu serving as showrunner and executive producer. Another executive producer: the ever-busy Taika Waititi, who was also tapped to direct the pilot. Charles Pang and Chloe Bennet are also in the cast. You can pick up a copy of the book here.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin

Image: Bantam

These days, the only sure things in the world of George R.R. Martin are that House of the Dragon is coming back this summer, and there will always be a new Wild Cards release. But on the chance that an HBO adaptation of Martin’s Dunk and Egg stories still might happen, and you’re in the mood to experience some of the most delightful tales Westeros has to offer, dig into the novellas (1998’s The Hedge Knight, 2003’s The Sworn Sword, and 2010’s The Mystery Knight), or pick up a copy of the collection (A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms) here.

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

Image: Tordotcom

In late December 2023, Deadline revealed that Apple TV+—the streaming service that makes sci-fi adaptation fans’ dreams come true—was taking on Martha Wells’ much-loved Murderbot Diaries series, which kicked off in 2017 with the Hugo- and Nebula-winning novella All Systems Red. The 10-episode show is being produced by Alexander Skarsgård with Chris and Paul Weitz; Skarsgård will also star as “a self-hacking security android who is horrified by human emotion yet drawn to its vulnerable ‘clients.’” You can pick up a copy of the first book here.

Killing for Culture by David Kerekes and David J. Slater

Image: Headpress

Ok, this isn’t a sci-fi or fantasy book, but it’s definitely in the realms of horror. In the hands of film scholar and director Kier-La Janisse—who made Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched, the definitive documentary on folk horror—it’s guaranteed to be a fascinating adaptation. Severin Films announced the project earlier this week in a press release, and described the book as follows: “Documenting the intersection of ethnographic documentary, the dystopic future visions of JG Ballard, and the 1970s snuff hysteria that gave us films like Emanuelle in America and Videodrome, Killing for Culture was written as a looming new millennium brought a ubiquitous anxiety about communications technology. Originally published by in 1994 to great critical acclaim, and subsequently expanded in 2016, Killing for Culture was the first committed study of atrocity cinema, and why and how it finds an audience.” You can pick up a copy of the book here.

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