Fans of Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch series will be excited to learn that her Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novel Ancillary Justice has been optioned for television!
Leckie shared the news on her blog, adding in the necessary caveats that “option” doesn’t automatically mean “greenlit.” However, she’s already had at least one talk with the production companies emphasizing how she would like the series to handle gender and race.
Production company Fabrik (The Killing) and Fox Television Studios (The Americans) have the option to adapt Ancillary Justice. Leckie also mentioned that she has already spoken with Fabrik about her concerns in expressing gender on-screen, as well as avoiding whitewashing:
I am also aware, of course, that bringing AJ to any sort of screen (not counting your eReader screen, of course!) would be…an interestingly difficult project. I made sure to have a conversation with the folks at Fabrik about my specific concerns–namely, the approach to gender, and the issue of whitewashing (as in, I do not want to see the book whitewashed, I would like to namedrop LeGuin and mention her Earthsea experience here, thank you). I was very pleased with their response. And in fact, if I had been the least bit unhappy with how that conversation came out, I would not be writing this blog post now.
The fact remains that even with all the best intentions in the world, there’s a lot of leeway to really misstep badly in trying to bring AJ to any kind of visual medium. On the other hand, there is quite a lot of potential for a really good team to do something really cool, that may or may not be what I was trying to do with the book, but that is still something new and marvelous. And actually, I think the best adaptations work that way. It’s an exciting thought.
One commenter on her post pointed out that a TV series would require a weekly reminder of the premise, especially how main character Breq goes from being the colossal Justice of Toren starship to trapped in a single body at the start of the novel. They’ll just have to come up with a pithy, 30-second primer like Battlestar Galactica did.