Jeff VanderMeer has written some of genre fiction’s strangest novels, and his latest, Dead Astronauts, is no exception. With its release comes news that AMC has acquired the rights to adapt the novel, along with previous works set in the same universe—the novel Borne and a companion novella, The Strange Bird—for television.
Borne is about a woman named Rachel who lives in a destroyed city filled with strange biotech left behind by a mysterious company, and home to a massive bear called Mord. While scavenging, she comes across a strange blob in Mord’s fur, and takes it home. With a bit of coaxing, the blob grows, and she calls it Borne. As it grows in size and intelligence, it threatens to change the power dynamics in the city, changing Rachel’s life forever. VanderMeer followed up the novel with a shorter work, The Strange Bird, set in the same world.
A standalone novel, Dead Astronauts follows three astronauts who explore the city and its alternate counterparts in an effort to destroy the Company.
Thrilled that @AMC_TV has optioned my new novel Dead Astronauts, Borne, and The Strange Bird!! Love AMC and am looking forward to being creative consultant as we move forward. https://t.co/ftQeBc4WAf @mcdbooks @mcdbooks @4thEstateBooks @McClellandBooks @CookeMcDermid
— Jeff VanderMeer (@jeffvandermeer) December 3, 2019
This isn’t the first time that VanderMeer’s work has been optioned. Last year, Alex Garland (Ex Machina) released his adaptation of his horror novel, Annihilation, and prior to Borne’s publication, Paramount Pictures optioned it for a film.
Deadline says that AMC has picked up the rights for all three works, to develop a series set in this mysterious, biotech-filled world. VanderMeer is an executive producer and consultant on the project, and AMC Studio head Ben Davis noted that the series is “a totally unique piece of IP and Jeff has created a vivid postapocalyptic world with enormous opportunity for a visual medium like television.”
If it makes it to the screen, VanderMeer’s Borne novels will be in good company, as AMC has been working to develop a number of genre adaptations in recent years. It’s probably best known for projects like The Walking Dead and its various spinoffs, and it recently released a pair of horror shows, The Terror (based on Dan Simmons’ novel) and NOS4A2 (based on Joe Hill’s novel). It also has a couple of anthology shows based on the works of Ted Chiang and Ken Liu in development.