Amazon TV Is Adapting Three Classic Sci-Fi Stories, Including 'Snow Crash' and 'Ringworld'

Friday, 29 September 2017 - 10:31AM
Friday, 29 September 2017 - 10:31AM
Amazon TV Is Adapting Three Classic Sci-Fi Stories, Including 'Snow Crash' and 'Ringworld'
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Image credit: Bantam, Random House
Amazon's television wing is looking to bring three cult classic sci-fi stories into the fold, and they're not afraid to get weird. The service already has plenty of phenomenal original sci-fi, with more in the works, but it's clear that the online retail juggernaut is looking for quirky and attention-grabbing content for a niche audience. Adaptations in development include Ringworld by Larry Niven, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, and Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark.

Here's the run-down on each!


A joint venture with MGM, Ringworld sounds like it's going to need a pretty big budget to do the novel's story justice, as well as some exemplary casting for at least one tricky role, since there isn't an actor alive who's old enough to play the book's lead character. The story follows a two-hundred-year-old man named Louis Gridley Wu, who, bored of the safety and security of his lengthy life thus far, decides to travel the stars and venture outside known space. Teaming up with a pair of aliens and a young human woman, Wu travels to Ringworld, a mysterious artificial construct of unknown origin.

This story is big, bombastic, pulp sci-fi fun. It's the kind of story that's mostly died out in recent years in favor of grittier, darker visions of our planet's future, and after Star Trek Discovery has proven to be all about racism and bigotry, it'll be great to see some more optimistic, if nuanced, space opera.

Snow Crash

Snow Crash, on the other hand, is kind of like The Matrix meets Ready Player One meets Blade Runner meets Goodfellas (the movie) meets Goodfellas (the pizza company), and yes, it's every bit as bizarre as it sounds. Set in a dystopian future, the main character, inventively named Hiro Protagonist (get it? "Hero protagonist"?!) is a pizza delivery boy for the Mafia, who is also a hacker in his spare time. There's a pretty amazing introductory scene in the book in which Hiro attempts (and fails) an important delivery, which sets him off on a journey of hacking and secret-selling that lands him with some important information about a drug called Snow Crash that could change the face of humanity.

The cyberpunk genre has been enjoying something of a resurgence lately, so now definitely feels like the right time to adapt Snow Crash. It's fun to think of the book's story unfolding in the neon-soaked, retro Eighties streets of LA.


Finally, there's Lazarus, a graphic novel with sci-fi themes that might sound familiar to fans of young adult fiction. The main character, Forever Carlyle, lives in a dystopian future with a strong caste system that segregates the population into three tiers based on skills and birthright. Society is split between warring "families", with each family having a figurehead warrior that represents them in combat. In other words, it's pretty much The Hunger Games.

But, hey, there's nothing wrong with more Hunger Games! The young Adult dystopian fiction boom may be over, but there may be enough residual interest in Katniss-like characters to make this thing a success, depending on how it's handled.
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