Outer Places compiled a list of 23 Science Fiction Books Being Adapted into TV Shows. Being an SF fan, I read the list. Unfortunately, only four of the books were written by women. And not only does the list include mostly white, male authors, there are three by John Scalzi and two by Stephen King. That’s not an embarrassment of riches—that’s just embarrassing.
I’m betting perilously few of these shows, if they make it to television, will feature female protagonists. Ladies, don’t you just love getting a big “F-you” from the television industry? Feels even better after, oh, say, the thousandth time.
The people who optioned these projects can do what they want, but it doesn’t mean I have to remain quiet about this disparity and settle for watching shows based on books by white guys—some of whom are long dead. The list concerns me because it’s yet another reminder that the needs of millions of women don’t matter to the Powers That Be. Representation is an alien concept to some of these television folks. (One notable exception: The all-women team behind Netflix’s smash superhero hit, JESSICA JONES.)
The only adaptations on that list guaranteed of my interest will be the ones based on Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY JUSTICE and Octavia E. Butler’s DAWN. (I’m not following any YA stories currently.)
Now, don’t get me wrong: I didn’t expect the list to include any books with romance, although DAWN hints at the potential for a romantic SF show: “Would humans mate with an alien race if it meant ensuring the survival of our species?”
The list did, however, make me realize even more how much I crave SFR television shows. I glommed the k-drama MY LOVE FROM ANOTHER STAR, but that’s only one show. It’s the only bona fide adult science fiction romance show I’ve seen in my entire life. And I’ve been a fan of SFR and romantic SF since my early teens. So we’re talking decades of an SFR television deficit for many of us. Some shows, like FARSCAPE, come close, but even then, romantic SF television shows are pretty rare.
And as the years continue to go by, I’m realizing I may never get the SFR shows I want in my lifetime. Despite the plethora of worthy science fiction romance stories written by women, I will likely be dead before any of them make it to television. Yet SF shows by dead white men may very well glut the airwaves in the meantime. The rampant sexism in the entertainment industry has far-reaching consequences, indeed.
That said, I and all the women with similar interests are not less worthy than all those white men who will get all the John Scalzi and Stephen King shows they want (probably more than they even have time to watch). Our interest in SFR is not less valid and it is not less important and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There’s room for us all, and the more technology advances, the more space there will be.
Still, a gal can dream and as long as I live and breathe I will continue to hope. Therefore, I compiled my own list of SFR books that deserve translation to a televised format. (Far more than 20 would work for TV, but in a practical sense, series SFR offers the potential of meatier worlds to adapt, so that’s what I based my picks on.)
Here we go!
The Phoenix Adventures, Anna Hackett’s space opera treasure hunter books, offers Indiana-Jones style action-adventure along with steamy romance.
The world of Catherine Asaro’s SUNRISE ALLEY and ALPHA would offer an exploration of artificial intelligence similar to that of PERSON OF INTEREST. Near-future thriller/mystery plus android romances for the win!
Linnea Sinclair’s Dock Five series. Space opera galore and has potential to be the new FARSCAPE.
Gini Koch’s TOUCHED BY AN ALIEN series. Fun comedic SFR with a “men-in-black” flavor. Given its wacky tone, it’d make a great partner for TNT’s THE LIBRARIANS!
Zoe Archer and Nico Rosso’s steampunk romance series The Ether Chronicles offers superhuman characters and awesome airships. It could make TV history by being the first ever steampunk romance show!
P.J. Dean’s The Felig Chronicles would be an SFR alien invasion blast. If heroine Tina Cain were on TV at the same time as EMPIRE’s Cookie Lyons, we’d be in heaven!
Ella Drake’s Future Tales are basically fairy tales with an SFR twist. A show could mash up the characters a la ONCE UPON AT TIME.
Jody Wallace’s Maelstrom Chronicles would offer post-apocalyptic adventures with an angelic twist! (think: a sci-fi romance FEAR THE WALKING DEAD).
Athena Grayson’s HUNTRESS OF THE STAR EMPIRE should be adapted because we need a heroine bounty hunter falling in love and kicking ass on TV right now!
Lise MacTague’s On Deception’s Edge trilogy easily has enough material for an exciting action-adventure TV show or at least a mini-series. Along with ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, its two lesbian heroines could help transform the television landscape!
Eve Langlais’ Cyborg: More Than Machines would deliver a TV show packed with hot cyborg action of all kinds. Like OUTLANDER, it’d be perfect for Starz.
With BADLANDS getting such good buzz, Jeannie Lin’s Gunpowder Chronicles—starting with GUNPOWDER ACADEMY and continuing with CLOCKWORK SAMURAI—would be a great way to infuse TV with a blast of steampunk adventures and romance during the time of China’s Qing Dynasty.
Corrina Lawson’s Phoenix Institute series could join the ranks of SUPERGIRL, DAREDEVIL, ARROW, and THE FLASH to draw both romance and superhero fans.
Sara Creasy’s SONG OF SCARABAEUS world, with its heroine hacker and otherworldly conspiracies, would give MR. ROBOT a run for its money.
Rachel Bach’s PARADOX series, a space opera featuring an ensemble cast, would help fill the void left by FIREFLY.
Like THE 100, Alyssa Cole’s Off the Grid post-apocalyptic series would attract both adult and YA/NA audiences for the win!
The eclectic space opera and time travel settings of Pauline Baird Jones’ Project Enterprise series and Pippa Jay’s KEIR series would interest fans of DOCTOR WHO and offer “sweet” heat level romances.
For a futuristic, Big Brother type world filled with political intrigue, look no further than a show based on books set in KS Augustin’s Republic Tales. Would explore similar issues and be a great, diverse alternative to the upcoming adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s CHILDHOOD’S END.
While Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series has more of a paranormal flavor, the root of the worldbuilding is science. Plus, the large cast of characters offers the potential for countless interwoven stories. What TRUE BLOOD did for vampires, Psy-Changeling could do for shapeshifters and telepaths!
Got any suggestions for SFR television shows you’d like to see? Hit me up!