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

If It Bleeds by Stephen King book cover

Image: Pocket Books

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.