Between seasoned shows like Game of Thrones and brand-new shows like The Expanse and The Magicians, television shows based on books have been increasing and enjoying some success. But there are some books that haven’t been made in shows yet that I would love to see.
The Black Company by Glen Cook
This is a no-brainer for any channel who wants to make a Game of Thrones-esque show: the books are basically a gritty fantasy series about a company of mercenaries, the titular “Black Company,” that have been hired by a magical dictator called “the Lady.”
This was gritty and realistic fantasy before George R.R. Martin even published A Game of Thrones. The first trilogy, called The Books of the North, began in 1984 and quickly distinguished itself with its use of violence and the fact that many, many characters die.
But the books also build up a fascinating mythology involving the Lady, her former paramour the Dominator, and someone called “the White Rose.”
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Another fantasy trilogy, this one set on a world where certain select people are “Mistings,” who can ingest and burn various special metals in order to have certain powers, while a “Mistborn” is a super-rare individual who can burn all of the special metals and thus has a lot of power.
The main character, Vin, discovers that she’s a Mistborn and comes under the tutelage of an escaped slave by the name of Kelsier and his band of thieves. Kelsier wants to overthrow the Lord Ruler, the evil overlord of the planet.
That’s where things get interesting, however, because that’s where the Mistborn trilogy subverts expectations: there was an ancient prophecy about the “Hero of Ages” who would save the world. And the one who fulfilled that prophecy...enslaved the world and ushered in a thousand years of darkness to become the Lord Ruler. So how do Vin and Kelsier stand a chance against him?
The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
Imagine the Cthulhu Mythos but written by Len Deighton. Or perhaps a Len Deighton novel where the main character was a spy and an IT technician. Or actually imagine both of those things smooshed together.
Bob Howard works for the Laundry, a secret British agency that is tasked to keep track and take care of various Lovecraftian entities. Because magic is real and it is also applied mathematics. Any really and truly advanced computer science has the potential to summon the many-angled ones, so the Laundry tends to grab computer programmers and turn them to work.
The Atrocity Archives is just the first book of the Laundry Series. Other characters include Bob’s boss who may or may not be an eldritch entity, but looks like a librarian, and Mo, Bob’s girlfriend, who can kill demons with her violin. Yes, it is very awesome.
This is actually a two-part book, as opposed to a trilogy or series. But each book is so long, that I could easily see a show going for five or six seasons.
The premise is simple: in 2060, time travel has been discovered, but in order to go back in time, you can’t change anything. If you want to change things, the time machine simply won’t work. So the only people who use time travel are historians. A group of historians at Oxford decide to go back to Blitz-era London, because, well, they are historians and this is a prime opportunity.
Except once back in time, something has decidedly gone wrong. Nobody is supposed to be able to change time...but what if they have? What are the ripples if you save one person? Or many people? And why isn’t anyone from the future bringing them back?
Last Call by Tim Powers
Tim Powers is well known for writing “secret histories,” fantasy books that take place around actual historical events. But one of his best works is the “Fault Lines” trilogy, starting with Last Call, which is much more urban fantasy.
Ten years ago, professional gambler Scott Crane played a poker game with Tarot cards...and now he’s beginning to realize that the game wasn’t about money at all, but his own soul. So he goes on a journey to Las Vegas, where he discovers that there is much more at stake than simply one man’s soul.
The next book, Expiration Date, doesn’t involve Scott, but rather a boy who accidentally inhales the “last breath” of Thomas Edison, but the third book, Earthquake Weather, brings the two protagonists together.
What other books do you guys think they should make into shows?