HBO has begun early development on a series adaptation of science-fiction fantasy novel Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor, with the creator of HBO's tentpole fantasy series Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin, serving as executive producer.
HBO has struck gold over the past five to ten years with science fiction and fantasy programming, as Game of Thrones, The Leftovers and Westworld have all left their significant mark in this golden age of television. The success of these programs have encouraged the network to further explore the genre, taking chances on projects that may have been considered a bit more risky in the past.
One of those risks that they are going to take is on an adaptation of Who Fears Death, the science-fiction fantasy novel released in 2011 to widespread acclaim within the genre. Okorafor announced on her Twitter page that HBO had optioned her book into development for a series order, with Martin working again with the network to help guide the vision for the series:
— Nnedi Okorafor, PhD (@Nnedi) July 10, 2017
Who Fears Death is an African-based story that takes place in a fictionalized version of post-apocalyptic Sudan, where the country's class system is divided not only by race, but by tone of skin. The light-skinned Nuru are higher on the chain, oppressing the darker-skinned Okeke. The hero of the story is Onlyesonwu, a child of mixed color, who was the product of a sexual assault by a Nuru man on a Okeke woman. Her father is Daib, a powerful sorcerer and the eye of Onlyesonwu's revenge for the injustices of her conception.
The novel has won a multitude of awards, including the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and the 2010 Carl Brandon Kindred Award for science fiction. It was also nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 2011 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. This notoriety has propelled the thematically-powerful and somewhat controversial story to HBO's attention, as this fits their love for dark and grotesque imagery that shows like Game of Thrones utilize to maximum effect. Having Martin onboard could help guide the series in that direction, though it makes you wonder how much of a role he will be playing, especially with Thrones entering into its home stretch.
Keep checking Screen Rant for more information about the Who Fears Death series, including showrunner, casting and filming announcements.
Source: Nnedi Okorafor