Robert Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land (1961) is one of those influential classic sci-fi novels that everybody has heard of, many adore, and which, mysteriously, has yet to have made it to the screen. Maybe it’s the fact that we now know there’s no intelligent life on Mars, but hey, that never stopped John Carter getting made.
But now it finally looks like the archetypal SF fish-out-of-water tale will be getting the live-action treatment, with a TV series version of Stranger In A Strange Land in development from Paramount Television and Universal Cable Productions for Syfy.
Stranger In A Strange Land is the story of Valentine Michael Smith who, as an infant, is the sole survivor of a manned expedition to Mars. He’s subsequently raised by Martians, then returns to Earth to experience our culture for the first time. Or a weirdly ’60s Californian hippy take on Earth culture anyway (great as the book is, some of its themes feel a little dated…)
“From my point of view, Stranger In A Strange Land isn’t just a science fiction masterpiece,” says NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer, “it also happens to be one of my favourite books ever. The story is timeless and resonates more than ever in today’s world. As a fan, I can’t wait to see it come to life as a world-class television event.”
“Paramount TV is excited to have the opportunity to adapt Robert Heinlein’s seminal work of science fiction,” adds Paramount TV president Amy Powell. “This novel has resonated with me since college and there’s a reason it has continued to find new fans for over 40 years. Syfy’s understanding of imaginative and futuristic programming is unmatched, making them an ideal partner for this series.”
The big question is, will the series get the word “grok” into common usage? And no, it’s not a Martian swear word…