The Best Books Being Adapted for TV in 2023: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Historical and Crime

Want to get ahead of the game and read the book before watching the TV show? Here’s your reading list for 2023 and beyond.

The Three Body Problem, Lessons in Chemistry, The Minds of Billy Milligan, The Gallows Pole, Anansi Boys book cover details

The ‘Coming Soon to TV’ shelf in your local bookshop will be sagging under the weight of this lot – the thrillers, sci-fi stories, crime novels and non-fiction currently being adapted for television. If you prefer to read ahead before your imagination is sullied by the small screen version, then here’s where to start, from Apple TV+’s adaptation of 1950s-set revenge comedy Lessons in Chemistry and psychological thriller The Crowded Room, to Prime Video’s new Neil Gaiman show Anansi Boys and rumoured Kay Scarpetta series, via Netflix’s true-life opioid drama Painkiller, ITVX/MGM+ historical adventure series The Winter King and many more. Many many more.

It’s too soon to say when we’ll see those planned adaptations below which are yet to film, given the current WGA Writers’ Strike and earth-shifts taking place among the streaming networks whose pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap model is proving unsustainable, but we’ll keep you posted as more news arrives.

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Silo by Hugh Howey (Apple TV+, weekly until June 30)

Hugh Howey’s addictive sci-fi Silo trilogy started life as a 2011 self-published short story that grew into three celebrated books plus a graphic novel. Set in a vast underground bunker that’s home to 10,000 people a century after an apocalyptic event that made the outside world toxic, it’s a conspiracy thriller and sci-fi adventure about seeking the truth whatever the cost. Apple TV+ has adapted the first book instalment ‘Wool’ into a very decent 10-part drama starring Dune’s Rebecca Ferguson and Selma’s David Oyelowo, with a second season already in development.


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