Charlie Jane Anders' The City in the Middle of the Night Is Coming to Television

Charlie Jane Anders at San Diego Comic-Con in 2017.
Photo: Getty Images

The future is looking bright...or is it dark? io9 co-founder Charlie Jane Anders’ novel The City in the Middle of the Night is being adapted for television!

Deadline is reporting that Sony Pictures Television has optioned a series for
the dynamic sci-fi novel with The Expanse executive producer Sharon Hall coming on board. According to Deadline, Hall brought The City in the Middle of the Night to Sony as part of a first-look deal.

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The book, which followed Anders’ Nebula-winning debut All the Birds in the Sky, takes place in the distant future on a harsh, inhospitable planet that’s split between freezing, black nights and scorching-hot days. A young woman named Sophie, excommunicated from one of the planet’s tyrannical cities and left to die in the wilderness, rises up to become a hero for the people she loves and the planet’s original inhabitants.

Anders herself had this to say when contacted by io9:

“I’m overjoyed to be working with Sony and with Sharon Hall’s Mom de Guerre Productions, especially after being utterly blown away by Sharon’s work on The Expanse. There’s so much fun stuff that a TV series can explore about this world of extremes, and the damaged, resourceful, open-hearted people who try to survive there. I’ve been so overjoyed by all the conversations we’ve had about bringing my exoplanet fairy tale to life, and I’m stoked to be working with some of the smartest people in the business.”

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Our own James Whitbrook actually had a chance to sit in on Anders’ and io9 co-founder Annalee Newitz’s recent talk in London, where they discussed the challenges and rewards of telling stories that speculate on the future of science, technology, and how people relate to one another (parts one and two are above, but just in case you can also find them here and here).

One of Anders’ fascinations was with time, sharing how setting The City in the Middle of the Night in the far-distant future gave her an opportunity to explore a reality we most likely could never truly understand.

The City in the Middle of the Night takes place in the 34th century. There’s a date revealed later in the book where you find out it’s the year 3309, or something. And [it got me] thinking about how different people were 1,200 years ago, versus how we live now. Like, in the 900s versus the present. There’s a lot of stuff you’d have a hard time explaining to someone from the year 819. Someone from 819 would have a really hard time understanding a lot of stuff about the world we’re living in. There’s certain things they’d be like: “Of course—we do that, just slightly differently.” So, when you’re projecting into the future, I think you kind of have to do that in reverse and think about how shockingly different the world 1,200 years from now might be.

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No word on when we can expect The City in the Middle of the Night to hit screens, but we’ll definitely see more from Anders on television before then: She recently announced she’s joined the writing team for Y: The Last Man, which is currently in production for FX.


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About the author

Beth Elderkin

Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.