A crop of the cover of Autonomous.
Image: Tor Books

Well, here’s some exciting news. Autonomous, the 2017 sci-fi novel written by io9 co-founder Annalee Newitz, has been optioned by AMC to potentially be brought to television. Newitz co-wrote a pilot script along with Amanda Segel (Person of Interest, Nikita, The Mist) who’ll executive produce and run the show, should it get picked up.

“I have been a longtime fan of Amanda Segel’s work—I often praised her writing for Person of Interest on io9 so I’ve got the receipts to prove it,” Newitz told io9 via email. “So I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with her. Plus, we couldn’t ask for a better home than AMC, alongside some of the best shows on TV.”

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Autonomous feels like a great fit for television, as it’s filled with dynamic characters and a world that lives beyond the page. The story itself, though, takes place on Earth in 2144 and follows an “anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate” named Jack, who travels across the world in a submarine working as a “pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them.” However, when one of those drugs ends up going bad, Jack finds herself hunted by a robot/military duo who will stop at nothing to protect the secrets held within.

Full disclosure: We’re more than usually excited about this news because, as previously mentioned, Newitz co-founded this here website with Charlie Jane Anders, both of whom have since graduated to writing the kind of amazing sci-fi stories they wanted to celebrate by creating a website in the first place. Now we’re writing about the stories they’re creating. It’s a very ouroboros situation but, hey, we’re here for it.

Though AMC has optioned the show and bought the pilot script, Autonomous still has a bit of a journey to actually make it to your television screen. But every great show has to start somewhere—and Autonomous certainly has that potential.

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