N.K. Jemisin's Hugo-Winning The Fifth Season Is Being Adapted for TV

Detail from The Fifth Season cover. Image: nkjemisin.com
Detail from The Fifth Season cover. Image: nkjemisin.com

It’s a great time to be a fan of scifi-fantasy author N.K. Jemisin. Her latest book, The Stone Sky, just came out yesterday. The previous novel in her Broken Earth series, The Obelisk Gate, won a Hugo last week. And the first book in the series, The Fifth Season (which won the 2016 Hugo), is being adapted into a TV series.


Deadline reports that TNT is developing the series with producer and writer Leigh Dana Jackson (24: Legacy; Sleepy Hollow; Helix), who helped get the rights to The Stone Sky even before it got its Hugo nomination; its eventual win for Best Novel made Jemisin the first black writer to win in that category. (Now she’s the second, and... well, a three-peat next year seems entirely possible.)

According to Deadline, Jackson will write the script for the proposed drama series, which has a lot of material to draw from:

The Fifth Season is described as an epic drama set in a world where civilization-destroying earthquakes occur with deadly regularity. A small minority of inhabitants has the ability to quiet these earthquakes, but they can also cause them. The series follows three women, each of whom possesses these special, earth-controlling abilities: Damaya, a young girl training to serve the Empire; Syenite, an ambitious young woman ordered to breed with her bitter and frighteningly powerful mentor; and Essun, a mother searching for the husband who murdered her young son and kidnapped her daughter mere hours after a Season tore a fiery rift across the land.

Jemisin was understandably thrilled to spread the word on Twitter:

If the show’s a hit, quite obviously there are two more critically-acclaimed books that could continue the story for multiple seasons, spin-offs, movies, and everything in between. TNT’s current slate of genre shows includes The Librarians and The Last Ship, as well as a seemingly endless array of Supernatural reruns.

io9 News Editor, here since 2016. Previously SF Bay Guardian newspaper (RIP), SF State University (MA, Cinema Studies), big fan of horror, metal, and verrry small dogs.



Congratulations to her. She was barely scraping along for years; if you think SF/F writers do it for the money, look at her budget for her Patreon. I’m glad to see that she can actually start to make a decent living writing now.

On the other hand, I’m a few chapters into The Stone Sky and it already feels like it has a lot of the problems of Obelisk Gate, which unlike Fifth Season had utterly no business winning any awards.

So I hope the TV deal lets her slow down her output a bit (reading for the NYT column also takes work), concentrate on the quality of her writing, and good for her.