Amazon is working on a TV adaptation of the 2014 William Gibson novel The Peripheral. Although the project is still in the early stages of development, it could bypass Amazon’s regular pilot process and get a straight-to-series order, Variety reports. Novelist Scott B. Smith is attached to write and executive produce alongside Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.
The original novel is a complicated story about time travel, divergent futures, religious protest groups, and a massive corporation called Hefty Mart. It takes place both in an economically barren US town and in a post-apocalyptic London. The former of is set in the near-future, and the latter in a more distant one. The story follows Flynne Fisher, a woman who discovers a connection between the two worlds when she’s testing a video game.
“I’m continually grateful for not being in the middle of writing a physical time travel story like the ones that I’d grown up on,” Gibson told The Verge’s Adi Robertson in a 2014 interview about The Peripheral. “But as our geography slowly dissolves into the digital, then it gets very interesting.”
Although the nonlinear timeline may prove difficult to translate into a TV series, Nolan and Joy have proven with Westworld that they know how to take narrative leaps. And Amazon has been betting big on lofty sci-fi and fantasy projects. Former Amazon Studios exec Roy Price told The Verge that CEO Jeff Bezos is interested in finding Amazon’s version of HBO’s Game of Thrones and dedicating resources to do it. Last year, Bezos reportedly directed Amazon Studios to shift its programming toward higher-impact series and has ramped up spending, apparently favoring more commercial properties over indie ones. Amazon is currently trying to turn J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings into a television show and developing a series based on Iain M. Banks’ sci-fi novel Consider Phlebas.
It’s not a given that The Peripheral will ever get a series order, but if it comes to fruition, it will paint a clearer picture of where the streaming service is trying to go.