Last week, Netflix dropped the 18-episode series Love, Death + Robots an anthology of short animated films produced by Seven director David Fincher and Deadpool director Tim Miller. The shorts range widely in tone and subject matter, with everything from mercenaries fighting Dracula to a thought experiment about silly ways Adolf Hitler could have died in alternative timelines. For source material, Fincher and Miller turned to existing short fiction from well-known science fiction authors, including Marko Kloos, Alastair Reynolds, and John Scalzi.
With the rise of streaming services and the success of shows like Game of Thrones Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix have been rapidly snapping up big science fiction and fantasy novels for adaptation. Adaptations for works like Iain M. Banks, Consider Phlebas Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Scalzi's Old Man's War are all in the pipeline.
But while a long novel might translate into a multi-season show, the science fiction and fantasy genres are also packed with excellent short fiction that is more conducive to shorter adaptations. Amid the rising popularity of anthology shows like Black Mirror Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams and Amazon Studios' Lore it stands to reason that plenty of filmmakers would be looking for shorter stories to adapt. In the case of Love, Death + Robots some of those stories were first published online and can still be read without any form of subscription or signup.
Peter F. Hamilton's "Sonnie's Edge" first appeared in the short-lived magazine New Moon in 1991. The story is part of a larger world Hamilton calls the "Confederation Universe." Most of the connected stories from that cycle appear in his book A Second Chance at Eden. The story can be read online here, as part of a preview for that collection.
Love, Death + Robots two stories from British author Alastair Reynolds – "Beyond the Aquila Rift" and "Zima Blue." In the first, a starship crew stranded deep in space think they're saved until They realize they're trapped in a simulation. In the second, an artist pushes himself to his limits to discover his true self. "Beyond the Aquila Rift" was originally published in an anthology called Constellations: The Best of New British SF, while "Zima Blue" was first published in 2005 in a magazine called Postscripts.
and and ]. In a blog post, Reynolds says, "although they are both approaching a decade and half old and I've written a great deal since, I'd have to admit that they are still among my favorite personal stories . ”
John Scalzi has three short stories adapted in the series, two of which are available online. "When The Yogurt Took About: A Short Story" follows a genetically engineered strain of bacteria that gains knowledge and claims Earth. "Missives From Possible Futures # 1: Alternate History Search Results" imagines the outsized results if Adolf Hitler had died in a variety of ways in alternative timelines. Both stories also appear in the collection Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi .
The third story, "Three Robots Experience Objects Left Behind the Era of Humans for the First Time" is online, but appears in a recent anthology, Robots vs. Fairies . On his blog, Scalzi notes that he got involved in the project in 2017, with "When The Yogurt Took Over" and "Alternate Histories" first picked up for adaptation, and with "Three Robots" coming later when Scalzi shared it with Miller.
Love, Death + Robots also two stories from horror author Joe Landsale. In "Fish Night," a pair of traveling salesmen encounter a surreal ocean in the desert; in "The Dump," a man protects his junkyard home from a city official. "Fish Night" has appeared in a variety of magazines, and ended up online at The Horror Zine . "The Dump" originally appeared in 1981 in Rod Sterling's Twilight Zone Magazine and later in anthologies like Bumper Crop and A Little Green Book of Monster Stories . Those appear to be out of print, but used copies are available online.
Ken Liu's steampunk story "Good Hunting" was originally published in two parts in Strange Horizons back in 2012, and later ended up in his acclaimed collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories in 2016. When it was first published, Liu noted that he wanted to explore the boundaries of genre, and this story "begins as a fantasy fairy tale and ends as a gritty piece of steampunk." On his blog, he says he found the adaptation fantastic.
Marko Kloos, who wrote excellent military science fiction series Frontlines set his story Lucky 13 in that same world and self-published it as an ebook on Amazon in 2013. The Netflix series also showcases another story of his: the short "Shape-Shifters" focuses on werewolf combatants in Afghanistan. He just published the source story as an ebook, under the title "On the Use of Shape-shifters in Warfare."
Most of the short stories in Love, Death + Robots were written by men, But there are a few exceptions. Claudine Griggs 'short story "Helping Hand" first came out in Lightspeed Magazine ' s "Queers Destroy Science Fiction" special issue in 2015. It follows the story of an astronaut whose EVA goes terribly wrong.
Other Love, Death + Robots stories can be found in Cohesion Press' SNAFU anthologies: "The Secret War," based off David Amendola's short story, is a SNAFU: Hunters. Steven Lewis "" Suits "is a SNAFU: Future Warfare (you can read most of the story in Amazon's preview of the book), and" Sucker of Souls, "by Kirsten Cross, is included in SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest
Finally, a few of the stories haven't made their way online. Those include Michael Swanwick's story "Ice Age," available in his collection Tales of Old Earth . (He noted that he felt that the " adaptation was remarkably true to the original story." And two of the shorts – "The Witness," scripted by Alberto Mieglo, and "Blindspot," written by Vitaliy Shushko – based on existing stories.