HBO is proceeding on with adapting Nnedi Okorafor’s post-apocalyptic fantasy novel, Who Fears Death as a series, with George R.R. Martin producing.
Description: “Who Fears Death tells the coming of age tale of Onyesowu in post-apocalyptic North Africa where her story makes her an outcast. She must go on a journey from self-reproach to love, but to do so she’ll have to overcome untold obstacles — defeating her hated sorcerer father and becoming the instrument of prophetic deliverance for a land of oppressed people, all the while fighting to master the terrifying powers growing inside her.”
Wednesday, it was announced Selwyn Seyfu Hinds would write the script and co-executive produce. Former HBO president Michael Lombardo has been enlisted to executive produce with Martin and Angela Mancuso. Okorafor will be a consultant.
The novel was first optioned way back in 2010 by producer Kisha Cameron-Dingle. At the time she was the program director for Focus Features’ Africa First Film Program, which no longer exists. At that time, Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu was attached to direct.
The full synopsis of the book reads: In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways, yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. After years of enslaving the Okeke people, the Nuru tribe has decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke tribe for good. An Okeke woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy gen-eral wanders into the desert hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different—special—she names her child Onyesonwu, which means ―Who Fears Death? in an ancient tongue.
If you’ve never read any of her work, if only for comparison, the name that often comes up in write-ups about Nnedi’s novels is Octavia Butler, if only because they both write in similar genres (speculative fiction – fantasy, sci-fi, etc), they’re both black and female, and both weave African-ness into their fantastical tales. Nnedi does list Butler as an influence.