Amazon Dives Into Sci-Fi With Adaptations Of 'Ringworld', 'Lazarus' And 'Snow Crash'

Netflix may still be leading the way in the volume and overall quality of original streaming content, but Hulu is catching up quickly, especially after their Emmy win for Outstanding Drama Series for The Handmaid's Tale. Meanwhile, Amazon Studios still has a lot of work to do if they're going to keep up.

While Amazon has found great success with Transparent, the rest of their shows have generally failed to make as big of a splash as the more popular shows from Netflix and Hulu. But Amazon hopes to change that by diving into a handful of genre titles, specifically in the realm of science fiction. Find out about the new Amazon sci-fi shows below.

Deadline has word on three new shows in development at Amazon, all in the sci-fi genre. There's an adaptation of Larry Niven's classic Ringworld, an adaptation of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark's comic book Lazarus, and the cult novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. If you're not familiar with any of these titles, we'll break each of them down briefly below.



Larry Niven's novel Ringworld hails from the 1970s with a story set on Earth in the year 2850. The story follows a man named Louis Gridley Wu, celebrating his 200th birthday. Wu has become bored with humanity, as he does from time to time, so he takes a mysterious job that puts alongside two alien beings and a human woman as they explore Ringworld, a remote artificial ring beyond "Known Space" that still remains a mystery to the universe.

Funnily enough, the series was once in development as a miniseries at SyFy in 2013 around the same time that The Man in the High Castle was part of SyFy's development slate. While Ringworld never moved forward, The Man in the High Castle ended up landing at Amazon as one of the pillars of their original programming. Ringworld is even more high concept than The Man in the High Castle and will likely be much more expensive, so it'll be interesting to see how Amazon brings it to life.



While Ringworld is set in the future, Greg Rucka's Lazarus comic series is set in an alternative near-future where the world has been split into 16 familial factions. With the world run as a feudal system, each family has their respective allies and enemies, creating various conflicts and wars. The title comes from the fact that most families have their own Lazarus, a one-person kill squad.

While that sounds like it has the potential for Game of Thrones-level drama, the story primarily follows Forever Carlyle, who is the military leader for the Carlyle family, known for their various developments in genetic technology. This includes creating modified seeds that provide food for most of the world and altering their own genetics, which allows all of them to grow old without suffering the consequences of age.

There's certainly a lot of potential to create a compelling sci-fi world with this story, and the comic series is still ongoing, so there's still plenty of story left to tell. Here's hoping Amazon, MGM, and executive producers Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, and newcomer Angela Cheng Caplan can do something worthwhile with this.

Snow Crash

Snow Crash

Finally, Amazon is teaming with Paramount Television for a sci-fi drama series based on Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash. Set in futuristic America, the cyberpunk-style story is set in a world where the federal government has given up most of its power and territory to private organizations and entrepreneurs.

We follow a hacker with the totally subtle name of Hiro Protagonist as he delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's CosoNostra Pizza Inc., a pizza place owned by the mafia. But Hiro also has a presence in the virtual world known as the Metaverse, where he's a warrior prince who gets caught up in a dangerous plot involving a computer virus that has the potential to destroy the minds of citizens in the real world, starting with hackers like Hiro.

There are surface similarities to Ready Player One here (although Snow Crash predates that book by years and offers up a very different tone), so it remains to be seen if audiences will be ready for another virtual world story like this so soon after that movie hits theaters in March of 2018. Presumably, it will be awhile before Snow Crash gets off the ground, so it could be able to stand on its own by then. It helps that there's some great talent behind it, including Attack the Block director Joe Cornish executive producing with Frank Marshall (Indiana Jones, Back to the Future). This could end up being a big deal.


Amazon definitely needs to make some big moves in order to keep up with the likes of Netflix and Hulu, so hopefully at least one of these sci-fi shows ends up catching fire and getting the attention of the masses. We can never have too much great sci-fi at one time.

Which of these three hopeful shows sounds the most interesting to you?