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George R.R. Martin Is Adapting Nnedi Okorafor's African Sci-Fi Novel 'Who Fears Death' for TV

The 'Game of Thrones' creator has reportedly been tapped to executive produce Okorafor's award-winning novel for HBO.
Photo of George R.R. Martin (left) via Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic and Okorafor's 'Who Fears Death' cover (right)

When Game of Thrones ends, it will leave a smoldering dragon-sized hole in HBO's lineup. To fix that, the prestige TV network has naturally turned to GOT creator George R.R. Martin to fill it with a slew of potential spinoffs. Additionally, it looks like Martin could be involved in bringing another show to the network that's not based around his fantasy universe, but rather that of science-fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor's apocalyptic Africa.


On Monday, Okorafor announced on Facebook and Twitter that HBO had optioned her award-winning 2010 novel Who Fears Death for TV, tapping Martin to executive produce the adaptation. According to Variety, the deal hasn't been closed yet, so it's not clear when viewers can expect the series.

While Martin taking on yet another project might be frustrating news to the legion of readers waiting for him to finally complete the oft-delayed The Winds of Winter, the adaptation of Who Fears Death is great news to science fiction and fantasy fans. Okorafor is rising star in the science fiction and fantasy realm, having already won the three most prestigious awards in the field: a Hugo, a Nebula, and a World Fantasy Award.

Who Fears Death blends elements of both science fiction and fantasy. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic Sudan ravaged by war where a child of rape named Onyesonwu learns she has magic powers, as well as a dark sorcerer looking to kill her. The title of the book derives from the main character's name, which translates to "who fears death?" The novel won the 2011 World Fantasy Award and was called "both wondrously magical and terribly realistic" by the Washington Post.

Although HBO has not officially commented on whether or not it's picked up Okorafor's Who Fears Death, the Nigerian American author would bring some much-needed diversity to the network's lineup.

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Update 7/12: An earlier version of this article featured a cropped image of the cover of Nnedi Okorafor's novel Who Fears Death. The image was cropped in a way that left out Okorafor's name, and we regret the oversight. The headline has also been amended to include the author's name.