io9 Co-Founder's Sci-Fi Novel Autonomous Optioned by AMC

A crop of the cover of Autonomous.
A crop of the cover of Autonomous.
Image: Tor Books

Well, here’s some exciting news. Autonomous, the 2017 sci-fi novel written by io9 co-founder Annalee Newitz, has been optioned by AMC to potentially be brought to television. Newitz co-wrote a pilot script along with Amanda Segel (Person of Interest, Nikita, The Mist) who’ll executive produce and run the show, should it get picked up.


“I have been a longtime fan of Amanda Segel’s work—I often praised her writing for Person of Interest on io9 so I’ve got the receipts to prove it,” Newitz told io9 via email. “So I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with her. Plus, we couldn’t ask for a better home than AMC, alongside some of the best shows on TV.”

Autonomous feels like a great fit for television, as it’s filled with dynamic characters and a world that lives beyond the page. The story itself, though, takes place on Earth in 2144 and follows an “anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate” named Jack, who travels across the world in a submarine working as a “pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them.” However, when one of those drugs ends up going bad, Jack finds herself hunted by a robot/military duo who will stop at nothing to protect the secrets held within.

Full disclosure: We’re more than usually excited about this news because, as previously mentioned, Newitz co-founded this here website with Charlie Jane Anders, both of whom have since graduated to writing the kind of amazing sci-fi stories they wanted to celebrate by creating a website in the first place. Now we’re writing about the stories they’re creating. It’s a very ouroboros situation but, hey, we’re here for it.

Though AMC has optioned the show and bought the pilot script, Autonomous still has a bit of a journey to actually make it to your television screen. But every great show has to start somewhere—and Autonomous certainly has that potential.

Entertainment Reporter. NYU Cinema Studies Alum. Formerly Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and /Film. AP Award-Winning Film Critic & CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.


James Whitbrook

Autonomous is basically the only book—outside of work-related commitments, of courseI’ve had time to read from start to finish this year, and if I don’t manage another, I’m honestly quite fine with that. Very excited to see this adaptation unfold!