If you saw Arrival (2016), directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, you know that it was one of the most well done science fiction films in recent years. Villeneuve took a serious and sophisticated approach to the subject matter based on the 1998 short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang
Now, the producers behind that film will adapt another short science fiction story, this time by Ken Liu. The story is called “The Message” and it was published in Interzone magazine (issue 242) in 2012.
Writing about the formation of the story on his blog, Liu says:
“The direct inspiration here is, of course, the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, and specifically the “nuclear semiotics” project, which thought about the challenge of designing the site in such a way as to send a warning message to future humans throughout the subsequent millennia as the waste slowly decayed.
“You’d think this story would be easy to write for me. It contains some math, some alien archaeology, some chemistry, and even “single-bit errors” — all stuff that I love. But for many years, this story went nowhere. I think all the bits I mention above, the speculative elements, were sound, but I couldn’t find the human element. Characters shuffled into story drafts and then shuffled out of them, leaving no trace. They did not feel connected to the set.”
The film adaptation was confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter, but no director or star has been attached to the project yet. The site describes the story:
“The story centers on an archeologist whose job is to investigate and preserve the legacy of extinct civilizations on distant planets and who is reunited with the teenage daughter he never knew he had. As they explore a mysterious ruin with a cryptic message written on it, they discover their own relationship as well as a secret that will forever change their lives.”
If you want to check the story out, it’s available as a free audio reading at this link at the 18-minute mark.