11:10am PT by Rebecca Ford, Borys Kit
Lionsgate in Talks to Pick Up Sci-Fi Story 'The Punch Escrow'
In a competitive situation, Lionsgate is emerging as the winner for the rights to the upcoming sci-fi book The Punch Escrow and is now in final negotiations to acquire them.
The deal will cross the seven-figure mark, an astonishing sum for first-time author whose book has yet to be published.
Tal M. Klein is the author behind the book. Klein was a tech entrepreneur who started writing it as a textbook from the future.
"I wanted to write a story set in the future that addressed a lot of questions I've had about where our world is going—not dystopia or the apocalypse, just a credible world a century-plus from today in which our relationship with technology continues to evolve at its current pace," said Klein.
The story, described as a sci-fi thriller with a love story at its core, is set in the year 2147. The world has changed greatly: most diseases are curable, teleportation is the travel method of choice and mosquitoes have been genetically modified to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution.
The story's protagonist, Joel Byram, lives a normal life, spending his days training artificial-intelligence engines to act more human — until the day he's accidentally duplicated while teleporting. Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.
The book generated plenty of interest from studios and producers and fielded a couple of offers, including one from Warner Bros.
No producers are attached.
Klein's pitch for his story garnered strong interested from online publisher Inkshares, and is scheduled to be published this summer. (Authors post a sample or pitch on Inkshares, and if the project gets 750 preorders, the website publishes it, providing the editing, design and distribution services of a traditional publisher.)
“I read the manuscript at the gym on a Saturday morning last August," said Inkshares head Adam Gomolin. "I saw the property in high def immediately. It’s one of the most clearly constructed near-future worlds since Gattaca, and the man-against-the-machine backbone hits the notes of the Tony Scott thrillers I grew up on like Enemy of the State.”
Inkshares has a partnership with UTA, which helped the rising tech company in the start-up stage and brokered the movie deal.