'Robopocalypse' fast-tracked at DreamWorks

11:31 AM PST 11/03/2009 by Jay A. Fernandez, AP

Doubleday also pre-emptively acquires rights to manuscript

Again? Where's IT when you need them?

DreamWorks Studios and Doubleday have pre-emptively acquired film and publishing rights to Daniel H. Wilson's unpublished manuscript, "Robopocalypse," which explores the fate of the human race after a robot uprising.

DreamWorks co-presidents of production Mark Sourian and Holly Bario acquired the film rights from literary manager Justin Manask. They are fast-tracking development of the project.

Doubleday executive editor and vp Jason Kaufman nabbed world publishing rights to the book from Laurie Fox at the Linda Chester Literary Agency. The publisher has slotted a tentative 2011 publication date.

The angry-robots story line has played out in movies such as the "Terminator" series, "I, Robot" and the two "Transformers" films. But Wilson, an actual Ph.D. in robotics, has grounded his tale with a heavy degree of authenticity derived from real robot technology.

"Daniel H. Wilson's cautionary tale of man versus machine grabbed us from the very beginning," said Sourian. "Wilson's background in robotics and artificial intelligence grounds his story with a frightening level of realism."

Wilson added: "Writing this novel is an incredible thrill, after spending years studying and thinking about robotics. My hope is that the story we tell will make the robots of the future proud of us humans."

Wilson is also the author of the 2005 book "How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion," which scribes Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant have been developing as a screenplay for Paramount. Wilson's next book, "Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown," is scheduled for release next year. Nickelodeon has optioned the film rights and hired Wilson to adapt it.

Wilson's other books include "Where's My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived," "How to Build a Robot Army: Tips on Defending Planet Earth Against Aliens, Ninjas, and Zombies" and "The Mad Scientist Hall of Fame: Muwahahaha!"
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