Mandalay Adapting Online Sci-Fi Thriller Novel Machine Man
by Ethan Anderton
November 5, 2009
While this is yet another announcement of a project involving an adaptation of a novel, the circumstances surrounding the novel in question are quite intriguing. As part of an interactive literary experiment in which suggestions from readers are integrated into the plot as the story continues to unfold, author Max Barry has been writing the thriller Machine Man by posting one page of the novel online each day. Now Variety reports that Mandalay Pictures wants to build a movie around the pseudo-choose-your-own-adventure novel about a tech engineer who replaces parts of his body with titanium upgrades of his own design. Sounds cool.
Barry began writing the novel on March 18th, 2009 and while you are able to read the story for free up to page 43, after that you have to pay $6.95 to keep up with the updates. As of September the story had reached 140 pages and counting, though Barry said it looked like the novel would be about 160 to 180 pages total. By my calculations, he should have finished by now, but there's no update on his official site saying the novel is completed. I think the concept of the writing process was brilliant in itself, but as a film this sounds like a Six Million Dollar Man or Iron Man type of story that's going to need to be compelling to get attention.
Anyway, Hollywood seems to like Barry's stories with his previous book, Company, being optioned by Universal, with Shady Acres attached to produce, and Jennifer Government being picked up by Warner Bros. with George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh producing. For now I'll reserve judgment until we hear more about the development of this project or until the novel is finished, so stay tuned for further updates!