We didn’t know George R.R. Martin had ideas besides Game of Thrones. We figured it takes him so long to write those, he’d never have time to create something else. Yet here we are, getting closer and closer to the release of Nightflyers. As Martin explains it himself, clearly anticipating everyone’s initial reaction to Nightflyers 14 years before we got to have it, he had plenty of ideas in the two and a half decades before A Game of Thrones was published.
Nightflyers is one of those ideas. Its first appearance came nearly forty years ago and has since come to envelope short stories, novellas, a movie, and this new TV show. It’s part of the Thousand Worlds universe, something Martin invented to host his science fiction stories. The Thousand Worlds universe is the result of humanity’s rapid expansion into space and the creation of an enormous interplanetary empire. Eventually, the empire collapsed and separated planets from each other.
In that way, the universe is very similar to Game of Thrones. Long dead or abandoned kingdoms coming back into contact. A deep history to explore. Violence. All the stuff you’ve come to love in his books and HBO series.
To get more into this new series, Nightflyers comes from Martin’s insistence that horror and science fiction are not mutually exclusive. The series follows a manned expedition to the edge of our solar system and takes its name from the expedition’s vessel, the Nightflyer. Ultimately, the people on board want to make contact with alien life. As you’d expect from something in the horror genre, nothing goes right and people being to die violent deaths. In space. Pretty much the last place you want to experience any sort of violence.
Nightflyers airs this fall on Syfy and while we’re not normally excited about Syfy original programming, this looks like it’ll be the show that turns us onto the channel. If it’s successful, the channel may finally find its niche and start putting out worthwhile original series.
Side note, there are some weird rights issues springing from the 1987 movie adaptation and 1984 agreement that made it possible. Apparently Martin isn’t currently allowed to have creative input in the series. That’s disappointing, but Martin was able to read the pilot episode and gave it what we’re interpreting as the endorsement of a curious parent. He’s not sure what the kids are up to, but he likes where it’s starting and wants to see it play out.