Love and aliens conquer all as 'The 5th Wave' wins children's book award
The under-the-radar hit with Britain's young readers will soon become a major film
Sunday 23 February 2014
First came the vampires of Twilight, then the dystopia of The Hunger Games. Now an even bleaker tale of apocalyptic alien invasion is set to become the next teen reading obsession.
The 5th Wave, hailed as a "modern sci-fi masterpiece" and a "holy grail of publishing" by critics in the US, was yesterday honoured with the only British book award voted for by children, after it became an under-the-radar hit with young readers in the UK.
The novel – the first in a planned trilogy – is already being lined up as a major Hollywood film franchise, with Material Pictures, a company set up by the actor and producer Tobey Maguire, signed up to translate it to the big screen.
The author, Rick Yancey, yesterday admitted that he was nervous about his work being transferred to the cinema. He said it was going to be "hard to watch".
The 5th Wave was partly inspired by the leading physicist Stephen Hawking, who once warned that "if aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans".
The arrival of a massive spaceship is followed by several "waves" of destruction: an electromagnetic pulse, a global tsunami, a deadly virus and then body-snatched humans. The ominous fifth wave of the title is revealed later in the book.
The novel won the overall prize in The Red House Children's Book Awards yesterday after more than 15,000 younger readers voted through the Federation of Children's Book Groups and online.
Yancey, 51, a former tax collector from Florida, said that most pop culture images of aliens were "kind of juvenile", and he wanted to make his creations a mysterious, largely unseen menace.
He added that what had appealed most to Maguire was "the love the lead character [16-year-old Cassie] has for her younger brother and, by extension, humanity, rather than evil aliens and the chance to use epic special effects – that gave it a different twist from your typical alien invasion story".
The upcoming British director J Blakeson has been lined up to direct the film, and a screenplay has been written by Susannah Grant, who scripted Erin Brockovich.
Yancey, who sold the film rights for a six-figure sum before the book was published, said: "I've not seen the screenplay. I'm kind of on the fence about whether I should look at it."
He added that he would "love" to have a cameo role. "I would like to be a dead body or something like that."
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 As an ex prostitute, I urge all the political parties to commit to the Sex Buyer Law
- 2 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Goodfellas star Frank Sivero sues for $250m over Simpsons character
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - TV review: Silly, sensational and sensitive
Breaking Bad season 6 hoax: Vince Gilligan has not confirmed a new series
MOBO awards 2014: Sam Smith sweeps the board with four gongs
The Apprentice, episode 3 - review: Lord Sugar hacks away at the deadwood with another double elimination
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'