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Isabel Kim’s Novel ‘Sublimation’ In Works As Series At Universal International Studios


EXCLUSIVE: Isabel J Kim’s debut novel Sublimation, which has been causing quite a stir in publishing and television circles, has landed at Universal International Studios.

The USG-studio acquired the rights to the literary science fiction novel in a highly competitive situation and is planning a series adaptation.

Assemble Media, the IP creation and production company, brought the book to publishers before shopping the adaptation rights for television. Kim’s book scored her a seven-figure three-book deal for the North American publishing rights after a six-publishing house auction.

That deal was brokered between Macmillan’s Tor Publishing Group Senior Editor Carl Engle-Laird and Steven Salpeter at Assemble Media, which is behind movies including The Forgiven, starring Jessica Chastain, Ralph Fiennes and Matt Smith, and Gia Coppola’s Mainstream.

Salpeter, who is President of Literary and IP, principal Jack Heller and Caitlin de Lisser-Ellen, VP of Production and Development, worked with UIS’ Global Scripted Series team and will serve as exec producers alongside Kim.

The book is set in a world where a process called “instancing” splits a person into two distinct copies: one who migrates and one who remains. The story unfolds when a woman who migrated returns to Seoul and must face her other self, while her childhood friend’s New York self draws her into a conspiracy to control the future of instancing, bringing both versions of him back into her life with global repercussions.

USG’s Creative Acquisitions and IP Management team, led by Jordan Moblo, was behind securing the rights to the novel.

Kim is a Korean-American speculative, science fiction, and horror writer based in New York City. She is a Shirley Jackson Award winner, and her short fiction has been published in many genre fiction magazines and anthologies.

She said, “I’m delighted to be working with Universal International Studios and Assemble Media on the TV adaptation of my debut novel, Sublimation. The creative team shared a vision of Sublimation’s adaption that really impressed me and felt true to the world of my novel. I’m so excited to be working with them on the project.”

“From the very first page, you feel drawn to these characters and this world that explores such rich themes through this paradoxical existence that Isabel has captured so sublimely,” said Kelsey Balance, SVP, Global Scripted Series, Universal International Studios. “It’s staggering that this is her first novel as it’s so compelling but also so fresh and creative. We can’t wait to bring her vision to audiences around the globe.”

Assemble Media is represented by Marc H. Simon and Daniel Spencer of Fox Rothschild. Kim is represented by Steven Salpeter at Assemble and Richard Thompson at Brecheen Feldman Breimer Silver & Thompson, LLP.



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