Isabel J. Kim’s Debut Novel Sublimation Has Rights Picked Up for TV Adaptation


Isabel J. Kim’s debut novel, Sublimation, has been picked up by Universal International Studios for a potential television adaptation. The book has yet to be released, though Tor Publishing Group has acquired the novel as part of a three-book deal with Kim.

Kim is a Shirley Jackson Award-winner who has written several acclaimed stories, including “Why Don’t We Just Kill the Kid in the Omelas Hole,” which ran in the February 2024 issue of Clarkesworld.

Sublimation is her first novel, and here is the official synopsis for it:

Sublimation is a speculative psychological thriller about two women who were once one, separated by immigrating to America from Korea and at odds over whether they can again share a life. In a world where immigration creates two instances of the self, every immigrant is haunted by the life they leave behind. For this pair of selves, their regrets become a chilling struggle for identity as Korean Soyoung plots to steal Korean-American Rose’s life.

In a statement, Kim described her book as “a story about identity in a world where it takes fifteen hours to fly across the world and a whole lifetime to live a culture. It’s about being able to see exactly what would have happened if you had stayed. It’s heavily influenced by how I grew up split between Korea and the USA, how there’s a lot of stories about immigration as a clean break and not a lot of stories about the messy return. It’s about how at some point during my adolescence, it started being cool to be Korean.”

“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,” Kelsey Balance, SVP, Global Scripted Series, Universal International Studios told Deadline. “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.”

The project is still in its early days, so no news on if/when the adaptation will make its way to the small screen. icon-paragraph-end

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