In May of last year, Regan books published The Swarm, the Englitized version of Frank Schatzing’s German bestseller Der Schwarm. Part Abyss (the ocean’s pissed!), part Day After Tomorrow (it’s the end, bitches!), and all sentient single cell organism, The Swarm* didn’t splash too loudly here in the US. Among U.S. readers who enjoy their eco-thrillers wet, it’s confirmed The Swarm is a fun "beach" read (Master Nunziata calls it a "cool book") while also handing out some good old fashioned learnin’.
Dino and Martha, the De Laurentiis duo behind the reportedly Matrix-ized Barberalla remake, seem to think so as well. The producing pair have partnered with German-based Zeitspring Entertainment and Academy Award winning screenwriter Ted Tally (for Silence of the Lambs) to bring a big-budgeted version of the book to the screen – with Universal getting first crack at the property when a treatment has been spec’d out.
The Swarm focuses on the world’s oceans. Having had years of use as a land lubbers commode, the Yrr, a millennia old single celled organism acting as a hive mind, begins teaming up with ocean animals, exacting revenge on the parasitic nature of mankind. Geopolitics come into play as mankind tries to figure out a solution – naturally, the US is most incredulous – and put an end to the threat.
Currently, there are way too many unappreciated ocean tales. One more about water poisoning crabs, crazed whales and the vast underwater conspiracy that fuels them sounds good to me. Whether The Swarm, if it comes to fruition, stokes the aquaphobic stay-awayism of US movie goers and drowns like the rest is yet to be seen.
On the bright side, at least they’ll have Germany.
*Despite worldwide success and optioning for a big-screen adaptation, the book is interestingly mired in a plagiarism dispute. Marine biologist Thomas Orthmann says Schatzing pilfered paragraphs of his work verbatim. Schatzing refuses to pay up, but has all but acknowledged using Orthmann’s work by agreeing to give a nod to the good Dr. in Swarm’s next edition.