Oneworld has paid six figures for a YA trilogy by US actor and screenwriter Jason Segel and his writing partner Kirsten Miller.
Commissioning editor Shadi Doostdar acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to the Otherworld trilogy, Segel’s first series aimed at young adults, in a six-figure deal - the highest the double Man Booker Prize-winning publisher has paid for an author.
The first title in the trilogy, also called Otherworld, is part “Tolkienesque” adventure and part sci-fi love story. It centres around 18-year-old Simon, who has always used gaming as a way to escape his tedious life. When a top-of-the-range virtual reality game called Otherworld launches to a select few gamers, he can’t wait to get his hands on a headset and it turns about to be a game so addictive the player never wants it to end. "But behind the graphics lurks a very real danger, and soon Simon finds himself battling through wondrous and terrifying realms to save his only friend Kat," said Oneworld.
"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" star Segel said he had previously played a game like 'Otherworld' at a very early stage in its development. “What I experienced that day profoundly affected me”, he said. “In ten short minutes I was transported to several different realms. Realms of beauty. Realms of war. A door past which I could visit every museum in the world, view earth from a lounge chair on the moon, or, if desired, commit crime without consequence. One thing was clear to me: this technology changes everything.”
The book is designed to be a “cautionary tale” to reach a new generation of gamers, which he has penned with his writing partner Kirsten Miller.
Segel has also co-written Disney’s “The Muppets”, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and starred in films “I Love You, Man”, “Knocked-Up” and “The Five Year Engagement”. On television, Segel starred in “How I Met Your Mother” as well as cult classic “Freaks and Geeks”.
Doostdar said: “I was sucked right into Otherworld and couldn’t put it down until I’d finished. My ideas about virtual reality – and reality itself – have been permanently altered by this book. Jason and Kirsten have created an entire world, full of imagination, yet not so far from the realms of possibility, and woven into its fabric incredible insights into our own existence and the future.”
Otherworld will be the fifth novel Segel has co-written with Miller, a partnership that was forged whilst working together on the middle grade series Nightmares! (Delacorte Press). Miller is also the bestselling author of How to Lead a Life of Crime (Razorbill), the Kiki Strike books (Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books) and The Eternal Ones series (Puffin).
Otherworld is set for global release on 31st October 2017.