We’re Getting a Suitably Epic Debut Fantasy Novel from the Director of I Saw the TV Glow

Jane Schoenbrun is headed in a new direction. For their followup to We’re All Going to the World’s Fair and I Saw the TV Glow, the movie director is turning author: Their novel Public Access Afterworld, a “a contemporary queer opus,” has been picked up by Hogarth Books.

In a statement quoted by IndieWire, Schoenbrun says:

“All of my work so far has been leading up to this. Public Access Afterworld is the culmination of my so-called ‘screen trilogy’ that I began with World’s Fair and TV Glow. But unlike those works, which focused mainly on pre-transition, this novel is an epic of trans becoming, and probably the biggest cinematic universe I’ll ever create, my attempt to craft a contemporary queer opus on the scale of Sandman, Lord of the Rings, or even, groan, Harry Potter.”

Trans Harry Potter? Yes, sign us up.

The book’s official description reads:

An epic blend of literary fantasy, coming-of-age, sci fi, and horror, Public Access Afterworld traces the mysterious transmissions of a secret television network known as Public Access Afterworld that draws in a wide cast of characters, from two teenage best friends in a suburban New York basement to a housewife during the last days of World War II to a young trans content moderator at a YouTube-like corporation, who becomes an unlikely hero capable of rescuing a century of victims disappeared into the broadcast’s signal. Public Access Afterworld is a thrilling and profound novel of identity, conspiracy, the secret occult history of American entertainment, and the narratives that guide our lives and shape our world.

If the title sounds familiar, you’re not imagining things: As the director mentioned back in a 2022 Inverse piece, Public Access Afterworld was originally intended to be a three-season TV series.

On X (formerly Twitter), Schoenbrun wrote, “If you’ve ever thought ‘dang I wish Jane Schoenbrun would write a fantasy epic on the scale of like Evangelion or Sandman or something’ then guess what ur wish starts coming true next year.”

Those impatient for another Schoenbrun film may have to wait a bit longer, but the director has spoken about what they’d like to do next, telling Windy City Times, “I have a new movie that I would like to shoot within a year called Teenage Sex and Death at Camp Miasma. It’s an exploration of the teen sleepaway camp slasher genre and all of the gender trouble inherent in it from Norman Bates to Buffalo Bill. A tale of the final girl being pursued by a killer has always seemed to me to be preoccupied with gender in ways that it doesn’t understand itself. It feels like a way to talk about my coming into myself.”

No publication date has been announced for Public Access Afterworld just yet. icon-paragraph-end

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