George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin, author of the "Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy series that is the basis of the television series "Game of Thrones", gestures during his masterclass at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) in Neuchatel July 10, 2014. Reuters/Denis Balibouse

“Game of Thrones” will soon have a sister program. George R.R. Martin, the author of “A Song of Ice and Fire,” has announced that his long-running “Wild Cards” book series will be adapted for television by a US-based TV production company.

Universal Cable Productions has acquired the rights to adapt the superhero series, with the development beginning immediately. Melinda M. Snodgrass, a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” writer/producer and Martin’s assistant editor on the “Wild Cards” series, is attached as executive producer.

“Wild Cards” is an anthology series set in a shared universe in the year 1946 when an alien virus was released in the skies over Manhattan, New York, and spread across the planet. Ninety percent of those infected have died horribly, while 9 percent were “twisted and deformed into jokers.” The lucky 1 percent, known as Aces, obtained extraordinary and unpredictable powers.

George R.R. Martin's "Wild Cards" book series
George R.R. Martin's "Wild Cards" book series

The first volume of the series was published in 1986 and had been a finalist for Hugo Award. There are currently 22 volumes of the book, with the next one scheduled for hardcover release later this month.

Martin and Snodgrass edited and contributed stories to the series. Other authors include Daniel Abraham, Howard Waldrop, Stephen Leigh, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Christopher Rowe, Diana Rowland, Saladin Ahmed, Ty Franck, Bob Wayne, Caroline Spector, Max Gladstone and Steven Perrin.

Martin couldn’t say which stories from the diverse series will be adapted into television, saying it’s still hard to tell at this early stage of development. He encouraged readers to comment on his blog post to sound off on which stories they want to see.

“Only one thing I can say for (almost) sure. You will be seeing Croyd Crenson, no matter shape the eventual show or shows ends up taking. It wouldn’t be Wild Cards without the Sleeper,” he wrote.

Croyd Crenson is a character on the series who is called The Sleeper. He transforms every time he sleeps, waking up each time with a new appearance and new powers.

Martin, who is writing “The Winds of Winter,” has an exclusive contract with HBO, and therefore he will not be working on the “Wild Cards” series, which could be released “in the next year or two.”