EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has acquired Departure, a science fiction novel that was initially self-published by author A.G. Riddle. After it became an online phenomenon, the book just sold in a big auction in a seven-figure deal for worldwide English-speaking territory rights to Harper Voyager, the sci-fi imprint of HarperCollins, Fox’s sibling company. Fox-based producer Steve Tzirlin will produce the film through R&G Productions, and Matt Reilly brought it into the studio. Deal was low against high six figures.

The novel starts with a plane crash in the English countryside. Soon, the survivors find they have a complex connection to the present, future and past as they are plunged into a sci-fi survival storyline. IPG’s Brian Lipson made the deal for Baror International’s Danny Baror. Riddle’s previous self-published trilogy, The Origin Mystery, is being developed by CBS Films.

Tzirlin’s percolating projects at Fox include Ruin, which Wes Ball will direct and T.S. Nowlin is writing; Invisible, which Dan Blank will direct and which Doug Simon is writing; and Timeless, which has Rio’s Carlos Saldanha attached to direct.