A book by critic and author Daphne Merkin on the cultural and personal impact of chronic depression, based on her New Yorker article "The Black Season," has been sold by agent Betsy Lerner at the Gernert Company to Houghton Mifflin's Elaine Pfefferblit for a major six-figure advance for world English rights; publication is scheduled for 2003.... A new novel by Ian McEwan has been signed by Nan Talese for her Doubleday imprint for a substantial six-figure advance, via agent Georges Borchardt; title: An Atonement. Talese has only U.S. rights, and U.K. agent Deborah Rogers has already sold it to Cape in London.... An earlier novel by Robert Stone, The Children of Light, has been optioned for a movie to Good Machine (which made Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). Steve Fisher of APA made the deal, on behalf of Stone's literary agent, Neil Olson at Donadio & Olson... A TV movie for A&E of Ursula K. LeGuin's classic SF novel Lathe of Heaven is just going into production, starring James Caan and Lisa Bonet. The deal was put together by Bill Contardi at William Morris on behalf of literary agent Virginia Kidd.

Baker can be reached at jobaker@cahners.com.