Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book review: None But Man

I just finished reading the 1969 book "None But Man" by Gordon R. Dickson. Not a book I'm going to rave about or put on my top 100 book list. But I see fairly clearly how it could be adapted as a decent mini-series.

Within the Solar System there are three inhabited worlds: Venus, Earth, and Mars. Beyond the Solar System there are the Pleiades Planets, a collection of colonized worlds that managed to successfully secede only three years before. Beyond that is a race known as the Moldaug.

Cully, the hero of our story, was an orphan raised by the governor of one of these colonies. During the war he became a hero by successfully hijacking dozens of ships belonging to the core worlds. Ships that made a huge difference in the outcome of the war.

The governor has returned to Earth to become a prominent political figure. He convinced his daughter, to make up with Cully. She does and he agrees to come to Earth to finish his education. But they have a falling out on the way home. That's where the story begins. Cully is arrested before he even leaves the space port.

I see the book being a one hour TV series only six episodes long.

Episode 1: Upon his return to Earth Cully is arrested, interrogated, and thrown in prison. The police want to know about the plot by the colonists to invade and conquer the core worlds. This should be done by the first commercial break. The rest of the episode is spent meeting the other prisoners and working up to the escape via hijacking of a visiting space ship.

Episode 2: They have to lose the ship they took, so Cully and the other four escapees swap it for a passenger ship and fly home to the colony worlds. There they explain the delusional belief of the core worlds that the colonists plan to invade. He also explains what the Moldaug's demands that the core worlds give up the colonist planets have to do with this paranoia. He asks for armaments for his ship so he can go into Moldaug space to try to deal with the source of the problem. But first he must get in a machete fight with the enforcer for the corrupt party that has taken over the main political body of the colony worlds.

Episode 3: Cully and his team head into Moldaug space. He and two others are playing the role of a demon from Moldaug mythology. They generally cause trouble and steal ships. The episode ends with them coming up on the home world.

Episode 4: On the home world there's a festival going on that should help mask their activity until it's too late. It's the one day of the year when they're all allowed to violate their cultural norms. They meet a little girl who runs around with them and is a help. But they push their luck a bit too far and the episode ends with the girl having a breakdown when they push the violation of cultural norms a bit too far.

Episode 5: Lots of stuff. Hand over the girl to Moldaug security. Find out about new problems on the colony worlds. Send new orders. Kidnap the heirs to the throne. More bad news. More orders. Episode ends with them heading to Earth.

Episode 6: Cully sneaks his way in to the offices of the former governor. There's an invasion fleet coming from Moldaug. Cully gets thrown in prison. After several days he works up an explosive to blow off the door. Then one of his friends opens the door. Rumor has spread that Cully, said to be dead instead of thrown in prison back in episode one, has returned and that the invasion has started. People have freaked. A wave of colony ships leads the Moldaug ships by about two days. Thinking that the colonists are the Moldaugs, the military forces on the Moon pretty much rolled over. Earth forces aren't much better. Cully and friends stroll into the council meeting chambers. But the former governor has wired up all military establishments in the core worlds with explosives. He'll blow them all to hell just to prove to the Moldaug that the core world's aren't a threat. Once he's taken out, Cully convinces a Moldaug ambassador that he's in charge now and explains what Moldaug don't understand about Human thinking and vice versa. The Moldaugs needed the Humans to say "yes" or "no" to the Moldaug claim to the colony worlds. But the Moldaugs couldn't understand that the colony worlds were separate now and the core world government wasn't really admitting that they'd lost control. They kept saying "maybe" which was becoming a major insult to the Moldaugs. The core world government couldn't understand why the Moldaugs were demanding that the colony worlds be handed over. They thought it was part of a plot to conquer them.

I need an agent. I've got several stories that would adapt well.

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