Frederik Pohl's Gateway coming to TV?

News Michael Noble 11 Mar 2014 - 17:20

Award-winning sci-fi novel being adapted by company behind Dune...

Frederik Pohl, who died last year at the age of 93, was a prolific author of science fiction and a writer whose ideas still resonate today. That resonance is just one of the reasons that his 1977 novel Gateway has been the subject of frantic bidding by TV production companies. 

It would seem that the bidding has now stopped with the winning parties being Entertainment One Television and the De Laurentiis Company, who between them have production credits for Conan the Barbarian, Dune, Hell on Wheels and The Walking Dead. The companies are in the process of hiring a writer/showrunner for the project, which is still in its very early stages.

Gateway tells the story of Robinette Stetley Broadhead, who travels to the titular space station, which was built into a hollow asteroid by an alien race known as the Heechee, whose technology is only partly understood by humankind. 

Pohl wrote several Heechee stories, suggesting that, if successful, this project could run into several seasons. 

We'll keep you updated with more information as it becomes available. 

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The Gateway novels do largely focus on the lead character Robinette Broadhead, yes, but Pohl also wrote numerous short stories set in the same universe. The underlying premise is that an impoverished humanity discovers a method for interstellar travel left behind by a lost alien race; unfortunately humans can't control the destination or even tell where they'll end up. A given journey might lead to a spectacular discovery or it might be instant suicide. As a result, the explorers are all poor volunteers, ordinary people willing to risk death on the off chance they might strike it rich. It could be Star Trek "new planet of the week" with a constantly rotating cast. A television series could run for years on that without ever once touching the material in the novels.

That said, I've seen television obliterate series with strong premises -- everyone involved with Riverworld, you should all be ashamed -- and I'm inclined to think they would ruin this as well. But it COULD be a fantastic show.

They did a Riverworld series?! :O And buggered it up?! Instant happy/sad face.

Gateway is simply a modern classic, if not an all-time classic. Like all the very best sci-fi, it is a humanist tale wrapped in the sci-fi cloth. I urge everyone who hasn't read it to do so, and defy them not to be moved by it. (Although you're allowed not to be similarly elated by some of the sequels). :D

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