GOOD VS EVIL
BABYLON 5, DUNE, STAR TREK, FARSCAPE, STARGATE SERIES, VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS
ESTRELLA: 17. LEAD. NAIVE BUT DETERMINED AND STRONG.
ADMIRAL SLOUT: N/A. ALIEN. ADOPTIVE UNCLE TO ESTRELLA.
KSCHEEECH: N/A. ALIEN. TRUSTED CONFIDANTE OF SLOUT AND ESTRELLA.
NORVEGICUS: N/A. ALIEN. VILLAIN OF THE BOOK, INFECTED WITH PARASITE.
It’s been two years since the return of 'Anarchy' and the ensuing debacle wherein it was discovered the crew were infected with a deadly pathogen. All is seemingly back to normal as the development of a vaccine has led to crew members peacefully assimilating into Naustie society. Or maybe not.
Target Gender: Universal
24th century Earth and alien planets
Based on a True Story
Status: Yes: self-published
Year Published: 2020
Word reaches Admiral Slout of the assassination of a political candidate out on planet Suidonj. Estrella is a fan of this would-be reformer and deeply saddened when she receives the news. Upon further investigation however she suspects the pathogen may be the true culprit.
Estrella will eventually come to realize that the source of the pathogen, an alien intelligence from the other side of the galaxy, is continually evolving its efforts. Ultimately she will face the aliens' chosen champion, a creature no one would have suspected.
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Hard Copy Available
Mature Audience Themes
Plot - Other Elements
Meaningful Message,Twist,Coming of Age,Happy Ending
Plot - Premise
Main Character Details
Name: Estrella Mwonga
Key Traits: Decisive,Heroic,Leader
Additional Character Details
Name: Admiral Slout
Age: (Pig-like alien being, middle aged)
Key Traits: Badass,Masculine,Confident,Faithful,Blunt
Additional Character Details
Age: (Lizard-like alien being, elderly)
Key Traits: Selfless,Outspoken,Gracious,Faithful,Empathetic
Additional Character Details
Age: Rodent-like alien being (young adult)
Key Traits: Villainous,Narcisstic,Skillful,Manipulative,Secretive,Charming,Complex,Criminal
The idea came about for Deathwalker Colony back in 2016 when I was writing the second book in the Rijel 12 series, Return of Anarchy. My stepson Aaron came up with the title after I told him the basic premise. I had no idea that in the spring of 2020 we’d actually experience a global pandemic! However I was able to witness the rise of the Ultra-Right Movement and the election of Donald Trump. I also witnessed the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the counter-movement aimed at thwarting Trump's policies. Because of that, in the first couple of chapters I created characters designed to mirror those individuals. It makes for a spectacular opening since no one’s going to forget anytime soon the imagery of a ‘Trump Rally’. Hence the minor character, Landrase Jahmff. You’ll love hating him as much as my wife did! What will impress moviegoers is the many species created, along with their unique home worlds, all of which are visited by the main character. Because these evolved independently they also developed alternative technologies when it came to building large structures, harnessing natural resources, controlling pollution, and regulating the use of fossil fuels. I merely used scientific concepts that may be attempted on Earth someday. But it’s the way I meshed these with the natural environments and biological tendencies of each species that I believe audiences will enjoy most. That and the story's villain, Norvegicus!
ACTION, THRILLER, MATURE AUDIENCE, DRAMA, POLITICS, FANTASY (SCI-FI)
The young human leader of former penal colony New Australia recognizes signs across the galaxy of a dangerous parasite that causes violence and madness. Since her planet already has the antidote and vaccine, she embarks on a journey to other planets to save their populations from destruction. A new risk arises with an infected union leader threatens to destroy them all, and it’s only her quick thinking and devoted crew that saves the day.
Authors Writing Style: FAIR
Franchise Potential: GOOD
Accuracy of Book Profile
It is accurate.
Draw of Story
The manuscript begins with a parody of American politics that incorporates some from the presidential races in 2016 and 2020, as well as current battles with up-and-coming young congresswomen. It’s all taken to the extreme, of course, but it sets the stage well for everything to come. It immediately hooks a reader into the story because it’s easy to understand and relate to, even though it’s aliens portraying these roles rather than humans. The tragic assassination of a young and inspiring politician establishes a dark tone and the very real consequences of the plot, which is fantastic.
The plot isn’t as well-developed as it could be, and it would need to be less episodic in a feature or television adaptation. It’s very repetitive in its current form, what with Estrella and her crew visiting multiple planets to do the same thing again and again. Though each experience is slightly different, this repetition would be obvious onscreen. The pacing sometimes feels rushed as well, and there are interesting scenes that are only discussed or that are sped through. Even the climax with Norvegicus feels rushed. The through-line is also a little jumbled, though paring down and strengthening the plot would likely fix that.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY RELIES HEAVILY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
It’s not exactly a hook, but the cinematic landscapes of an adaptation would effortlessly draw in any viewer. The worldbuilding is superb, and it really shows in the attention to detail the author puts into developing each planet and its people. It all goes hand-in-hand and creates powerful and realistic worlds, even though they’re alien to us. For instance, the cat people of Enosh needing a lot of sleep and living in small rooms as they spend most of their time out and about in the city feels believably correct. The parallels between the world as we know it and this vast future universe are also intriguing and make it all more tangible.
Absolutely, an adaptation of this book could easily grab a fanbase. Sci-fi is one of the most popular and fan-driven genres, and there’s so much here for an audience to engage with.
Due to the science fiction genre, this is unlikely to have traditional award potential. It could do quite well with technical awards, though.
Similar Films/TV Series
BABYLON 5, DUNE, STAR TREK, FARSCAPE, STARGATE SERIES, VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS
What’s New About the Story
The very idea of an alien parasite that can inspire violence and madness is very unique, and it’s an interesting twist on a sort-of zombie story that works well and is applicable to many different planets and beings. The fact that the parasite is also somehow artificial intelligence and can make people intelligent and great leaders is a bit confusing. Being as clear as possible as to exactly what this parasite(/pollen) is and what it can do would help a great deal, and more logical specificity would boost the originality.
The fact that Estrella is so young is a great place to start the story. It gives the character so much room to grow throughout an adaptation and/or sequels. She’s complex and interesting, and she doesn’t have her emotions under control the way a “real” adult would quite yet. Sometimes this can make her feel a little uneven, with her angry or upset outbursts, but ironing that out so she seems less extreme would be an easy fix. She’s growing up alongside her very planet, and now she’s proven herself to be a capable leader. She’s absolutely the kind of character an audience will become invested in and want to follow.
Uniqueness of Story
All of the moving parts of this novel make it a rare gem for sure. There are many different aspects that are unique and compelling, and for the most part they work together really well. This does feel different from a good amount of sci-fi that’s out there, even if certain elements are held to (such as a sprawling universe, or a young hero). Though the world building that’s on the page is great, it could be bettered if certain small details were a little clearer. For instance, TV news shows seem to be almost the same in this futuristic world, as do political rallies. It would be interesting to see more of what sets them apart from the familiar.
TV Series: Network, Cable, Streaming
The only reason this project isn’t a “recommend” is due to the pacing and the narrative arc. That said, those are both fixes that would be easy to make in an adaptation, so this definitely deserves attention. The themes of immigration, refugee crises, and workers’ rights are all topical, and they mirror the world we live in well. The manuscript is an enjoyable read that entrances the audience right away, and Estrella is a joy to follow along with throughout. It’s easy to root for her, and, even at her darkest or most ruthless, she’s empathetic. This would be a difficult project to see made, if only for the high budget, but there’s something original and dynamic here. The very best sci-fi always has something to say about the world, and this is presenting many, many messages that would be of interest to an audience. It might be worth considering what this is ultimately saying regarding workers’ rights and labor unions, since the two main characters we see fighting for such things — Gilt Duroc and Norvegicus — are, respectively, killed or controlled by aliens. Giving more of a sense of what this world might look like going forward would solve this.
A planet that has risen from its status as a penal colony to being a promising world full of a mix of alien races, New Australia also boasts a young, ambitious human leader. She begins to recognize signs across the galaxy of a dangerous parasite that causes violence and madness, which a crew from her world accidentally brought back from an uninhabited planet a year and a half ago. She embarks on a journey to other planets to share their vaccine and antidote with other leaders, saving entire populations of various species. When she thinks their task is finished, a new risk arises with a union leader who threatens to destroy their galaxy once and for all.
What We Liked
Estrella is a stand-out protagonist. Her age makes her perfect for both a teenage and adult audience alike, casting a wide net for an interested audience. On the cusp of adulthood, she symbolizes her burgeoning planet and its challenges flawlessly. She is coming into her own, just as New Australia is, and it would be thrilling to follow her journey. She’s complex and interesting, and she’s never one-note. She’s capable of both ruthlessness and extreme empathy, and she’s determined to do what’s right and save her people above all else. She’s never afraid to risk her own life for the good of the galaxy.
Film: There are several sci-fi film series that have set the ground for this to be a successful feature
adaptation — and prove that it could work and be a fan favorite. There’s no shortage of locations to explore, and each would be more cinematic than the last. This could easily work as a stand-alone film that closely parallels the divided politics that humans face today, or it could begin a series with several sequels as we follow these characters and their adventures through space. The politics of each planet are fascinating and fun to explore, and it allows these aliens to feel like real, empathetic characters in whom we can see our own reflections.
TV: This is the sort of manuscript that’s made to be a television show. It’s epic, sprawling science fiction at its best, traversing the very galaxy while exploring new worlds and peoples. There are a variety of planets to explore, as well as interesting alien species to feature. Estrella is also a young character, and she has so much room to grow. It would be inspiring to see her truly become the strong leader that her planet needs her to be, living up to her parents’ memory. A series would ensure she has the time to explore all of the places she needs to while fulfilling a satisfying character arc that would intrigue all viewers.
1. Complex female lead
2. Vast sci-fi world
3. Possibility for sequels
4. Unique aliens
5. Cinematic visuals
On the planet of Suidonj, a rising progressive star candidate, GILT DUROC, is assassinated. She was the only one standing in the way of LANDRASE JAHMFF ruining their world with his anti-immigration rhetoric. Suidonj is normally peaceful, and its pig-like humanoid inhabitants aren’t prone to violence. ESTRELLA MWONGA is the ruler of New Australia, once a penal colony and now a thriving planet filled with diversity. Estrella worries that Suidonj might be infected with the same parasite that led to the death of her PARENTS. A ship that departed 18 years ago, showed back up 17 years later with dangerous alien pollen from an unoccupied planet that causes violence and insanity. Estrella’s parents and many others on the planet were killed before the spread could stop. New Australia now has a vaccine that will stave off the parasite, and Estrella realizes they need to distribute it to other planets where they’re seeing signs of an outbreak. With ADMIRAL SLOUT and KSCHEEECH by her side, she sets out to meet with PRIME MINISTER ABRAFRILRIC on Suidonj. They identify the parasite in the ASSASSIN’S brain, and they’re able to supply Abrafrilric and his people with the vaccine and antidote so they can begin to heal.
With that crisis avoided, they head to other planets to do the same. Next is Enosh, which is full of cat-like humanoids, then Zorgolong, whose lizard-like inhabitants are being bullied by an aggressive cult. As the CULT LEADER was an astronomer and engineer, he has access to the codes which could make a nuclear minefield out of the satellites orbiting the planet. Estrella and her crew soon realize the leader has been taken captive by more radical members, and they rescue him and his FOLLOWERS who don’t agree with the violence. The planet is cured of the parasite, and the crew carries on to Earth. The Prime Minister of Earth, DEVI, rolls out the red carpet treatment for Estrella, but Estrella soon realizes that Earth’s allegedly utopic workers appear to be mindless drones. The pharmaceutical industry got everyone hooked on over prescribed antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication years earlier without it being widespread knowledge. The parasite has infiltrated Earth, but it wasn’t clear because the lower-class workers were drugged to the gills. Devi works alongside Estrella to quickly get the antidote and vaccine distributed. Estrella returns to New Australia, though the truth of her adventure is kept under wraps to prevent panic.
On the isolated colony Frabrak 3, Schpleefti immigrant worker NORVEGICUS has inspired a labor movement. It started with his rodent-like people and has spread to the Schpleefti immigrant population on Suidonj. Estrella at first supports his cause, but she begins to think he might be too good to be true. He could be infected with the parasite, manipulated by the artificial intelligence in the alien pollen. Norvegicus calls for a galaxy-wide labor summit in a neutral location: New Australia. Estrella learns that Norvegicus used to be mute, and he doesn’t even speak his own language — only the more formal Galactic. His sudden intelligence suggests he’s been affected by the brain-altering parasite. The parasite purposely singled out a vulnerable community, as many of the immigrants are undocumented, and thus wouldn’t have been called in to be vaccinated against it. At the Galactic Labor Summit, Estrella, announces that Norvegicus is infected with the parasite, and he in turn admits to poisoning all of them.
Quarantine is quickly instituted, and scientists develop an antidote in the nick of time. The alien parasite had sought to destroy modern civilization and blame it on the reformed criminals on New Australia. A team of scientists leaves for Frabrak 3 to ensure all immigrants and workers are inoculated.