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Frederik Pohl's 'Gateway' to Get TV Series Treatment

Frederik Pohl - Circa 2008
Ally Union

Deadline Hollywood reported in a March 10, 2014 story that “Gateway,” a science fiction novel by the late Frederik Pohl, is headed for the small screen courtesy of De Laurentiis Co’s Martha De Laurentiis and Lorenzo De Maio along with eOne’s John Morayniss, CEO eOne TV; Michael Rosenberg, EVP U.S. Scripted TV; and Benedict Carver, SVP Filmed Entertainment. The search is underway for a writer to make the television adaptation while the production partners work on the world-wide distribution of the series.

“Gateway,” published four decades ago, is a grim, depressing story set in a dystopian future, when the Earth is overpopulated and contains a massive underclass which subsists on food grown from bacterial slime. The one forlorn hope for many of these poor jobless people is to travel to the Gateway station and from there travel on a hazardous mission that might make them rich but will likely make them dead—or worse.

Gateway is set in the Heechee, a space station constructed by a long-vanished alien race, now inhabited by humans. It centers on Robinette ‘Rob’ Broadhead, who, haunted by a dark love story, has traveled on a one-way ticket from Earth for the extremely dangerous mission of piloting one of thousands of abandoned alien spacecrafts on Gateway. The technology of these alien ships is not fully understood, with most trips resulting in death. The reward for a rare successful return, however, can be untold riches, so crews continue to sign up despite the desperate odds. ‘It is an absolute, complete, desperate gamble with very high stakes that attracts all those desperate people to a border town,’ said De Maio, who noted how contemporary Gateway feels despite being written four decades ago as it tackles such concepts as mining asteroids.”

Thus a TV adaptation is likely to be far darker in tone than—say—“Star Trek” or even “Firefly.” There is no word as yet as to when and on what network “Gateway” the series will air.