Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tobias Buckell's "Ragamuffin"

Here is a synopsis of Tobias Buckell's new novel Ragamuffin:

The Benevolent Satrapy rule an empire of forty-eight worlds, linked by thousands of wormholes strung throughout the galaxy. Human beings, while technically “free,” mostly skulk around the fringes of the Satrapy, struggling to get by. The secretive alien Satraps tightly restrict the technological development of the species under their control. Entire worlds have been placed under interdiction, cut off from the rest of the universe.

Descended from the islanders of lost Earth, the Ragamuffins are pirates and smugglers, plying the lonely spaceways around a dead wormhole. For years, the Satraps have tolerated the Raga, but no longer. Now they have embarked on a campaign of extermination, determined to wipe out the unruly humans once and for all.

But one runaway woman may complicate their plans. Combat enabled, Nashara is more machine than flesh, and she carries inside her a doomsday weapon that could reduce the entire galaxy to chaos. A hunted fugitive, she just wants to get home before she’s forced to destroy civilization — and herself.

Who does the author see carrying his story in a possible film adaptation? Buckell's take:
Casting one's novel as if a movie, what author hasn't done this? One of the problems I face is that I'm writing science fiction adventure with Caribbean characters and background, and I don't know many big actors in the field who do the dialect well. That being said one of the first short stories I ever published featured Pepper, a character in both my first novel Crystal Rain and in this book, Ragamuffin. I had a strong image of Pepper in my head, so imagine my surprise when I got cable access and saw him on screen. It was on the show Andromeda, and the actor Keith Hamilton Cobb playing Tyr Anasazi was very, very close in both poise, look, and action to Pepper. A mixed race sci fi action hero with some very, very questionable morals. He could do that. In my dream career my books get picked up to be made into movies and Keith gets cast as Pepper in all his trenchcoat, dreadlocked, ass-kicking glory. If no Keith, then Vin Diesel with dreadlocks.

Ragamuffin is the story of Nashara, a woman more cyborg than human, who is hunted down by some pretty tough aliens as she tries to find a home. I think I would cast either Angela Basset (from her bodyguard role in Strange Days) or Jada Pinkett Smith. I think both of them have that tough confidence Nashara has throughout the book.

John deBrun always left me wondering who could do him justice, but I think I'd imagine Obba Babatunde managing this role. His character pieces always impress me. For John's son, Noah Gray-Cabe in a few years would be perfect for that role.

The crazy crew of the ship Queen Mohmbasa Nashara puts her lot in with as she is chased from world to world. Morgan Freeman for the captain Jamar Sinjin-Smith, Ziggy Marley or Gary Dourdan for Ijjy, and for Sean I'd go with Dwayne Johnson (the Rock) or Michael Clarke Duncan.
Read more about Ragamuffin and its predecessor, Crystal Rain, at Tobias Buckell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue