Dumarest of Terra
Ultimate Spoilers and Trivia

The "Dumarest of Terra" saga is a series of science fiction novels by author E. C. Tubb. The first book in the series was published in 1967, and the last in 2008. This series was the inspiration for the Jeff Buser song "The Traveler".

The links on this home page lead to pages with general backstory and key concepts of the series. However, anywhere the title of a novel appears (in the bibliography and elsewhere), the title is a clickable link to a description of the novel that contains massive amounts of spoilers. If you haven't read a book and don't want to know what happens before you do, DO NOT CLICK ON THE TITLE!

The Setting
The series is set in the distant future of our galaxy, a brutal place with no central government. Individual worlds (and a few rare regional alliances and empires) are like city-states of old, and vary greatly in their degree of technological and cultural sophistication.  Even the most ambitious tend to rely on mercenaries when attacking or defending against their neighbors.  The galaxy appears to have been colonized in countless waves of human expansion over thousands or tens of thousands of years, and if there was ever a centralized, homogenous society, it has long since collapsed.  The parallel with the Dark Ages in Europe on Earth is unmistakable. 

Humans are the only significant sentient species in the galaxy, and inhabit every world which is even remotely capable of supporting human life.  Much animal life on the worlds where humans dwell is also of terrestrial origin, albeit often mutated or highly evolved into a specific niche in the local ecology.  The number of inhabitable worlds is high, because the ancient humans were avid terraformers (a technology which is understood but seldom used in Dumarest’s time).  This also explains the relative scarcity of all but the most rudimentary indigenous life forms on planets where humans reside.

Regardless of whether there was once a galactic empire that fell, or simply an endless cascade of chaotic outpourings of stellar explorers and refugees, the worlds where technology and culture are on the wane (or have reverted to utter barbarism) far outnumber the worlds where anything remotely resembling progress is still being made.  The only thing holding it all together is interstellar commerce, made necessary (and profitable) by the fact that very few worlds have all the various types of resources required to form an entirely self-sustaining economy and ecology.

The Protagonist
Earl Dumarest is a traveler searching for his lost home planet, Earth, a place he describes as inhospitable and scarred by ancient wars.  He left as a child, having stowed away on one of the infrequent trading vessels that came to call, and has long since forgotten the return route and the coordinates (if he ever knew them at all).  To nearly everyone he encounters, the name “Earth” is only a synonym for dirt, except for a few who recognize it as the name of a fictional legendary paradise like El Dorado or Avalon.

Dumarest is of indeterminate middle age; intelligent, resourceful and physically fit, although his uncanny speed and reflexes are more remarkable than his strength. Long years of hard experience have taught him that the one immutable law of the universe is "kill or be killed". His foes can expect only ruthless brutality, and while he treats friends and strangers compassionately, his compassion comes with a hard edge born of his will to survive at all costs and his uncompromising dedication to his quest for Earth.

The Antagonists
Individual supporting characters who appear in more than one novel are exceedingly rare in the series, but three organizations figure frequently and prominently in the action. The Cyclan is a group of cybernetically enhanced "über consultants" whom Dumarest has ample reason to despise. Early in the series Dumarest and the Cyclan become embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse that continues through the rest of the novels. The Universal Brotherhood is an altruistic humanitarian organization with whom Dumarest is on generally good terms. The Original People is a mysterious sect that Dumarest believes may posess information that could lead him to Earth, but their agendas are at odds more often than they coincide.

Plot Devices
Dumarest is not portrayed as exceptionally handsome, but he frequently benefits from the affections of women who are attracted to his confidence and resolve. He seldom fully reciprocates their feelings, but seems to have a weakness for "sensitives"; out of the four or five women he has genuinely fallen in love with, there have been a telepath, a precognitive, and a clairvoyant. Throughout the series, whenever Dumarest is stranded on a dead-end world and desperately needs cash, he falls back on his core skill: arena fighting for the amusement of the jaded rich, usually with knives and often to the death. Early in the series, Dumarest comes into possession of a stolen Cyclan technology called the "Affinity Twin" which gets him out of a few tight spots in later novels. Dumarest sometimes intentionally travels in regions harboring Spatial anomalies because ships that successfully navigate around these dangerous phenomena are nearly impossible to track. There is some indication that Dumarest's knack for survival is not merely due to the sum of his other attributes, but a genetic "survival trait".

The Traveller RPG Connection
Many of the key cultural and technological concepts in the Dumarest saga were incorporated into the role-playing game "Traveller".

For collated and condensed information about the Dumarest series in convenient list form, including a bibliography and a chronological list of the worlds to which Dumarest travels, click here.

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