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 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
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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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