Many space visionaries imagine a return to the moon based on the exploitation of its resources. From Helium 3, which could fuel future fusion plants, to water ice, which could be refined into rocket fuel, to platinum group metals and rare earth minerals, the moon may well be a treasure trove waiting for latter day miner adventurers to start extracting. Deadline Hollywood announced on Monday that CBS is developing a series, to be called Luna, based on an upcoming novel by Ian McDonald, set on the moon of the year 2110.
The world of Luna is not a venue where corporations work under a governing authority. In fact, the corporations are the governing authority, and they act, by all accounts, more like feudal houses right out of Game of Thrones, if not Mafia families out of The Godfather.
“Luna is set in the year 2110 on the moon, which over the previous 60 years has been colonized and industrialized. It is controlled by five powerful, highly competitive dynastic corporate families (known as the Five Dragons) who run their various business enterprises with an iron fist in a near-feudal society. The moon, under the control of the Five Dragons, is a lucrative source of valuable resources such as Helium-3, carbon, water ice and rare metals, which are exported back to Earth for huge profits.
“Forty years ago, Adriana wrested control of the moon’s lucrative Helium-3 industry from the powerful Mackenzie Metal corporation. Now, in the twilight of her life, Adriana finds her corporation, Corta Helio, surrounded by the many enemies she made during her meteoric rise. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana’s five children must defend their mother’s empire from her many enemies… and each other.”
The feudal arrangement has just a hint of libertarianism in it, albeit not quite the benign dream that advocates of that system imagine it to be. The author explained in the pages of BoingBoing.
“Luna has no government: it has contracts. You get to the moon by entering into a contract with the Lunar Development Corporation — the nice folks who’ll be selling you your air, bandwidth, carbon and water for the rest of your life — and everything you do afterwards is also contractual: marriage, employment, and, of course, criminal redress. If you’re murdered, your family will contract with a private court to adjudicate the damages they’re owed for your death. If you want to get a divorce, you’ll have to get a lawyer to argue your case in front of a private judge, and if you’re lucky, your lawyer will challenge the opposite party to personal combat. In rare cases, they’ll fight to the death.”
All of this looks like it will make for great science fiction, just as Game of Thrones makes for great fantasy. Would anyone want to live on the moon of McDonald’s imagination? Possibly not, but one cannot wait to read the book and then see the dramatization when it comes to air.