FOURTH REALM Book Trilogy Acquired by Warner Bros.

Movie by Free Reyes

With a mix of 1984, The Matrix, and Illusions this trilogy could be epic if done right.
Let's start with the author, John Twelve Hawks, who is shrouded in mystery. His die hard fans call him J12H or JXIIH. He lives "off the grid"--no bank account, and no fixed home. The editor of the books has never met him. John only talks to people using a voice scrambler. What's even crazier is John Twelve Hawks is not his real name.
Now that you understand a bit about the person who wrote it, you are probably wondering what the hell the story is about. As I don't think i could do a good job describing it, here is a Wikipedia excerpt:
The book is set in the new future and lays out a world where the real power lies not with people or governments, but in the hands of a secret organization who call themselves “the Brethren” but who their enemies refer to as “the Tabula”. The Tabula are a centuries old secret society who believe in the importance of control and stability, making them in essence advocates of a kind of extreme Utilitarianism. Influenced by the ideas of the philosopher Jeremy Bentham the Tabula wish to enforce a Virtual Panopticon: a society where all individuals become so accustomed to being watched and monitored that they act at all times as if they were being observed and are as such completely controllable.
This Virtual Panopticon is made possible through the use of surveillance cameras, centralized databases, RFID-like tags for each citizen, and assorted spy gear (heat sensors, infrared cameras, X-rays, etc...). The Tabula are a relatively small group, operate largely in secret, but they have great power across the planet, in part by manipulating politicians and other powerful individuals/organization, and in part because of their great wealth and advanced technology, which is in some cases far beyond the technology available to other groups and even governments.
The underlying premise for the realms in which this book is set greatly resembles the cosmology of Tibetan Buddhism (and other eastern cosmologies). Most notably, the second realm is explicitly labelled the realm of the Hungry Ghosts, but each realm in the enumerated hierarchy is associated with a given human shortcoming, much like in Hinduism and Buddhism. The world we inhabit is the fourth realm, and different Travelers can visit one or more of the other realms.
Although the basic plot is not new, the author provides a setting for discussion of larger issues, such as free will, the rapid increase in public surveillance and information gathering, the culture of fear, etc. While the motivations of the Tabula are explored in the book, this is kept at a rather superficial and crude level. Individual members are generally portrayed as either power hungry, psychopathic or deeply prejudiced, and the Tabula are set up as villains set to enslave humanity rather than misguided humanitarians.
The author has written a post-script at the end of the book in which he talks about his reasons for writing the novel and discusses, among other things, the development in western countries regarding surveillance (such as CCTV), data-mining, RFID and GPS, the Information Awareness Office, etc. He claims that all of the technology referred to in the book is either already being used or in the advanced stage of development.
More info on what a Traveler is:
The Travelers are individuals with a special gift, often but not always inherited, which allows them to detach from their bodies and journey through elemental barriers (water, fire etc) to other realms. They do this by detaching their “light” (internal energy seemingly analogous to the soul but found by the Tabula to be empirically measurable) from their body. Travelers’ experiences and gifts (they can view the world around them with greater speed and clarity than normal people) can lend them great charisma, wisdom and vision. Many Travelers become religious prophets, or opponents of the Tabula, and the random element they add to societies makes them enemies of the Tabula who have hunted them almost to extinction.
Those samples are just the world and not even the story. A few of my concerns are that some of the concepts might be too abstract for mainstream audiences. The Matrix did a brilliant job of making deep philosophical ideas palatable to regular movie goers. It's going to take a brilliantly adapted script to make this movie ring true for its fans.
GeekTyrant Homepage