Logan’s Run Remake in the Works

It’s not a very big book: only 149 pages in length, but then, the type is a little small.

Written by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson it was first published by Dial in 1967. The Bantam edition was printed in 1976 to coincide with the release of the movie based upon the book.

First, the book. It is one of the best science fiction novels I have ever been privy to read. It comes under the heading of “ahead of its time” and deals with an issue that I suspect will either become a very hot topic of discussion and debate or will be implemented without so much as a wimper.


Deciding who lives and who dies.

The year is 2116 and no one – absolutely no one – lives beyond the age of 21. That includes a ‘Sandman’ named Logan 3-1639 whose red crystal palm flower begins blinking red-black on his Lastday.

It works like this: a radioactive crystal flower is implanted in the palm upon birth. It is yellow in the beginning. On the seventh birthday, it turns blue and the seven year old is virtually kicked out of the nursery where it was raised by robots. At fourteen, the flower turns red and the child is now an adult.

Upon reaching the age of 21, the flower begins blinking red and black. Once it turns to black, a person must either voluntarily attend a Sleep clinic (much like “going home” in the movie Soylent Green) or run. A person who runs is hunted down by a Deep Sleep (DS) man or Sandman.

Logan is a Sandman whose flower begins blinking on his Lastday, even as he pursues a runner named Doyle. Doyle gets cut down by a group of youngsters called ‘Cubs’ – a very violent group all below the age of 14 who kill anyone or anything which encroaches upon their territory. Before he dies, Doyle gives Logan a key and utters the word “Sanctuary.”

Our man Logan decides to pursue this Sanctuary, all the while being pursued by Sandmen himself. At first, he wants to find the man who allegedly created Sanctuary – a man named Ballard who has lived to the ripe old age of 42 – and kill the man, thereby solidfying a legacy for himself. It is the only way he feels his life will mean something.

However, through his travels he realizes there is more life to be lived beyond the age of 21; that man must live longer in order to acquire wisdom.

William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson are still alive and kicking, both well into their eighties, and both continue to be creative. Johnson can be found on YouTube discussing his many creative projects and Nolan just finished penning another novel. Johnson wrote several Twilight Zone episodes back in the day including, “Kick the Can” and “A Game of Pool” with Jonathon Winters and Jack Klugman. He also wrote “The Man Trap” the first aired episode of the original Star Trek. Nolan co-wrote the 1976 movie “Burnt Offerings” starring Karen Black and Bette Davis, has a long list of published works and continues to publish.

There is talk of a remake of the 1976 movie with director Nicolas Winding Refn potentially starringRyan Gosling. Which I believe is a great idea. Though the 1976 movie starred Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Farrah Fawcett-Majors (at the time, God bless her) and Peter Ustinov. I have only viewed it once and thought it incredibly lame compared to the book. Because, in the movie, the age limit was 30 and Sanctuary was just outside the city. It didn’t follow the book very well and had two couples running instead of just Logan and Jessica 6-2298.

I welcome a remake, preferably one which adheres more closely to the true tone of the novel. I believe today’s audience is much more sophisticated and would understand the subtle nuances and bioethic undertone of the story.

I would also welcome a reprint of the novel, hopefully, properly formatted with a good proofreading.

In all fairness, there is a movie currently with a similar premise. “In Time” released to theaters on October 28, 2011 is where people do not live past the age of 25. That’s pretty much where the similarity ends, as far as I can tell. Because “In Time” rich people can buy more time to live.

But I’m partial to the book “Logan’s Run.” It has more of an earthy, realistic feel to it.

The comparison of this novel to bioethics is not that much of a stretch. Hardcore bioethicists believe in the elimination of the “weak,” i.e., those suffering from mental and physical disabilities, those with prolonged illness (such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease) and those deemed ‘unfit’ (criminals, the elderly, et al), so that the healthy may live better and use the resources the weak no longer need.

There is a flaw with this line of thinking: if the healthy do not need the medical resources that the less healthy are using, why do those “healthy” feel there is a need to eliminate those less healthy? Of course, I’m sure those bioethicists are considering the use of food, oxygen and space by those less healthy as well. BUt that still doesn’t make much sense, does it? After all, there’s plenty of those resources to go around.

The term ‘bioethics’ has been around for quite awhile. But it’s only made its way into the six o’clock news in the last decade or so.

There are plenty of people out there concerned with keeping a close eye on the ethical treatment of human beings particularly regarding health issues, medical experimental issues and the like.

But every coin has a flip side.

Certain questions come to mind: Who gets to determine what is ‘weaker’? And where are the ethics in determing who gets to live and who gets to die?

It’s a shame, really, that bioethics does not include a weakness of spirit or morality.

If that were the case, there wouldn’t be anybody left.

Except, maybe, those over the age of 21.


LA Times
Hollywood Reporter

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