❉ Andy Davidson’s extensive guide to the 1970s sci-fi teen series breaks out in a newly revised and updated form.
SECURITY CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret CASE FILE: 300/473 AUTHOR: Colonel T M Masters, Project Khepri SUBJECT: The ‘Tomorrow People’ – Security Hazard (Potential). JAUNT: A Viewer’s Guide To THE TOMORROW PEOPLE by Andy Davidson
Mr Davidson’s publication was first made available to the general public some years ago (original publication was in 2013): once its potential danger was realised, the appropriate authorities ensured that the print run was short, and that anyone taking its words seriously could be dismissed easily as cranks or conspiracy theorists. This status quo maintained until recently, when, just under a decade later, Mr Davidson and his publishers produced a revised and expanded edition. The question posing us now is: does this new version present a sufficient threat for further action to become necessary?
It is perhaps best to provide a quick refresher on the basics of the ‘Tomorrow People’, or, as they have also referred to themselves in concerning manner, Homo Superior. The first known specimens came to our attention in 1973 in London: a small group of teenagers, otherwise apparently normal, but possessing powers of telekinesis, telepathy, and teleportation. From observation, it appeared that they meant Humanity at large no harm, but the subsequent appearances of other ‘gifted’, not always teenaged, individuals across the Globe (I refer you to, among others, the case files of Carrie White, America, 1976: John Morlar, Britain, 1978; and Patrick (last name unrecorded), Australia, 1978), usually resulting in destructive and often fatal incidents, ensured that our observation was maintained.
Perhaps more alarming still is that the Tomorrow People claimed, and claim, to be the next step in the evolution of Humanity. Although thus far apparently peaceful in intent, and (from observation) having a biologically hard-wired aversion to killing, the unmeasured nature of their abilities – and their concerning habit of referring to the rest of the Human race as ‘Saps’ (shortened, allegedly, from Homo Sapiens, but undeniably dismissive or even insulting) – means that we must remain constantly vigilant of their communities across the planet.
And the particularly concerning point of their unknown capabilities is that, ever since 1973, they have been inserting themselves into the popular media of the United Kingdom, and potentially of the planet itself. They have presented narratives via television, books, comic strips and audio plays, in which they are generally depicted as covert but friendly defenders of the Earth and its people. (I refer you to the fictional scenarios related by such individuals as John Carpenter and his 1988 film They Live and John Christopher and his 1990 book When The Tripods Came for further details on the manipulation of mass media by hostile outsiders. Fictional as they may be, they are both worryingly instructive.) The most concerning point of the stories told of, and perhaps by, the Tomorrow People is that they follow one of the most insidious rules of any successful propaganda, to wit, ‘get ‘em while they’re young’. These tales are generally aimed at the youth of the population, suggesting an alarming strategy of securing popular support from Society’s most impressionable, and then securing their loyalty for life.
It was, of course, the support of such a stratagem that Mr Davidson’s book offered that led to our initial interest in his publication in 2013. He plays along with the carefully constructed conceit that the actions of the Tomorrow People are nothing more than amusing Fiction, entertainment for imaginative young minds: in a particularly inspired move, he even states firmly that such stories are as unintentionally amusing as they are inspiring. As he says:
‘Most remarkable of all is that it is as good as it is almost in spite of itself. For every bold political statement, there’s an alien commander who looks like a Tiki glass. For every beautifully realised space battle, there’s a plastic cup sprayed silver and glued onto a mop handle. The Tomorrow People giveth with Geoffrey Bayldon, Michael Sheard and Trevor Bannister, and it taketh away with an alien boy whose received pronunciation could cut diamond, Margaret Burton’s sparkly leotard and Nicholas Young’s everlasting dressing gown.’
Eloquent, but insidious, words. Make potential enemies seem amusingly fallible even as the main thrust of your narrative offers support and admiration for them. Throughout History, the humanising of a faction presented in parallel with praise for their strength has proven a consistently successful way to power.
One of the most valuable aspects of Mr Davidson’s book is that he has gone to great lengths to speak with, or at least record the words of, many of the key participants in The Tomorrow People’s creation, from the series’ deviser to many members of the main cast(s). These interviews provide us with further valuable insight with which to arm ourselves. An important observation is made by the driving force behind the series, Mr Roger Price:
‘Now Homo sapiens has created an environment which, out of tune with his instincts, may yet engineer his own destruction. Scientists and science fiction writers have long predicted the advent of a Homo superior, a descendant of Homo sapiens who will be better adapted to the Nuclear Space Age than his inventive but uncivilised forebears.
In the series, Homo superior is already amongst us.’
This in itself is a telling proposition. We – Homo Sapiens – are arguably not to be destroyed: indeed, the Tomorrow People’s aversion to killing is reassuring evidence of that. However, the clear implication is that something better – Homo Superior – is going to assume a position of prominence and power, to become our rulers. And that they are already among us, largely unseen, and presumably working towards such a goal.
An important part of any such conquest, of course, is to convince the apparently powerless that they have much more strength than they realise, and that the ostensible liberator is there to provide them with a focus point for such beliefs, a conspicuous figurehead to rally behind. Mr Davidson’s thoroughly researched book includes a photograph of a give-away sticker emblazoned with the proud legend ‘I’m A Tomorrow Person’, clearly meant as a small but visible way of declaring one’s partisanship: and Davidson himself also provides us with another extremely telling comment:
‘Added to the mix was a healthy disregard for authority figures and a strong message that children should never think of those with power over them as being infallible, coming at a time when at school, at home and in society they were constantly being told otherwise.’
This is obviously a point of immense concern.
What is being presented by The Tomorrow People to its predominantly young audience is a clear message that not only shall it inherit the Earth, but that Earth’s current rulers, from the smallest level to the largest, must inevitably be swept aside if Humanity is to survive and progress. It is all but a direct call to insurrection.
So far, all of the evidence presented by, or implicit in, Mr Davidson’s account points firmly towards our need to suppress this book once again.
However, the question also needs to be asked: could things be better for the Earth, if Humanity at large accepts – or even welcomes – the Tomorrow People? This is a point that merits serious consideration, and I urge that my superiors consider my following words with care before arriving at a final decision regarding Mr Davidson’s tome.
The World has changed greatly in the nine years since the first publication of Jaunt. Across the planet, various actions and events have greatly altered Society, and it could be argued for the worse. Pandemics and climatic change, along with such concerning political events as Brexit and the Trump presidency and its fallout, suggest that maybe Humanity in general may need to learn more tolerance and co-operation to survive. And such learning may, in fact (if we heed the evidence) rely on acceptance of, and even working with, the Tomorrow People.
One thing that may be said in favour of the Tomorrow People is that they show a refreshing lack of prejudice in their numbers. Anyone who has ‘broken out’ (as they refer to the process of their awakening as a specimen of Homo Superior) is welcome: they do not recognise national, racial, sexual, gender, or political boundaries. Roger Price, once again, had a telling comment to make on the casting of the original television series:
‘At one point they didn’t want to have a black member of the cast. So I sad, “Fine, I won’t do it. You cannot have a series about Homo superior without a black person.”…I would not have made a series about a new super race and they be all white.’
As well as black representatives, the Tomorrow People have also apparently included Chinese, Gypsy, and Gay individuals among their numbers, according to the various iterations of their stories. Such a thoroughly inclusive approach can only be encouraging in the eventuality that we have to work with them, or even become part of some theoretical new Society under their aegis.
A new World, if it is to endure, must – whatever the personal prejudices of many – by its very nature be fully inclusive. Humanity can only hope to survive and succeed if our petty personal and national boundaries can be removed. This is understandably a cause for concern to many, simply due to the many flaws of Human nature, but in the final reckoning we have to go forward united if we are to secure any worthwhile Future for our species.
On one hand, the Tomorrow People represent the Unknown, and people are always afraid of the Unknown. What needs to be done, with caution but also with optimism, is to replace that fear with hope, and with genuine and eager anticipation of what lies ahead. Factual or fictionalised, many of the Tomorrow People’s adventures have involved Humanity becoming part of a genuine galactic fraternity, and while this may be simply the stuff of Science Fiction there has been enough fact in what we have so far learned of Homo Superior that we cannot discount such an exciting possibility.
‘We taught them that everybody has the potential to be what they want to be.’
This is a quote reported by Mr Davidson from Mr Nicholas Young, an actor who has been associated closely with the apparently fictional accounts of the Tomorrow People from the very beginning until its most recent reiterations and re-imaginings. It is a noble and a positive message to bear in mind as we continue our dealings with the Tomorrow People. They have occasionally shown themselves to us and the governments of other nations across the Earth, and despite their perhaps understandable wariness – even paranoia – in dealing with us, they have never yet been recorded as anything other than helpful except by undisputed dictators and power-mongers.
I am aware that I may be seen as speaking from a position of bias. Despite my initial distrust of the Tomorrow People in my dealings with them, I have come to respect them and their apparent goals. Also, their status as ‘changed’ Humans perhaps makes me feel a certain kinship with them, following my scientific resurrection in a new body under the aegis of Project Khepri. In such a spirit of caution, yet coupled with a genuine optimism for us all, I recommend in conclusion that Mr Davidson’s excellent and informative book – its expansion allowing for the release of all kinds of fascinating and useful additional information on the history and the intentions of the Tomorrow People – be allowed to be published, for all who are willing to see, without let or hindrance from ourselves.
‘You gotta make way for the Homo superior’.
So sang Mr David Bowie, allegedly inspired to do so by Roger Price’s use of the phrase. I feel that his intentions may more accurately, and fruitfully, be read as ‘You’ve got to learn to live in friendship with the Homo Superior’.
A new, potentially glorious, Future awaits us, and all of Humanity. It is my considered opinion and recommendation that Mr Davidson’s sterling publication can only, in however small a way, move us towards that Future.
CONCLUSION: Publication to be allowed. Colonel T M Masters
❉ ‘Jaunt’, a revised and expanded edition of the viewer’s guide to The Tomorrow People by Andy Davidson, with a foreword by series creator Roger Price, was published 11 July 2022 from Ten Acre Films, £16.99. Click here to order directly from Ten Acre. THIS IS A PRE-ORDER. NEW PRINTING ARRIVING NOVEMBER 28 2022.
❉ Ken Shinn is a lifelong fan of all things cult and is a regular contributor to We Are Cult. His 58 years have seen him contribute to works overseen by the likes of TV Cream and the British Horror Films Group, as well as a whole batch of short stories of the fantastic, with his first novel on the way. Whatever the field, he intends to enjoy Cult in all its forms for many years to come.