Phoenix Island Inspires TV Series Intelligence

Guest Blogger: John Dixon

All over the world, proponents of transhumanism (or H+) are looking to give the human race an upgrade. Relying on emerging technologies and pharmaceutical enhancements, transhumanists are looking to engineer an accelerated evolution that would push us past our limitations. Faster, stronger, smarter, and more aware, we would, they argue, enter the “Posthuman Age.”

In the new TV series INTELLIGENCE, which premiers January 7th at 9 PM on CBS, Gabriel Vaughn, played by Josh Holloway, has already entered the Posthuman Age. A government agent with a powerful chip in his head, Gabriel is a Six Million Dollar Man for the 21stCentury. Where super strength and speed kicked butt in the seventies – I remember Steve Austin knocking out jailers with a tossed pillow in one episode – today, we need a super hero whose bionic strength is tech power. The only problem: no matter how easily or extensively Gabriel can access and employ networked technologies, he’s still stuck being a human… and it’s up to him to interpret data and wrangle emotions.

I’m typing this on the morning of the 7th, eagerly awaiting the premier of the show, as it was inspired by my debut novel, PHOENIX ISLAND, which also premiers today. The book, which is quite different now from the show, tells the story of Carl Freeman, a sixteen-year-old boxing champ sentenced to Phoenix Island, an isolated boot camp for teens. When Carl discovers that Phoenix Island is actually a Spartan style mercenary facility turning throwaway orphans into bloodthirsty super soldiers, he risks everything to save his friends and stop a madman bent on global destruction. Though the book and show have diverged markedly, I’m so incredibly happy, as an author and an INTELLIGENCE consultant,  that both versions are out in the world today.

The common theme – transhumanism – is of course nothing new in books and movies, and in the real world have its supporters and detractors. How do you feel about H+?

John Dixon’s debut novel, PHOENIX ISLAND, inspired the CBS TV series INTELLIGENCE. A former boxer, teacher, and stone mason, John now writes full time and serves as a consultant to ABC Studios. He lives in West Chester, PA, with his wife, Christina, and their freeloading pets. When not reading or writing, he obsesses over boxing, chess, and hot peppers.

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