My opinion may be controversial, but I stand by it. I think that with a few tweaks, Ruby Dixon’s delightful “Ice Planet Barbarians” book series could be adapted into a fun, sexy TV show that would delight Bridgerton and science fiction fans alike. And to clarify, I want to be the person to do this. So here are my credentials: I have none. I am an accountant by trade, and I like to watch TV. That’s about it. But I have heart and the willingness to do what it takes to impress whoever reads this article and agrees with me.
Allow me to explain. If you’re reading this, you’re likely already familiar with the “Ice Planet Barbarian” series, but I’ll give you some background on the story.
In 2015, a group of human women are kidnapped by slave-trading aliens and dropped on a frozen wasteland planet. One woman, Georgie, ventures out and encounters Vektal, chief of the Sa-khui tribe and resident alien hottie. Vektal “resonates” to Georgie, meaning his alien biology chooses her as his mate. He and his tribe help Georgie and her friends survive on the planet by giving them “khuis”, aka, a symbiont to help them survive the planet’s toxic atmosphere, keep the host healthy, and find them the perfect mate. Each book in the series is a fun adventure about a woman and a sexy alien man falling in love, surviving the wild planet, and resonating (and not always in that order). The human woman and the Sa-khui tribe build a home and a community together, full of love, friendship, and children.
Thanks to Emma Carter, this book series became popular on TikTok and picked up steam as more people read them “as a joke.” I was one of those people. I read the first one during an overnight layover in the Denver airport. It was one a.m., and my options were either “read this alien erotica” or “try and sleep on the filthy carpet.” I chose the first option, and I have no regrets. I have read the entire “Ice Planet Barbarian” series in two months, including the novellas and the spin-off series “Icehome.” I am now eagerly awaiting the release of “Sam’s Secret.” Feel free to judge, but the last two months have been a total blast.
Ruby Dixon (a pen name for a NY Times Best-Selling Author) is funny, creative, and shockingly prolific. She’s written well over 40 books in the last six years. I saw this with the most profound respect: that is an insane amount of writing to produce, and I wish I had an ounce of her talent and work ethic. I sincerely wish her every success. It’s easy for people like me to make fun of her “monster-fucking” books, but the truth is, she’s a good author, and the fact that her books have “resonated” (yes, pun intended) with so many people is a sign that she’s on to something. Her stories feature smart female heroines, sweet romantic heroes, and soul-deep love. Sure, the guys are himbos with special ribbed dongs, but they’re also devoted, passionate, and selfless. Some might say that’s unrealistic, but so is every other romance novel. Romance novels are escapist fantasy, but that doesn’t mean they cannot touch on real issues.
I think that with a few changes, “Ice Planet Barbarians” could easily be a fun, escapist show that stays true to the spirit of Ruby Dixon’s books. In the following paragraphs, I’ll propose a few of my ideas. Before I begin, I need to emphasize that I have no connection to Ruby Dixon or her series. I’m just a weird fan who likes TV and wanted to share my thoughts. Basically, I’m writing fan fiction, but I desperately wish I was a powerful TV executive who could greenlight this series for adaptation. Maybe one day I’ll be that person, but for now, I’m just a random person sharing her ideas for a made-up TV series on her blog. Now with that being said, let’s get to the fun stuff.
“Ice Planet Barbarians” – The TV Show
To those wondering, “how would you turn an erotica series into a tv show?” I would recommend you look to any romantic movie or show with an R-rating. In 2020 alone, Netflix released two different book adaptations that fit this description: “Bridgerton” and “365 Days“. While they were both flawed (“365 Days” being aggressively problematic), they were still prevalent on the platforms, and I would argue that “Bridgerton” was ground-breaking television.
The story of a group of human women learning to survive and falling in love while on a dangerous alien planet could be incredibly exciting to watch. I would take the first three books in the series: “Ice Planet Barbarians,” “Barbarian Alien,” and “Barbarian Lover” and expand those into 8 episodes. I will borrow events from other books, expand on characters in ways that I think would move the story forward, and add additional drama. And a few dumb jokes because that’s what makes this series so much fun in the first place.
My most significant change is that I think the cast of women should be more diverse in their ages and ethnicities. Almost all of the characters, except maybe Josie and Liz, should be older than 22. My choice is partially inspired by the Icehome series, which features women aged 17 to 32 from varying cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations. The first book does a good job setting the scene and introducing us to some of the characters and the world of Not-Hoth, but I don’t think it did the best job developing Georgie and Vektal’s characters.
As Georgie and Vektal are a primary couple of this series, they need a makeover. Georgie is given the unofficial role of leader of the humans, but I know some readers aren’t a fan of her character. For starters, although Georgie is a native Floridian in the books, I propose that for this fake TV adaptation, her character should be of Inuit descent. Her new backstory is an Iñupiat woman who spent her childhood and teenage years in Northern Alaska. After the death of her family, she’ll eventually move to Orlando, Florida, because she desperately needed a fresh start. Why Orlando? I don’t know – maybe she wanted to check out Disneyworld. Why does anyone start over anywhere?
Except, for our Georgie, escaping to Orlando hasn’t made her happier, and it’s only on Not-Hoth with the Sah-Khui she will find love, happiness, and purpose. The Georgie of this show will be brave, resourceful, clever, and compassionate, doing what it takes to thrive in her new environment and help her human friends. I’m excited to watch her grow into the leader she’s supposed to be. I’m also excited to watch her beat the hell out of an evil alien slave trader.
Vektal’s story will also be a little different. He’s a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. His tribe is slowly dying, having suffered the catastrophic loss of more than half their population 15 years prior. His father was one of the casualties, and as he was forced to take up the position of chief, he keenly feels the weight of this responsibility and the pain of this loss. He knows that his people “came from the stars”, and prays for a miracle to restore his tribe to its original state. When he meets Georgie, it will be as though the world has shifted on its axis. When he realizes that several extra women are ready to join the tribe and help restore numbers, I want him to cry like Naoh in “Quest for Fire.” Like he just learned the secret to making fire, and now everything will be better than before. Time to show some damn feeling, Vektal. Except, as the series progresses, he’ll realize that things aren’t so easy, and running a tribe of humans and Sa-khui is more complicated than he would have once thought. But he’ll have Georgie by his side to soothe his way and help him, and together they’ll make life on Not-Hoth bloom.
Liz and Raahosh’s story will also change, but not because their characters need any work. Oh no, Liz and Raahosh are fantastic and hilarious and should remain the same. He’ll be a prickly cactus bear, and Liz is his salty, opinionated lady. She’ll make his life both miserable and more wonderful beyond comprehension. My only change to their story would be the setting. The fruit cave on “Not-Hoth” is not discovered until “Barbarian’s Touch,” about two years later in the timeline. “Barbarian’s Touch” was not my favorite of the series, and I think that the fruit cave should be discovered by Liz and Raahosh. This will occur after they’ve been attacked by metlaks, and Liz needs to drag him to safety. She’ll find the fruit cave along the way, and together they’ll share this discovery with the tribe. The world of Not-Hoth will be beautiful but cold and stark, and I think the addition of the lush, verdant fruit cave would be so visually splendid and a fitting metaphor for the new life the humans are breathing into the Sa-khui tribe. (For those worried that I am taking Lila’s discovery away from her, don’t worry, I have more ideas for later that I think would still fit in line with Ruby’s series)
Here is my rough guide to the first season:
Episode 1: We’re introduced to the Sa-khui tribe and our human women, focusing on Vektal and Georgie. Georgie is kidnapped by aliens and meets the rest of the girls. She starts an uprising in the ship’s cargo bay, crash-lands on Not-Hoth, and ventures out to find help while the other women stay back. Georgie falls into one of Vektal’s traps, and after she passes out, he takes her to a hunter’s cave and resonates to her. The episode ends with their first official “meeting.” The other women work together to survive.
Episode 2: Georgie and Vektal work together despite a language barrier. She gets him to go with her up the mountain, but they encounter trouble along the way. We see how the other girls are fairing (not well at all). Vektal takes Georgie up the mountain and sees the other women. Vektal and Georgie promise to come back with more help. They stop at the ancestor’s cave, learn each other’s languages, then round up the other hunters to help rescue the human women. Georgie decides to stay with Vektal on Not-Hoth. The hunters work together to take down a Sa-kohtsk, and the women receive khuis.
Episode 3: Resonance time! People start resonating left and right, and no one realizes that Raahosh stole Liz. Womp womp. Tiffany, who’s diabetic, falls into a coma despite the khui, and she, Josie, and Kira are rushed to the tribal caves to get help from the healer. Nora and Dagesh, Ariana and Zolaya, and Marlene and Zennek all resonate. Most of the tribe journies to the elder’s cave to learn the language and get settled. Liz wakes up with Raahosh, and the two fight.
Episode 4: Liz and Raahosh are attacked by metlaks. Liz drags Raahosh to safety and finds the fruit cave. She nurses him back to health, and they complete resonance. The rest of the gang travels to the tribal caves. Tiffany wakes up from her coma. There’s a big-ass party, and the girls settle into the tribe. Stacey and Pashov resonate, and Claire meets Bek. Aehako flirts with Kira, angering Asha. The human women learn why they’re so highly prized by the Sa-khui.
Episode 5: Nora and Dagesh have their wedding. Concerns over food security emerge. Liz and Raahosh go back to the tribe and face the music. Raahosh is banished. Liz starts drama with the tribe, showing cracks in the human/Sa-khui relations. The single girls are afraid. The fruit cave helps with food. The mated couples are running out of space. There is a tour of the southern caves.
Episode 6: Marlene, Zennek, and Salukh go ice-fishing. Salukh falls through the ice and drags Marlene with him. Raahosh helps to save them. Liz plots to end Raahosh’s banishment and gets banished with him. Yay! Marlene’s near-death experience leads to greater restrictions on the women of the tribe. Georgie and Vektal fight over the future of the tribe. Aehako presents Kira with his courting gift.
Episode 7: Megan and Cashol resonate. Kira learns that the slavers are returning and wants to have her implant removed. Kira, Aehako, Harlow, and Haeden journey to the elder’s cave. Kira has her implant removed and gets together with Aehako. Harlow visits the medbay and flexes her engineering muscles. Kira comes up with a plan to defeat the alien slave traders, once and for all.
Episode 8: The slave traders kidnap Kira, wounding Aehako and Haeden in the process. Harlow is taken by an unseen force. Kira cleverly takes down the slave traders by poisoning their ship’s atmosphere. She wanders through the alien ship, taking down whoever gets in her way. Kira repilots the ship to crash into a nearby mountain and escapes via a pod. She returns to Not-Hoth, runs into Aehako’s arms, and takes Haeden back to the tribe. Kira tells Vektal and Georgie about the slave traders, and then Vektal has Aehako lead the South Caves. While moving to the South Caves, Kira and Aehako resonate. In the closing moments of the episode, Georgie and Vektal discuss the future of the tribe. Harlow is still missing. Megan and Cashol are not as happy as they seem. Living on an ice planet is still dangerous and challenging. And on a mountain, far away from the tribe, 3 people lay sleeping in stasis pods.
Also, every time a couple resonates, Selena’s “I Could Fall In Love” needs to play in the background.
This is my rough outline for what I imagine the first season of “Ice Planet Barbarians” would be like. I have many additional ideas for each episode that I have not put down yet, but I’m excited to continue working on this project. I’m grateful to Ruby Dixon for creating such an exciting world and unique characters that I felt like I could easily take them and run with this. I also have ideas for the characters that would flesh them out a little more and help distinguish them from each other because each woman’s experience in this new society should be unique. The Sa-khui men will also react differently to this recent influx of human women, and some will not respond positively to the changes in their community. I wonder if any of the Sa-khui people will feel like they’re losing a part of themselves with this new change? Are there any similarities between the Neanderthals of our world, and the Sa-khui of Not-Hoth, forced to mate with homo sapiens to ensure the survival of their species?
Other changes I would institute for the sake of the show are character-based. I plan to have Zennek struggle with the idea of a mate, having long before resigned himself to a life of loneliness. I think some of the single hunters may have briefly had relationships with each other in the past, and there may still be unresolved feelings. Jealousy will be a severe problem with some of the unmated men, and it’s going to poorly influence their actions, as we clearly see through the rest of the series.
My undergrad degrees were in Biology and Anthropology, which has given me a deep love for the biodiversity on Earth and cultural diversity among all people. I love learning about the cultural traditions, beliefs, and mythology of other people. Thus, this will show up in anything that I write.
I think it can be very intimidating to write from a perspective that’s different from your own. I’m certainly nervous. I want to respectfully and honestly reflect on the experiences of people who are different from me. My goal is to make anyone who reads my work feel validated and listened to. The last thing I would want to do is inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings because of my ignorance, so I want anyone who reads this article to know that I’m always trying to learn and improve. So, of course, I am always open to suggestions and ideas because our strengths as people come from our ability to collaborate. For those interested, I do have a partially-complete fancast available.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll do some additional writing for this fun project, maybe come up with a script or two, but I hope whoever is reading this enjoyed my take on the series. Who knows, perhaps this article will reach the eyes of a Netflix executive, and then the series will be greenlit. And if that’s the case, can I pretty please be hired on as part of the crew?