GONE is a six-novel dystopia/science-fiction/horror series written by Michael Grant and published between 2008 and 2013.
Although there has been serious talks of a potential television adaptation since 2013, elements did not start to come into fruition until six years later. GONE TV has the backing of Engage, a UK production company as well as the recent shooting of a marketing tool teaser that starred actors as Sam, Edilio, Dekka, Albert and EZ.
As the potential TV series is based on an existing work, it has the advantage of at least some of the audience already knowing the setting, core characters and story. This allows for some deviation to keep everyone on their toes.
This post is a character guide for the casual viewer, someone who may not have read the books though has seen the hype. Here’s a chance for you to catch up.
The first thing you need to know is this: GONE focuses on children aged fourteen and under in Perdido Beach, a fictional Californian beach town. One day, for unexplained reasons initially, everyone aged fifteen and over mysteriously disappears into thin air. Poof. Vanish. GONE.
The stranded kids, now trapped by a mysterious dome, create a new society known as the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone), named due to the town having a history of nuclear disasters and having a power plant to prevent such an occurrence.
Here are some of the important characters that you should familiarise yourself with:
Sam Temple is the overall protagonist of the novels, although the focus does shift around various people.
He lives in Perdido Beach, CA and is the son of a single mother, Constance (Connie), who works as a nurse at Coates Academy, a nearby private school. Sam attends Perdido Beach School.
Like his best friend, Quinn Gaither, Sam is a surfer and even after being thrust into the FAYZ, he still craves the familiarity and comfort of the waves.
Prior to the events of GONE (which is the name of both the first book and overall series), Sam had a crush on Astrid Ellison, a fellow student and she later becomes his girlfriend. More on Astrid below.
His main rivalries throughout the series are with a mysterious being known as the Gaiaphage and Coates Academy students Caine Soren and Drake Merwin. Sam’s relationship with both evolves significantly from a simple teenage boy rivalry, however these are deep spoilers, so I would say watch the show to learn those.
Sam also develops new friendships with other characters such as Honduran student Edilio Escobar as well as Coates Academy newcomers Dekka Talent, Brianna (The Breeze) and Computer Jack.
Astrid Ellison – known as Astrid the Genius, is an extremely intelligent girl who attends Perdido Beach School and is known for being very smart as well as attractive.
She lives with her parents, of whom her father works in the local power plant prior to the town-wide disappearances. Astrid also has a younger brother, Peter (known as Little Pete), who is severely autistic.
Although Astrid would have been aware of classmates such as Sam Temple due to being from the same small town, they did not really interact until after the FAYZ came into effect.
Caine Soren is the intelligent, charming and diplomatic leader of the Coates Academy students, who link together with the kids from Perdido Beach at the start of the FAYZ. However, his amiable personality is a facade as he is truly a ruthless dictator who wants power and control.
His rivalry with Sam Temple is one of the main story arcs of the novels and as mentioned earlier, has a much deeper reason than just clashing teenage boys.
Caine’s strongest relationship in the novels is with Diana Ladris, a fellow Coates Student and his right-hand woman, who later becomes his lover. He has also worked with Drake Merwin, Howard Bassem and Orc throughout the series although he never fully trusted or liked these individuals.
Diana is a student at Coates Academy, who was sent there for assaulting her father after discovering he had a mistress.
She, like Caine, can present a charming and friendly facade, though drops the act behind closed doors. Like many of the other characters, Diana possesses mutant powers, with hers being the ability to guage the level of everyone else’s.
Without going too deeply into novel spoilers, Diana is much more than simply a ‘female sidekick’ or ‘Caine’s girlfriend’ and we see her grow and change as the books progress.
Diana’s alliances and friendships by the end of book six are practically the polar opposite of where her loyalties were placed in the first novel.
Albert Hillsborough, before the FAYZ hit, was simply a near- anonymous African-American student, one of the few at Perdido Beach School and not particularly important in the school’s social hierarchy.
However while the nightmare of the FAYZ was a horrible experience for most people, Albert truly came into his own as a powerful business magnate, starting with the local McDonalds and later the whole FAYZ.
While at the start of the series, Albert is basically just another kid who takes control of McDonalds, he slips further and further into neutrality as the story unfolds. While he, like many, prefers Sam as a person, he does not actively show preference to either him or Caine.
Little Pete is Astrid Ellison’s four, later five-year-old autistic younger brother as well as, to the surprise of many, the single most powerful individual in the FAYZ.
Due to his autism, Little Pete does not directly engage with many of the other characters, including his sister, though his actions directly influence the events of the whole series.
Many of the other kids encountered by Astrid are disrespectful and crude towards Little Pete. Such behaviour has included insulting his intelligence (calling him ‘retarded’) and throwing rocks at him.