This question reminded me of a novel I read in my youth. It was about a future earth with a very organized power structure where people are ranked (I believe it was 1-100) by their power/wealth.

The protagonist is a nobody (rank 100?) who by sheer will and desire never to be controlled by anyone rises through the ranks, eventually making some kind of deal with aliens to take control of everything.

  • Instead of numbers, could it have been a progression of colored symbols? – ImaginaryEvents Aug 26 '15 at 17:34
  • @ImaginaryEvents I suppose it could have been, but if so the symbols were clearly explained as being 10 ranks from the top, etc. – Digital Chris Aug 26 '15 at 17:40
  • Check this question/answer: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/48031/… – ImaginaryEvents Aug 26 '15 at 17:43
  • There was a ranking system from 1-100 in Subspace Encounter but the rest of it doesn't match well. – Harry Johnston Aug 26 '15 at 21:31
  • "Who is Number One?" "You are Number Six." "I am not a number! I am a free man!" – Mike Harris Nov 29 '17 at 17:37

For completeness, I think this book is The Man Who Used the Universe by Alan Dean Foster. I have given a detailed description of the book in my answer to Story ID - ruthless criminal; legal/illegal citizen ranks.

To address your specific points, the rankings you mention are called class:

There were a hundred classes of citizenship, both legal and illegal. Of course, you could hold both, depending on your profession and avocations. Loo-Macklin was an eighty-third-class illegal and had spent two years in that status. He was tired of it. Any twenty-two-year-old would have been. But Loo-Macklin was very patient, which the average citizen his age was not. Patience was a prerequisite in his chosen line of work.

Loo-Macklin makes a deal with an alien race called the Nuel:

However, I have been able to persuade sufficient of the Heads of the Families (from his studies, Loo-Macklin knew that in Nuel society, a "Family" might consist of several hundred thousand individuals, a Great Family of millions) to allow me to make this contact with you. We occasionally find the rare human with whom we can work."

"Work how?" Loo-Macklin leaned forward, interested.

"I have what amounts to a business proposition for you, Kee-yes vain Lewmaklin. Would such coming from me interest you?"

At the time Loo-Macklin's deal appears self serving, but his ultimate aim is to (spoiler alert!):

Save both mankind and the Nuel from another warlike alien race called the Tremovan by bonding mankind and the Nuel into single unit strong enough to fight the Tremovan.

  • How does that book match this question? – Valorum May 21 '17 at 10:42
  • @Valorum: are you suggesting I should give details here? Or perhaps that I should address points like the ranking system in my answer to the other question? Or both? – John Rennie May 21 '17 at 10:43
  • Preferably the former. As it stands I see absolutely nothing in the (alleged) dupe to suggest that this is the correct book aside from the presence of aliens. – Valorum May 21 '17 at 10:47
  • @Valorum; fair enough ... – John Rennie May 21 '17 at 11:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.