The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

A Little Bit Of Tape And A Dab Of Glue

Posted by BigWords on July 21, 2009

or, How To Create A Cohesive Universe From Disparate Sources

There is a litany of characters already firmly established in Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton concept, but I thought it might be fun to tie together some of the wilder and weirder ideas in one place. Why? Well, why not? Lets see how far this can be taken…

The incorporation of ‘lost islands’ is one which is incredibly difficult to reasonably incorporate into the overall WN ethos. There are very few places on planet Earth that have not been comprehensively mapped, analyzed and placed on charts and maps, and those (very few) places where no studies have been conducted at length are so small in comparison to the ‘known’ world that inclusion of some of fiction’s most recognized islands is largely being eroded in the WN “canon” (a hotly disputed concept in itself).

I propose an elegant solution to placing ‘lost islands’ in a sideways dimension so that they may still be referred to in Wold Newton fiction.

We have some idea of the layout of Alice’s Wonderland, and Godzilla’s Monsterland (Site Omega if you have seen the 90’s cartoon) has been explored enough, so some rough geographic features can be aligned. Yup, that all adds to the reality for the concept. But the most important aspect to the WN idea is the pruning away of unnecessary additions. Meh. Bring on the fun…

The whole ‘secrecy’ subject relating to the locations poses a problem if they are located in physical areas which can be easily accessed, and from which creatures and characters can enter real locations. The solution I propose involves the removal of all these places to an ‘other’ reality, separated from our own by a means of hidden ‘doorways’.

Time flows at different rates in Lovecraft’s Dreamlands, where an hour on earth can represent a few seconds, a minute, a week, a year or longer in that realm. I get the feeling that Narnia, with weird time dilations and characters who know of Earth, is somewhere in Dreamland. Lovecraft’s magical dimension is also a good entry point due to the nature of the natural inhabitants, who can be considered immortal as long as they don’t or disease. This would give us room to place the mythical Olympus (and thus all of the Greek gods) firmly within its’ environment.

If the archipelago of strange locations is actually located in another dimension, then it is safe to say that Gulliver would have somehow managed to end up there for his adventures as recounted by Jonathan Swift. I’ll come back to Noble’s Island, from The Island Of Dr. Moreau, later on. We’ll just stick everything else here too: Valhalla, Olympus, Avalon, Gort Na Cloca Mora and other mythical places all located in this dimension. Simple.

I like the idea of adding a few comic book and television characters into the Wold Newton line as well, so Torchwood (which already has the concept of The Rift in place) can get added. The old Warlord comic-book, which is itself set in a kooky dimension, lends itself easily to inclusion, as does Shangri-La (which ties in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and The Champions TV show). Bulletproof Monk is in the mix as well, though I can’t recall offhand if it was specifically mentioned as Shangri-La he came from.

The Savage Land, home to KaZar, seems to be King Kong’s home as well. Turok (Gold Key comics) probably passed through here as well at some point, and Tarzan is a logical anchor to the Wold Newton family tree, so he gets to play with the giant animals as well. This is where I come back to Dr. Moreau, and his experiments. I pointed out the strange time-bending properties of the Dreamlands a few paragraphs ago, and it makes sense that Moreau was one of the earliest visitors (chronologically) to the island. His experiments, and their descendants, are the monsters which pop up every so often. I figure that The Savage Land would probably be near the centre of the island chain due to its rain-forest appearance in the comics.

With Turok, his original appearances being the ones I concentrate on, we get aliens as well. Fine. That opens up other planets in both this dimension and in the Dreamlands. I’m liking this idea.

There is nothing to say that a person entering the Dreamlands in 188? will appear thousands (or millions) of years in the past or future when they enter the dimension, so it doesn’t discount the myths, legends or fables which are tangentially tied to this concept. The seas around the islands can also accommodate underwater beings, as well as the not-yet-submerged Atlantis. And we can use this to add Namor, The Man From Atlantis (TV) and Aquaman. Which, of course, ties back into Conan and a bunch of Lovecraft ideas anyway.

So, in short, we have gods, dinosaurs, mutated monster-men-creatures, the dead, the undead, extinct creatures, ‘aliens’ and a whole host of problems for a clean introduction into the WN continuity. There can be no (or, at the least, limited) interaction with the wider world from these locations. It is hardly conductive to maintaining a sturdy world-view if there is a stream of ‘exotic’ creatures running around. There is a need for their inclusion in the overall continuity to maintain the stories in which characters appear as canonical, but enough distance needs to be created so that their existence is maintained shrouded in secrecy.

Not that I’ve thought about this much…

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4 Responses to “A Little Bit Of Tape And A Dab Of Glue”

  1. Carol said

    I loved the Ka-zar, Turok and Warlord comics! The John Carter Warlord of Mars too! (which rumour has that they’re making a live-action movie out of). But I’m pretty sure the Warlord was set in the inner earth (like Burrough’s Pellucidar), not a different dimension.

    And what are your thoughts on the British series Primeval? They’ve got dimensional rifts popping up all over the place – and they changed their own time-line in the first season.

  2. bigwords88 said

    Primeval could theoretically be included in the WN concept without any modification, as per Win and PJF’s massive family trees. I know aspects of Doctor Who has been included (although in a limited capacity), so I see no reason to deny Primeval a space.

    It has been a while since I read Warlord, and I really need to dig those comics out again.

    I’ve been downloading maps for ERB series, so I’m thinking about the interconnecting nature of different fantasy series with an eye for where they merge. There seems to be a lot of volcanoes on the different islands, so I’m thinking they might be part of a volcanic chain a-la Hawaii.

    There was going to be a whole connect-the-dots with Rima (from Green Mansions), Tarzan, Jungle Girl, Korak, The Golden Age “Jungle Boy”, Lothar and a bunch of other jungle characters. The family trees page (which PJF & Win managed to make look so clean and simple) is here.

    Yes, I do overthink these things…

  3. Hi. Very interesting Post. Not really what i have searched over Google, but thanks for the information.

  4. Found this blog by chance, and did not expect such a cracking read! Bookmarked.

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