The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘wold newton’

The Annotated Carmilla

Posted by BigWords on September 19, 2011

One major omission (which I hope to see rectified in an updated edition) is the lack of a comprehensive section on the appearances of Carmilla in other media after the main body of the book. The (incomplete, and very rough) list which follows is something which would go a long way to helping completists such as myself hunt down all of the character’s appearances. I guess that someone with more time on their hands could eke out a few more instances from either the Wold Newton universe or Anno Dracula, but I’m almost certain that she is absent from The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen – I’ve been through it a few times, and I haven’t seen any references to either the character or the story which I could easily identify.

Vampyr (1932; Dir:)
Blood And Roses (1960; Dir:)
La cripta e l’incubo (1964; Dir:)
The Vampire Lovers (1970; Dir:)
Lust for a Vampire (1971; Dir:)
Twins of Evil (1971; Dir:)
Daughters Of Darkness (1971; Dir:)
La novia ensangrentada (1972; Dir:)
Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas (1978; Dir:)
Carmilla (1999)
Vampires Vs. Zombies (2004; Dir:)
Carmilla (2009; Dir:)

Live-Action Television:
Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Carmilla (1966; Dir:)
Carmilla (1980; Dir:)
Carmilla: Le coeur petrifié (1988; Dir: Paul Planchon)
Nightmare Classics: Carmilla (10 Sep 1989; Dir: Gabrielle Beaumont)

Carmilla; Game of Pleasure (1998) A Tom Le Pine Production.
Outliving Dracula: Le Fanu’s Carmilla (2010)

Radio / Audio:
Carmilla (Radio Theatre Group) Read by Louisa Thornton
Nightfall: Carmilla (1981; CBC Radio)
Carmilla (2009; BBC Northern Ireland)
Carmilla: A Vampyre Tale (Audio Partners) Audio Book read by Megan Follows

The Occult Files Of Doctor Spektor #8 (Jun 1974; Gold Key Comics) Carmilla appearance. Written by Donald F. Glut; illustrated by Jesse Santos
Carmilla (6 issues) (Feb – Jul 1991, Aircel Publishing) adapted by Steven Phillip Jones; illustrated by John Ross
Gothic Classics vol. 14 (2007; Eureka Productions) adapted by Rod Lott; illustrated by Lisa K. Weber
Carmilla (2008; Vertigo Graphic) adapted by Sofia Terzo

Illustrated editions:
Carmilla (2011; StarWarp Concepts) illustrated by Eliseu Gouevia

Original Novels:
Lust for a Vampire novelization by William Hughes (1971; London: Sphere)
Carmilla: The Return by Kyle Marffin (1998; Darien, Illinois: Design Image Group)
The Darker Passions: Carmilla by Amarantha Knight (2004; Cambridge, MA: Circlet)
Within the Glass Darkly by William Gareth Evans (2010; Guildford: Grosvenor House)

I haven’t found a complete list yet, but there are numerous appearances of Carmilla in computer games, specifically Castlevania. It would be nice to see the character’s lasting importance in pop culture be given a proper run-through, especially when she has such a standing in Japanese works – anime and manga have taken the notion of the lesbian vampire and ran with it to lengths which Le Fanu would be shocked at. This is, of course, not central to the issue of understanding just how important and lasting the work has become, but it would go some way to showing how the legacy of a nineteenth century novella stretches across cultural and social strata.

As it stands, the book is a solid three and a half stars (four if you are unfamiliar with the work), but with a few tweaks it has the potential to be a true five-star reference work whch demands a place in every library. As I have pointed out in the previous post, here is a lot of work in the guide as it stands, and even for seasoned horror aficionados there are explanations which may surprise. Instead of purchasing modern travesties of the English language such as Twilight, do your brain a favor and pick this up instead.

You can find David MacDowell Blue on his personal website, his Facebook page, on his YouTube Channel, on Twitter or his page at DeviantArt. You can purchase The Annotated Carmilla at

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Get Your Geek On – Day One

Posted by BigWords on September 12, 2011

This is in response to Monica Valentinelli’s post. I had intended to do a single post reflecting on what it means to be a self-identified geek, but I quickly realized that I fall into a special category which doesn’t truly represent my fellow geeks. For a start, the way I moved around so much as a kid means that I am not as attached to specific elements of geekdom which others may find strange – I never, for example, thought of myself in terms of being a Star Trek or Star Wars fan (you can like both, apparently, but not love them both equally), nor had a preference for DC or Marvel. As for the television shows which mark people as being a geek- Oh boy, this really is gonna take a whole week to get through… I’ll try to link to the more obscure stuff, but if I drop something in here which I don’t explain properly, feel free to ask – I love explaining weird old stuff, and showing how much better it is than people would expect.

It’s best that I start with the biggest (and most important) discoveries which cemented my obsession with the geekier things in life. While most people might be expecting the big nudge to have been superhero comics, or the original Star Wars trilogy, or Doctor Who, it was actually the stuff above my reading age which prompted me to go hunting for more of the same. I can clearly remember reading Tarzan Alive before I hit high school (which led to my obsession with the Wold Newton concept, a love of Anno Dracula, and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). Tarzan Alive prepared me for the concept of American comics, rather than the other way around. That alone is a massive leap for a lot of comic geeks to believe, but I was an quick study, I was a bookworm, and I was infinitely bored at school. I also read Den when I was… Ten? Eleven? That led to a long trip through the fantasy bookshelves, where I found all the classics of the genre. It was all about the artwork to begin with, which is why I have defended Frazetta posters against casual ignorance over the years, but I soon learned that the language was just as important.

Lord Dunsany was the gateway drug from the fantasy of old, to the wonders of Lovecraft, which, I suppose, got me ready for Sandman and Swamp Thing. Having pointed out a few times that my superhero exposure was limited, you might find it strange that I look so favorably on those Vertigo titles, being borne from the superhero comics of the eighties, but here – again – I bucked the trend. The first comic I can clearly remember reading is Valerian. It is often stated that it is for teens, but I think I would have been eight or nine when I found a few of the albums, and they still hold more attraction that a certain throwback to forties serials. It wasn’t just BD which kept me busy (though I still flick through Spirou et Fantasio from time to time), but the oft-overlooked British titles. Does anyone remember Oink! or Scream? I have clear memories of picking up the first issue of Scream when it came out, and running around with the white plastic vampire teeth. I can’t remember if they glowed in the dark or not, but I can remember biting my brother with them. Ah… Memories.

While others may take pleasure in imagining (and sometimes writing) their perfect DC or Marvel stories, I always found more meat in the British characters. For the longest time I thought about reviving a bunch of old characters which had been features in various Denis Gifford guides, but Grant Morrison – and then Paul Grist – went and made that notion redundant. The bastards… I still have my notes, and the material might come in handy at some point, but using anything which has been linked to either Zenith or Jack Staff seems parasitic and pointless. The two characters I associated with most, and who formed the pillars of my idea, were Zom of the Zodiac and Marsman, who represented the difference between magic and science. With the similarities and differences between their outlooks I placed mankind in the middle of their eternal war (and managed to work out a way to use Robert Lovett in a way which was respectful and yet unique). Maybe I’ll post some of the ideas in the future, but it’s still in comic-book script format. A lot of the influences which make their way into my writing are from those early introductions to fantasy, science fiction and horror, and a lot of the blame is down to me being left to my own devices for swathes of time. If I had more supervision I probably wouldn’t have discovered a lot of the things which have stayed with me all these years.

I haven’t covered Hammer, British television or anime yet, so I’ll get to that tomorrow.

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Dusk At The Diner

Posted by BigWords on September 9, 2011

This post is part of the September 2011 Blog Chain at Absolute Write, wherein the challenge is to respond to a picture. In this instance, Edward Hopper’s seminal piece of Americana, the 1942 composition “Nighthawks”. Even if you haven’t seen the original before, you’ve probably seen the image in other media.

It was great fun watching the strands of the narrative come together last month, so this post follows on directly from the first post in the chain, so head over and read that first. I was conscious of the era and setting when putting this together, so some of the references may be more oblique than I would normally throw into something like this.

Acknowledging the historical events of 1941, while writing something which is (hopefully) entertaining to read, was harder than I expected, though weaving in enough for the following participants to play with was quite entertaining. I guess, if anything, you can explain this away as another episode in my Wold Newton obsession.

Dusk At The Diner – Part II


Allison tapped her foot nervously as a police car drove slowly past the diner. “Max, another coffee over here.”
“Sure thing, ma’am,” came the reply from behind the counter.
“That’s a mighty fine ring you are wearing,” Charlie remarked, almost offhandedly, as he slid his hat off the counter and clutched it in his lap. “It’s not often you see something like that hereabouts.”
“It was a gift.”
“I’m sure. Looks a lot like the kind Sala and her air pirates wore.”
“How did you-”
“Seems that throwing your lot in with the commies isn’t your worst sin. And what, precisely, is your interest in the book? Don’t tell me you’re another Aristide Torchia obsessive?”
“You seem to be clutching that hat awfully tight. A girl might think you’re using it to hide your interest.”
“And you’re changing the subject.”
Max placed a fresh coffee in front of Allison, nodding to Charlie before moving to the back of the diner.
“The book is important to an old friend.”
“This old friend wouldn’t happen to be named Strack by any chance?” Charlie asked.
“Eddie Valentine, actually.”
“Well, lady, you sure know how to make friends with all the wrong people.”
“Strange times make for strange bedfellows.”


Max raised the knife and plunged it into the slab of meat, levering the blade and slicing it in two. Separating the flesh from the bone was not as difficult as he had imagined, and, once he had removed the head and hands, the trembling voice in the back of his head had stopped questioning. He could get away with this if he was careful, and mixed in just enough of the regular meat so as not to affect the taste of the burgers.
“Hiya, Max.”
Spinning on the spot, the knife still held in his hand, Max looked for the speaker.
“You did a nice job there. Probably better than you expected.”
“Who is that? Who’s there?”
“C’mon, you can’t tell me you’ve never read Edgar Allan Poe? The Telltale Heart? Ba-doom, ba-doom, ba-doom.”
“This ain’t funny, whoever you are.”
From the shadows stepped the last man Max expected to see – the man he had spent the last three hours cutting into pieces…


Vince stared into the large window of the diner, and paled as he saw his reflection. The last week had been hard, and it was now showing in how gaunt and weary he appeared. From somewhere east of him, the police sirens which intermittently cut through the night began again. Another guy in a gray hat was probably being questioned about the killing two towns over – the only consolation he had was that the eyewitness accounts were so vague. It would be impossible to convict a man on the color of his hat alone.
Jingling the loose change in his pocket, he decided that the safest place to be was off the street. If that meant he had to spend his last remaining money on a warm cup of coffee and a meal, then that was what he had to do.

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
orion_mk3 – (link to this month’s post)
BigWords – you are here.
robeiae (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines
dolores haze

Posted in Over The Line, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

A New Star Trek Continuity (By Wold Newton Means)

Posted by BigWords on September 5, 2010

Star Trek. One of the most successful science fiction properties of all time, and one of the universes which gets a disproportional representation within the SF community, has always had problems. I’m not referring to the twisted around ideas which led to stardates (there is a certain logic to the notion that relative time can be kept, then squared against a central database), nor the mess made of warp drive numbering (that is covered by Science Marches On in-universe), but more esoteric aspects of the timeline which cannot be easily reconciled without heavy editing of the facts as they are presented to us. Having never been the most obsessive nor reasonable fan of televised SF, I’ve often looked outside of canon for explanations to the things which bug me, but this time I think I may have crossed a line in my attempt to rationalize some of the things which don’t make sense, or which need greater expansion.

This has taken me a while to work out (and there are still bits and pieces that I’m adding, changing, tweaking and blatantly ignoring), but I think I know most of the reasons that Star Trek doesn’t work for me. This is, of course, pushing my interpretation of Star Trek farther from the one which most viewers will be familiar with, but if it makes sense to me, then I can live with any irritation I raise in others. First and foremost amongst my problems with the universe is the timeline, which has been so completely screwed over by multiple re-tellings, contradictions, reset button-pushing and blatant lies, that it no longer resembles a stable progression of events as much as it does a hodge-podge of ideas thrown together by various disparate groups within the controlling group of writers, making a mockery of how people appreciate the events which led to the creation of an interstellar society able to function independently of Earth.

Lets see if I can shed some light on how I perceive the world of Picard, Sisko, and Captain ‘Crazy Janeway’ as filtered through a Wold Newton-inspired interpretation of things which might make up for the problems in the accepted history. It’s going to annoy the hell out of purists, but it is the only way that I can watch the show and not feel the need to to scream profanities at the screen. I’ve ignored some elements considered canon by both the show and the fans, and introduced things which are possibly heretical but which are very, very cool. This may turn the bright, happy future envisioned by Gene Rodenberry into a Crapsack Universe, but it is one in which I would much rather spend time. The dates are rough, though I’m sure someone with a tad more patience could make it all hang together if they consider the events I have decided to include – some of which actually make sense of the logic which Enterprise and the recent film reboot have thrown out of the window, fetched back inside, crapped all over, then thrown out of the window again.

Before anyone decides that the following is entirely too dumb, spend five minutes flicking through the reviews of DS9 and Enterprise episodes on The Cynic’s Corner, and try to reconcile the multiple given histories of the Federation. Try it. You’ll go insane in the attempt. Better to start afresh, and use all the basic story points as a way to fold in some of the better ideas from outside of Star Trek canon, because the franchise is in desperate need of a shot of adrenaline. It’s more apparent when you watch episodes back to back, but even a casual viewer there are problems. Consider this along the same lines as Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, where things are similar to the original stories, but told afresh and with a more coherent ethic – well, at least as Ultimate was in the beginning. The Ultimate Universe managed to contradict itself mightily as it went on.

The Pre-History Of Space Travel

1969 – 2025

In the two-part Voyager episode Future’s End it is shown that Henry Starling has had access to 29th century technology from as far back as the 1960s, which he has been using to push Earth’s software and hardware knowledge far in advance of where such knowledge should be. This, more than any other aspect of Star Trek‘s timeline, is the crucial point at which we ought to separate from our own history – the “real” history of Earth. Voyager‘s only notable contribution to either entertainment or logic was this one story, as Starling’s existence suddenly makes a lot of other things fall into place neatly. It is with his mangled understanding of 29th century technology which allows both the creation of the experimental S.A.I.N.T. robots [1] (which eventually leads to the T-1 [2]), and – eventually – the technology necessary for the integration of mechanical elements into Officer Murphy [3]. The robots were nuclear powered at this point, as the advanced power cells had not been completely understood.

While many of the elements of the future technology were able to be reverse engineered by in-house scientists, some of the advancements were so esoteric as to preclude direct understanding of the way they operated. A significant amount of the research into matter transportation was given to Seth Brundle through a dummy corporation named Bartok Industries [4]. His interpretation of the software would result in his untimely death, and his research would not be continued until Dr. Emory Erickson (in the Enterprise episode Daedalus) perfected the means by which to transport living tissue.

That doesn’t mean that there weren’t subsequent accidents, though. One of the most notable situations erupted on a Mars “mining” station, when a transporter opened a portal to another dimension, which led to the deaths of a number of researchers continuing their exploration of future technology [5]. At some point in the early 1980’s, an Antarctic research team is attacked by an unknown alien which has been extricated from its’ ship [6]. It was whilst searching for the remains of this vessel that a group of researchers would later encounter the frozen remains of Borg.

During the 90’s, a salvage operation mounted on a Russian naval vessel resulted in the crew of the tug being attacked by a disembodied alien presence which used human parts and machinery to create a physical presence for itself on Earth [7]. Later investigation would associate this entity closely with the Borg hive-mind, though notable differences would be recorded for further study.

After 2000, with advances far outstripping ‘real’ history, the US government, seeing the valuable technological advancements being made by Starling’s Chronowerx Industries, requests assistance in coming up with solutions to some of the problems it is facing. Researchers who have studied the advanced database use their knowledge to create a stable wormhole which allows for a limited  glimpse into the future [8], and an AI to interpret massive data input now being collected by the military branches of the US intelligence community [9]. It is the spectacular failure of the AI which leads to further advances in AI being halted until more is understood about the technology, though one last-ditch attempt to integrate AI leads to the creation of a satellite defense program dubbed Skynet, which is one of the primary reasons for future problems [10].

The medical database from the future also provides for the creation of a breathable liquid, which plays an important part in one of humanity’s early extra-terrestrial encounters [11]. Spurred on by the existence of beings living on other planets, more of the future technology is plundered to create the ground-work which will lead to the genetically-engineered Khan and his followers. This is also around the time that things start to go seriously wrong with society. The slip into anarchy begins with a few minor problems, but left unchecked the mysterious Quitters, Inc [12] and Consumer Recreation Services [13] soon lead to rampant anarchy in the streets as people release tension created by the existence of genetically superior individuals being created. It is from these dark days that the Eugenics War erupts into full-blown war.

The Deep Space Nine episode Past Tense shows what has happened to the US by 2024, with large sections of cities cordoned off to provide housing for ‘undesirables’ – a technique replicated in France, among other countries [14]. Some cities, such as Detroit, prefer to deal with their social unrest by handing over their policing to corporations, which results in the creation of the RoboCop program [3]. Other locations fall into complete unrest as “entertainment” such as The Running Man [15], Death Race [16], and other shows allow the population to be kept entertained and (largely) kept under control. The foundation for these openly-violent shows being broadcast is the underground snuff shows which were broadcast (and circulated) by Lionel Starkweather [17]. It was during this time that Scotland was walled off from the rest of the country so that the inhabitants could die off due to a plague that was threatening the UK [18].

The Fallout From The Eugenics Wars

2025 – 2200

(note: I’m pushing the Eugenics Wars to the 2020s to preserve some sort of cohesion in the timeline)

Taking refuge in the stars was not the sole preserve of the genetically engineered super-soldiers, as others decided to abandon Earth. As Picard pointed out in the TNG episode The Neutral Zone, cryogenic stasis had long since been abandoned as a means of interstellar travel, but in the early days of space travel it had been employed routinely. One of the mining vessels which was operating in deep space encountered an alien life form which killed the entire crew save for its’ Warrant Officer [19]. Another cryogenic vessel was considered lost, with its’ occupants awakening after hundreds of years, submerged under the ocean of an alien planet [20]. Yet another ship was considered lost, though later turned up having traveled into a region of space that had sent its’ occupants mad [21]. Occupants of other ships were not so lucky [22]. These disasters resulted in tighter controls being made on the design of astronavigation systems.

Zefram Cochrane’s warp flight brings the attention of the Vulcans, but also alerts a race of predatory aliens that the mildly interesting hunting grounds on Earth had become immensely more interesting. Taking to the still-devastated city of Los Angeles, the alien manages to evade both police and a secret agency under the directive of Section 31 [23]. It is also around this time that the full horror of what Skynet has become is made clear, and with the assistance of Vulcan technology the rise of the robots is prevented [10]. From this point on, all research into advanced robots is banned in an international treaty. (And you wondered why there were so few instances of cool robots in Star Trek, didn’t you?)

At some point before 2100 the world is pushed into a fully-blown war due to the unbalanced resources available on Earth, ending only when nuclear weapons are deployed. In the utter devastation which follows, mankind is slow to rebuild, though a few individuals take it upon themselves to give hope to the communities which have gradually coalesced. One such person dons the uniform of a postman [24], whilst another, shattered by his experience at the hands of a biker gang, decides to take revenge on the evils plaguing society [25]. Yet another wandering force for good makes use of his extraordinary martial arts abilities to destroy a gang which has overrun a formerly-peaceful region [26]. The Vulcans once again step in to take care of mankind, before we untimely destroy ourselves.

The NX-01 is launched, though the dedication ceremony is marred by some truly awful music…


Additional notes:

With the technology required to pass themselves off as aliens, I would also fold in the IMF to the WN Star Trek timeline, as their lifelike masks seem to possess all the requirements needed for covert operations on alien planets. Backtracking to a point where they could conceivably be placed in a position to take part, I would suggest them being the groundwork for Section 31, renamed as of a point somewhere before the year 2025. (Mission: Impossible)

The increased time travel related episodes of Star Trek, where the Starfleet Time Police, or Temporal Investigations (or whoever Gary Seven and Daniels were working for), seems to suggest that they began as a much simpler organization. It makes a sort of sense that the events of Timecop could be the shaky beginnings from which the Federation would spin out its’ time protection force. Not sure where that would place events of the film, though sometime after the stable wormhole was created [8] seems about right.

It seems likely that there is room to fit Barb Wire in somewhere around the 2020s, though I didn’t think about it until I had already written most of this up. It’s such a minor film that I can’t be bothered re-numbering everything, so just pretend I added it.


The Pre-History Of Space Travel

[1] Short Circuit (1986) dir: John Badham
[2] Terminator: Salvation (2009) dir: McG
[3] RoboCop (1987) dir: Paul Verhoeven
[4] The Fly (1986) dir: David Cronenberg
[5] Doom 3 (2004) id Software / Activision

[6] The Thing (1982) dir: John Carpenter
[7] Virus (2002) dir: John Bruno

[8] Déjà Vu (2006) dir: Tony Scott
[9] Eagle Eye (2008) dir: D.J. Caruso
[10] Terminator (1984) dir: James Cameron

[11] The Abyss (1989) dir: James Cameron
[12] Quitters, Inc. by Stephen King (1978, Doubleday)
[13] The Game (1997) dir: David Fincher

[14] District 13 (2004) dir: Pierre Morel
[15] The Running Man by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) (1982, Signet)
[16] Death Race (2008) dir: Paul W.S. Anderson
[17] Manhunt (2003) Rockstar North, Rockstar Games
[18] Doomsday (2008) dir: Neil Marshall

The Fallout From The Eugenics Wars

[19] Alien (1979) dir: Ridley Scott
[20] Pandorum (2009) dir: Christian Alvart
[21] Event Horizon (1997) dir: Paul W.S. Anderson
[22] Dark City (1998) dir: Alex Proyas
[23] Predator 2 (1990) dir: Stephen Hopkins

[24] The Postman (1997) dir:Kevin Costner
[25] Mad Max (1979) dir: George Miller
[26] Fist Of The North Star (1995) dir:Tony Randel

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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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Where Is The Geek Line Drawn?

Posted by BigWords on July 6, 2009

It isn’t often, maybe once every couple of months, that I manage to shock someone into complete and utter speechlessness, but I have managed it today. I was spitballing ideas for a website, mainly because there aren’t enough non-pornographic ones kicking around, and came up with what may be the geekiest idea ever contemplated.
The main problem with most websites devoted to comics, computer games, old television series or films is the need to cram in everything, so why not do everything properly?

My suggestion, running thus, managed to stop a room full of people in their tracks:

So, if you want to find a game or a book featuring a character, where can you turn? It isn’t like there is a central database of fictional characters…I bet it wouldn’t take too much imagination to come up with an initial list of characters for inclusion, you would just have to find all of their uses in obscure films and games.
What, all of their appearances?
Yeah, like if you were looking for Sherlock Holmes f’rinstance, up would come a list of all the books, films, television shows and computer games.
Why would you need a database though, couldn’t you just use Wikipedia?
And miss out on the stuff they haven’t got around to adding? I like lists, and if there is the slightest opportunity for me to create something that lists the many lists of lists, then I’m gonna be involved… I don’t care if I have to write it all by myself, I want to see what it would look like.

Silence. Complete and deafening silence. I think I may have stepped over the geek line.

But the more I think of it, the more the idea makes some sort of sense. Taking a stab at another character who has crossed over into multiple media incarnations, and who is every bit as complex and interesting as Holmes, we should contemplate the history of Dracula. Aside from the numerous novels, films, computer games, comic-books and television appearances, there are boardgames, role-playing games, radio serials and audio CD’s to take into account. Is the superhero Dracula the same character who met Buffy? Is it the same individual whose actions led to the LXG backstory, or are he and the Wold Newton variety different?

And what shall we do about Nosferatu? Is it Dracula in different clothes

I might need to think about this more carefully…

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Pondering The Forgotten Characters

Posted by BigWords on July 4, 2009

Having (finally) posted something in the book review blog I started, I was thinking on old characters whose popularity had died out somewhat. In the research I have done on Victorian characters (don’t ask and I won’t yell) I found Captain Kettle, a formidable seaman with a pointed red beard. The stories were pure adventure fantasies written for an audience desperate for excitement, and they are still quite readable even today. But, unlike his contemporary Sherlock Holmes, Kettle has not had such a remarkable career since his creator, C.J. Cutcliffe, died in the mid-‘forties.

There are dozens of similar cases, where a character who held the public’s attention seem to slide off, never to be heard of again. I’ve had a few ideas, along the lines of the Wold Newton universe, but have never had the time or inclination to mess around with characters whose origins are tied to other hands. If anyone wants to write a book with characters culled from the magazines, pulps and turn of the century novels, then I’ll be first in line to buy the novel, but I’m not sure I could do it myself.

Is it a weakness or a strength that I need to mark my territory? That I have to have full control of characters? Is it an aspect of my OCD? Damn, I’m not sure if I could even participate in a series of novels and short stories like the Wild Cards books without imposing a whole bunch of rules and restrictions on what comes after me. I’m used to having a free hand at writing, and anything which appears to rule out developments that I may (though not necessarily will) take, kinda defeats the purpose of playing god. Anyway… if a character who is free for the taking is available to all, then would novels by other hands rule my work into, or out of, canon?

I’m probably the only person concerned with the veracity of character usage, as many derivitive works are flooding the market at the moment, taking characters who have slipped into the public domain and rebreathing life into their lungs. I’m not so sure that the trend is a positive one, for readers or writers, as it dilutes the market for original and unforeseen ideas that may – if proper care is taken – herald new writing concepts. If people are so concerned with making sure that their work doesn’t contradict previous novels, will they be paying enough attention to their prose?

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