Sunday, February 27, 2005

Wold Newton Universe

Ah, the joys of cleaning out old links. I first drifted over to this site while reading Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen -- and promptly disappeared into it for two months. I warn you now.

Philp Jose Farmer, the great science fiction writer (although I believe he bristled at that categorization from what little I've read of him as an individual) came up with a unifying theory to the pulp universe. That is, WHY were these fictional worlds populated not sparsely by heroes and villains, but seemed chock-a-block with pulpy goodness? His genius was in creating an "Event Zero", the landing of a radioactive meteor in Wold Newton England in 1795. Passing royalty were irradiated, as were their servants, and form this origin group. From them spring Sherlock Holmes, the Shadow, Moriarty, Doc Savage, the Scarlet Pimpernel ...

All this would be enough, but the community that's seized on the idea is astounding. The challenge, using only works of literature or film qualified as "canonical", is to link as many genre heroes and villains into the Wold Newton universe as possible. The suggestions are, to a great degree peer-reviewed, and the inspired yet rigorous logic used to justify the connections is admirable. Crossovers are used, the timeline's extended not just forward but back ... frankly, I can't do it justice. Calling this fanfic is inadequate.

This is the Geek Ph.D.

Go get a crash course in your pulp and sci fi heritage, and find out how Peter Parker is related to Deanna Troi from Next Gen., X-Files to Captain America, and Kirk to James Bond.

The Wold Newton Universe.

17 comments:

1031 said...

That's a really interesting site. Seems that some of the connections are a bit of a stretch, but most actually make a bizarre kind of sense.

I could read that thing all night, but the Oscars start in...about an hour and a half.

Speaking of Oscars, or anti-Oscars, did you read that Halle Berry accepted her Razzie award in person? That's pretty cool of her.

Bug-Eyed Earl said...

In the years before I started writing my own stuff, I used fanfic as a preparation. I remember my explanation in one crossover fic as to how the vampires from Buffy, From Dusk till Dawn, Castlevania, Blade, John Carpenters Vampires (or Vampire$, like the great novel on which it was based) could exist in one universe even though they all obeyed different rules.

It was surpisingly simple- they were different breeds, different species of the same genus. But I remember patting myself on the back, because I ensured that I would have a team of vampire killers that consisted of Buffy, Blade, Jack Crow, and Alucard.

Now, I am humbled by that site.

Sifl_and_Olly said...

In my youth, I was able to prove that Full House, Family Matters, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Perfect Strangers and Step by Step were one single TGIF universe...but this is much cooler.

Kevin Church said...

And then there's the theory that Law And Order, The X-Files, Homicide, and about a million other series are linked thanks to John Munch and a child in a hospital bed.

Dwayne McDuffie goes into it here, which makes me love him a little more.

Simon said...

"Speaking of Oscars, or anti-Oscars, did you read that Halle Berry accepted her Razzie award in person? That's pretty cool of her."

Congrats on yours John ;)

Rogers said...

Loved the McDuffie bit, and that's kind of why I like the WOld Newton stuff. It's not "no, because..", it's "hey, wouldn't this be cool? Let's make it work." which is the opposite of fandamentalism.

Mister Bill said...

Check out www.blackcoatpress.com for more pulp characters out there - at least the french ones.

Anonymous said...

it's the opening of the eyes to all thats possible then the squinting to see whats really there...

Anonymous said...

or is it than? my english is bad

Invector said...

I can't be the only one in the world who thinks that Ryu and Ken are Super Saiyans, can I?

Bud said...

That St. Elsewhere thing is my favorite bit of random TV speculation EVER. I used to call it 'The Munch Paradox,' using the characters that John Munch appeared on as the connecting link, but that article makes it so much more complex. Boggles the fucking mind.

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