Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Wold Newton Universe

On December 13, 1795, a meteorite fell from the sky and landed in Wold Newton, East Riding Yorkshire. Breadth was twenty eight inches, length was thirty six inches, and it's weight was fifty-six pounds. This is historical fact.

Science Fiction author, Philip Jose Farmer, suggested that the meteor was radioactive. Two passing coaches were in the vicinity and the radiation caused genetic mutations in the people inside the coaches. Many of their descendants were thus endowed with extremely high intelligence and strength, as well as an exceptional capacity and drive to perform good, or, as the case may be, evil deeds. The descendants included Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, Doc Savage, one of his assistants, Monk Mayfair, The Shadow, G8, Phileas Fogg, Sir Denis Nayland Smith, Fu Manchu, The Avenger, The Spider, Nero Wolfe, Philip Marlow, Travis McGee, among others. Thus, The Wold Newton Family came to be.

Win Scott Eckert coined the term Wold Newton Universe, which takes Farmer's concept a bit further. Other fictional characters, who were not descended from the passengers in Wold Newton, also existed in this universe, and crossovers were possible. Basically, any character from literary fiction, including film, television, comic books, graphic novels, and video games, could all be in the same universe. A Star Trek novel, "Ishmael", did a similar concept, not only crossing over with a few television westerns, but also cameo's by Han Solo, Starbuck and Apollo (from the original Battlestar Galactica story), the fourth Doctor and mention of the second Doctor from Doctor Who.

Steelhead Adventures will be taking a cue from that concept and bring different characters into the stories. Already, residents of Second Life have made themselves a part of a cross over universe, linking themselves to either actual people or people from fiction. Hotspur O'Toole's contribution to the upcoming story will have several characters. There'll also be some mentioned in The Ortega Chronicles and The Blog Of Uggla portions of the story. Mind you, the intention is not to cram every character we can think of and ruin the story in the process, but it might make reading the stories that much more fun.

We'll see.


Hotspur O'Toole said...

I love the Wold Newton universe.. in fact, I was pleased to have found another copy of DOC SAVAGE: his apocalyptic life recently, by the by...

If anyone's read the foundations I already wrote, They would have at least recognized a version of the real, historical Frederick Townsend Ward (although remade as a wizard in this story). Less obvious are the Chinese warlords, fictitious but based on real historical counterparts. Even the Dark Ocean society existed, but it was Japanese, not Chinese. I've been tinkering with a few ideas about WN characters myself, and like you, have decided that TOO many makes a story into an endless "spot the reference" exercise, but a few of these adds a little spice.

So you may see a few august personages from the Pulps (and history) show up here and there in the weeks to come.


HeadBurro Antfarm said...

I hadn't heard of the WNU (although the concept is of course familar) so thank you for bringing it to my attention here and in the Wiki :)