Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Win Scott Eckert is the torchbearer for Philip Jose Farmer's concept of an inter-related universe based on pulp fiction, Victorian literature, sword and sorcery fantasy, comic books, plays, movies, radio dramas and TV. I'm not sure yet if record albums are in the mix, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were.

Win has shepherded the "Wold Newton Universe" to a scale that may have never been imagined by Farmer when he first began chronicling the various connections in his examinations of Tarzan and Doc Savage. And Win has authored several books on the topic, including "Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe" and "Crossovers" volumes 1 & 2. (He also co-wrote "The Evil In Pemberley House" with Mr. Farmer, which is set firmly in the WNU, and they were able to publish it before the famed Riverworld author passed away. It was my intention to read that while on the first of my vacations this year, but that's been pushed back - because I'm still deep into "Crossovers 1", in which Win was nice enough to give me a tip of the hat!)

So Win read my post about the origins of three TV characters all played by Honor Blackman yesterday - "
Three Times The Honor" - and had this to say about it:

Toby, I outlined Cathy Gale's parentage in MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSE FARMER'S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE (MonkeyBrain Books, 2005).

Cool idea, though! :-)

His version of Cathy Gale's lineage is part of the chapter "Who's Going To Take Over The World When I'm Gone?" which was "A look at genealogies of Wold Newton Family super-villains and their nemeses." In his world-view, Cathy Gale's family is deeply rooted in the Fu Manchu novels of Sax Rohmer, tracing back to the union of Dr. Petrie and the Devil Doctor's slave-girl Kâramanèh. The gist of his theory of relativity was expanded from the article on his Wold Newton website:

Prominent among his agents was the "seductively lovely" Kâramanèh. Her real name is unknown. She was sold to the Si-Fan by Egyptian slave traders while still a child. Kara falls in love with the editor of the first three books in the series, Dr. Petrie. She rescues Petrie and Nayland Smith many times. Eventually the couple is united and she wins her freedom. They marry and have a daughter, Fleurette, who figures in later novels.

Fleurette Petrie and her husband, Alan Sterling, had one daughter, Fiona Sterling, who after her marriage was known as Fiona Jefferson. However, they had at least one other child. Their second daughter eventually went into the archaeology and anthropology fields, like her great-grandfather, Sir Flinders Petrie. She was born in 1934, and was named Catherine. Catherine Sterling was a bit "wild" in her formative years, and formed a penchant for black leather suits and boots, powerful motorbikes, and judo.

Catherine Sterling did attempt to settle down and was briefly married,but it didn't take. Her husband, a farmer in Kenya, was killed in the Mau Mau troubles, in which she learned to handle a gun with adroitness. She went on to earn a PhD in anthropology, and fought inthe hills of Cuba with Fidel Castro. However, after Castro achieved power, he deported her to Britain due to her opposition to some aspects of his government. Mrs. Catherine Gale took a position with the British Museum, and by 1961 she was "selected" by British agent John Steed to be his next regular partner. After about two years, she apparently tired of Steed's brand of adventure. Following a short American holiday, she permanently returned to Africa. In 1968, Cathy Gale did work briefly with Steed once more, along with his other talented amateur partners, and then was not heard from again.

(You'll find the link to his Wold Newton site nesting comfortably to the left. A word of caution, however, if you've an interest in such fantasy world-building, make sure you have plenty of time to explore there. Once you get started, it's hard to stop!)

But that's the Wold Newton Universe, and his arguments are persuasive within that realm. However, it doesn't work for the TV Universe, Earth Prime-Time AKA Toobworld.

As I said in my response to Win, "Wold Newton and Toobworld aren't the same thing - I'm restricted to the boundaries of the TV Universe (with a few cinematic exceptions)." I have to hold true to what was broadcast and not factor in anything from the original sources, like novels, short stories, and comic books. (As much as I'd like to - it pangs me to exclude Barbara Hambly's 'Star Trek' novel "Ishmael" from the TV Universe.)

And in the case of the "Fu Manchu" characters who populate Cathy Gale's family tree in Win's thesis, there's no way Dr. Petrie and Kâramanèh could be her grand-parents in the TV Universe.

Here's the Wikipedia entry for the TV series based on the Sax Rohmer villain:

From 3 September 1956 till 26 November 1956, Hollywood Television Service (a subsidiary of Republic Pictures) produced a 13-episode syndicated programme, 'The Adventures of Fu Manchu' starring Glen Gordon as Dr Fu Manchu, Lester Matthews as Sir Dennis Nayland Smith, Clark Howat as Dr John Petrie, Carla Balenda as Betty Leonard, Laurette Luez as Karamaneh (Fu Manchu's woman servant) and John George as Kolb (his dwarf flunkey). Like 'Tarzan' about a decade later, the series was contemporary to the times in which it was broadcast - the mid-1950's. And therefore, they shared the same timeline as Cathy Gale, who would have been in her twenties by that point.

(If you'd like to see episodes of 'The Adventures Of Fu Manchu', visit the
VintageTV4U website.)

Although the Wold Newton Universe and the TV Universe share many of the same characters -
Sherlock Holmes, Conan & Red Sonja, Dr. Syn, Secret Agent X-9 (It's true! Like Cathy Gale's sister, he's in a 'Columbo' episode!), Hercule Poirot, Zorro, and the aforementioned Fu Manchu and Tarzan, they can't be considered the same realm. Hell, this particular version of the TV Universe known as Toobworld isn't even the same as the Tommy Westphall TV Universe! Toobworld Central and the Wold Newton Universe are dedicated to the same goal - uniting the many sources in their chosen genres into one universe. But they're in separate dimensions. (If anything, Toobworld is more of an off-shoot of the "Incompleat Enchanter" stories by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague deCamp.)

So Toobworld Central will stand by its version of Cathy Gale's family tree and will add it to the 108 sections of the Tele-Folks Directory, a work in progress. After all, there's compelling proof that the Fitzharris Triplets are related by tele-genetics - video examples! (See the following post.)



Win Scott Eckert said...

Toby, I am totally on board with and understand your approach! :-)


Rob said...

One of the reasons for creating my crossovers fan page on facebook (and the group as well) was for a forum that allowed for discussion of all crossovers, regardless of continuity. I love both the Wold Newton/Crossover Universe and Toobworld/Earth-Prime Time and appreciate both realities and the theories behind them. I unfortunately have developed a problem now where I can't watch any television show without thinking about how it fits into these realities, as well as my own "Wronskiverse." Thanks to both of you for enabling my crossover addiction. LOL