Saturday, July 17, 2010


I've written about the Wold Newton Universe before ("The Neverland of Toobworld", "Happy Wold Newton Day", as well as articles on "WNU" members like Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage, Harry Flashman, Poirot, Nero Wolfe, and Ellery Queen).

So I'm going to do it again......

Over the last few weeks, I've been reading the "Crossovers" books by my blogging buddy Win Scott Evert. (Right now I'm on the second volume, in the 1970's. My online friends Sean Lee Levin and Robert Wronski have finished them already!)

"Crossovers" is a chronological account of the Wold Newton Universe, a shared multi-verse first proposed by Philip Jose Farmer which has been expanded by enthusiastic acolytes led by Win.

The Wold Newton Universe is based on the premise that when a meteor crashed near Wold Newton, England, in 1799, those who got near the still glowing crater just after impact were bathed in the cosmic radiation. The resultant mutations to the genetic structure led to their descendants becoming some of the greatest heroes (and villains!) ever seen in pulp fiction. There is the core group of related heroes put forth by Philip Jose Farmer - they into contact with expands the Wold Newton Universe.

It's a lot like Toobworld, but more majestic in scope. Whereas the Toobworld concept is all about the TV Universe (with a few movies and some online content added), the "WNU" encompasses all of the fictional universes - books, comic books, movies, comic strips, records, radio plays, and of course, TV.

Many members of the extended Wold Newton family can also be found in
Toobworld. (Television, like the English language, is a great maw that pulls everything in.) However, there are enough differences to keep Toobworld separate from the WNU - origins, time periods, physical appearances, etc. (Toobworld is a visual medium only, so it can't adopt the "all is one, one is all" philosophy enjoyed by the Wold Newton Crossover Universe. (For instance: if they wanted to, the "WNthusiasts" can claim that the Sherlock Holmes played by Jeremy Brett in the TV series is the same Great Detective played by Roger Moore in the "Sherlock Holmes IN New York" TV movie.

But Toobworld, as I said, is a visual medium, so they have to be two different men. Luckily, shows like 'Sliders' that deal with parallel dimensions (also seen in episodes of series like 'Star Trek' and its franchises, 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys', and 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer') gives us plenty of variants on Earth Prime-Time in which all of the Holmes characters can reside.

We've dealt with the many Sherlock Holmes of the alternate TV dimensions in the past with the "Hi Honey, I'm Holmes" series:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

As well as a few others of the Great Detectives:

Lord Peter Wimsey

Miss Marple

Hercule Poirot

So we're going to start with another character in the WNU, another detective, when we begin our O'Bservations on the differences between Toobworld and the Wold Newton Universe. It's a series that will run sporadically, but hopefully that'll be good for keeping Win's books in the public eye.

Stay tuned......



Win Scott Eckert said...

Toby... suweeeet!

Rob said...

Actually, I'm only up to the 1950s, but thanks for the mention.

I just got my copy a few days ago, but am devoting most of my free time to reading it. Thank goodness for my summer vacation.