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Wold Newton family

The Wold Newton family is a literary concept derived from a form of crossover fiction[?] developed by the science fiction writer Philip Jose Farmer. Farmer suggested in two fictional "biographies" of fictional characters, (Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life), that a radioactive meteorite fell in Wold Newton[?], England, in the late 18th century, resulting in genetic mutations affecting the occupants of a passing coach. The progeny of these travellers were purported to have been the real-life originals of the semi-fictionalised characters, both heroic and villainous, in fiction over the last few hundred years, for example: Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Doc Savage, Lord Peter Wimsey, etc.

An earlier proponent of this sort of fiction was William S. Baring-Gould who wrote a fictional biography of Sherlock Holmes. In 1971 C. W. Scott-Giles compiled a history of Lord Peter Wimsey's family, going back to 1066 (but describing the loss of the family tree going back to Adam), from information provided by Dorothy L. Sayers.

A similar premise has subsequently been adopted by Alan Moore in his comic book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Warren Ellis[?]'s comic book series Planetary[?] has a similar premise of fitting many different superhero, science fiction, and fantasy elements into the same universe.

The Wold Newton concept relies on judicious Krypto-Revisionism; the characters of the books and comics are treated as fictionalized, exaggerated versions of "real" people/characters, and accounts that strain suspension of disbelief too much are dismissed as complete fabrication.

External Links

Sites which explore the Wold Newton universe in more depth may be found at:



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