Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2010 Book 39: Crossovers

Book 39: Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World, Volume 2 by Win Scott Eckert, isbn 9781935558118, 477 pages, Black Coat Press, $30.95

Back in May, I reviewed the first volume of Win Scott Eckert's massive Timeline of character crossovers. I was excited that Volume 2 would be out so soon, and as expected I plowed through it in short order. Volume 1 covered gothic, pulp, crime, mystery and other character crossovers (including a limited number of super-heroes) from pre-history through 1939. This volume covers 1940 through the far future, and has appendices that list books and stories Win opted to not include in the Crossover Universe timeline for a variety of reasons. I liked this particular touch, pointing people to stories he felt were just too hard to reconcile with the relationships and histories originally laid down by Philip Jose Farmer and acknowledging that in many cases the stories are well told (and that for the most part, quality is not the reason some crossovers are excluded).

I did find myself disagreeing on a few points of inclusion or dis-inclusion. For instance, there are a number of times where Win suggests that stories happened, but were greatly exaggerated by the authors who told those stories (a good example: The Day of The Triffids probably happened on the Crossover Earth, but with nowhere near the level of carnage and mayhem the movie ended with) while others are dismissed for similar reasons. But that's the joy of a project like this: my own version of which crossovers to include could certainly diverge from Win's at any point and neither of us is hurt by it. For instance, I would personally choose to include the characters of Arn Munro and Neptune Perkins, from Roy Thomas' Young All-Stars comic series, because of their connections to Philip Wylie's GLADIATOR and Poe's Arthur Gordon Pym, but would note that not every issue of that comic series is automatically incorporated into the CU because of the rule about limiting the proliferation of super-heroes in the CU. But that's just me.

As I said about the first volume, Eckert has done an absolutely amazing job synthesizing over 100 years of meetings between fictional characters to come up with a cohesive storyline in which there is something for everyone, from Conan to Holmes to Batman to Spenser, to Charlie's Angels to Lost to Star Trek. The book is also lavishly illustrated with book and magazine covers featuring the characters mentioned throughout.

True mystery/gothic/horror/sf/pulp/comics/cri
me/literature geeks can't really do without this two volume set.

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