Sunday, September 14, 2014

What I think about Shared literary universes

I apologize for the span of time between the first post and this one. I have been tremendously busy of late, and I promise from this point on, I will post more frequently.

Today i'm going to talk about something I have been thinking about quite a lot. I'm sure you have all heard the phrase "Shared Universe" by now, what with Marvel, DC, Xmen, Spider-man, and Star wars all getting into the game lately.

(Please note I do not own the above pictures)

Now what is a shared universe? well put very simply, it is a median shared by a group of characters, whose stories and adventures cross over with each other (but that is not a requirement) Now for the sake of this blog post I will not be speaking of cinematic universes, or shared media universes.

 I will be limiting my discourse to the shared universe as it pertains to fiction novels. Now before I begin I will share a few of the more famous Shared literary universes out there.

- Ted Dekker "The Books of history chronicles" Total books in universe 49

- Louis L'Amour "Untitled american history/old west chronicle" Total books in universe 120

- Issac Asimov "Untitled sci fi universe" Total books in series 14-20

These are just a few examples of a shared literary universe. So the question that arose in my mind as I prepare to publish my first novel, is do I want to create a shared universe for all my books, or do I want to keep my novels separate and only join together a few. On one hand the prospect of a shared universe is exciting, as events flow together one book can effect the rest and characters can interact or have chance meetings.

On the other hand, a shared universe can hamper a author. Since you are bound to a certain degree by the genre of the novel that started the shared universe (its rare to have a cross genre universe such as Doctor Who) Also the events in your shared universe must to created with the knowledge that each event may in fact have a big effect on the rest of your story. in the 1950's it was ok for serials (such as TV shows like the lone ranger) to have each episode be stand alone and little that happened in one episode affected the next. But in today's world of fiction cause and effect are the rule, if you ignore events from a early work you may be labeled a bad writer who leaves plot holes.

Now I'm sure many authors like myself have thought long and hard about weather o not to create a shared universe of their work. Its not a easy thing to decide, so here is my advice on the subject. Write good stories first, work on excellent stand alone novels and then if you want to join them together. What you do not want to do is write your novels with the purpose of them joining together, if you do that your work will suffer from to many plot lines being set up or the next novel. So take your time write a good story that stands alone that will draw your reader in, then naturally your story will bloom like a flower into a possible universe.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Jericho Rising

I have for up to a week been struggling to decide what my first blog post would be on. With so many subjects to choose from I was at a loss, should I write on Science fiction? Short stories? How to craft the perfect novel? I was not sure. But then a subject near and dear to my heart suddenly came into the lime light. So I present my first blog post. 

Something truly historic occurred yesterday, something no one expected. The film website "Hitfix" created a bracketed contest called "Cancelled" that pitted cult favorite TV shows against one another in a battle to decide the most popular. The list included 

Terra Nova
Almost Human
Freaks and Geeks
And many others,

 It’s the last two on the list I want to talk about today. Firefly is the reigning king of cult TV shows that were ended before their time, the fans of the show called "Brown coats" number in the millions and routinely pack exhibit halls at Comic con and other conventions, its stars are rock stars and gods of the geek (used in a very positive way) world. So when everyone says that Firefly was on the list everyone (myself included) figured the contest would be over before it began. But something happened. Firefly Lost. And it was not defeated in an epic battle in the contests final showdown, no it was defeated in the semifinals and by a show that until the last few years was considered dead and gone with a fan base that drifted away into the night. 

The Show was Jericho. 

In a brief history of the show, Jericho is a show that centers on a small town in Kansas which survives a nuclear holocaust that destroys much of the Continental United States. The show mixed the themes of freedom, espionage, terrorism and civil war into a perfect mix of drama that made for excellent viewing. The show was sadly cancelled after its first season, but through a massive fan campaign was brought back for a second season. Due to many factors the 2nd season was its last and the final episode served as a defacto series finale (The ending left you wanting more, but ended the series on a good note) 

It seemed at that point the series was dead, many small websites kept up the fight, but after a while they all began to fade, then came a fan who goes by the username "Gwen" having always been a fan of the show and a renewal activists, Gwen gathered many thousands of fans on face book and beyond to fight for the show. Armed with determination and an army of fans behind her, Gwen has lead the show into what can be described as a 2nd renascence that has seen the campaign not only get massive attention but also legions of new fans. The resurgence of the show has been so great that Jericho has seen the show continue as a Graphic novel series, and whispers of a possible revival at either CBS studios or with the mega website Netflix. 

Now how did Jericho beat Firefly? There are several reasons that while not apparent on the surface become clear upon investigation. Firstly Firefly is 12 years old, and the age while bringing lots of new fans has also lead many to believe a new set of episodes is unlikely, with this is the fact many of Firefly's stars now have shows of their own. Secondly, Firefly's fan base is very wide and decentralized with many leaders; it is difficult to organize a fan wide campaign. Thirdly and perhaps the biggest reason, is that post-apocalyptic shows are back in style, with successful shows like "The Walking Dead" "Falling Skies" "Dominion" and many others, fans of those shows are discovering Jericho and becoming fans in record numbers. Lastly shows that are cancelled take time to gather enough fans to get cult status, some never make it and die, but thanks to leaders like Gwen who have shepherded Jericho, it has emerged into its second Renascence.    

Mark yesterday as a historic day, Jericho is no longer a minor player in the cult show arena. It beat the King. It’s becoming a major player. 

Jericho is rising again

Find out how you can help support Jericho and get the latest updates by liking the following the pages