Porky’s Wild Bore – Not on Kansa 5 any more, Frodo?
This time I’m on a kind of blogroll-reading grand tour, out of Pork End and down a yellow-brick superhighway to hive cities and beyond, and the ruby slippers might be sapphire.
Because what set me off this week was seeing the colour blue on a possible Millennium Falcon, an X-Wing miniature repainted by Da Masta Cheef at Da Long Wayz Dezert Groop. Da Cheef is pretty handy at repaints.
That one cool blaze of colour is enough to link the greebly-grimy universe of the original trilogy with the squeaky-clean midi-chloriantics of the three prequels. I’m not convinced the two trilogies are showing quite the same galaxy, and colour seems to be one major aspect of the difference. There were streaks of colour in the originals, but not the same colourations. Each trilogy might almost be its own setting, or maybe there are two worlds half a degree removed.
Which set me wondering how far removed the worlds of the major fictions really are from each other. How many degrees is the Wizard of Oz from the Lord of the Rings really, and how much sets them both apart from say Star Wars or 40K?
Some connections might be more obvious. There’s the change of tone moving from Kansas to Oz, and from the light-hearted nature of The Hobbit and out of the Shire, and maybe after the escape of R2D2, or following the attack on the moisture farm. The motley band and the road going ever on. How about the Great and Powerful Oz and Saruman, and a Vader of mysterious origins, becoming more machine than man? Did Tolkien read Baum or see Judy Garland in action? Does it even matter, if the Hero has a Thousand Faces?
Rogue Trader famously has an Obiwan Sherlock Closseau, but when it comes to the original trilogy that looks like the tip of the iceberg. As for the prequels, does anyone else get the impression the trade federation might have had an influence on the Tau? There’s only a few real-world years in it. I can almost imagine the prequels fitting into the wider open spaces of the Eastern Fringe. Maybe the Orks of Gorkamorka are somewhere out past Jabba’s palace? Did Jabba even hire that one wildboy as a guard..?
Could the various Star Trek series be transferred to 40K’s third millennium? Could Dying Earth be the setting’s ultimate fate? If we’re talking individual locations, a planet like Necromunda and its hive cities could be a step away from certain takes on the post-apocalypse – think Mad Max and the like, Roadside Picnic and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – and from various fictional cities – like those of Metropolis and maybe even Dark City – not to mention from possible combinations like Gormenghast and the Mega-City One of 2000 AD.
Judge Dredd is very much the vibe I get from the adeptus arbites in 40K, and by extension from the the arbites suppressor shown off by Mihalis Skalkos at Home of Cadaver last week.
While we’re in that general region, if you’re a fan of Necromunda or the arbites or interested in the base and the wider world, have a look at another post from the past week, by CJ Kilbride at into the void, on getting the effect of the Necromunda card gantries.
Given the range of influences 40K seems to have been gifted, it might only be a single jump through a warped mirror to quite a few other settings, like the universe of Dune, the space of Alien, or Stargate, and this or that landscape of the Mythos, even the historical dark ages. Plus 40K owes a lot to Warhammer, and that has its own range of influences, presumably not least LotR and D&D. The famous appendix N shows us just how many influences D&D might have had in turn, even from the very beginning, and even before we get to its own overlaid settings.
Near future worlds like those of Blade Runner, Infinity, Transhuman Space and Eclipse Phase have plenty of scope for overlap, along with the alternate histories that branch from the past. Vibes like cyberpunk can link more disparate concepts, like those of Shadowrun and the setting for Aetherium, the game Lo looked at last week.
Steampunk and dieselpunk can have a similar role, and retrofuturism, running together most obviously from variant Old Wests, through the worlds of Victorian sci-fi to the B-movies of the ’50s, or off with weird tangents or blends like Brazil, BraveStarr and Malifaux. They could potentially go much further of course, and not least to ancient Rome and Greece thanks to the historical near miss, or maybe save, of the aeolipile.
On the subject, check out the report posted by Brian Hamilton at By Brush and Sword for All Quiet on the Martian Front, The Martians March on Memphis!
Those tank forms link back to 40K’s imperial guard, and H. G. Wells’ Martian tripods could well have been an inspiration for aspects of the new skitarii. They link to the Great War as well of course, and the two most major of the hot wars of the 20th century clearly have their own less removed standard game settings. These could also lead over a ruined threshold into the expanses of Olaf Stapledon’s work or weirder worlds like those of Dust and the Quar, and possibly onto places like the Ninth World of Numenera, the world of Thundarr the Barbarian, maybe even He-Man’s Eternia.
The pulps arc over and through a lot of this, and the early superhero comics too, and those lead in turn through cross-pollination and maybe even just structure into manga. That’s immense ground in itself, and gives a good sense of what spectra there are, even if what exists now is surely only an infinitesimal fraction of the possible.
In tabletop gaming all of this potential crossover means more options. A single collection of superficially incompatible miniatures, boards or terrain pieces could actually cover a huge range of fusions. Fuller manifestations of system like missions, scenarios and adventures can be adapted, especially if a rules-light approach makes conversion easier.
A single homebrewed rule could be the way through the door into more than just Alice’s Wonderland. It’s just a case of unlocking the S-foils, taking to the heighliner and making it so.
Back to the original point then: how how far removed might the worlds of the major fictions be? They are all based on this world, or seem to be, so there’s an argument to be made that no one setting is ever more than two degrees removed from another: a hop back into this world and a skip out into the next makes two moves.
Anyway, that’s far enough for now. There’s no place like the House… No place like the House…