Sunday, June 15, 2014

Crossover of the Week

            Archaeologist François Bordes explores the caves at Lascaux, and finds a stone with a tablet inside, which has strange writing inscribed upon it. Trying to decipher the inscriptions, he searches a book by his colleague Aristide Clairembard. An hour later, he discovers similarities between the writing and samples recorded by Professor Lidenbrock in Iceland in the 19th Century. According to Clairembard, only one person was able to decipher the text unearthed by Lidenbrock: Robert Wolff, a professor at Traybell University in Busiris, Illinois. Traveling to Busiris to meet with Wolff, Bordes and his American colleague encounter Dr. Oscar le Rouge.
            Short story by Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier in The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 2: Of Dust and Soul, Michael Croteau, ed., Meteor House, 2011. François Bordes was a real life archaeologist, geologist, and scientist, who also wrote science fiction novels under the pen name Francis Carsac. This story reveals where Bordes got the idea for his novel Ceux de Null Part (Those from Nowhere.) Professor Wolff (aka Jadawin) and Dr. le Rouge (aka Red Orc) are from Farmer’s The World of Tiers series. Traybell University appears in Farmer’s novel Traitor to the Living; an alternate universe version of the University appears in Farmer’s story “The God Business.” Busiris, Illinois is a recurring stand-in for Peoria in Farmer’s works. Professor Aristide Clairembard (or Clairembart) is one of the allies of adventurer Bob Morane in novels by Henri Vernes. Professor Otto Lidenbrock’s Icelandic expedition was chronicled by his nephew Axel Lidenbrock and edited by Jules Verne into a book entitled Journey to the Centre of the Earth. This story is set in the early 1950s, and Bordes is described as “barely thirty.” Since Bordes was born in 1919, 1950 is the most likely year for it to take place.

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