Sunday, August 9, 2015
Crossover of the Week
ACCORDING TO PLAN OF A ONE-EYED TRICKSTER
Richard Henry Benson, alias the Avenger, is visited by American government agent Tony McKay and a British agent named Jim. Jim tells Benson that almost thirty years ago, Sherlock Holmes, whose brother was then head of the British Secret Service, fought a man called Baron Ulf Von Waldman, who appears to be the same person as Dr. Walden, whom Benson encountered last month. Walden’s ally in his battle with Benson was the Countess Lilya Zarov. Walden has demanded that Benson and his own ally in their previous conflict, the Domino Lady, come to him. Walden is renting Stonecraft Castle. One of Walden’s past aliases is Larsen. Walden states that Benson is a great scientist, perhaps second only to another who lives in New York. Zarov once had her back broken by an enemy who was escaping from a prison camp Walden ran during the Great War. Prior to that, this enemy had slept with her, resulting in a pregnancy. Lilya used her shape-changing abilities, inherited from an extraterrestrial mother, to heal her injuries. Another member of her mother’s race was defeated by “a doltish ‘gentleman thief’” in the 1890s. Lilya’s son went on to battle his hated father, who did not realize the truth about his parentage, as the son had changed his features so that he would appear older. At the conclusion of the battle, Walden alludes to a future encounter with Benson’s daughter.
Short story by Win Scott Eckert in The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible, Nancy Holder and Joe Gentile, eds., Moonstone Books, 2013. This story completes the trilogy begun by Eckert with his stories “Death and the Countess” (The Avenger Chronicles, Joe Gentile and Howard Hopkins, eds., Moonstone Books, 2008) and “Happy Death Men” (The Avenger: The Justice, Inc. Files, Joe Gentile and Howard Hopkins, eds., Moonstone Books, 2011.) Tony McKay is from Sax Rohmer’s novel Emperor Fu Manchu. “Jim” is James Bond. Sherlock Holmes’ encounter with “Baron Ulf von Waldman” was chronicled by Dr. Watson in his tale “The Adventure of the Fallen Stone” (Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook, Howard Hopkins, ed., Moonstone Books, 2012), edited by Eckert. Holmes’ brother, Mycroft, was portrayed as the head of the British Secret Service and one of the first to hold the title of “M” (a reference to the James Bond novels) in John T. Lescroart’s novels Son of Holmes and Rasputin’s Revenge, as well as Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s comic book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Dr. Karl Walden, alias Baron Ulf Von Waldman, is meant to be Baron von Hessel from Philip José Farmer’s authorized Doc Savage novel Escape from Loki. In his essay “The Green Eyes Have It – Or Are They Blue?” (Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe, Win Scott Eckert, ed., MonkeyBrain Books, 2005), Christopher Paul Carey argued that the Baron and Wolf Larsen (from Jack London’s The Sea-Wolf) were aliases of the immortal XauXaz from Farmer’s trilogy of novels about the ancient society known as the Nine, a theory elaborated upon and modified by Eckert in his story “The Wild Huntsman” (The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 3: Portraits of a Trickster, Michael Croteau, ed., Meteor House, 2012), among others. Countess Lilya Zarov is meant to be Lili Bugov, Countess Idivzhopu, from Escape from Loki; the use of the surname Zarov is meant to imply that she is related to General Zaroff from Richard Connell’s story “The Most Dangerous Game.” In his essay “Who’s Going to Take Over the World When I’m Gone?” (Myths for the Modern Age), Eckert argued that Doc Savage’s nemesis John Sunlight was the result of Lili and Doc’s sexual encounter in Escape from Loki; the shape-changing abilities shared by mother and child explain how Lili was able to recover from her crippling and disfiguring injuries suffered at the climax of that novel, as well as why Lester Dent claimed in The Fortress of Solitude that Sunlight “was not a young man,” despite the fact that he would have been only eighteen years old at that time. Doc Savage is the New York resident who is possibly a greater scientist than Benson. The Domino Lady, created by Lars Anderson, is one of the most well-known pulp heroines. Stonecraft Castle was formerly owned by James D. Stonecraft, an oil magnate obsessed with immortality, who appears in Farmer’s authorized Tarzan novel The Dark Heart of Time. The “doltish ‘gentleman thief’” is A.J. Raffles; his encounter with a member of Lili’s mother’s race was recounted by his amanuensis Harry “Bunny” Manders in “The Problem of the Sore Bridge – Among Others,” edited by Farmer. The Avenger and the Domino Lady’s future daughter, Helen Benson, was first mentioned in Farmer and Eckert’s novel The Evil in Pemberley House. The title of this story is a play on that of the Doc Savage pulp novel According to Plan of a One-Eyed Mystic.