In his classic “biographies” of fictional characters (Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic
Life), Hugo and Nebula award winning author Philip José Farmer introduced the Wold Newton family,
a group of heroic and villainous literary figures whose family-tree includes Sherlock Holmes, Fu Manchu,
Philip Marlowe, James Bond, and others. In books, stories, and essays he expanded the concept even further by
adding more branches to the Wold Newton family-tree. Expanding the family even farther are contributions from Farmer’s successors (scholars, writers, and pop-culture historians) who bring even more fictional characters into the fold, thus creating an ever-expanding family tree of famous literary characters. Some of these characters are adventurers, some are detectives, some explorers and scientists, some espionage agents, and some are evil geniuses.
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Magenta Zephyr and the Universe Bender is an extension of the Wold Newton family tree. Many of the character’s names actually give clues as to who their famous literary ancestors might be, and those who are familiar with the Wold Newton Universe might have fun trying to figure out who they are and filling in the new branches to the family trees. For more information on the Wold Newton Universe, just browse the web . . . If you’re into science fiction, fantasy, heroic fiction, comics, or alternate universes, there are a lot of fun and interesting theories . . .
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According to Farmer, the Wold Newton family originated when a radioactive meteor landed in Wold Newton, England, in the year 1795. The radiation caused a genetic mutation in those present, which endowed many of their descendants with extremely high intelligence and strength, as well as an exceptional capacity and drive to perform good, or, as the case may be, evil deeds.
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