Fiction and Reality

Article Nexus

Michael D. Winkle

Truth to tell, I prefer writing fiction, but sometimes I feel the urge to pass along information that I've researched. Most anything I research ends up in one story or another, but sometimes there's lots of wonderful background material that simply won't fit the flow of a story. I've read plenty of stories that inserted long, dreary chunks of information on the history or technology of a futuristic or fantasy setting, and I try to avoid that trap.

The articles that branch out from this page cover a variety of odd subjects, but, again, they have bearing on some aspect of my fiction: science, folklore, Fortean phenomena, movies and TV shows, biography -- any subject that strikes my fancy.


January 2006

I think this is a good place for a long running Wold-Newton analysis of Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the ripper tales. Starting with Murder By Decree.

For February: Holmes/Ripper II: A Study in Terror.

Heavy Metals -- Light Fantastic: Add a leaf to that Periodic Table!

The Mothman Annotations: We'll never know how much of it was real, but perhaps we can get closer to the truth by chasing down primary sources.

Now the last needs some explanation. Several years ago, when Forrest J. Ackerman and Ray Ferry revived Famous Monsters of Filmland, I was hot to contribute something to the magazine that made up 75% of my childhood. I wrote "Mesozoic Misrepresentations" and sent it in -- and it was promptly ignored. I did not know about the internal struggle at FM, nor was I aware that Ackerman resigned as editor (Ferry continued using the name "Dr. Acula" to fool the magazine-buying baby-boomers). Anyway, "Mesozoic" was never heard from again, but I thought I might post it here. It was meant to be a pastiche of Ackerman's breathless, alliterative, punny style, all the better to slip into Famous Monsters.

I could write a whole other essay about Ackerman's penchant for listing titles of movies in capital letters whenever he could get away with it (titles like METROPOLIS. . . THINGS TO COME. . . THE INVISIBLE RAY. . .). I managed to do that, too, in "Mesozoic". I especially enjoyed it when he listed every SF/horror movie Hollywood announced it might make, eventually. Half the titles he gave out never made it beyond the scripting stage, yet they provided entertainment of another sort: I could go for months hoping against hope that this or that film would appear. Or I might be inspired by these provocative phantom titles to write stories matching them. Who knows? Someday I may go back through all my old FMs and review those Things to Come that never appeared and wrest them myself from the Real of Unwrought Things.

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