Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe discussion

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Software and Family Trees

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message 1: by Atom (new)

Atom Bezecny | 21 comments I was thinking about how neat it would be to have some sort of reference visual for the "complete" Wold Newton Family tree, as elaborated by a lot of the material seen in Win and Sean's Crossover books. Now there are inconsistencies in the tree--multiple writers covering the same topics in different and contradictory ways--but I believe that there are enough well-defined connections to have a tree that contains a "prime" canon, maybe with a color scheme to indicate where there are possible divergences. (For example, Farmer had The Shadow and The Spider as half-brothers, while Rick Lai says they're cousins and Arsene Lupin is The Shadow's half-brother. I really like Lai's Shadows of the Opera stories so I prefer his genealogy, but I absolutely understand preferring Farmer.)

Doing it as a singular image would be untenable if you want to show the full extent of a character's relationships with a single convenient tag. I think it would be impressive, for example, to chart all the influence that Sir William Clayton has had, without having to give him multiple placements in the family tree. So it would be neat, in my mind, to have a 3D program that one could fly around in to see the individual entries. The Internet program Project Xanadu wanted to do something similar as a browser, by displaying web pages as objects on a large movable 3-dimensional tree. The 3D space would allow for more connections between characters to be shown off.

I also think it would be neat to have a program that allows one to plug in two characters and get a result back explaining their genealogical relationship. So if hypothetically you need to find out if someone is precisely a first or second cousin of someone else, and if that's by marriage or not, or if that's not even the right relationship at all, you can look it up with two inputs.

I don't know the slightest thing about programming, so this is just an idea, not something I plan to do. Maybe I'm being overcomplicated, too, but the idea of having a complete and interactive version of the Wold Newton Family tree would be a really useful reference.


message 2: by Ted (new)

Ted (tedeg) | 6 comments I actually once had to build a demo family tree on some genealogy software and used the Wold Newton Family. You're certainly correct that the standard off-the-shelf software is not really set up for the more soap-opera elements such as Sir William's family life, various branches of the tree recombining, etc.

The software did not particularly enjoy my attempt to make Radu Tepes (d. 1475) the father* of Rutherford Holmes (b. 1854), either.

*Per Fred Saberhagen's The Holmes-Dracula File, although I don't think he named Sherlock Holmes' vampire twin.


message 3: by Atom (new)

Atom Bezecny | 21 comments Yeah, inevitably a family tree with immortals or vampires is going to look weird. I hadn't thought of that, how some characters would have a cluster of children in one century, each with their own line, and then another cluster two hundred years later...and in the case of characters like Xauxaz, some of them would return to the bloodlines of their descendants...


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Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe

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The Holmes-Dracula File (other topics)

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Fred Saberhagen (other topics)