Hello Ghouls and Boils,
Today we have a special treat – a republished interview with Win Scott Eckert. If you stumbled onto this and would like to know why we republished it here, refer to The Not-So-Savvy Reader. Thanks again to Win for giving us his time. I hope you all enjoy this interview as much as I did. Enjoy, my fiends!
Sarah L. Covert
About the Author: Win Scott Eckert hosts the first website devoted Philip Jose Farmer’s Wold Newton Family concept, the Wold Newton Universe. He is the editor of and a contributor to Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe, (MonkeyBrain Books, 2005), a 2007 Locus Awards finalist, and has written pulp tales for a yearly anthology of Wold-Newtonish stories, Tales Of The Shadowmen Vols. 1-6 (Black Coat Press, 2005-2010). He also contributed a story for The Avenger Chronicles (Moonstone Books, 2008), with stories forthcoming for Moonstone’s The Green Hornet Chronicles (which he is also co-editing), More Tales Of Zorro, The Phantom Chronicles Vol. 2, & The Captain Midnight Chronicles. He was a regular contributor to Farmerphile: The Magazine of Philip José Farmer and was honored to write the Foreword to Farmer’s seminal “fictional biography,” TARZAN ALIVE (Bison Books, 2006). Win’s latest books Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World Vols. 1 & 2 (Black Coat Press, 2010) and the Wold Newton novel The Evil In Pemberley House, about Patricia Wildman, the daughter of a certain bronze-skinned pulp hero (co-authored with Philip Jose Farmer, Subterranean Press, 2009).
Sarah L. Covert: Welcome to Savvy Readers, I have been guest blogging here all week and it has become a sort of home away from home. So, please makes yourself at home and thanks for joining us today.
Win Scott Eckert: Sarah, thanks very much, I’m happy to be here!
Sarah L. Covert: AS SNS readers know (and now Savvy regulars), my love for sci-fi and horror was born at Drive-In Double Features when I was a wee one. What was it that made you interested in genre writing?
Win Scott Eckert: As Howard Waldrop has said, “Like most things from the Seventies, this is Philip José Farmer’s fault… If you don’t like it, don’t write me. Write Philip José Farmer.” I was born in the Sixties, but the mid-Seventies marked the beginning of an eight-year-old’s lifelong fascination with fictional timelines. No doubt that fascination sprang, in greater part, from the fact that I received a copy of Phil’s Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life in 1975 when I was eight years old. That spurred me on a two-decade quest to collect all the Bantam Doc Savage paperbacks and read them in the order that Phil placed them in his Doc Savage timeline. Phil’s Doc Savage and Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke had also left me with an undying hunger to read all the other characters he had included in the Wold Newton Family tree – The Shadow, Sherlock Holmes, Fu Manchu, The Spider, Philip Marlowe, Nero Wolfe, Sam Spade, James Bond, Travis McGee, and so on.
So first we had the timelines, and second was the pulp fiction element. Third was a love of comics. I loved superhero comics as a kid but by my early teens I wanted something more. Dave Stevens’ pulp- and serial-inspired The Rocketeer gave me that, and more; as many folks may know, The Rocketeer features an unnamed cameo by Doc and his aides. (And the second volume of The Rocketeer features The Shadow.)
Since The Rocketeer featured Doc, I consulted Phil’s timeline and found that it fit in very neatly. At that point I began to consider The Rocketeer as taking place within Phil’s Wold Newton continuity; although The Rocketeer was not a member of the Wold Newton Family, the story took place in the “Wold Newton Universe” (WNU). I began to look for other crossovers which might add to Phil’s Wold Newton mythos, and pretty soon I was compiling them into a timeline of my own, which I called the Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology . I posted it on my Wold Newton Universe site (the first of its kind), and pretty soon readers were sending in their own Wold Newton articles. So I created online essay section. A few years later a couple other contributors started their own sites, and a few years after that we had such a great stockpile of Wold Newton-inspired articles, it seemed a natural move to investigate putting together a print anthology, which became Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe (MonkeyBrain Books, 2005).
From there, French Wold Newton aficionado (and talented writer) Jean-Marc Lofficier invited/cajoled me and several others to start contributing crossover tales to his Tales of the Shadowmen series for his Black Coat Press imprint. I was fortunate enough to parlay that experience, in conjunction with a near-obsessive level of knowledge about various characters, into gigs contributing stories for Moonstone Books, where the folks had been savvy enough to acquire the licensing rights to some of my favorite pulp, comic strip, and radio/television heroes, and so now I get to write about The Avenger, The Phantom, Zorro, Captain Midnight, and The Green Hornet!
Sarah L. Covert: You are best known for your work on the literary-crossover Wold Newton Universe, created by author Philip José Farmer (and of course later expanded by yourself and others). Farmer was skilled at combining religious and sexual themes with science-fiction and fantasy. Your latest work, The Evil in Pemberley House, is a piece of Farmer’s that you completed. It is often described as “darkly erotic”. Do you find it difficult to combine romance with horror – or do you find them natural bedfellows?
Win Scott Eckert: I should warn readers that this is Philip José Farmer’s version of a Gothic romance, so anyone looking for a more traditional romance… this is not the book for you. In a way it’s a send-up of the Gothic, with 1970s sensibilities, if that isn’t an oxymoron. The heroine, Patricia Wildman, is fearful, and she has reason to be, as she’s been traumatized, both physically and emotionally. Farmer doesn’t pull any punches. There are other characters, also motivated by fear—fear of not being loved, fear of losing power, fear of losing money. So in that regard, yes, I think horror (fear) and romance (love) can be natural bedfellows. They are different sides of the same coin, different possible outcomes based on circumstances.
Sarah L. Covert: You have published quite a few short stories. We are big fans of the short story at SNS. What is it about the short story that appeals to you as a writer?
Win Scott Eckert: I like the challenge of conveying a lot of wide-ranging ideas in a short amount of space. It forces me to be economical with my words, to self-edit, and to mercilessly cut the deadweight. If I can deliver a nifty idea, good characterizations, a lot of action, and some snappy dialogue within a limited word count, I’m happy.
Sarah L. Covert: If you had all the money and all the time in the world and you could write on any subject of your fancy – what would it be?
Win Scott Eckert: Writing short fiction was a great proving ground for tackling the novel The Evil in Pemberley House and I’d be very happy to write more novels going forward. In fact, I do have another in planning stages, but can’t say much more about it at the moment.
Sarah L. Covert: Do you have any upcoming projects, news or sarcastic comments to share with our readers?
Win Scott Eckert: Let’s see… My two-volume Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World is set to release In June (or at least volume 1 is) from Black Coat Press. I’ve been working on this in one form or another for well over ten years, and it’s gratifying to see it finally come to fruition.
I have forthcoming stories in Moonstone’s The Phantom Chronicles 2, More Tales of Zorro, Captain Midnight Chronicles, and The Green Hornet Chronicles. I’m co-editing the latter with Moonstone’s Joe Gentile, and it’s a blast. We’re using the 1960s television Green Hornet as our template to tell a lot of really great pulp crime stories, and the contributors include Harlan Ellison®, Denny O’Neil, Will Murray, Greg Cox, James Reasoner, Richard Dean Starr, CJ Henderson, and Ron Fortier, among other great writers.
Stories in progress include another Avenger tale, a Sherlock Holmes crossover story, and a Patricia Wildman story (a sequel to The Evil in Pemberley House), which should be out in time for this year’s FarmerCon . Beyond that I plan to write more about the origins of the Wold Newton Family; the prologue for this series was a Scarlet Pimpernel story I penned for Tales of the Shadowmen 6: Grand Guignol. And finally, I have a pulp comic series in development with Moonstone, featuring the Green Ghost; hopefully I’ll have more info to share on that soon.