8FOLD/META: About the Author # 1: Tom Russell

martinphipps2 at yahoo.com martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 15 11:01:39 PDT 2005

Tom Russell wrote:


> Then, as we began correspondance on the universe, it's history, etc.,
> found myself allied with him on many different points, including a
> general dislike of rampant revisionism and the pointless gimmicks
> pollute the panels.  (For example, I hate alternate universes and
> them a juvenile exercise for those who have no real ideas.)

Thinking metaphysically here, isn't every story set in an alternate
universe?  I mean, it isn't really our world.  If you write part 1 of a
story set in 2004 and the reader wants to know what happened next, he
can't do a search on cnn.com.  It didn't really happen.  The reader is
completely relying on the author to tell us what happened next.

> And, I had
> a story to tell-- the story of Speak!-- and it didn't feel like an
> story.  Now, technically, any story could fit in the LNH, it's a very
> durable universe, but it's built on the fabric of silliness.  (And I
> like that.)  But this just felt like a story that took place on a
> different world, and I didn't want to give myself the chance of
> Gregory meet Lunchbox Lass or Peelix the Cat, because it would be
> disruptive to the particular story.

See now, this would be the one argument in favour of alternate
universes as you referred to above.  The same characters in the same
universe have a certain "feel" but change the setting and you change
everything.  How do these characters behave under different
circumstances?  Are they even the same characters?  Now you can tell
stories with the same basic characters but appeal to a whole new

> That's what I'm interested in: knowing something was wrong, doing it
> anyway, and not knowing why.

Read it.  Liked it.  Didn't quite buy it.  Most of us take the middle
road: we have to think about ourselves first but we're not quite ready
to say "Fuck you" to the rest of the world.  Would having great power
change that?  Not necessarily.  "With great power comes great
responsibility" and "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" are both
demonstratably true, but the average person would be neither supremely
altruistic nor diabolically evil.  we all do things for a reason.  It
isn't just because we can.

> And I'm interested in finding out that
> why, because I think it's a fundamental part of human nature.  I
> want to give Gregory an excuse for the things he does-- which will
> a whole lot worse as time goes on, as you'll see even in number two--
> he's not insane, he doesn't call himself evil, he's not under the
> influence of demons or drugs, he's not doing out of poverty or love
> any other external constraint, there is no political motiviation.
> just doing it, just like we do things every day, only the things he
> does are going to be a lot worse and therefore more illustory.

One man's excuse is another man's motive.  I would like to know why
Gregory does the things he does.  It would be enough if we can be privy
to Greggory's own justifications for why he does what he does and then
the reader can decide whether or not this is a valid motive, let alone
an excuse.

Anyway, did you actually read any of the LNHY stuff?  There were
analogues of Lethal Lawyer and Exclamation Master and there was a
mention of a Sister State-the-Obvious analogue but otherwise it's a
completely separate universe.  I think the name "LNHY" is misleading.
Only about 3% of the characters that have appeared have actually become
LNH members anyway: Arthur has very strict rules about who can be an
LNHer in LNHY.  The result is something very different from the regular
LNH: you could have zombies appear in LNHY and they wouldn't seem out
of place whereas, yeah, they did seem a bit out of place in LNH
stories. :)


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