LNH/META: A Silly, Lighthearted Place

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 20 15:41:23 PDT 2006

Yay!  I got a Tom Russell review.
<Stimpy voice> Joooooy... </Stimpy voice>

On Monday 14 Aug 2006 Tom Russell wrote:
>    I've been with the LNH for a good ten years now,
>and because of that it becomes easy for me to forget
>how sublimely weird it is.  To explain, just follow
>these three easy steps:
>    (1) Read the recently collected "A Devil Came Down
>to Georgia" storyline by Saxon Brenton.
>    (2) Try to provide a plot summary to someone who
>_isn't_ involved with the LNH.
>    (3)  Try to explain to them that it isn't exactly a
>comedy.  That it's about demonic socks, but that the
>sock isn't particularly funny: he's nasty and diabolical.

I've tired that on other LNH stories in the past.  Yes, it can be
problematic.  That said, my problems have usually been more
in the arena of trying to explain complicated back-stories.


>    But the Universe itself isn't one big story: the
>Universe is the link between the stories, it's the
>anthology, it's the setting.  And I think a Universe
>is big enough to contain a number of different tones
>(hell, I think a life is big enough to contain a
>number of different tones, and I personally would like
>to see Superman fight another myna bird sometime soon).

An interesting observation, and possibly tangentially related to the
notion that, unlike fiction, real life doesn't need to have a plot that
makes sense.  Maybe some people are somehow taking that principle
and expanding it beyond individual stories and story arcs and instead
trying to apply it to the setting as a whole?  Hmm, I'll have to think
about that; it sounds like the type of thing that they'd gnaw on over
on the Howling Curmudgeons website...

>                      Look at PARTICLE MAN ANNUAL # 1,
>which Arthur Spitzer brought to my attention.  It is,
>essentially, a shaggy dog story, the whole story
>builds until the cabbie gets the girl, starts a rental
>car agency, and sends Boy Lad a letter signed "Love
>Hertz".  The whole story's really there to support this pun.

<stares at the above paragraph>  I've read the PM Annual about
three times, and I never realised that.

>    Which, if I might digress for a moment, brings up
>another thing that separates the LNH from just about
>any other universe, amateur and professional: the
>really, really, really long names.  Like
>Anything-You-Can-Do-I-Can-Do-Better Lad, or Adamant
>Authority on Everything.  I'm not really sure where it
>started, but it's another thing that makes us unique.

All-Knowing Last-Chance Whiner Destiny Woman lives!

>    Another thing that's interesting about A DEVIL CAME
>DOWN TO GEORGIA, the LNH, and Saxon's writing in
>particular is, of course, the fourth wall.
>    One of the standard uses of fourth wall breaking
>is, of course, to make the audience laugh.  And some
>writers, like Martin Phipps, use it in a more personal
>vein, extrapolating moral consequences and insights
>from the relationship between authors and their
>fictional creations.  Saxon, on the other hand,
>primarily uses it to educate, to give us vital plot
>information, to world-build.
>    More than once in his body of work, he'll stop the
>story cold in its tracks to expound upon the history
>of this particular reality, and how it differs from
>both our reality and other RACC universes.  Nine times
>out of ten, this would be bad writing.  In any
>semi-serious fantasy novel, it would cause the reader
>  cringe.
>  But in the LNH continuities, and particularly in
>Saxon's hands, it works.  There's something almost
>colloquial about the way he stops the story to give us
>some plot dump.

Tell that to Jamas and his editorial-shoji-mallet-with-Saxon's-name-
on-it  :-)    (Although to be fair, recently he's more been needing to
wallop me over extremely poor cliffhanger construction than anything else.)

Leaving aside the fact that a lot of my humour comes from fourth-wall
breaking, I think I owe a lot to the influence of Douglas Adam's `Hitch-
Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy' and Terry Pratchett's `Discworld' series.
That said, they *are* better at world building/info dumping than I am,
especially Pratchett's noted use of humorous dialogue.  In fact, the
world-building for SF and fantasy worlds in general come closer to what
I'm trying to do than `mere' traditional superhero stories.  After all,
it's usually the case that shared superhero settings like DC and Marvel
exist in something very like the real world, with only a few discrete
fantastic elements.  Whereas as far as I'm concerned I'm going beyond
Grant Morrison-esque `mad ideas' to see how this world works (more
Pratchett influence, I'm afraid) -- rather like the Ash universe, I
suppose, but not restricted to the socio-economic-political impacts of
the presence of superpowers.

>*** Big thanks, by the way, to Saxon for finding the DVANDOM FORCE quote. 

Confession time!  It's a sign of how much of a Dvandom geek I am that
it took me less than 30 seconds of thought to recall the provenance
of the quote as coming from the end of the `Grand Tour' crossover with
Team M.E.C.H.A.

Saxon Brenton     Uni of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
      saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au          saxonbrenton at hotmail.com

Research and compare new cars side by side at carpoint.com.au 

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