Thursday, January 12, 2017

John Devil Expanded Universe

I want to talk here a bit about my personal plans for expanding on the John Devil universe in future writings.  

Spoilers for what happened in John Devil will abound.

First to clarify I agree with Brian Stableford’s interpretation of what happened, Henri Belcamp and Tom Brown are the same person.  His timeline in the back of his translation is also very helpful.  I can’t overstate how much I recommend everyone buy it and read it.

Next I want to state that while my fictional universe in very much inspired conceptually by the Wold Newton Universe concept (particularly the French WNU) it's not ultimately compatible with the WNU proper.

One reason is because I write my fiction assuming my interpretation of Biblical Chronology to be true, as a Six Day Young Earth Creationist, so that leaves no room for things like Conan The Barbarian or the proper Cthulhu Mythos.

Another is because I don't like the explaining talented people by saying their ancestors were affected by a meteorite to begin with.  Though the idea of meteorites playing important roles in history is interesting to me.  As well as in genealogies.

In both of those cases nothing I write for TOTS will contradict the WNU proper.   Avoiding the events of 1795 should be easy enough, the closest historical period I might want to address is the Conspiracy of the Equals in 1796-97.  And since any stories written for that won't be set sooner than the English Revolution or at the least the Mayflower, anything said about Biblical history or the age of the Universe is free to be taken as merely that character's opinion.  And I will write characters who don’t share my personal opinions.

But one remaining major deviation from the proper WNU that won't exactly be avoidable is that I want to throw out the traditional WNU genealogy for Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes in exchange for making them descendants of Gregory Temple.  
I have decided against my initial instinct of having it be through Richard Thompson II, and instead will speculate that naturally Richard Thompson and Suzanne Temple had other children.  Mainly I want to give them a daughter who will become a detective herself but won't work for the police because of Victorian Sexism.  She'll do battle with Sir Williams and his mistress named Moriarty during 1840-43.  And she'll be Bisexual and eventually marry a Country Squire named Siger Holmes and give birth to Sherlock in 1854.  She may also have some sexual tension with Moriarty.

Moriarty is depicted directly very little in Doyle's canon, allowing a lot of room for interpretation of his character.  In the first Rathbone film he's essentially the prototype of Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor, on BBC's Sherlock he has a Joker quality to him, and in the RDJ films he's essentially a Victorian Post-Crisis Luthor.  But it's not as common to depict him as a villain with an arguably good motivation, or as a character who at least started that way and lost sight of it as the power corrupted him.

But since his name as well as his right hand man Moran's is Irish, and he works with an Irish revolutionary group in The Valley of Fear.  I feel, it makes sense to see him as someone carrying on the mission of Fergus O'Breanne from Les Mysteries de Londres.  (Note, in The Vampire of New Orleans I had originally mentioned the IRA but the editors choose to replace that with a more generic reference to Irish Freedom fighters, which I fully understand.  If I'd known then what I do now I'd have used the name of the group in TVoF).

So my genealogy for Moriarty begins with Sarah O'Brien (who I usually default to calling Sarah O'Neil because that's who we meet her as).  After the end of John Devil she married Frederick Bohem and births an heir for him, but he dies after not very long.  She then returns to The Gentlemen of The Night now being reorganized by The Colonel.  She has an affair with Fergus O'Breanne (who she'd met before) long before he establishes himself as the Marquis of Rio-Santo, and they have a daughter born legally under their Moriarty alias.  That daughter later has three sons, a Colonel, a Professor and a Station Manager, in my canon only the Colonel is forenamed James.  It is only the Professor who is fathered by Sir Williams.

I'm not fond of the Moriarty is Nemo theory, Robur and Moriarty I could maybe see as the same if it'd chronologically fit, but not Nemo.  Nemo I view as a son Henri Belcamp had with a princess in India while he was preparing that part of his plan.

Henri tells an elaborate story about how he met Percy Balcomb in Australia which we know is made up since Percy was really an Alias of Henri.  But maybe some aspects of that story were based on how he met Fergus O'Breanne since we know he too was in Australia for a while and visited Napoleon about the same time Henri did.  I think Fergus was a part of Henri's plan off screen, perhaps as a commander in the Navy that Henri wanted Robert Surrisy to lead.  I also suspect that between leaving Australia and reaching St Helena they visited the Il Padre Diogni in Corsica.

There is a Walter Brown on the high council of The Gentlemen of The Night during the 1830s, as well as a Peter Wood who could be a relative of Mr Wood  (according to Frank Morlock's translation of the Stage Play version at least).  Could he be a son "Tom Brown" had as a result of some random affair? It's more common than you might expect for a child born out of Wedlock to still wind up with their Father's Surname.  On the Mr Wood subject a James Wood also factors into Rocambole’s later adventures in London.

I can't think of any fictional Characters last named Davy right now, but that would be interesting to look into. Same as Palmer, cause 2 other identities Henry went by were James Davy and George Palmer.

But Henri's only marriage was technically under the Identity of Percy Balcomb to Jeanne Herbert. If she conceived a child during their brief time together in July he/she wouldn't have been born until 1818. The now in the Public Domain 1919 film The Master Mystery starring Harry Houdini features a Herbert Balcom, who runs a Company in the United States that makes advanced Technology, and he turns out to be a Super-Villain of sorts. People often changed in some small way their Surname when they immigrated to the U.S. So, could Herbert Balcom be a descendent of Percy Balcomb and Jeanne Herbert?  I think it's likely.

Let's leave what happened during and after the events of John Devil and consider the background.

One CoolFrencComics genealogy suggests that the House of Belcame descends from Riene de Kergariou of Paul Feval's Fee Des Greves.  Given the similarity in name and the common connection to Brittany, I think placing her in the ancestry of the Kergaz family from the Rocambole novels would be a more natural conclusion.  
A lot of John Devil characters were alive at the time of the French Revolution, which is interesting in light of my French Revolution Shared Cinematic Universe (FRCU) idea I suggested elsewhere.  They all seem to be in London mostly during that time however, Armand De Belcamp went there after being exiled.  Much of the drama of the Scarlet Pimpernel was in London at this time also, so there could be crossover potential there.

The desire to compare Gregory Temple to Sherlock Holmes is hindered mostly by that in John Devil we see the end of his career mainly, already old and past his prime.  During the French Revolution he’s already began his career, we could have Helen Brown as his Irene Adler and Mr. Wood leading the Gentlemen of The Night.

I would course seek to tie this into my own evolving theories about the roles Secret Societies played during this history.  Which I discuss on my Conspiracy History Facts blog.

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