Follow TV Tropes

Following

Creator / Kim Newman

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kim_newman.jpg
Kim James Newman (born July 31 1959) is an English author of often-satirical horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction. Probably his best-known work is the Anno Dracula sequence, an Alternate History in which Count Dracula succeeded in taking over England, played out as a Massive Multiplayer Crossover featuring just about every famous fictional vampire ever, as well as many other famous fictional characters.
Advertisement:

Also of interest to tropers is his Diogenes Club sequence, concerning a secret service devoted to investigating the weird and improbable, from the return of Zombie Hitler to an insane murderer who devotes his kills to the goblins Snap, Crackle, and Pop. Each story is a stylistic pastiche of the investigator of the unknown and/or secret agent fiction of the period in which it's set, with much Lampshade Hanging and other playing with tropes.

Another recurring character, introduced in "The Original Dr Shade" but featured most completely in the novel The Quorum, is the satanic media magnate Derek Leech; any time a Newman character makes a Deal with the Devil, it's generally a Deal With Derek. Leech is an unholy No Celebrities Were Harmed mashup of Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch who is secretly working toward some kind of consumer-culture-apotheosis apocalypse — and every single story he appears in, even the ones where he's being actively opposed, ends with him a little bit closer to achieving his goal.

Advertisement:

Newman has also written some fiction under the name Jack Yeovil, including tie-in novels and short stories for Games Workshop's Dark Future and Warhammer settings. The character Genevieve Dieudonne, who appeared in much of his Warhammer work beginning with the novel Drachenfels, went on to also be a part of the Anno Dracula and Diogenes Club universes. He also wrote the BFI TV Classic book on Doctor Who, and is a regular film reviewer for Empire magazine, with his own column for Direct-to-Video releases (finding some neglected gems, but mostly dreck).

Newman is a long-time friend of Neil Gaiman; they collaborated on the hilarious and troperriffic non-fiction book Ghastly Beyond Belief, a book of science fiction and fantasy quotations with plenty of snarky asides by Newman and Gaiman, back when they were both struggling journalists, and have made cameos in each others' work (Newman appears, in his other job as a film reviewer, in Gaiman's horror story "Calliope").

Advertisement:

According to Neil Gaiman, he's a semi-professional kazoo player, used to carry a swordstick and is the original model for the Pinhead Cenobite. Newman contends that Gaiman is the model for the Chatterer, another Cenobite.


Works by Kim Newman with their own trope pages include:

Other works by Kim Newman provide examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Derek Leech is very, very charming. Of course, this just makes it easier for him to negotiate advantageous deals with people...
  • Alternate History:
    • "Slow News Day" and "The Germans Won", often published together under the collective title "Alternate Majors", depict John Major in two alternate timelines each created by Britain suffering an ahistorical defeat. ("Slow News Day" is the one where the Germans won World War II.)
    • "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus" is set in a weird alternate universe where England had a second Civil War at the end of the 20th century.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: The anti-Semitic content and gleeful violence of Donald Moncrieff's Doctor Shade stories in "The Original Dr. Shade" may seem exaggerated, but it's an accurate reflection of the content of some of the work of "Sapper", and of the even more extremist (and consequently now largely forgotten) Sydney Horler.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: The plot of Orgy of the Blood Parasites kicks off when animal activists liberate some cute fluffy bunnies from being laboratory test subjects, without stopping to check whether the bunnies might have been used to test, for instance, a high contagious virus with a variety of weird side effects.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Near the beginning of "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus", the protagonist is being held at gunpoint by agents of the sinister conspiracy. A shot rings out — and the agent with the gun keels over as the heroic Captain Lytton emerges from the fog. Near the end of the story, Lytton saves the protagonist again the same way.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Played very darkly in the novella "Bloody Students". One subplot involves a woman named Abigail being asked to babysit the protagonist's eight-year-old son, Jason: the kid's a nuisance at the best of times, but he's recently been bitten by a rabbit carrying the mutagenic super-virus of the story, so things start to go downhill when Jason mutates.
  • Bat Signal: In "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus", the AU version of the Diogenes Club has a signal rocket on the roof that can be used to request assistant from Dr. Shade; when ignited, it shoots up into the sky and creates a skull-shaped cloud of smoke. Jeperson says it's been up there for decades without ever having been used, because sensible people don't want help from Dr. Shade unless they're really desperate.
  • Big First Choice: An early choice in the adult Gamebook novel Life's Lottery is whether your favourite character in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is Napoleon Solo or Ilya Kuryakin. The answer decides whether you end up joining the social in-crowd at your primary school or becoming a misfit, which branches the novel into two entirely separate decision trees.
  • Black Shirt: In "Slow News Day", puppet UK Prime Minister John Major is attending an anniversary celebration of the successful German invasion of Britain. He notes the attendance of a handful of elderly surviving Black Shirts who had been hailed as heroes after the invasion, despite having played almost no part in it. They are often referred to by the sarcastic nickname of 'Dad's Army'.
  • Bland-Name Product: In "Gargantuabots Versus the Nice Mice", the two toy franchises in the title are transparently based on Transformers and the Care Bears.
  • Body Horror: Newman has lots of fun with this in Orgy Of The Blood Parasites.
  • Broad Strokes: Newman's standard approach to continuity; he's said in interviews that he'll cheerfully change a previously-established detail if doing so will better serve the story he's currently writing.
    • Most obviously, stories in which Dr Shade is a fictional character are broadly in continuity with stories in which he's very real. The author's notes at the back of Mysteries of the Diogenes Club Handwave this by saying the real Shade's descendents dispute Leech Enterprises' ownership of the trademark.
  • Canon Welding:
    • Under the pseudonym Jack Yeovil, Newman wrote a number of books based on Games Workshop properties. Krokodil Tears, one of the Dark Future books, has a scene wherein the Big Bad of that series has a vision of one of his alternate versions as Drachenfels from his Vampire Genevieve series of Warhammer books.
    • His Diogenes Club series clearly shares continuity with Angels of Music, Hound of the d'Urbervilles, and the Drearcliff Grange series. The Diogenes short story "Cold Snap" has characters from many of his other works. And Anno Dracula, an alternate history story, has alternate versions of characters from all of the above, their roles only slightly changed. So most, and likely all, of Newman's works share the same multi-timeline universe.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Several of Newman's stories feature or mention Dr. Shade, a British comics character who resembles The Shadow; his first appearance was in Newman's story "The Original Dr. Shade", which in the course of describing the character's fictional publishing history performs a Lampshade Hanging by mentioning that The Shadow's publishers once sued over the resemblance.
    • "Coastal City" is built around deconstructing comic book tropes, so pretty much every character is an ersatz, from Police Chief Riordan to the wall-clinging Gecko Man.
  • Captain Patriotic: The dark side of this is explored in "Ubermensch!" in which a Humanoid Alien, not named but obviously an AU version of Superman, lands on Earth in the early part of the 20th century and grows up to be the patriotic superhero of the nation that raised him — the catch being that in this story he landed in Germany.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Newman loves zigzagging this, particular in the Anno Dracula stories and the Back in the USSA stories written by Eugene Byrne; fictional characters will often appear alongside (or at least in the same universe as) the people who played them.
  • Character Overlap: The AU story "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus" features alternate versions of characters from many of Newman's works. James Lytton (from Jago), Richard Jeperson (from Diogenes Club) and Dr. Shade (from everywhere and nowhere) get featured roles, with cameos from Sally Rhodes (The Quorum) and Truro Daine (The Night Mayor) and mentions of Pitbull Brittan and Corporal Punishment ("Pitbull Brittan"), Constant Drache (The Quorum), Harald Kleindienst (Beasts in Velvet), and even Buck Breakfast (from the obscure The Gold Diggers of 1981).
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: This is Dr. Shade's costume, with a pair of cool goggles serving as his mask. Some stories also mention a black surgeon's mask in addition to the goggles. His successors adopted their own unique styles of attire.
  • Colliding Criminal Conspiracies: In "No Gold in the Grey Mountains", a band of robbers try to rob a coach, and in the process draw the ire of someone far more dangerous than them.
  • Comic-Book Time: Given a great big lampshade hanging in "Coastal City", which is about a The Commissioner Gordon not quite managing to notice that his backstory keeps changing to account for the passage of time.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: In the superhero deconstruction "Coastal City", Police Chief Francis X Riordan is Commissioner Gordon to all the heroes of Coastal City, with his personality altering to fit their stories (in particular, he turns into a buffoonish J. Jonah Jameson when dealing with Gecko Man).
  • Cool Car: The Rolls Royce ShadowShark. Only six were ever made. Derek Leech owns one. Richard Jeperson owns three.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Derek Leech.
  • The Cowl: Dr. Shade.
  • Crisis Crossover: One of the tropes lampshaded in "Coastal City", which mentions that "once a year, there would be a crossover free-for-all, frequently involving something enormously powerful from another galaxy, and all the hypers would destroy the city while saving the universe."
  • Cross Through: Seven Stars, a sequence of novellas in which various Newman heroes one after the other have to deal with the same cursed artifact.
  • Dark Messiah: "Another Fish Story" reveals that Charles Manson actually was one of these, prophecized to bring about The End of the World as We Know It via unleashing a Cthulhu-style deluge upon Los Angeles. Unfortunately for him, he brought along Derek Leech, who has much more interesting and complex ideas for the apocalypse and who, while promising to help him find the temple he needed to trigger the apocalypse, never said anything about helping him find his way out of it...
  • Deadly Game: The Immoral Reality Show in "Going to Series" is set up to be one with plausible deniability; officially it's just a Reality TV Show Mansion show, but everything about the mansion and the contestants has been carefully selected to increase the probability that one or more contestants will snap and start attacking the others, with attendant killer ratings.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • This is invoked in "The Original Dr. Shade", which revolves around a revival of the in-universe fictional character of that name. When originally created between the wars by a writer with fascist political views, he was a brutal vigilante who defended traditional England by murdering stereotypically-depicted foreigners and especially Jews. As reinvented during World War II and afterwards by a Jewish writer, he was a Technical Pacifist secret agent who punched Nazis and defended minorities, democracy and human rights. In the Newman stories in settings where he is an unproblematically real person, this continues to be invoked, as he makes only cameo appearances, remains mysterious, and can seem anywhere on the spectrum from thoroughly heroic to Creepy Good to scary Blue and Orange Morality.
    • In the superhero pastiche "Coastal City", The Commissioner Gordon is aware that his personality changes depending on which hero he's dealing with (in other words, whose comic book he's appearing in).
  • Detect Evil: In "Out of the Night, When the Full Moon is Bright", the protagonist becomes the latest upholder of a heroic legacy that, among other things, causes him to see an unpleasant glowing aura around evil people.
  • Evil, Inc.: Derek Leech's multinational corporation.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: Derek Leech appears to prefer some kind of lingering, ongoing consumerist excess version of the apocalypse to the typical The End of the World as We Know It Omnicidal Maniac version, and can usually be counted on to intervene against those who would attempt to initiate the latter (even if it is purely in his own interests).
  • Expy: "Filthy" Harald Kleindienst, the Cowboy Cop watchman who is a major character in Beasts in Velvet and the short "The Warhawk", is a blatant Expy of Dirty Harry. It's stressed in his very first scene, which has him intimidating a criminal by quietly explaining how deadly he is with his "Magnin" throwing-dagger.
  • Expy Coexistence: Dr. Shade, the sinister vigilante who crops up in various stories, bears a fair amount of resemblance to The Shadow. In "The Original Dr. Shade", it's mentioned in passing that the Shadow also exists in-universe and the Shadow's publishers once sued the publishers of Dr. Shade's adventures over the resemblance.
  • External Retcon: "Further Developments in the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" asserts that Jekyll and Hyde weren't a Jekyll & Hyde situation; Hyde was a separate person and Jekyll's secret lover. Notable in that it uses lengthy quotations from the original work to back up its assertions.
  • Fan Convention: "Quezalcon" is a short story in the style of the events programme for the eponymous sf convention, organised by Derek Leech, which is strongly implied to be some kind of ritual in which the guest of honour is sacrificed so another writer can gain his abilities. All we're told is that dinner is "healthy heart", but has no vegetarian option.
  • Fictional United Nations: The superhero pastiche "Coastal City" is set in No Communities Were Harmed New York, and there are two throwaway references to the Allied Nations building.
  • Flying Dutchman: In "The Wandering Christian", co-written with Eugene Byrne, the central character is the legendary Wandering Jew, only he's a convert to Christianity and was charged with spreading the Gospel as he walked the Earth. By his account, several minor characters in the Acts of the Apostles are actually him too.
  • For Want of a Nail: "The Pierce-Arrow Stalled, and..." imagines a world where the stalling of the eponymous car means that Fatty Arbuckle never makes it to that party, which in turn means that Will Hays doesn't think Hollywood is entirely a sink of depravity that needs a code. This obviously has significant effects on the history of American film, as well as more disparate effects such as Joseph Kennedy becoming President (because Hays stood for the Republicans and lost) and John Dillinger evading the law (because his girlfriend was so disgusted by the movie the police intended to catch him at that they left early).
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Newman's short play Frankenstein On Ice is about a group of morally-questionable modern scientists who discover a Whale-Karloff-style Frankenstein's Monster frozen, but still alive, in the Arctic, but he turns out to be a Shelley-style Creature engaging in Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Gamebooks: Life's Lottery uses the CYOA format to take you through a fairly ordinary life (or extraordinary, it depends on you) from birth in the 1970s till death, and the small choices you make may have great impact on your life — in the playground, do you like Illya Kuryakin or Napoleon Solo better? The first choice you have to make is whether or not to draw breath after being born. If not, "go to 0". It can also be read straight through, to reveal a very different story.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus", the protagonists regard their final resort plan as an example of this, and come close to backing out of it at the last minute. In this case, their Godzilla is the mysterious and possibly supernatural vigilante Dr. Shade; if they call him out of retirement, he'll help them solve the immediate crisis, but there's no certainty about what he'll do with himself after that, and he may end up being an even bigger problem in the long run.
  • Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death: Orgy of the Blood Parasites.
  • He Knows Too Much: In "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus", the protagonist gets on a bus, sees a famous man who is supposed to be somewhere else, and becomes a target of the sinister conspiracy whose plan he's just stumbled into.
  • Historical Domain Character: Just about everything Newman writes with a historical setting has at least a cameo from a historical figure.
  • Hot Potato: The short story "Mother Hen" is about a group of people all trying to avoid ending up with a cursed statuette, in a reversal of The Maltese Falcon.
  • Immoral Reality Show: The Reality TV Show Mansion show It's a Madhouse!, in "Going to Series" — the housemates have been deliberately selected to be psychologically unstable and to have traits that will rub each other the wrong way, and the mansion has been carefully designed to get on its occupants' nerves in a variety of subtle ways, and furnished with objects chosen for their potential as Improvised Weapons.
  • Indian Burial Ground: Parodied in "The Pale Spirit People", in which an Indian tribe in an After the End setting suffer from supernatural manifestations after locating their new burial ground on the former site of a suburban housing development.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • "Famous Monsters" is an oral history of an Alternate Timeline in which The War of the Worlds is followed a few decades later by a Second War of the Worlds, which is basically World War II with Mars as Germany and the Moon as France. There's even an alternate version of Casablanca with Claude Rains donning false antennae to play a Deadpan Snarker Selenite police officer.
    • "Slow News Day" is set in an alternate timeline where the United Kingdom has been a vassal of Germany since the latter won World War II; the things that are exactly the same as in reality are pretty much the point of the story.
  • Interpretative Character: Parodied in "Coastal City", which pokes fun at superhero comic tropes. The Commissioner Gordon is uncomfortably aware that he can vary between being useless, a trusted ally, or a J. Jonah Jameson-esque Inspector Javert depending on which hero he's dealing with at the time.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: "A Drug on the Market" is about what happens when a consortium sells Jekyll's formula commercially. The formula doesn't so much make a person evil as turn them inside out to emphasize the most repressed parts of them — one of the reported results is an anarchist whose "dark side" runs off to get an office job.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: In some stories, vigilante Dr. Shade is described as having a secret base in the clock tower that houses Big Ben. More than one story has a character remarking on the paradox that everyone knows he has a secret base in the clock tower that houses Big Ben.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: A character introduced in "No Gold in the Grey Mountains" goes on to appear or be mentioned in several of Newman's later works in the same setting, all of which casually mention an important fact about the character which was the big plot twist in the original story.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
  • Legacy Character: Dr. Shade has two, his son Jamie Shade and his thus-far-only-mentioned-in-the-notes niece Lady Shade.
  • Lunarians: "Famous Monsters" is set in a world where H. G. Wells's aliens exist, and features the Selenites from The First Men in the Moon as well as the more famous Martians from The War of the Worlds.
  • Metafictional Title:
    • Where the Bodies are Buried (a set of linked short stories later published as a collection) takes its name from a horror film (and its sequels) that has a disturbing effect on reality.
    • The novella "Teddy Bear's Picnic" takes its title from an In-Universe novel that is being made into a film.
  • The Metaverse: Featured in the stories with Jerome Rhodes as protagonist, set in the 2020s.
  • Multiple Identity IDs: In "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus", the protagonist is a petty criminal with false ID papers in several names.
  • The Multiverse: The Diogenes Club Universe version of Keith Marion [from Life's Lottery] can see into multiple universes, including all Newman's other settings.
  • Mundanger: The "Where the Bodies Are Buried" stories are about a supernatural Serial Killer emerging from a Slasher Movie — except "Where The Bodies Are Buried 3: Black And White And Red All Over", which is a Ripped from the Headlines tale of tabloid hysteria and hypocrisy over such movies.
  • The Muse: In Newman's Warhammer-set stories, his vampire heroine Genevieve serves as muse to Detlef Sierck, poet (he writes her a sonnet cycle titled "To My Unchanging Lady"), playwright (he meets her while preparing to stage the story of Drachenfels, in which she features), actor, musician, and so on and so forth. Warhammer being a Crapsack World, it doesn't work out so well, and she leaves him. Kim Newman being ultimately a rather romantic sort, she comes back in a more recent story, and they get a remarkably happy ending to a story featuring murder, mayhem, political chicanery, and ventriloquism.
  • Narrator All Along: The increasingly Lemony Narrator authorial voice in Life's Lottery is explicitly revealed in a couple of branches to be Derek Leech.
  • Nazi Hunter: One of the characters in "Ubermensch!" is an elderly Jewish nazi-hunter.
  • The New Rock & Roll: The moral panic around violent horror movies is parodied in the short story "Where The Bodies Are Buried 3". A series of brutal murders is blamed on the titular horror movie, which prompts a tabloid journalist to spearhead a campaign which eventually leads to horror movies getting banned because of their influence. He later comes to realize that there is indeed a dark, demonic presence at work corrupting people into committing these crimes... but it's got nothing to do with the movie. It's working through the tabloid newspaper and his campaign.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Derek Leech is a hybrid of Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch, resembling the former in his early career and public persona and the latter in his later career.
    • The AU story "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus" features fictional stand-ins for several prominent politicians, with "John Minor" instead of John Major and "Jackstraw Crowe" in place of Home Secretary Jack Straw. Notably, Jackstraw Crowe's villainous superior, the widely-smiling Prime Minister, is not given the same courtesy; he is never named, leaving the reader to assume that it's the actual Tony Blair.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Lampshaded in the superhero pastiche "Coastal City", about a The Commissioner Gordon on the point of realising his universe doesn't make sense; way back when the first hyperheroes appeared, Coastal City was New York, and then, one day, it wasn't.
  • Not His Sled: The twist in "Further Developments in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is that Jekyll and Hyde were lovers, and the "confession" about being two sides of the same man was completely made up.
  • Occult Detective: Sally Rhodes, heroine of "Organ Donors" and The Quorum.
  • Old, Dark House: In "The Cold, Stark House", a lost traveler on a dark and stormy night happens upon a spooky old mansion where a dysfunctional family has gathered to see off the dying patriarch and maneuver for the best position in his will.
  • One-Hit Wonder: "One Hit Wanda" is about an Everly Brothers-style duo who, having offended their muse, found the song they wrote for her to be a curse. It was insanely popular, but it was the only song anyone wanted to hear and, eventually, the only song they were capable of playing.
  • Pen Name: "Jack Yeovil", used for his Games Workshop spin-off novels and for the splatterpunk Orgy of the Blood Parasites.
  • Public Domain Character: Show up about as often as the Historical Domain Characters, and often even in the same stories.
  • Raised as the Opposite Gender: One of the characters in Beasts in Velvet — and there's really not much more can be said about that without massive spoilers.
  • Reality Bleed: In "The Original Doctor Shade" an author is hired to revamp an old franchise. However, the original versions of the characters start intruding into the real world and aren't happy with his changes...
  • Reality TV Show Mansion: "Going to Series" recounts the behind-the-scenes of a Reality TV Show Mansion show called It's a Madhouse.
  • Red Right Hand: Derek Leech has a very subtle example that only the reader knows about — his constant chewing of gum and other things is because his teeth, like a rodent's, are constantly growing and need to be worn down.
  • Red Scare: "The McCarthy Witch Hunt" is an Alternate Universe in which magic is an acknowledged reality and Joseph McCarthy's hunting actual witches.
  • Refugee from TV Land: In "The Original Dr. Shade", an author is hired to update the pulp hero Dr. Shade and create a new series of books starring him. However, as he works on his first draft, he finds characters and events from the original Dr. Shade novels starting to intrude on his life, until he is being stalked by Dr. Shade himself who does not like the planned changes one little bit.
  • Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman: Common in his alternate history stories. "The Germans Won" features a John Major who became a bus conductor (a job the real world Major failed to achieve because he couldn't pass the mental arithmetic test).
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Discussed in "The Germans Won".
  • Shout-Out: The title of Newman's semi-parodic Splatter Horror novel Orgy of the Blood Parasites (originally published as by Jack Yeovil) was notoriously the working title of David Cronenberg's film Shivers.
  • Slasher Movie: The "Where the Bodies Are Buried" series revolves around an in-universe series of slasher films that seem to bring misfortune to the people who are associated with them. The star character of the films is an undead serial killer called Rob Hackwill.
  • Status Cell Phone: In "Organ Donors", Sally Rhodes's new job includes being provided with a "portable phone", which is indicative of how important it is (although being Sally, she doesn't actually use it). Newman notes this as one of the things that makes the story an Unintentional Period Piece.
  • Tag-Along Actor: In "Out of the Night When the Full Moon Is Bright", the protagonist is a writer who's riding along in an LAPD squad car as research for a screenplay. (The usual course of the stock plot, however, gets derailed after a werewolf shows up.)
  • Tap on the Head: Lampshaded by the unnamed private eye in "The Big Fish".
  • Theatre Phantom: The Trapdoor Daemon in The Vampire Genevieve, who haunts Detlef Sierck's theatre, and has his own box. This being Warhammer he is much more deformed than the original, with warpstone having transformed him into something utterly inhuman.
  • Titled After the Song: "Out of the Night When the Full Moon is Bright", which mixes werewolves into the legend of Zorro, takes its title from the opening theme of the 1950s Zorro TV series.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: In "No Gold in the Grey Mountains", a group of travelers sheltering in an isolated ruin are picked off one-by-one by an ancient monster. It's implied to be an inhabitant of the ruin, but eventually revealed to be one of the travelers.
  • Two-Fisted Tales: Dr Shade ... sometimes. Some of the stories featuring him are celebrations of the pulps and others (most especially "The Original Dr Shade") are deconstructions.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Newman has acknowledged that his Sally Rhodes stories have become unintentional period pieces; the character is just as tied to The '80s (or very early nineties) as Edwin Winthrop (an intentional period piece) is to The Roaring '20s. "Organ Donors" features references to the poll tax, seven satellite TV channels, the ITV bidding war, and a "portable phone" as being a big deal.
  • The 'Verse: Almost all of Newman's works take place in a multiverse, a number of specific strands of which can be identified.
    • Newman's 1990s novels Bad Dreams, Jago, The Quorum, and Life's Lottery (technically a multiverse in one novel, given its Gamebook structure) share certain characters and all take place in a version of modern Britain in which the supernatural hides below the surface. An English Ghost Story returns to this universe.
    • The Diogenes Club stories, The Hound of the D'Urbervilles, the Drearcliff Grange School novelsnote , and Angels of Music take place in a universe which also includes versions of characters from the previously described universe, but in which the supernatural is more visible, with various two-fisted vigilantes and outright superheroes being public figures during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The key distinction between the two universes is that the British Shadow knock-off Doctor Shade is definitely fictional in the former, but real in the latter.
    • Anno Dracula is a different but closely related universe in which Dracula seduced and married Queen Victoria, leading to a world ruled by open vampires. This universe also uses versions of characters from his Warhammer novels, implying that those are just another branch-off universe as well.
    • Newman's first novel The Night Mayor is medium-future cyberpunk SF with no overt supernatural elements, but a line in Bad Dreams implies that its protagonist is descended from a character in that novel.
  • Where Do You Think You Are?: A short story deconstructing William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, ends with Viola confronting The Chessmaster responsible for all the events, and demanding to know why such things were done. The response is an Ironic Echo of the first thing the ship's captain said when they arrived: "This is Illyria, lady."
  • Witch Hunt: "The McCarthy Witch Hunt" is set in a world where the McCarthyists are actually hunting real witches rather than communists, but everything else about them is the same. The plot of the story is two FBI agents hounding a suburban housewife named Samantha Stevens.
  • You Talkin' to Me?: In the spoof Gothic melodrama "Mildew Manor", a Regency ingénue, admiring herself in the mirror, murmurs "are you addressing yourself to my person? ... you must be, for no one else is present ... fie! and la!"

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report