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Creator / Kim Newman

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Kim Newman (born July 31st 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.

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.


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").


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...
  • 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.
  • Black Helicopter: Played with in Jago, with white helicopters seen hovering at various points. It turns out that they're part of a rock band's publicity stunt, and nothing to do with the supernatural goings-on.
  • Black Shirt: In "The Germans Won", 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'.
  • 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:
    • While Kim Newman has seeded connections between his books since the beginning, the short story "Cold Snap" seems to be a concentrated effort to tie them all together. A "Diogenes Club" story (and therefore featuring characters whose Alternate Universe selves appear in the Anno Dracula novels) it adds characters from his early work such as Jago, and even features the villain from his Doctor Who novella Time and Relative.
    • 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.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • In The Quorum, several of the characters are fans of Captain Ersatz comics characters Amazon Queen (Wonder Woman) and The Streak (The Flash, with shades of Superman), and one is a comics writer creating a Crisis on Infinite Earths-style series about them for comics company "ZC".
    • The novel also mentions 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.
  • 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.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure: Life's Lottery.
  • Comic-Book Time: Given a great big lampshade hanging in "Coastal City", which is about a Commissioner-Gordon-esque character not quite managing to notice that his backstory keeps changing to account for the passage of time.
  • 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.
  • Creator's Oddball: Most of his novel-length work is squarely supernatural fantasy and horror. His first novel, The Night Mayor, is Post-Cyberpunk SF with no supernatural elements, although some incidents are tinged with horror.
  • 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...
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Metaverse: Featured in the stories with Jerome Rhodes as protagonist, set in the 2020s.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Occult Detective: Sally Rhodes, heroine of "Organ Donors" and The Quorum.
  • One Steve Limit: The Quorum revolves around a quartet of schoolfriends, two of whom are named Michael. The second one to join the group is immediately dubbed "Mickey" by his new friends to avoid confusion.
  • 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.
  • Reality Warper: The main antagonist in Jago.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: Jago.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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 Choose Your Own Adventure 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 Secrets of Drearcliff Grange Schoolnote , 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.
  • We Will Have Perfect Health in the Future: In The Night Mayor, the protagonists are writers, and there's a sequence about the difficulties of the hack romantic novelist now that science has eliminated all the diseases that heroines used to romantically die of.