Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Making References

One of my favorite parts of the media that I find I enjoy is that so many of the artists are willing to cross mention (and sometimes cross-feature) events, names, oblique and direct references to each other.

Eureka and Warehouse 13 have shared characters literally, as well as sharing one of the actors under a different name (Artie in season 1 of Eureka, I think). But it goes further that sharing actors.

Just last night I read another of Cory Doctorow's shorts entitled, "The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Edited Out," and found an innocent sounding reference to another book that I own (one that I discovered thanks to my father's book selection), Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll.

This sorts of connections help add depth to a story by allowing it to feed off of the depth of another story. When the connections are gently and appropriately made, they make the world that the stories exist in constantly seem more real, especially when those stories where writing by different authors and no apparent collusion or intentional collaboration to make such a connection.

More common is authors who refer back to their own works from separate series. Of my favorites, I see Simon Green doing this most often, bouncing between Deathstalker, Nightside, Droods and Blue Moon. His character  go so far as to poke fun at the character from other series, claim ancestry, and even compete for the same goal in one of the books (The Spy Who Haunted Me).

And from me, all of these books come highly recommended; the television serials too.