Babylon 5 and The Lord of the Rings

Crossing Over is basically me playing with popular culture. What I intend to do here is build a big, big chain of crossovers, snaking here and there across popular culture – and even occasionally looping back through itself. I’ll understand if it doesn’t appeal to all of you as much as it does to me.

To start with, I’m crossing over Babylon 5 and The Lord of the Rings. This is an arbitrarily chosen starting point, and so I’ll be moving off from it in an equally arbitrary fashion: I’m going to toss a coin to see which of these two to cross over with some other source next week. After that, each successive week will follow the newer element into another crossover, while the older element will drop out.

But enough preamble. On with the show: Babylon 5 and The Lord of the Rings
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The Lord of the Rings and Unknown Armies

Well, Babylon 5 lost the toss, so this week it’s another crossover for the Lord of the Rings. (Don’t worry about B5 – I’m sure we’ll be back there one of these days.) This time around, Lord of the Rings meet Unknown Armies. High fantasy meets postmodern horror.

Next week, the Lord of the Rings moves off, and we follow the crossover chain through Unknown Armies. But for now, let’s get to it:

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Unknown Armies and Planetary

This week, we bid goodbye to the Lord of the Rings, and move on with Unknown Armies to another link in the chain: Planetary. It’s a strange world -let’s make it stranger still!

As always, copious spoilers are to be found within.

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Planetary and TORG

Moving right along.

A secondary theme in Planetary – and the major theme in TORG – it the multiplicity of realities. Both settings posit an almost infinite number of realities, in which our Earth is only one, although special for various reasons. The Earth of Planetary (that of the original WildStorm Universe, if you want to be picky), is simply another Cosm to be plundered by the High Lords and Darkness Devices of TORG. Or at least, that’s how they see it 🙂

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TORG and Amber

Moving on, at last, we leave the Planetary and take a turn in the direction of the cosmic. Our destination is Amber, legendary centre of all existence, and the only true reality. At least, that’s what it says in their press releases.

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Amber and Deadlands

To anyone familiar with the setting of Deadlands, the year 1863 is instantly recognizable as the year that Raven and the Last Sons set the manitou free. Or was there more to it than that?

Consider that Raven was ageless and apparently immortal, and utterly consumed by his need for vengeance. Is it possible that Raven is one of the amnesiac Corwin’s by-blows? A bastard son of Amber, unaware of his true heritage but still deadly because of it?

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The World of Darkness and the DC Universe

It might look like an unlikely match-up at first, but it’s one of those things: there’s one little piece that fits together perfectly, and the rest extrapolated from there. So without further ado, let’s get on with it:
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The DC Universe and Flash Gordon

Now, I know I’m not the only person to have noticed that a surprising number of Golden Age heroes – most of them now in the DC Universe – seem to have been based on Flash Gordon characters, not least Flash himself.

Or were they? What if the relationship was a little closer than that?
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Flash Gordon and GURPS Banestorm

So, this time around it’s farewell to the DC Universe – though I’m sure we’ll be back someday – and hello to GURPS Banestorm (previously known as GURPS Yrth and GURPS Fantasy).

And while we’re at it, I want to make a pledge to you regarding this chain of crossovers: I will never cross two GURPS books over with each other. Well, not unless I know for a fact that no one else has already done so 🙂

On with the show:
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GURPS Banestorm and Lankhmar

Lankhmar, for those of you who are sure you know the name from somewhere, but not quite from where, is the largest city in the world of Nehwon, and the setting for about half of Fritz Leiber’s brilliant Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories. But that’s as much of a clue as you get 🙂
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Lankhmar and Prohibition

This week, I’m not so much looking at a crossover with a particular fictional source as a more generalised era in history, one so distinctive as to practically be a genre unto itself.

And one that fits very well indeed. It’s widely believed that Leiber modelled Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser on himself and his friend Harry Otto Fischer (who co-wrote one of the Lankhmar stories, The Lords of Quarmall), and their exploits knocking around New York City in their misspent youth. Which was, roughly, in the years covered by Prohibition.

Isn’t it nice when things just work?
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Prohibition and Harry Potter

It may not seem like an apropos mix, but bear with me. After all, one can prohibit just about anything. Even in actual Prohibition, it could be argued what the actual thing intended to be prohibited was: a substance (alcohol), a state (drunkeness) or an activity (carousing).

But not to stray too far from either source material, I’ll assume that what’s prohibited at Hogwarts (and allied venues) are certain kinds of alchemical potions.
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