Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Twist & Shout

An homage is a delicate thing, it needs to be served correctly in order to be fully enjoyed.  A well prepared homage is like an inviting plate of appetizers moving through a crowded party waiting for someone to recognize and delight.  Not everyone will notice it and be familiar with the ingredients but, soon enough, a pair of excited eyes will find that plate and pop the tasty morsel into her mouth wondering how that cagey chef knew what her exact favorites were.

Most of my favorite shows tend to be liberal with homages, references and the shouting of outs.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer was great for that, even after all this time, when Tuesday night comes and there's no fresh eps of the Scoobies, I feel sad.  Joss Whedon's skill at creating clever dialogue liberally laced with pop culture references is a beautiful thing to me.  Lost also did it very well but in a much subtler fashion, it referenced literature like Incident at Owl Creek Bridge and Catch-22 in very quiet ways, weaving many disparate ideas into its own unique mythology.  Doctor Who does it over and over, from Agatha Christie to Harry Potter to Big Brother, the Doctor doesn't miss an opportunity to say a cheery hello to all the diversity out there.

As I stated in my first post, it was important to me that my story be filled with references because I wanted the chance to create some of those sly, pleased smiles among my readers.  The Last Prospector starts out with homages and will end on a whopper or five; it's crammed full of gems but many of them are very personal ones that the general public wouldn't recognize.  My friends, family and home town fill up the pages of the book because I actually love them MORE than my entertainments, believe it or not!

My late mother is the very first, she raised African violets somewhat obsessively and, while I hate those damned plants, Iolet came from her.  By book's end, all of my immediate family was entrenched in the fabric of Solstice - all of those who would appreciate such a thing that is.  Just about all of my relations that gave me that quietly deprecating eye roll when I spoke of my new writing venture did not find a home in my world.  Scoff elsewhere you sayers of nay, Solstice is for travellers in search of adventure.

There are an equal amount of well known homages in The Last Prospector too and Bruce Springsteen is the paterfamilias.  He's The Boss, you know winkety wink wink.  It's taken me four books to get every major member of the E Street Band, Danny Federici was an especial challenge, but Solstice is crammed with Bruce-ness.  Star Trek of course, since it was my first pop culture influence at the tender age of three, is not hard to find either.  Tibaryus is named for James Tiberius Kirk while Kanig and the Keptyn Pike are both slobbery kisses to the original series.

One thing I would like to make clear, not that it will matter to most people but I feel that it needs to be clarified.  The Tylers of western Jonquyllum were not a Doctor Who homage.  The Hunts from the east came first and were named for Gene Hunt of Life on Mars, so when I needed a family name for the other side of the lake, I went for symmetry with Sam Tyler.  The Tyler Rose came later and was an obvious choice when I needed a flower, it's just a coincidence of naming and perhaps Sam Tyler's name was itself a reference to the Doctor.  Wouldn't that be cool?

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