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Is Ryan and the Gang ultimately doomed by the Outlanders series ?
Last Post 7/16/2009 8:45 AM by One Eyed Vengeance (Leonidas). 41 Replies.
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gumble
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6/16/2009 7:55 AM

    OK, this may have been covered in the past posts or a mute point, and only having read the first 15-20 or so Outlanders novels it may be covered (though i doubt it).

    Are Ryan, Krysty, JB , Mildred, Jak, Doc and even Dean ultimately doomed by the publication of the Outlanders series ? No matter what Ryan is gonna do is ever going to change the fates of the eventual Alienesque/Baronies coming to pass. And it is something that i believe he would have fought against - not for.

    There is never going to be a safe place for him in the USA with these changes immenent ?  Well maybe for him yes but his offspring - asuming Krysty can have children - are eventually going be under the baron rule. Everything Ryan fights for will be gone , everything holds dear is doomed. 

    Which begs the question would Ryan fight for the 'mutie league' to oppose the Baronial heirarchy ? I see one of three ends to this series - 1. He dies (unlikely), 2. He goes off and lives in another peaceful dimension and retires happily !! or 3. settles down in a relative safety until the Baronnies get his family ! (which kind of makes his struggle pointless !). And I kind of do not like any of them !

    I've enjoyed the OL novels but for me their 2nd best to DL (my opinion only folks), but I struggle now knowing Ryan is doomed ! 

     



    One Eye Chills
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    6/16/2009 11:17 AM
    I've noticed in the last few months that only Deathlands sells in my city's bookstores, whether its Barnes and Noble or Borders.

    They still carry the Deathlands in all of them, but I haven't seen a single Outlanders since Ghostwalk.

    What does that tell you?

    So no, the Deathlands is NOT doomed by Outlanders.

    Plus, the Deathlands series has taken over as the better series again, as of late.
    Jax2
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    6/16/2009 11:49 AM

    First of all, Ryan and Co., unlike the Cerberus Crew, are not crusaders in the sense they "fight against" oppression except by circumstance.

    They most often fight only for themselves, and if larger bad guys die in the process that's well and good, but that usually isn't the objective.

    Secondarily, it's generally accepted that the first DL novel took place (or will take place) circa 2094-6. At this point in the series it's probably safe to assume that the year is 2100, since the more recent cover copy refers to the "nuke-ravaged 22nd century" and some-such.

    DL has always been very vague about dates, so it's just a guess.

    The first OL novel took place (or will take place) in late 2198. As of Satan's Seed, the year is definitely stated to be 2203.

    Anyway, ten years "after" DL is the Program of Unification. When I say "after" I really mean "after' Ryan and Co. stop their aimless wandering.

    In one of my OL books (I can't remember which one), I allude to a  man who ruled Front Royal at the time the Program of Unification was drafted, didn't like what he heard about it during the first Baronial Council and led a revolt against the nine barons.

    I intended that man to be Ryan and as has been stated in OL numerous times, he and his companions became known as "Baron Blasters."

    However, they would have known nothing about the Archons (whom are not aliens ) and their ultimate fate was intentionally undisclosed.

    The only time Ryan would have brushed up against anything relating to the Archon Directorate was in the Anthill Complex in the novel Stoneface.

    Although the Anthill Complex was alluded to in a couple of later books by other writers, Ryan never knew the true nature of the place-- at least as far as I know.

    The possibilities are wide--perhaps he and his pals went to Thunder Isle, jumped into the temporal dilator and have been stuck in the zero-time matrix buffer for a century, just waiting to be pulled out, like Sindri.

    Maybe they tried to go back in time to stop the nukecaust, got caught in the hyper-shunt constructed by Colonel Thrush, ended up in "our" time and joined a motorcycle gang.

    Or maybe along around 2112 they perished in a heroic battle against the Program of Unification.

    But it really doesn't matter because at the speed time passes in DL, there could be another 25 to 30 years worth of books before the series is even close to reaching that "ten years after" stage.
    One Eye Chills
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    6/16/2009 4:44 PM
    With all due respect to newcomer writer, Rik Hoskin, I tried so hard to get into Shadow Box, but after about 60 pages, found myself drifting out of the book and wanting to read something else.

    Not good.

    I found that reducing the Cerberus warriors to peacekeepers of the world, along with almost geeting killed by their enemies, then saving their lives and helping them right away kinda wacky and not as interesting.
     I really want to try to finish it, but someone please tell me that it gets so much better further on.

    Anyone...?
    JerichoGirl
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    6/16/2009 5:32 PM
    Posted By One Eye Chills on 16 Jun 2009 11:17 AM


    So no, the Deathlands is NOT doomed by Outlanders.

    Plus, the Deathlands series has taken over as the better series again, as of late.

    Have to agree with you....I've never been able to get into the Outlanders books, but I've read every one of Deathlands, though I will admit to very fast speedreading of Ritual Chill, and slightly less speedy speedreading of Strontium Swamp, which to date have been the two worst of the series in my humble opinion.




    gumble
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    6/17/2009 9:53 PM

    OK Jax2, i take your points, Ryan and the gang become known as the 'Baron Blasters' after finding out about the POU, but I hate the idea of Ryan perishing in a heroic death in 20 or 30 years worth of books - I'd feel a bit cheated like a few others !! 

    So how about an end to the series as follows  - I'd love to hear peoples comments :

    After a heroic battle against the Directorate to save Front Royal (like an extremely aged Trader to die bravely here, sacrificing himself for the gang), Operation Chronos much to Docs disatisfaction  or operators thereof - turn out to be the saviours of the day, by transporting the group,
     relatives, friends and survivors back to Doc's era to live out a 'relatively' peaceful life, a few years after Docs dissapearance.

    This after Chronos somehow show Ryan that the future of DL is promising after another let's say 500 years or so after OL . It would also mean Mildred would not feel the need to try and change the timeline or stop the apocalypse 100 years in the future.

    Doc could live out the rest of his life with Emily, Ryan and Krysty, JB and Mildred could raise familes in relative peace, and well Jak and Dean could go off on their own adventures !

    I say this ending as I seem to remember in one book - can't remember which one or if I dreamt it- Ryan
    ending up in a Mat-trans in a meuseum or something, school outing being present. It was when all the group
    ended up in other redoubts. 

    It is not perfect but would make Ryan's epic journey end with a victory, and a peafeful life.

    Just please dont ever think about a Dallas ending where it was all a dream !!

    Jax2
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    6/18/2009 9:51 AM
    Well, let me put it this way--

    I'm 99.9 percent certain there will never be a DL book or an OL book published by Harlequin wherein the gap between the two series is bridged.

    Even if the last DL novel isn't published for 25 years, most likely the characters will be exactly the same as they are right now, using the same hokey catch-phrases, using the same inappropriate guns and wearing the same clothes.

    Also, I worked diligently albeit somewhat subtley over the last five or six years worth of OL novels to minimalize the connection between my series and DL.

    By the time Children of the Serpent was published, that connection was marginal to the point of non-existance. I still think Ron's assessment of that book and how it relates to DL is the most dead-on...you can read that assessment in the review section here on the site.

    I'm not through playing with the OL cast of characters and concepts...and when they next appear from my hand, in whatever format that might be, the tenuous DL link will be completely missing.



    skullspliter
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    6/18/2009 2:03 PM
    Yes and no there death has to happen and Mildred's Codex must be made and found, in a couple books they mention about her writing it.
    EZ-E
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    6/27/2009 3:29 AM
    I'm not through playing with the OL cast of characters and concepts...and when they next appear from my hand, in whatever format that might be, the tenuous DL link will be completely missing.

    I love ya, Mark. You're one of my favorite authors but the way you continually rehash the plot in seemingly each OL book, I don't see how you won't refer to the Wyeth Codex again.

    William Johnstone would always transcribe entire scenes from novel to novel in "The Last Mtn Man" series. You do the same and it bugs the shite out of me. Well, at least I get through the book quicker since I always skip over it. I was able to skip an entire chapter in OL 17 where Lakesh meets Sam the Imperator.

    What is the point besides bringing a completely new reader who starts book # X up to date. Or is it just filler.

    Seriously, Mark. What's your take on it?

    respectfully,

    Vic
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    6/27/2009 2:50 PM

    If by #17 you mean Purgatory Road, then there is a reason behind it. There was more than one chapter reprinted from earlier in the trilogy, and I'm sure Mark can explain it much better than I could.

    On the plus side, when the dust settled, the fate of Domi was forever changed...

    Jax2
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    6/27/2009 11:20 PM
    Posted By EZ-E on 27 Jun 2009 03:29 AM
    You're one of my favorite authors but the way you continually rehash the plot in seemingly each OL book, I don't see how you won't refer to the Wyeth Codex again....Seriously, Mark. What's your take on it?
    The first part of your post is easy to answer.
     
    When I revisit my characters and concepts, there will be no connection to DL whatsoever.
     
    If JJ Abrams can reboot Star Trek without really changing it, I can certainly do the same with Outlanders--I introduced the concept of parallel casements into the series years ago.

    As for your question about "my take..."

    My response has to be a little less facile.
     
    Without going into tedious blow-by-blow detail, I suppose I can offer an explanation, although I suggest the over-sensitive to go ahead skip the rest of this post.
     
    The first OL editor was a lovely woman named Eva Kovacs. She was very much engaged with the creative of process of OL, even during the conception stage.  In mid-1998, when she was fired due to an editorial turf war, the so-called "Executive Editor" took over.
     
    It wasn't long before Ex Ed began exhorting me to simplify Outlanders and formulize it like DL to make it easier to plug other writers into it.
     
    He was very uncomfortable with all of the ongoing subplots and continuity and so forth which OL--alone of all Gold Eagle's ongoing series--had in abundance.
     
    He continually cited DL's simplified set-up as a strong selling point. I understood his point of view--Ex Ed wasn't so much an editor (unlike Eva) as a scheduler, a traffic controller. Quality of the product was way down the list of his priorities.
     
    The OLs at that time were 95 to 100k words per book...I was writing four and a half OL books a year and Gold Eagle went to full production on the series before we had a full year's worth of books in the hopper.
     
    More than once, Ex Ed told me to speed up production of a book by basically copying and pasting sections from earlier novels.
     
    I declined to do that, except when new readers needed to be brought up to date. I also declined to come up with a set A to B formula for OL since that would mean my interest in the series would flag.
     
    I also told him I had no problems with other writers contributing to the series as long as I was able to look over their plots and vet the final manuscripts to make sure everybody was on the same page, both literally and figuratively, with the series.
     
    I vetted Mel Odom's first two contributions in the series, Night Eternaland Wreath of Fire--although Night Eternal was really more of a joint operation.

    At some point or another around early 1999, I dared to inquire about royalties from the OL audio books which DH Audio had just started producing. The response I received from the Ex Ed was vituperative, waaaaaaay over the top and out of line.

    Ugliness ensued. My father died at about the same time that brouhaha began, which slowed my production of, I believe, Armageddon Axis and even more ugliness ensued.
     
    Shortly after that, I was informed it was time to write another trilogy since the Lost Earth Saga had done so well.  I provided a plot overview of the three books in the Imperator Wars trilogy and specific story information regarding the three.
     
    My original intention was for Domi to "die" in Tigers of Heaven and not reappear until a few books later--in what became Tomb of Time (hence the Tomb in the title).
     
    At the same time, Mel Odom was assigned another fill-in book, Sargasso Plunder, which was to follow the third book in the trilogy. The plot of Mel's book was not forwarded to me.
     
    After I turned in Book Two of the Imperator War trilogy (Tigers of Heaven), the Ex Ed contacted me to say that Mel prominently featured Domi in Sargasso Plunder, therefore I had to bring her back in the very next book in the trilogy--Purgatory Road.
     
    Needless to say, that announcement completely screwed up the plotlines for the end of Tigers of Heaven and almost all of my original plot for Purgatory Road.

    I asked the Ex Ed why my trilogy plots hadn't been forwarded to Mel before he began writing Sargasso Plunder and received this comprehensive and totally satisfying response:
     
    "I don't know."
     
    That's an exact quote, by the way.
     
    Frustrated, furious, now facing the prospect of rewriting the ending of Tigers of Heaven as well as almost all of Purgatory Road, I went ahead and took the Ex Ed's earlier advice:
     
    I cut and pasted sections from earlier books, but because I had to essentially rewrite most of Purgatory Road from scratch, it added more time to the process.
     
    After I turned in Purgatory Road I received the manuscript of Sargasso Plunder to vet--looking over it, I realized that it would have been far easier to excise Domi from the book than it was to force me to rewrite Purgatory Road and change my original plot for Tomb of Time (the truncated ending of Purgatory Road was intended to be a much grander scene at the end of Tomb of Time).
     
    Domi served absolutely no important function to Sargasso Plunder. In other words, there had been NO reason for any of that nonsense

    None.

    I had been misled, deliberately so.
    Once  I came to that conclusion, my relationship with the Ex Ed further soured.
     
    I believe now as I did then that the whole thing was done to punish me for asking about royalties, to send me the message that I was replaceable--which was the main reason I was pushed to come up with a formula for Outlanders--to make it like DL so every book ended where it began and there was no character or ongoing plot development.
     
    (I don't hold Mel responsible for any of the above...in my opinion he was used as a pawn in the Ex Ed's cheap power play to bring me and OL to heel.)
     
    In any event, after that string of interconnected incidents, the fire went out of my devotion to Outlanders. I had the occasional resurgence of interest and flashes of energy in the subsequent years, but nothing like I put into the series during its first five years.
     
    In a nutshell--when the Ex Ed wanted me to make it easier on him so he could plug any writer into the series when I became troublesome,  I determined to make it easier on myself, too. 
    skullspliter
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    6/28/2009 3:19 AM
    Thats suck to mess up a plot all because the company what to show it has the bigger prick.
    Daniel
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    6/28/2009 1:15 PM
    And we're all familiar with the exceptional high quality of the OL fill-in books you weren't allowed to vet...

    Dead characters suddenly siitting around in the cafeteria drinking coffee, destroyed interphasers miraculously back in operation and working totally different than they ever had before (and being carried around in Brigid's back), psycho slut Domi who inexplicably knows how to operate a prototype of a 20th century Stealth aircraft when Kane doesn't, etc. and so on and so on...

    Raboy
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    6/29/2009 9:43 AM
    Didn't you get the memo? None of that is Milan's fault...it's the fault of 'the cadre of Outlanders fans who found unforgivable the sin of Writing While Being Anyone But Mark Ellis' for noticing and pointing it out!
    AP
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    6/29/2009 11:50 AM
    Posted By Raboy on 29 Jun 2009 09:43 AM
    Didn't you get the memo? None of that is Milan's fault...it's the fault of 'the cadre of Outlanders fans who found unforgivable the sin of Writing While Being Anyone But Mark Ellis' for noticing and pointing it out!


    Here we are again. Back at Good Old Point A.  I guess it's time to face facts--there's no way to teach a chicken how to play the trumpet.
    Cerberus Man
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    6/29/2009 6:20 PM
    Posted By Jax2 on 27 Jun 2009 11:20 PM       
    He was very uncomfortable with all of the ongoing subplots and continuity and so forth which OL--alone of all Gold Eagle's ongoing series--had in abundance.
     





    Out of curiosity, why did you decide to break the GE formula in that way?
    "It's better to have a blaster and not need it than to need it and--" "Oh, spare me," Brigid said irritably. (Kane and Brigid Baptiste from Armageddon Axis)
    Raboy
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    6/29/2009 8:34 PM
    Posted By AP on 29 Jun 2009 11:50 AM
    I guess it's time to face facts--there's no way to teach a chicken how to play the trumpet.

    Or a rooster to crow about anything but himself.
    AP
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    6/30/2009 9:18 AM
    Posted By Raboy on 29 Jun 2009 08:34 PM
    Posted By AP on 29 Jun 2009 11:50 AM
    I guess it's time to face facts--there's no way to teach a chicken how to play the trumpet.

    Or a rooster to crow about anything but himself.
    I quote your earlier post:  "Didn't you get the memo? None of that is Milan's fault...it's the fault of 'the cadre of Outlanders fans who found unforgivable the sin of Writing While Being Anyone But Mark Ellis' for noticing and pointing it out!"

    Mark writes the most eloquent and complete explanation of the GE experience that I have ever read and all you want to talk about is yourself and what you've done--or not done.

    Which proves the point, yet again (not that it needs any more proving, please God have mercy.)

    The problem with chickens playing trumpets isn't JUST their lack of lips.
    Jax2
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    6/30/2009 1:07 PM

    Actually the quote was primarily Milan's. I personally think it deserves periodic reexamination...if for nothing else than as a textbook example of self-serving mendacity.

     

     

    Posted By Cerberus Man on 29 Jun 2009 06:20 PM
    Out of curiosity, why did you decide to break the GE formula in that way?
    It wasn't a decision exactly...I looked over most of the series GE  had launched and cancelled in the previous decade (there were over a dozen of 'em, most of 'em lasting less than four books) and tried to find a commonality they shared.

    There were two primary ones.

    First and foremost was a flatline as far as characterization was concerned and secondarily was the episodic, stand-alone nature of all the books.

    Each book basically ended where it began and continuity, such as it was, was restricted to the superficial ....clothes, guns, catch-phrases.

    The stand-alone format/formula works fine in some series but there has to be an equalizer.

    I've mentioned before how Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series followed an episodic formula, but Mr. Stout was at the peak of the writer's craft, telling his stories with perfect economy, delicacy and grace.

    At the time I started working for GE, the serial story-telling form was very popular on TV, best exemplified by The X-Files.

    Also, having grown up during the Marvel Age of Comics, I saw the benefit of ongoing subplots and character development over the course of a story arc.

    By taking that approach, Stan Lee managed to turn upstart Marvel into a publishing powerhouse in less than a decade, able to directly challenge the mighty DC (and even Archie) for a major piece of market share.

    Yeah, it's basically the soap-opera principle, but if it worked for Marvel's books and daytime TV, I saw no reason why it couldn't work applied to a "men's adventure" novel series.

    Characterization is the most important element of any story, so I wanted the personalities of the heroes and villains to be as important as the plots.

    I decided to deepen the characterization more than what seemed the norm in most of the other GE series and so heighten the drama.

    I didn't see anything like that approach among most of GE's series, cancelled or extant, with the possible exception of the two-book Takers series.

    The whole idea was to draw readers back, book after book...that's why I introduced melodramatic sub-plots like the possiblity of past lives shared between Kane and Brigid, all the scheming intrigue with Beth-Li and made Lakesh's motives ambiguous for quite some time.

    I was mainly focused on Outlanders not becoming yet another addition of GE's long string of flops.

    So...thirteen years after I turned in Exile to Hell  I guess it's safe to say my initial focus paid off...certainly GE never spent any real money on promoting the series.

    It was sink or swim all the way.



    Daniel
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    7/2/2009 7:16 AM
    Posted By Jax2 on 30 Jun 2009 01:07 PM

    First and foremost was a flatline as far as characterization was concerned and secondarily was the episodic, stand-alone nature of all the books.

    Each book basically ended where it began and continuity, such as it was, was restricted to the superficial ....clothes, guns, catch-phrases.






    That was the impression I came away with after reading a bag of GE books I picked up in a used bookstore  several years ago.

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