Trivia



   This section covers all the little bits of trivia in or about the books (both series).



   The bonus material in Encounter provides a fascinating look into the origins of the Deathlands series, from Jack Adrian's conception of the series and characters to an outline of the first book. His original idea for the series was for it to be limited, though much as it is now - a group of characters thrown together by fate, seeking a better life. Jordan Teague, the villain of the first book, was to be the one who formed the group (but still a villain); he was nearly killed by a grenade that took half his face and left him with a metal plate and a bionic eye (sound familiar?). He is after power, pure and simple. He and Ryan would spar over the course of the series, and at the end he would be destroyed in a grand finale. The "endpoint" of the series was intended to be a gate that could send matter (or people) back in time. Eventually, Ryan and Krysty, the only survivors of their group, would enter the gate and be sent back to 1900.



   The majority of the Deathlands books' covers feature Ryan Cawdor's boots (or sometimes his whole body, facing away, or just his face) and the ubiqitous Deathlands daisy, a flower that becomes a symbol of rebirth and hope, a sign that life can and will flourish in any conditions, and that things could become better. Later books also feature a native of the Deathlands, either a creature or a mutie, sometimes both. (Ryan's face first appears on the cover of Crater Lake, but he's using a minisextant, which he has never used - and likely doesn't even know how to use - in the books.)
   However, some of the books picture one or more of the other companions:
   Only three do not feature any of the companions: Red Holocaust, which shows a frozen Russian (Pechal, one of the Narodniki); Encounter, which has nothing but a daisy on the front and Trader on the back; and Shadow World, which has one of the armored Shadow World soldiers.



   Laurence James was fond of adding "easter eggs" to his books - overt and covert references to actors, characters, and other people. Here's a list of known references.



   In Northstar Rising, Mildred mentioned that she used to hike in Glacier National Park, and specifically mentions Grinnell Glacier - the same area where Redoubt Bravo is located. She also competed in a shooting competition in Cripple Creek, Colorado - JB's hometown (Genesis Echo).



   In The Mars Arena, Dean is attacked by a creature in a pool of water; it has several tentacles (one with three eyes) and a mollusk-like shell housing a large mouth. Dungeons & Dragons players might notice that this creature bears a suspicious resemblance to an otyugh (a creature with short stubby legs, two long arm-tentacles, a shorter one with two eyes, and a large mouth on the underside of its body). It's worth noting here that Mel Odom, the author, has also written several D&D novels.



   In Rat King, there's a machine called the Moebius, Mk II, aka the Rat King - a fusion of mechanical and biological parts formed by linking several human subjects together via a computer interface. This is named after an actual creature, the rat king, a group of rats - most often black rats - whose tails are bound together with ice or frozen dirt. Even after the ice melts, the rats' frantic attempts to free themselves only serve to knot the tails and make them more tightly bound. There are fewer than 60 specimens in existence, but it has been proven in recent years that they do occur naturally; prior to this, it was suspected they were either falsified or simply mythological.