The Story of the Whos

Note: all pictures in this post are the copyright of “Peter Green”, creator of The Story of the Whos.

(Though I’ll be doing some fanart of my own before long)

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A while ago, I was on 4chan, wasting time, when I found a cringe thread. That thread contained a link to a video called “The Story of the Whos”, with MS Paint artwork. I was expecting it to be a hilariously-inaccurate “history of Doctor Who”, created by a teen girl who discovered the show during the Tennant Era. But actually it was something cool – a guy who has come up with a huge, epic story about a race of “tiny” people (or, human-sized people who live on a planet many thousands of times larger than Earth, but still with an earth-like climate and gravity) called the Whos (after Horton Hears a Who, an old children’s book) who are fighting the Lice, a race of heartless, cloned soldiers who live for destruction.

Anyway, the guy first came up with the story in elementary (primary) school, and acted out battles with things like sticks, paperclips and tiny bits of paper representing tanks, fighters and giant flying “ships”, which are heavily armoured and not plane-shaped. He’s kept the story going ever since, drawing inspiration from places he’s visited in real life. There’s a bit of time-dilation, though. Two years of middle school became a 20-year battle, while winters spent at home passed in “real time”.

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As I said, the planet this is set on is like Earth, but thousands of times bigger. To the Whos and Lice, though, the gravity, weather etc are the same. This would be against the laws of physics in real life (it’s unlikely you’d get a rocky planet that large, to start with…), but it makes for a cool environment to set the story in. My money’s on it being an incredibly ancient Dyson Sphere, which was built, then deserted, millions upon millions of years ago. Icy and rocky meteorites bombarded the outside, creating vast mountains, forests, oceans and an atmosphere (this is also “to scale”, there’s giant aerial observation platforms at altitudes that would put them well into space, if they were over Earth). The “sun” and “moon” of this planet could actually distant globular clouds of thousands of stars, which provide different amounts of light, and somehow ‘rise’ and ‘set’ over 24 hours. Of course, the size and physics of the world are up to the actual writer, “Peter Green” (may not be his actual name, he might have named his youtube channel after the main character of the story!), to explain. Also, apparently the constellations in this planet’s sky are the same as those over Earth. Well, they have the same names, anyway.

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The story itself is an epic – and is still “growing”, through the guy’s life. The first major part is about Peter and Emily Green, who live in an idyllic valley – but they think something is being hidden from them. It turns out that the war against the Lice has been going on for thousands of years, but because the planet is so big, some colonies of Whos (these “colonies” having the populations and territory of entire countries on Earth) can live for generations without even knowing about it. Anyway, Peter and Emily soon find out what is being hidden from them when Louse invasion ships show up and start killing everybody. The valley they live in, which is probably the size of Ireland, but landlocked, walled-off and with a government that forbids all knowledge of the outside world, is rapidly overwhelmed, but the government have been hiding a series of well-stocked, huge aircraft in which a few lucky members of the population escape. The one Peter and Emily are on board (they fall in love during the journey, too) eventually gets shot down, the survivors starting up a hidden village in a forest.

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The next part of the story (and the one which was ‘written’ first) is about a battle against a gigantic super-fortress called Woebarren, based on the writer’s elementary school. The villagers need medicine, so a small raiding party go back to the ship, but it is now louse-infested. They already know about the huge fortress (it is the size of a bloody mountain range!), but are kind of hoping they will be ignored. Peter and Emily are both shot, but are rescued by other Whos, who live in a giant, well-armed city-state. The people of this state knew about the village, and want to extract all the villagers, because it’s between them and Woebarren, and they are planning a major attack with artillery, armour and even nukes. The villagers are all bought to the city-state and join it’s army.

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After a number of battles, Woebarren gets infiltrated and blown up with strategically-placed nukes. A huge louse fleet attacks the Who fleet, as they flee in big air-cruisers. Peter and Emily’s ship limps away, to crash-land near an even bigger fortress called Macalavay. Other nations of Whos live nearby, and they are eventually united into an army which blows up Macalavay, too (this battle takes “20 years”). Peter and Emily Green are apparently “chosen ones”, so they live longer, can see a few seconds into the future, and other such things. The writer himself admits that’s a cheesy ripoff of Jedi Knights, but it “explains” how they can survive this brutal war for so long. Anyway, they are killed after the battle for Macalavay, giving the much-depleted Who fleet time to escape. Their children live on, finding a giant tree called Sarengarth (the planet has many of these, some are cities / fortresses, whilst others are ‘natural’, though even these may have a landing platform or outpost built on them).

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Sarengarth is an absolute monarchy, but the kindly king is being poisoned by his son, who is really in charge. Orion Green (now the main character) sorts all that out, becoming king himself, after challenging the heir to single combat. Just in time, too, because the Lice are coming! Sarengarth has a uranium mine underneath, and a powerful deflector shield powered by nuclear reactors, so it can withstand a siege for years and years. Orion also sneaks out on some secret missions (represented by times the writer went on holiday, to other parts of the USA), finding a cloaking suit, some information on the origin of the war, and new girlfriends – he gets through a lot, and they die often. Apparently the Lice have huge sky carriers, able to carry many kilometer-long cruisers at hypersonic speeds. These are represented by real-world airliners, though I’m not sure if he intends them  to be on the same scale as real life (given that a paperclip may represent one of the smaller cruisers!).

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Anyway, eventually the Lice invade the tree, but Orion survives and is taken prisoner. He escapes again, being taken in by a small, remote community. But later on they chuck him out, and he becomes a nomad, among a load of “zombies”, created by a Louse biological weapon. Sarengarth is later re-taken, but bombarded by huge amounts of nuclear weapons, which kills the millions of lice around it. Orion dies too, but has another son who carries on the fight – as do other characters such as Myron, who is also very long-lived (he helped to train Peter Green, back near the start of the story), but not one of the chosen. There’s also some outlined plot elements involving genetic modification to make the Louse biological weapons infect them, rather than Whos, and “good” Lice who have somehow shaken off their racial-hatred brainwashing.

Anyway, that’s more or less where the story is at, now. The guy has written up most of the “peaceful valley” part, as well as other sections (he’s jumping from event to event to avoid writers block), and a big overview document. But for now, I’ll leave you with the links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMXNuaDZ068

The main Youtube video

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRz8-d8EGtcYgd5I3KgIsKQ

The channel

http://thestoryofthewhos.tumblr.com/

The Tumblr. Really slow in my Chrome, for some reason, but quicker in IE (Firefox fucked up so badly it corrupted part of my hard drive and prevents it from being fully defragged. Fuck Firefox.). That’s probably just me, though.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s4brxycgtvrjf8l/AACBc1u5GTfurKIk7LinsixWa/Story%20of%20the%20Whos?dl=0

The Dropbox, contains PDF’s of the story, and other bits.

http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/1guwyu/what_were_you_told_you_would_grow_out_of_but/cao4xry

The story’s first “appearance”, in a Reddit thread. 

Ripper Street is the shit

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I meant to write this post after episode 1 of series 1, but failed to. We’re now waiting on episode 6 (of 8) of series 2 (which was sprung on me a bit unexpectedly, if I’d not idly opened the paper that day I wouldn’t have known it was back on).

Anyway, it’s a brilliant detective series set in Whitechapel, the first series was set in 1889, shortly after the Jack The Ripper murders (one of the first lines in it was “she’s been ripped!”). The main character is Inspector Edmund Reid, who was a real person, though he bears little resemblance to his real-life counterpart (who was far more interesting, a high-ranking druid and a balloonist!). There’s also the usual tough sergeant who is handy in a fight, and an American army doctor (and former spy) who does the CSI stuff. The first series had an ongoing storyline revolving around the background of Captain Jackson, who was a Pinkerton detective in the USA, and got involved in the Haymarket Massacre, a real event of 1886. That’s one of the things I love about Ripper Street, though it’s clearly fictional (despite having some characters who really existed), they make a lot of references to things that really happened at the time. Other references include a boat accident which Inspector Reid was injured in (the real one wasn’t, though!), and the shutting down of the “freak show” at which the Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, was exhibited.

The new series looked like it was going to revolve around trying to bring the drug-dealing chief inspector of a neighbouring police division to justice, but that appears to fallen by the wayside in favour of more “individual” episodes touching on various political issues of the day such as the growth of Chinatown, feminism and Irish republicanism. There’s also another ongoing plot about Captain Jackson’s wife, Long Susan (who runs a brothel) being in debt to a local slum landlord.

They’ve managed to avoid anachronistic technology pretty well, and have been sparing with stuff that was cutting-edge at the time. No doubt rich parts of London had electric light, but Whitechapel didn’t! They even make reference to the steam-powered lines of the underground, we haven’t yet seen a telephone or motor car, and film is something they look upon as if it’s witchcraft.

There does seem to be plenty of anachronistic speech, though. But it has been toned down a little in the second series. The first used the term Molly House (used in City of Vice a few yeats previously. That series was set in 1749!), and they occasionally sounded more like characters from Shakespeare or the Bible! That’s been toned down a little in series 2, though the odd modern phrase (like “knock yourself out”) has slipped in. I was surprised to hear the term “infernal machines” used. At the time, that was the term used to describe a bomb, especially one intended to kill people.

All in all this is a great show, in fact I’m probably more excited about where series 2 is going than I am about the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who! I hope it continues for a lot longer – the real-life Reid lived until 1917, working as a private detective in a small seaside town after he retired. Of course, the 1890’s and 1900’s were a period of rapid technological advancement and laid the foundations of the social changes that the world wars were to bring about later. If the writers can keep on coming up with complicated cases and ‘impossible’ murders, it will be great to see these years through the lens of London’s poorest!

Edge Westerns

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I heard about Edge Westerns, written by George G Gilman, ages ago. I’d heard they were “going for £20-30 on Ebay”. Except actually it was more like £2-3. Anyway, when I found a few of them on a stall in Lincoln’s indoor market I jumped for joy and snapped them up at 90p apiece. I read one on the train home shortly after and, er, should have been hooked. But actually I then managed not to read any more until today.

Fast forward a bit, to my first visit to the Hilgay Book Sale (2010, if I remember rightly), and I found a few more for even less than 90p. With a decent collection and time to kill at work in the mornings, I thought I’d take number 1… and could hardly put it down. They’re highly addictive… luckily there’s 61 of the buggers, plus 6 “fanfics” published online, though they were written by the same author. The books are also being re-released on kindles and igadgets. But if you expect me to support those in any way, you haven’t been paying attention.

But what are they actually like? Well each chapter is basically an extended sick joke, and almost every chapter of every book involves at least one horrific death or maiming, lovingly described. Edge is one mean hombre, but constantly runs into people who try to rob or double cross him. Then he kills them. Occasionally he meets somebody who doesn’t try to double cross him, and usually somebody else kills them. There’s not many recurring characters.