Author Topic: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books  (Read 6886 times)

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Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« on: November 26, 2017, 08:31:57 PM »
There's probably a better way of putting that. What I mean is authors who write novels which are all set in the same world, so that characters from one novel might turn up in another. And I don't mean when it's specifically a series of books like the Harry Hole books which are obviously going to have the same characters reoccuring, but when an author sets their books in a certain place where the main character from one book might turn up in a minor role in another.

George Pelecanos is one example, though probably a slightly bad one, because he does have books which run in trilogies and quartets, but then the characters might turn up in other, unrelated, standalone books. Derek Strange is the obvious one here - he first turned up in the trilogy of Right As Rain, Hell To Pay and Soul Circus, and then appeared as a main character in two further novels which were flashbacks to his younger days. But most Pelecanos novels since that original trilogy will feature a walk-on appearance by Strange, even if he goes unnamed. The main character in his first trilogy was Nick Stefanos, a thinly-disguised autobiographical character, who has more recently turned up as Strange's assistant after years of not featuring in any novels. There are a group of barflies who turn up in several novels, continually arguing about songs on the jukebox. I love details like this, as it makes the Washington of these novels feel like a proper, living place, where you might encounter the same strangers regularly.

Another example: Years after reading American Psycho, I read Bret Easton Ellis' earlier novel, The Rules Of Attraction, in which it turns out that one of the main characters, Sean Bateman, has an older brother called Patrick, who works in finance. Hang on! Yes, it's him. Sean himself turns up in the later short story collection The Informers, as does Tim Price, one of Patrick Bateman's friends in American Psycho. Patrick turns up yet again in the later Lunar Park, as does Donald Kimball, the detective investigating his murders in AP, though both might be figments of Ellis' imagination within the book, which is more than a bit meta.

I'm sure there are more. I'd also be interested to know if there are any characters who have crossed over from one author's books to another - again, not in the sense of someone carrying on an old series (as with James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, etc), but possibly as an in-joke between two writers?

Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2017, 08:34:46 PM »
Ages since I read it but I think a Bateman pops up in Donna Tartt's The Secret History.

EDIT: Just googled and saw that there's a (possible) reference to the latter in Rules of Attraction, with it's mention of the "weird group of Classics majors". There'a also a a line about "some chick who thinks it's ok to fuck her brother" in American Psycho. No actual character mentions though.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2017, 08:45:38 PM by holyzombiejesus »

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2017, 08:57:58 PM »
Kilgore Trout is in many Kurt Vonnegut novels. Trout is an unsuccessful author of paperback science fiction novels.

Serge

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2017, 10:26:06 PM »
Oh, and of course many Will Self novels feature either Simon Dykes or Dr. Zack Busner (or both), though whether they are the same people in each novel - given that in Great Apes, they are both, well, apes - is never settled.

Unsurprisingly, Paul Auster has done it as well. Marco Stanley Fogg, the hero of Moon Palace, his friend David Zimmer, and Peter Aaron from Leviathan all turn up in 4 3 2 1. Archie Ferguson, the hero of 4 3 2 1, also eats at Moon Palace, the restaurant which gives the previous book its name, but then, it is a real restaurant in New York. David Zimmer is also the main character in The Book Of Illusions. Anna Blume, the heroine of In The Country Of Last Things is mentioned in one of his other novels obliquely - a character has a sister called Anna who goes to another country and disappears - but I can't remember which one!

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2017, 10:36:26 PM »
Clinton 'Skink' Tyree,Al Garcia and Jim Tile in Carl Hiaasen's novels. The novels are unrelated to each other, save for the fact that they're set in Southern Florida.

Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2017, 10:54:33 PM »
Oh god, there's all that stuff with David Mitchell's books, even down to a bloke in a Wolves tracksuit who appears in at least a couple of those I've read. There are loads of things about it online, although this site even had a downloadable spreadsheet...

https://oneclaymore.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/mapping-the-cloud-atlas-connections-in-the-novels-of-david-mitchell/

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2017, 09:14:37 AM »
I remembered that Irvine Welsh has done it as well. Although Trainspotting, Porno, Skagboys and The Blade Artist are actually a series, the characters from them do turn up in other books. Begbie is mentioned in Marabou Stork Nightmares as being somebody's 'business partner', and I have an idea his name comes up in Filth as well. In one of his short stories, possibly in The Acid House, which is set in London in the '80s, there's a young red-haired guy called Mark, who is obviously Renton. And towards the end of Glue, one of the main characters spots Renton on a train, which is the first hint of his return in Porno, which was Welsh's next book.


Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 07:33:14 PM »
A lot of James Ellroy characters appear in more than one of his novels. Not all cover the same qaurtet or time period.
Of the top of my head, pretty sure that Dudley Smith appears in a couple of the books, along with Ed ExleyBuzz Meeks, Pete Bondurant. Probably a lot more.

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2017, 07:44:13 PM »
Kilgore Trout is in many Kurt Vonnegut novels. Trout is an unsuccessful author of paperback science fiction novels.

There's also Howard W. Campbell Jr in Mother Night and (briefly) Slaughterhouse Five, and Rabo Karabekian in Blue Beard and (again with the briefly) in Breakfast of Champions.

Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2017, 07:48:16 PM »
Jasper Fforde's 'bookworld' has Thursday Next, who can enter the world of written fiction. In one of the novels, she hides out in a book called 'Caversham Heights' as a character called 'Mary Mary' who is part of another of Jasper's books featuring The Nursery Crimes Division.

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2017, 07:48:23 PM »
EEeh Then there's Pig Bodine in Thomas Pynchon's works 'V' and 'Gravity's Rainbow.


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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2017, 08:07:39 PM »
Oh god, there's all that stuff with David Mitchell's books, even down to a bloke in a Wolves tracksuit who appears in at least a couple of those I've read. There are loads of things about it online, although this site even had a downloadable spreadsheet...

https://oneclaymore.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/mapping-the-cloud-atlas-connections-in-the-novels-of-david-mitchell/

When I first saw this thread I thought of Mitchell, but I'd not seen that spreadsheet before, thanks for that.

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2017, 08:31:34 PM »
Elmore Leonard, of course, which is why Michael Keaton can pop up playing Ray Nicolette in the film adaptations of both 'Rum Punch' (Jackie Brown) and 'Out Of Sight', two otherwise completely unrelated stories.

Stephen King does it a fair bit, mostly with characters from 'It'. The time traveller in '11/22/63' goes through Derry and meets two of the kids and someone in 'The Tommyknockers' sees Pennywise out of a car window. From memory a lot of events from his books are alluded to in other books as background details, especially the Castle Rock set ones.

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2017, 11:55:26 PM »
Re: Stephen King
Dick Halloran from the Shining turns up in IT, as an army pal of Mike Hanlon's father.
Randall Flagg Of The Stand turns up as a major player in The Dark Tower series. As does Father Callahan of Salem's Lot
Gerald's Game and Dolores Claiborne cross over. ( they both have incidents set at the Maine eclipse)

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2017, 08:48:24 AM »
Ages since I read it but I think a Bateman pops up in Donna Tartt's The Secret History.

As I mentioned in another thread, American Psycho and The Secret History are two of the three novels I've tried to read the most times and still never finished. Four times for each I think. I just felt I HAD to read them but found both incredibly tedious in different ways. I noticed no crossover. The third book I've never finished is Saturday Night And Sunday Morning. Does Arthur Seaton pop up in either of these books as well?

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2017, 11:56:41 AM »
Waugh does this a lot, but mainly with peripheral characters in the less serious books.

The Honourable Mrs Margot Beste-Chetwynde/Lady Metroland, Basil Seal, Alistair (Digby Vaine-)Trumpington...

Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2017, 05:53:47 PM »
Stephen King's entire oeuvre.

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2017, 06:29:20 PM »
I remembered that Irvine Welsh has done it as well. Although Trainspotting, Porno, Skagboys and The Blade Artist are actually a series, the characters from them do turn up in other books. Begbie is mentioned in Marabou Stork Nightmares as being somebody's 'business partner', and I have an idea his name comes up in Filth as well. In one of his short stories, possibly in The Acid House, which is set in London in the '80s, there's a young red-haired guy called Mark, who is obviously Renton. And towards the end of Glue, one of the main characters spots Renton on a train, which is the first hint of his return in Porno, which was Welsh's next book.
Glue and Porno, Terry Lawson is a key character in each (he also features as the lead character in A Decent Ride), and Billy from Glue's brother, Rab, features in Porno. There are more, I think, although I don't recall right now...

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2017, 08:07:32 PM »
I've wiped most of Glue from my mind, as it was the point at which I decided I didn't have to buy every Irvine Welsh novel, because it was far too long and was as dull as ditchwater. The only thing I remember is a section where they go on a record-buying trip to Germany (and the Renton cameo.) Of course, his next book was Porno, so I bought that out of curiosity as to what he'd do with those characters. The answer was: nothing special, so I tuned out again until The Blade Artist, which didn't exactly fill me with jollification. I was even given a free copy of Skagboys and couldn't be arsed to read it.

Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2017, 02:10:37 AM »
Ray Lennox from Filth was later given his own book, solving a child’s abduction in Florida (I think). This was bizarre as Lennox was basically a nothing character and Welsh had to invent all his character traits for the new book anyway. Not sure why he didn’t just start with a fresh character. The book was shit.

Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2017, 09:51:38 PM »
There's also Howard W. Campbell Jr in Mother Night and (briefly) Slaughterhouse Five, and Rabo Karabekian in Blue Beard and (again with the briefly) in Breakfast of Champions.

Rosewater (one of the few fans of Trout) is in more than God  Bless You. As is Mushari iirc.

Then again, I think illium is also the town for more than one of his books.

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2017, 01:49:26 AM »
Ray Lennox from Filth was later given his own book, solving a child’s abduction in Florida (I think). This was bizarre as Lennox was basically a nothing character and Welsh had to invent all his character traits for the new book anyway. Not sure why he didn’t just start with a fresh character. The book was shit.

Crime is actually one of my fave Welsh books. But each to their own I suppose.

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2017, 10:17:17 PM »
I notice that Irvine Welsh has a new novel about the Trainspotting characters due out next year, called Dead Men's Trousers. Spoilery description below...

Quote
Mark Renton is finally a success. An international jet-setter, he now makes significant money managing DJs, but the constant travel, airport lounges, soulless hotel rooms and broken relationships have left him dissatisfied with his life. He’s then rocked by a chance encounter with Frank Begbie, from whom he’d been hiding for years after a terrible betrayal and the resulting debt. But the psychotic Begbie appears to have reinvented himself as a celebrated artist and – much to Mark’s astonishment – doesn’t seem interested in revenge.

Sick Boy and Spud, who have agendas of their own, are intrigued to learn that their old friends are back in town, but when they enter the bleak world of organ-harvesting, things start to go so badly wrong. Lurching from crisis to crisis, the four men circle each other, driven by their personal histories and addictions, confused, angry – so desperate that even Hibs winning the Scottish Cup doesn’t really help. One of these four will not survive to the end of this book. Which one of them is wearing Dead Men’s Trousers?

The first paragraph would seem to imply that this takes up pretty much where The Blade Artist ended, but the hint that one character will die seems like so much of a gimmick to try and get people to read it.

Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2017, 10:44:09 PM »
That all makes me feel a bit ill. When is this supposed to be set? Taking the original chronology Renton must be nearly 60.

You know how Steven King had a massive head injury then wrote a load of books where the protagonist was a writer that had had an injury, well that.

Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2017, 11:39:43 AM »
Psychotic Begbie reinvented as celebrated artist sounds very similar to David Murdoch in Christopher Brookmyre's One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night


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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2017, 08:20:44 PM »
I think Jimmy Boyle was the main inspiration for Begbie's reformed character in The Blade Artist.  I suppose Edward Bunker followed a similar trajectory as well, though obviously wasn't Scottish.


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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2017, 04:16:04 PM »
Robert Rankin's books, particularly the Brentford ones. Jim Pooley and John Omally cross back and forth effortlessly between those and Rankin's other novels, as do Hugo Rune and Lazlo Woodbine to name but two others.

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2017, 02:09:03 PM »
Psychotic Begbie reinvented as celebrated artist sounds very similar to David Murdoch in Christopher Brookmyre's One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night

Speaking of Brookmyre I think most of his earlier books connect through minor characters. Steff, the photographer in Not the end of the world turns up briefly in A big boy did it and ran away I think. Larry, the policeman in world is a friend of Brookmyre stalwart Parlabane. Tim Vale, who majors in One fine day... is also a Parlabane buddy. Spammy, from Country of the blind shows up in the rubber ducks one. And so on. His later (more 'serious', though that’s debatable) books seem to be set in a different universe.

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2017, 02:41:25 PM »
I remembered that Irvine Welsh has done it as well. Although Trainspotting, Porno, Skagboys and The Blade Artist are actually a series, the characters from them do turn up in other books. Begbie is mentioned in Marabou Stork Nightmares as being somebody's 'business partner', and I have an idea his name comes up in Filth as well. In one of his short stories, possibly in The Acid House, which is set in London in the '80s, there's a young red-haired guy called Mark, who is obviously Renton. And towards the end of Glue, one of the main characters spots Renton on a train, which is the first hint of his return in Porno, which was Welsh's next book.

Begbie also pops up in Glue briefly, I seem to remember. It would put Glue in alternate timeline to Porno though (if you give a shit about that sort of thing), as Begbie should be in prison at that point. I feel like there are quite a few minor characters that are present in multiple books, but I can't think of any off of the top of my head, but I can't think of any examples. It's been years since I read them.

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Re: Authors With Characters Who Cross Over Into Other Books
« Reply #29 on: December 25, 2017, 10:52:13 PM »
I think Begbie pops up very briefly in Filth? Something to do with a furniture shop?