The Barrow

2/13/09

Secret Services

As a reader and a writer, I have several obsessions, ideas and themes I return to again and again. Multiple realities and alternate histories. Masked avengers and heroic legacies. Immortal swordsmen and gaslit detectives. But one of my obsessions as a reader has been little exercised as a writer, until now.

I've always had a fondness for what I like to call "Secret Services," clandestine government agencies tasked with investigating and policing the supernatural. Last fall, after rereading all of Mike Mignola's Hellboy and its related series with its BPRD, and watching with my daughter the first episodes of Jay Stephens's sublime Secret Saturdays (which ironically doesn't make my list, as the Saturdays don't appear to have any connection with the government, clandestine or otherwise), I got a wild hair. I would track down all of the examples of Secret Services I could find on my shelves, and profile each of them on my blog, Roberson's Interminable Ramble.

I figured that it would probably take me a few weeks to get through them all. Ha. Ha ha. Ha.

Now, months later, I've finally reached the end of my completely arbitrary analysis of Secret Services, ending with my own contribution to the list, MI8 as seen in my new novel End of the Century. And here they all are, for your delectation and diversion.
There are a number of other examples that were suggested to me as I went along, which ultimately didn't make the cut--usually because the agencies in question weren't "clandestine" but instead operated in worlds that knew all about them and the existence of the supernatural, or because they were clandestine but didn't have ties to any government. I am positive, though, that there are examples that I've missed, in which case I can only humbly point to that word "arbitrary" above.

If like me you're a fan of this kind of thing, I'd recommend checking out End of the Century, in stores now. And if you prefer immortal swordsmen, gaslit detectives, heroic legacies, multiple realties and the like--well, you might want to check out End of the Century, too, because there's loads of that kind of stuff in there, as well.

3 comments:

Mark Chadbourn said...

End of the Century is made for me! Sold!

Lou Anders said...

You guys both need to read the other's take on Arthurian myth.

Chris Roberson said...

I held off reading Mark's books until I finished End of the Century, after seeing that we were tilling similar fields, but now I can't wait to check out the Pyr editions!