Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quest of Tcho

A mysterious lost race of little people in the frozen wastes of the Arctic known as the Qui captures Doc Savage and his crew to enslave them as they do to all normal sized humans. In the end Doc Savage triumphs and in a Lincolnesque turn abolishes slavery. Who are these little people and where did they come from?

There are several clues in popular literature which point to their true identity.

In the stories of H. P. Lovecraft and his circle there is mention of a diminutive race of hominids known as the Tcho-Tcho. They are described as horribly visaged, sometimes with hair, sometimes without, belonging to a different race than that of Homo sapiens. They have utter contempt for mankind and in fact are cannibals who delight in human flesh. The name of this race is derived from the Tibetan word tcho which means 'black magician,' 'evil monster,' or 'destroyer.' They are said to worship the dark gods Lloigor and Zhar.

The Tcho-Tcho come primarily from South East Asia but there have been enclaves noted in the Pyrenees and Greenland.

The first mention of the Tcho-Tcho people is in August Derleth's stories "The Thing That Walked on the Wind" and "Lair of the Star-Spawn"(1933) where they are said to come from Burma. Lovecraft himself mentions them in his epic saga "The Shadow Out of Time" (1936). Later stories from the Cthulhu and Delta Green stories describe them as "the nastiest people who ever lived." During the Vietnam War, they carried on attacks against both sides but singled out the Hmong (and their allies the Americans) for particular violent attention.

There have also been strange stories of The Little People told in various parts of Europe, Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. The Basques who are a human ethnic group long suspected of having descended from the survivors of Atlantis have an extensive folklore about these Little People which sound suspiciously like the Tcho-Tchos. After the initial sinking of Atlantis, a few islands may have remained where the survivors of the lost continent may have sought refuge.

In her novel, Taltos, Anne Rice describes a group of Little People in Northern Scotland who live in the woods to this very day and who have a unique genetic endowment of 92 chromosomes making them tetraploids. They apparently also have powers of telepathy, precognition, and telekinesis though they are not very highly developed. Nevertheless, these people are short hirsute and incredibly strong for their size. These Little People allegedly have babies after a very short gestation period who are born able to walk and talk. It is clear that some of these are gross exaggerations. Nevertheless these Little People are nasty, cannibalistic, and antithetic towards ordinary humans.

According to Rice, the Little People and the 7-foot non-human race known as the Taltos are closely genetically related to each other and more remotely to mankind. It seems that the two races had lived on a series of islands in the North Atlantic which sank into the ocean thousands of years ago forcing the races to migrate to Scotland and from there to the rest of Europe. It is through humans mating with Taltos and Little People that a hybrid form of human with 92 chromosomes came to exist which possessed various psychic powers. Rice called these hybrids 'witches.'

It is possible that the Little People and the Taltos races were genetically engineered in the deep distant past to be servitors to other races which have since vanished. They had survived the sinking of the main continent of Atlantis by living on scattered islands which later sank themselves.

It is interesting that according to Rice, the Taltos also have "walking , talking babies" from birth who mature very quickly. They also share some memories from their parents and their ancestors. This might help to explain the problem of John Sunlight who is now suspected to be the son of Doc Savage and the Countess Idivzhopu. If Doc Savage and the Countess each were hybrids carrying 92 Chromosomes, it is possible that their child would be a Taltos. That would solve the problem of how Sunlight could have been born in 1919 and still be a powerful man able to challenge Doc Savage in 1937. If he was actually a Taltos, he would have fully matured within just a few weeks of birth (not the mere hours that Rice claims in her novels). It would also help to explain Doc Savage's own unique physical and mental prowess if he carried the extra genetic material of one of Rice's witches.

If all of this speculation is true, then the story of the Quest of Qui may have been far more horrific than the novelization by Dent indicated. His publishers would not have permitted him to include the gory details of cannibalism and other Tcho-Tcho depravities in their publications.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Wildman Coat of Arms

Philip José Farmer the late great Science Fiction Grandmaster wrote biographies of the two iconic pulp characters of the 20th Century: Tarzan Alive! and Doc Savage, An Apocalyptic Life. In those biographies, he traced the ancestry of these two characters through the complexities of Burke's Peerage and demonstrated that they were not only related to each other, but also that they were descended from British Royalty. This entitled them to coats of arms based on their ancestry.

Farmer had a written description of Tarzan's coat of arms which was printed in Tarzan Alive! which was rendered as a line drawing in the book by Bjo Trimble. There was a coat of arms description in Doc Savage, An Apocalyptic Life but no actual drawing was ever made. UNTIL NOW!

In Farmerphile no. 14 (Oct. 2008) artist Keith Howell used Phil Farmer's original notes to create the first actual rendering of the coat of arms for Dr. James Clark Wildman Jr. aka Doc Savage.

This was something I have waited 37 years to see! It was well worth waiting for.

At the Farmercon in Peoria, IL held on June 6-7, 2009 I obtained a signed copy of this for my desktop and a poster that I now have framed and hanging in my library. I also purchased coffee mugs, refrigerator magnets, and other quality reproductions of this image which were made available at the conference.

It is my hope that other Doc Savage fans will be as excited about this as I am and that they will send emails to mike@pjfarmer.com requesting that merchandise using this image be made available to Doc Savage fans through Cafe Press.

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