Monday, December 08, 2008


Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom

You can file this under Things That Make Me Burn With Envy.

I have a post on a private mailing list to thank for pointing me towards Tim Byrd's Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, forthcoming from G.P. Putnam’s Sons in May 2009.

Here's the flack from the official site:
Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom is an adventure yarn in the old tradition. It gets that reading is an intellectual activity, and that an adventure, to be really good, has to engage the reader’s brain. I love a smart book!”
—Daniel Pinkwater

To the world at large, the Wilde family is an amazing team of golden skinned adventurers, born to daring escapades and globetrotting excitement!

Doctor Spartacus Wilde, world class scientist and inventor, physical exemplar, ultimate warrior, and loving dad!

Brian and Wren Wilde, the worlds most swashbuckling kids, able to survive the most perilous situations through quick wits and the intensive training and astonishing gadgets that are their birthright!

Aided by their dashing majordomo Phineas Bartlett and their loyal driver and pilot Declan mac Coul, the Wildes crisscross the Earth on a constant quest for new knowledge, incredible thrills, and good old fashioned adventure!

The Frogs of Doom…

Now, with adventurous Grandpa Wilde missing, the Wildes confront the deepest mysteries of Dark Matter, penetrate the tangled depths of uncharted jungles, and come face to face with the likely end of the world in the clammy clutches of The Frogs of Doom

If you are catching a whiff of Doc Savage-y goodness from this, you're not alone. And check out Byrd's list of inspirations, from the book's acknowledgments:

For inspiration, I affectionately acknowledge the spinners of countless adventure stories I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid, folks like Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Alexandre Dumas, Paul Dini, Karl Edward Wagner, Rafael Sabatini, Walter Gibson, Ray Harryhausen, Neil Gaiman, Joss Whedon, Norvell Page, Michael Chabon, and Robert B. Parker.

I owe a special debt to two writers from the pulp magazines of old, Lester Dent who, under the nom de plume “Kenneth Robeson,” brought the world the extravagant adventures of Doc Savage, the original superhero, and H.P. Lovecraft whose spooky stories warned of eldritch horrors lurking just outside our world waiting to devour it. Lovecraft’s work is always readily available, and as I write this, all the Doc Savage stories are finally being reprinted in beautiful editions by Anthony Tollin and Nostalgia Ventures (

That's not a bad reading list, if you ask me.

I'm really looking forward to checking this out. Of course, my first reaction wasn't quite so charitable. You see, for the last few years I've been shopping around a middle-reader adventure series called the Young Explorers, the main character of which is--among other things--the grandson of pulp adventurer "King" Carmody (though that connection doesn't come out till much later in the series), familiar to readers of Cybermancy Incorporated. Along with his classmates at boarding school, the young Carmody travels all over the world, seeking knowledge and adventure. Sound familiar? In the last month or so it looked like Young Explorers had a better than average chance of getting picked up, but the project fell the last hurdle, so now we've had to move back to the starting blocks (though things aren't entirely without hope).

In any event, it wasn't just that our two series have similar ideas and themes that made me so envious to read about Byrd's forthcoming book, it was the title of the first installment, too. The title of the first novel in the Young Explorers series?

The Young Explorers and the Monkeys of Doom

Not identical, I know, but still... D'oh!

Thanks for posting this. It looks like Big Fun. For what it's worth, I can appreciate your frustration. I was working on an idea of doing interlocking short stories from different genres where the protagonists would be looking for the same artifact. There would be a sword-and-sorcery story, a detective story and so on. Then I started reading descriptions of END OF THE CENTURY. As you so aptly put it...D'oh!
Well, that looks like a grand entertainment. Isn't it strange that we're seeing a return to the fantastic fiction of the Depression and other trying times? Maybe it isn't so strange, to be sure. I for one would love to see Young Explorers books those, in one form or another, The Chris Roberson Media Empire should crush all others in it's metafictional path.
Okay, maybe a little much on that last bit.
Hi, Chris,

Thanks for the attention. As a first timer, I of course need all I can get. Hopefully there'll be at least enough to justify the continuation of the series.

I'm working on the second book now, Doc Wilde and The Daughter of Darkness. In it, something terrible happens to Doc, and the kids go looking for an ally of their family's from years past, a rather dark character with a tendency to laugh while he shoots people. He's not home, but his just as shadowy and violent teen daughter is. (And she'll be getting her own book).

I hope you find a home for the Young Explorers, because it sounds like something I'd really like to read. And if you're looking for more stories for Adventure any time, keep me in mind.


Bill, you definitely shouldn't abandon your project! I was at the early stages of writing End of the Century when Lou Anders at Pyr gave me a thumbnail overview of the plot of Ian McDonald's Brasyl, and I was a bit flummoxed over the basic similarities between our two novels in structure and inspirations, but in the end the two books couldn't be more dissimilar. In a world where Jonathan Carrol can write Bones of the Moon and Neil Gaiman can write A Game of You, there is certainly room for two cross-genre mosaic novels about the hunt for some hidden artifact!
I like your thoughts about the Chris Roberson Media Empire, Greg (though I agree that crushing all others in our path might be taking it a touch far...)
Tim, you had me with Doc Wilde and company. But the teen daughter of a shadowy dark avenger? Okay, I'm sold. I'll buy copies for myself and every young reader I know, and do what I can to spread the word.

(Should I mention my own novel Voices of Thunder, set to be republished next year as Book of Secrets, which features the grandson of a similarly shadowy pulp avenger? Perhaps not. Suffice it to say, I like the way your brain works, Mr. Byrd!)

No plans yet for another Adventure, I'm afraid (sales for the first weren't sufficiently high to justify another, yadda yadda), but if I should manage to put something similar together I'll most definitely keep you in mind!
There really can't be too much of this kind of stuff, after all to quote a character I know, "The worlds are many and they all need heroes".
Really excited to hear Voice of Thunder is being reprinted, that's really cool. I'm nearly finished with the copy of Cybermancy, Incorporated I bought off you early this year and it's been great thus far, just finishing off Hollow Days.
And you can count me in for Doc Wilde and family's adventures. Any fan of Sabatini and Dumas is pretty well all right in my book.
The details of the Voices of Thunder deal are still being negotiated, but I can tell you that it will be somewhat revised from the original, renamed Book of Secrets, and if all goes well will be in stores by the end of next year.

And glad to hear that you're liking Cybermancy so far. With any luck, we'll see a new edition of that sooner or later, too.
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