The Many Worlds of Ulysses King (2014) – Created by Mark Beaulieu – Stories by Mark Beaulieu, I.A. Watson, Sean Taylor, and Mark Bousquet – Published by Pro Se Productions.
Welcome to Atomic Interview #19, the latest installment of my interview series with creative folk. where this time around I’m talking to Mark Beaulieu, the creator of Ulysses King. I have a story in this collection, too, which is now available in paperback.
The description of THE MANY WORLDS OF ULYSSES KING:
Professor Ulysses King and his companions travel the foldspace between alternate realities to thwart nefarious history-twisting plots from his homeworld Olympus. With Amazonian arena-warrior Pandora, out-of-his-depth reporter Jake Gannon, marked-for-death scientist Crystal Lee, and worlds-spanning travel machine NotTA, King faces those who regard humanity as test subjects, cannon fodder, raw material, or mere entertainment. But there are dangers in foldspace of which neither King nor his enemies are yet aware – those who seek absolute control! In the tradition of Doctor Who and Sliders, THE MANY WORLDS OF ULYSSES KING collects the talents of Mark Beaulieu, Mark Bousquet, Sean Taylor, and I.A. Watson to forge a new mythology where high adventure, high science, and high strangeness meet. Ulysees King is on his voyages – and each discovery might be his last! Featuring an out of this world cover by Terry Pavlet and stunning interiors illustrations by Chris Kohler. THE MANY WORLDS OF ULYSSES KING from Pro Se Productions.
Mark Bousquet: How did you come to be involved with the ULYSSES KING project? What drew you to want to write in this universe?
Mark Beaulieu: I created the characters and the general, basic idea. I had been watching the classic Doctor Who serials and I got a hankering to write a Doctor Who type story. I didn’t want to have to deal with time travel though, since that can get messy. I decided that you could do pretty much the same thing with alternate realities. You want a historical story, just put it in a world with a slight difference. Once I got that idea, I wanted to go with something similar to the setting of the original Doctor, William Hartnell. The Doctor and three companions allowed you to break the group into teams or not depending on the story. The next character was Pandora. She was to take on the Ian Chesterton role so I try to write her based on another character I like from classic BBC: Emma Peel. While I don’t get the tone exactly right for Emma Peel, the basics are there. Like Emma Peel her sense of humor is cold and inappropriate. If you don’t believe me, watch a classic Avengers episode where Peel and Steed stand around a dead colleague cracking jokes. Next were the two frame of reference characters: Jake Gannon and Crystal Lee.
If I had to describe the series to someone I’d probably say it’s basically The Doctor and Emma Peel traveling with two normal people through alternate realities. Though, once we started writing the characters, they took off in their own directions. At the start of my story, Professor Ulysses King is still not a “pure” good guy and neither was William Hartnell’s Doctor early on. He’s growing into that role as he sees the destruction his people cause to the different worlds. He’s on that path before the 1st story begins, but something will come out here or there where you can see that he’s got a ways to go to see the people on these worlds as equals.
Mark Bousquet: What’s your story and what’s it about?
Mark Beaulieu: “Fire From Above” introduces Jake Gannon and Crystal Lee to Ulysses King and Pandora. Crystal Lee is marked for death by Chancellor Marcus Darwin and Ulysses and Pandora have to save her. Jake gets dragged along as the foursome moves to another world to save it from Darwin. On that world Crystal and Jake come across a race of lizard men and Darwin is trying to strengthen (he’s a survival of the fittest kind of guy) them by devastating their world so only the strongest survive. He wants to see what adaptations would work best his own people and he’s using other worlds to test his theories.
Mark Bousquet: What were you trying to accomplish with this story? Was there a particular inspiration? Did that change over the course of the story. With my story, “The Nesting Dolls of Nova 6,” I was inspired by the old Doctor Who rebellion stories, where the TARDIS would drop the Doctor and his Companion down in the middle of a very tense situation. As I wrote it, it became it’s own thing, but that was the genesis of the idea.
Mark Beaulieu: I wanted to introduce the concepts of the series. From the characters to their mode of transportation. I use Jake Gannon, a reporter, as the frame of reference for the story. This allows the reader to see NotTA, their Victorian antique store shaped vehicle, through Jake’s eyes.
I was inspired by the Doctor Who and the Silurians serial with Jon Pertwee. I loved that serial and I wanted to do a little homage to it with my own group of lizard men. It also gets the new characters up to speed that things are different out there.
Mark Bousquet: Do you have a favorite character to write among King and his cohorts?
Mark Beaulieu: Probably Pandora. It’s close, I really like them all and King can be a blast to write, but Pandora gets to say anything humorous and nasty that I can think of. I also think her upbringing, an arena world where she had to fight to move up the rankings, gives her a different perspective. She can seem cold, but she would die for any of the main characters.
Mark Bousquet: What other projects do you have in the pipeline?
Mark Beaulieu: Right now, I’m working on the 4th Ulysses King story. I’m hoping this one will go into the 2nd volume of the series. I’ve got a story “Dinosaurs and Nukes Don’t Mix” which is essentially Doctor Who vs Godzilla coming out soon from Pro Se as a single shot and “Monsters in the Monastery” is another Ulysses King story where they’re in the old west fighting werewolves.
Mark Bousquet: Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?
Mark Beaulieu: I don’t really have a spot to learn about my work. I’m still new to this whole thing. I really should get a webpage up. Thanks Mark for the interview.
Thank you, Mark!
When I’m not talking to others about their work, I’m creating my own. Please give my latest work, GUNFIGHTER GOTHIC: UNDER ZEPPELIN SKIES a look, and visit my Author page and personal website for a complete list of my available titles. Thanks for stopping by and reading, all!