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All in the Family

I’ve been thinking about creating a vast, complex and completely fictional genealogy. I even got started, basically using a random number generator and the list of most common names from the 1990 census to start up this family tree.

I’m thinking about working this concept into the pulp novel in some way. All the protagonists could be related, part of this vast, complicated family. Maybe the antagonist is part of it, too.

This is an idea I’ve been toying with for a long time. Family trees have always fascinated me, especially those that appeared in various books that I’ve read, including my favorite novel, Little, Big by John Crowley. I’ve never had much of a family, myself. My siblings were so much older than I was that I grew up basically an only child, neither side of the family was actually from Missouri and, being perfectly honest, neither was particularly interesting, either.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a vast majority of my fictional characters over the years have been loners, unconnected to any sense of history or roots, which ultimately led to a monotonous sameness of personality. Searching for a solution to this particular problem, I stumbled onto the family tree idea. The possibilities are intriguing — crazy fortune telling aunts, hot-to-trot cousins, secretly alcoholic insurance salesmen uncles, sweet and naïve kids starting out on the first adventures of their lives. It could be like finding out you have all these relatives you didn’t know about before, and all of them somehow fill a void you didn’t know was there.

Now, I just have to figure out how to include this idea into the mix, or whether it should be in there at all.

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