Knowing my luck, my analogue is Young Neil or something

by Alex Hern

3. In this volume, there is a much heavier use of fictional stand-ins for real-life figures (from Haddo/Crowley to the Rutles/Beatles). How does this affect the story, and can the League world stand the strain of the sheer number of fictional characters that Moore is using?

Hmm. I’m not sure I see the problem implied here at all, really. Much like my answer for the first question, those I got, I got, and those I didn’t… well, i don’t think there were any real-life analogues that I didn’t get, but I wouldn’t know, would I? Because I’d have to know who they were supposed to be an analogue of to know if they were an analogue.

That said, there were some characters who I may have missed a deeper point by reading them as though they were their analogue, and nothing deeper. I’m specifically thinking of Turner in this case, who just was Jagger for me. So I’m sure there were some connections that Moore was drawing between events in Performance which I simply didn’t get. Pretty much the opposite was true for Haddo – I don’t know (or really care) about Crowley at all, so Haddo pretty much exists as though he were created for LoEG. Which doesn’t seem to have hurt my reading experience so far, although of course how would I know?

In fact, I think I’ve identified a bit of a pattern here. My knowledge of this period is weak enough that the number of characters for whom I have a deep understanding of both their LoEG stand-ins and their actual life is low – possibly nil. Which means that I can’t really examine how the use of those stand-ins affect the story, because I can’t look at the difference there would be if the real ones were used.

One thing I can say is to do with the world-building, though. As the number of stand-ins increases, the convergence with – and mismatches with – ‘real’ history are becoming more obvious. Volume One of the book was barely recognisably Victorian at all, instead being far more steampunk in it’s aesthetic and world. Now, we have a world in which famous rock concerts happen pretty much the same way as they did in reality, in which famous clubs are the headquarters for the League, and so on. It potentially limits the creative freedom Moore had beforehand. Then again, I want to see 2009 before I pronounce too heavily on that. From the glimpses we had in this book, it is going to be a present (well, recent past – how time flies) that is very different from reality. So this may be a temporary aberration caused by some prevalence of real-person analogues in the fiction of the period.