Two Detectives: A Case of Lightning Striking Twice

peter-dinklage-lightbox-1As you all know, I have a thing for the Dinklage. 

When I first saw him in the *ahem* EMMY-AWARD-WINNING PERFORMANCE of Tyrion in Game of Thrones, I knew that if Billi were ever optioned for the big screen or for cable, Dinklange would be my first—and only—choice for the role of the dwarf detective. The wise-ass attitude. The swagger. The confidence. He was Billi in the best suits Westros could offer. This, of course, was a pipe dream as The Billibub Baddings Mysteries were settling comfortably as bygone titles in my career. I hadn’t really given the dwarf detective much thought until January when my better half and the rest of the Smoky Writers’ Retreat convinced me a Kickstarter to fund a third Billi—regardless of both my agent and other publishers showing no interest in the series—was a good idea.

So since Valentine’s Day, the dwarf detective and Dinklage have been in the forefront of my mind recently…

…and that why I was completely thrown for a loop when this bomb dropped in my lap: Dinklage is in talk for a new HBO series where he plays a dwarf detective.

Wait. Come again?! 

I’ve seen this story pop up in my Facebook and Twitter feed from various sources, and I was not really paying attention to them as the emphasis was more on a Farscape project in the works. Honestly, I didn’t want to be disappointed in a “potential” Farscape project that may or may not see the light of day so I let these articles pass…

…until Foreword Literary agent Pam van Hylckama sent me in a tweet:

@TeeMonster “Monjo is said to be writing a show that would star Dinklage as a dwarf detective for HBO.” wow

I did a double-take and then read the Tor article in detail.

chesbro-shadow-photoThen I looked up George C. Chesbro, an author that I regret never hearing of either in my own personal travels, my reviews of The Billibub Baddings Mysteries, or my numerous con appearances. Turns out that Chesbro’s novels, according to Bleeding Cool News, are now in development with HBO for a show “that would star Dinklage as a dwarf detective. [These books] seem to be a combination of sci-fi, fantasy and detective fiction tropes, centered on an investigator with dwarfism.”

You’ve got to be kidding me!

Now before anyone grabs for their nearest torch or pitchfork, or start forwarding me phone numbers of lawyers who specialize in court cases around intellectual property, here’s some things you need to know about prolific author George C. Chesbro:

  • Mr. Chesbro wrote the first book of The Mongo Novels in 1977. (So yeah, Chesbro predates me by 27 years. Let that soak in!)
  • Mr. Chesbro’s “dwarf detective” is nothing like my “dwarf detective.”
  • Sadly, Mr. Chesbro passed away November 18, 2008.

This is why when fans should rage online with “Wow, Hutch must be beside himself whenever he sees ads for Orphan Black!” or “SyFy ripped off Scott Sigler’s Ancestor with Helix!” there should be a sense of wonder in that great minds really do think alike. I’m a huge fan of both Hutch and Sigler, and I feel that same sense of double-cross conspiracy from 7th Son and wicked claustrophobia from Ancestor in Orphan Black and Helix respectfully. It’s the power of an idea, and I find it amazing how creative minds can take a single idea—clones, an isolated biological facility, a dwarf detective—and make it their own. So while it’s a little heart-breaking that Dinklage may play someone else’s dwarf detective, you bet I’ll be tuning in to see exactly how this mystery unfolds and how Chesbro solves his cases.

iStock_000006201684XLargeWhat has been a real crime to me is that I never knew about this series, a series of detective novels with science fiction and fantasy overtones, that lasted for fifteen books and was translated into four different languages. What an amazing ride for a property, and what a shame I never met George Chesbro. I would have loved to sit on a panel with this guy and talk about the similarities between our series, the differences between a modern setting verses a 1930’s backdrop, and the challenges we faced in writing our mysteries and daring to cross the genres. Two guys. The same idea. Entirely different deliveries.

Yeah. That would have been a blast.

I wonder, if he were still around, would Mr. Chesbro have backed my Kickstarter?

19 thoughts on “Two Detectives: A Case of Lightning Striking Twice

  1. Great job getting out the info that his book predated yours. Fans are a protective bunch, who often don’t err on the side of due diligence. When this happens to me, something like this is simultaneously cool (“I was right! This idea has legs!”) and frustrating (“Dangit, if only the producers had seen mine first!”).

    • Isn’t that the truth, Scott? And as Pip tells me, “He’s also dead, so he’s got that over you as well.” *LOL* But it’s the truth — I can’t watch Helix without feeling that same “open claustrophobia” Ancestor had going for itself. Thanks for the comment!

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