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Robin Hood In Science Fiction and Fantasy

Although some historians claim that the origin of the character of Robin Hood can be traced way back to the medieval myths of spiritual storytelling and similarities with the Green Man of forest folklore, the traditional tale of the outlaw hero has also become a "time traveller" in every sense of the word and often makes appearances in the futuristic literary genre of science fiction and fantasy. True testimony as to why the ever-popular tales have established Robin Hood as a unique global legend!

Here are just a few examples of how his character and exploits have been cleverly adapted into the future worlds and fantasy realms of cult science fiction.

Even the scriptwriters for BBC's "Dr Who" couldn't resist introducing Robin into the last series when in "The Robot of Sherwood" episode the Time Lord joined forces with the legendary outlaw after he had discovered that the leafy glades of Nottinghamshire's Sherwood Forest were threatened by "an evil plan from beyond the stars."

In 1991, the "Q-Pid" episode of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" TV series saw actor Patrick Stewart get all dressed up in the traditional feathered hat etc. when the mischievous "Q" transported Captain Picard and his crew to Sherwood Forest in a Robin Hood based scenario with a romantic twist.

However, back in 1966, Canadian animators produced the first-ever Robin Hood children's cartoon series to appear on television when they launched "Rocket Robin Hood", in which all the characters and conflicts of the classic English legend were placed in a futuristic outer space setting.

In his 2006 book, "Erasmus Hobart and the Golden Arrow", local author Andrew Fish has his history - teaching hero portrayed as "probably the first time-traveller in human history" and sees him being transported into the world of Robin Hood via a home-made time machine disguised as a Medieval privy!

As part of "The Afterblight Chronicles" (a series of post-apocalyptic fiction set in a world ruled by crazed gangs and strange cults} - author Paul Kane's "Arrowhead" leans imaginatively on the Robin Hood legend against a background of recognisable Nottingham landmarks that include the Council House and Castle and action-packed imagery of archers astride overturned trams in the Old Market Square.

DC Comics "Outlaws" series also places the Robin Hood legend in a futuristic world with medieval undertones evoking a banned, "Holy Grail"- type inspirational artefact that reflects the values and principles of a long-lost, just society. In the end, the much-coveted object turns out to be an ancient leather-bound copy of the story of Robin Hood!

More recent developments of the Robin Hood character fighting for fair-play and social justice are "Red Hood and the Outlaws" – who lives by the slogan "I fought the law and I kicked its butt!" and with a voluptuous, auburn-haired, Maid Marian style female companion tries to survive in a war-torn environment riddled with military marauders.

Perhaps even more bizarre was the Robin Hood play recently presented in Williamson Park, Lancaster , where writer, Kevin Dyer depicted the legend being staged by The Dukes in a Eurozone police state with electronic tagging, klaxons and a motorbike zooming about threatening the poor. In this interpretation the writer and director had probably been reading too much George Orwell for their own good! The "merry men" in this production were all female eco-warriors including a fat lady "Tucky" and a wrestling expert, Marion! Apparently, this "mobile" adaptation also required the audience to follow the action around to six different staged venues in the park. However the critics were seemingly divided on its success; one reviewer wrote that it was "the stuff of golden childhood memories while another commented "the views out to Morecambe Bay are gorgeous, shame about the show!"

The fine line between the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror often sees all three subjects become merged together in various interpretations and the popularity of the "vampire" and "zombie" concepts has proved to be a commercial money-spinner with the "Twilight" series of books/movies and the hit television series, "The Walking Dead."

No surprise then to find that the Robin Hood legend has also been given the horror/fantasy treatment!
Released in early 2013, "Zombie Hood" was an independently produced feature film that was set in Nottingham and took its theme from the traditional Robin Hood legend. Providing the essential blend of incredulity and gore, the film was shot across the East Midlands and used a local cast and crew as well as 300 zombie extras from around the region.

If poetry and prose are more in your line, then try "Robin Hood and Friar Tuck – Zombie Killers"- in which author, Paul A. Freeman, composes 90 plus pages of rhyming verse in the style of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The theme describes how, while King Richard was away on his Crusades to the Holy Land, Medieval civilization became under threat from the "un-dead", when a zombie plague emerged that "used an alchemistic spell to re-animate corpses bound for Hell! The fate of all on earth – the evil and the good – was in the hands of Robin of the Hood."

For their first blockbuster graphic novel, publishers Mohawk Media and Eco Comics teamed up Robin Hood (and his Merry Women!) alongside horror heavyweights Dracula and Jekyll and Hyde to overcome a group of criminally-minded female vampires! Proving, yet again, that the Robin Hood legend has no limits to its imaginative adaptations.