Forever Is Not Enough, or How to Lose a Great Title

Pub Interior, by Leonard Defrance, 18th CenturyWell, I have some…er…interesting news. Apparently great minds think alike.

Some of you know that I’ve been working on the background for a themed anthology called The Forever House since early 2016. The concept is a shared setting, a sort of pan-dimensional tavern that can appear anywhere, and any time, in the multiverse. An artifact of high magic, created by the Ancients, a mysterious race long lost in the depths of time. A tavern/inn that draws in travelers and adventurers, either directly or sometimes in their dreams.

In fact, here’s a vignette I published way back in 2016 that was set in the Forever House.

Oh, yes, I know. There are other magical bars in the SF/Fantasy field. But this one, well, I went all-out on the details. How the magic works. Who works at the establishment. How guests can arrive either in person, or sometimes in a dream. Imagine a magical bar with the details worked out to the level a role-playing game supplement. Picture a bar outside of normal space and time where Sauron and Gandalf could have a conversation…

Sadly, my title, The Forever House, has been totally STOMPED on by Mike Mignola, the creator of Hellboy, who is developing an anthology TV series called…you got it…The Forever House.

Now picture how annoyed I am at the situation.

I’m actually about three months away from publishing an anthology featuring this magical inn…

Now, I don’t blame Mike Mignola. He had no knowledge of my project; he’s done nothing wrong. It’s just a coincidence. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I’ve researched his project, and it’s nothing like my Forever House project. In Mike’s background, the Forever House is a mansion where lots of magical artifacts are stored. It’s intended to be the basis of an anthology TV show, with each episode featuring a different artifact. He just latched onto a cool name.

Before me.

Given that there’s an entertainment company involved, there are already trademarks involving the Forever House name. In fact, based on a commercial search, a trademark has existed since 2013, which obviously predates my project.

I could still probably use the title, but why would I? I wouldn’t want to be drowned out by a more widely advertised and popular project. And an entertainment company can swing a lot more marketing dollars than I can.

Sigh. It quickly became clear that a name change was in order. I consulted with my friends and fellow writers in my writing group, the Hourlings, and finally selected a new title.

So, the new working title for my anthology is “The Forever Inn: The House of Many Worlds.”

Not much of a change. But just enough.

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