The Cosmic Joke

X is an Irish ballad in which a hod-carrier born “with a love for the liquor”, falls from a ladder, breaks his skull, and is presumed dead. The mourners at his wake become rowdy, and spill whiskey over his corpse, which brings him back to life. Whiskey (from uisce beatha, meaning “water of life”) thus causes both his death and resurrection.

It is famous for providing the basis of Y’s famous final work, in which this comic resurrection is employed as a symbol of the universal cycle of life.

What are X and Y?

A Big Happy Family

X wrote the novels -Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life – which were sort of fictional biographies. In them he hypothesised, that the real meteorite (Y meteorite) which fell near Y, Yorkshire, England, on December 13, 1795, was radioactive and caused genetic mutations in the occupants of a passing coach. Many of their descendants were thus endowed with extremely high intelligence and strength, as well as an exceptional capacity and drive to perform good or evil deeds. The progeny of these travellers were purported to have been the real-life originals of fictionalised characters, both heroic and villainous, over the last few hundred years, such as Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Doc Savage, and Lord Peter Wimsey. This created the Y universe which was later expanded by X and other writers to include The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sherlock Holmes, The Spider,James Bond, Nero Wolfe, Sam Spade, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and even Star Trek.
 
This concept has been used as a unifying device by others such as Warren Ellis’s (Planetary), Alan Moore (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and in Tales of the Shadowmen edited by Jean-Marc Lofficier, using characters from French Literature.
 
X and Y please. 

Epunymous

Science Fiction author Reginald Bretnor using the pen name Grendel Briarton wrote a multi-year series “Through Time and Space with Ferdinand X!”, in which each installment was a short-short that ended in a horrific pun. X and the nature of the stories—detailed and tedious, yet ending in vaguely familiar catchphrases—may have been inspired by Walter Bagehot, a major literary and political figure from the late 1800s now fallen into obscurity.

X is now used to describe stories of this kind. Isaac Asimov was particularly notorious for these.
An example Death of a Foy

What is X?

In Soviet Russia…

Винни-Пух is a 1969 animated film by Soyuzmultfilm, directed by Fyodor Khitruk and is the first part of a trilogy.
This is the definitive version of X in Russia. When this was made, Russia was under the iron curtain and hence Khitruk never knew about the western version. This makes it delightfully different from its western adaptation. Major differences include:
•No humans.
•Backgrounds done in crayons
•The title character is not always happy and sometimes even gets snarky. And is brown and not orange.
•The bird is female.
• The most annoying character- the one who ruined everything -is absent.

Sadly some of these changes and some other creative differences caused the translator of the series to leave with only three shorts done when there could have been more.

What  am I talking about?

Aside

~

X was originally a normal human called Nick Chopper. He kept losing limbs from an enchanted axe, but each time he lost a body part, he had it replaced with a prosthetic, thus finally becoming X.
This is an example of a philosophical paradox that raises the question- if an object has all its parts replaced, does it fundamentally remain the same.
The name of the paradox also lends its name to an acclaimed Indian indie movie.
Name the character and the paradox.