The Books That Inspired Mortal Kombat
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The Books That Inspired Mortal Kombat
09/18/2017 01:31 PM EST
I did some research and found a number of books that inspired the Mortal Kombat series over the years! Here they are:

Skills of the Vagabonds:



This one is about a secret group of warriors who not only master the martial arts, but death-defying stunts such as pole-vaulting up to the rooftops, and using trickery to fool their enemies into thinking they having magical powers. Supposedly these techniques spread throughout China and beyond, and became the basis for ninjitsu. Mentioned by Dan Pesina at Kombat-Kon 2016!




China's Ninja Connection:



This one is about a group of Chinese assassins called the Lin Kuei ("demons of the forest"). It shows the clan's history as well as the hierarchical structure. The clan got its start by living in the forest and developing custom martial arts styles by mimicing the forest creatures nearby. This book also claims that the Lin Kuei's techniques spread to Japan to inspire ninjitu, as well as to Korea to inspire hwa rang. This was shared by Mortal Kombat co-creator John Tobias on his Twitter account.




The Mortal Kombat Novel



The Mortal Kombat novel came out in 1995, predating the movie, and is pretty interesting the way it filled in the blanks and came up with details that hadn't been mentioned yet in the games (like Scorpion's real name being Yong Park!). This was written by Jeff Rovin, a.k.a. the "Clinton Fixer" who was hired to help bury the Clinton scandals in the 1990s! In this book, Rovin mentions being inspired by two other books, both mentioned below.




Great Civilisations: China:



This one goes into the history and mythology of China. It begins with a list of Chinese dynasties (the earliest ones are specifically mentioned by Kung Lao in the MK novel). It mentions specific places important to mythology, such as the Horse Ear Mountain important the demigod Yu (also mentioned in the MK novel, where he played important part of the Scorpion/Sub-Zero rivalry!) It also showed events of historical significance, such as the building of the Great Wall of China.




Alchemy, Medicine and Religion in the China of A.D. 320: The Nei Pien of Ko Hung:



This one was also mentioned in the MK novel, and is concerned with the question to become a genie (a.k.a. an immortal). Needless to say, none of the methods (eating a gold/cinnabar blend, mastering breathetarianism) worked. You can see where this inspired Shang Tsung's story arc in the MK novel, as he was on a quest to master immortality and somewhat achieved it when he mastered the art of soul-stealing.




Finally, here is a video summary of these books.

For the most in-depth, in-detail, Mortal Kombat lore analysis vids, there's only one source: