Inconsistencies of World Building

Sep 2, 05:28 by IROSF
This is the place for opinions on consistency within fiction.

The article is here.
Sep 2, 14:29 by Tim O'Donnell
Gene Wolfe would have to be an example of consistent world-building. Over the course of the Book of the New Sun, the Book of the Long Sun and the Book of the Short Sun (12 volumes in total including Urth of the New Sun) the consistency is maintained between all characters, events, timeframes and so on. True there are some mysteries and some places where information appears to be incorrect but by and large he should be applauded for his achievement.

Personally, I think it does make the work richer as it enables the reader to be more immersed in the world. But I can see why a mature author with interesting points to make would choose to couch their thoughts within an existing world with an existing fan base.
Sep 2, 17:24 by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
Interesting article. It sounds like MZB was using Darkover more as a setting against which to shape various ideas and explore concerns than as a true exercise in "world-building," eschewing consistency in favor of storytelling "freedom." Personally, I prefer consistent world-building or a clear disclosure that the world in one fiction is different from that in another but just happens to share the same name :-)

I've never really been drawn to MZB's work, and knowing this doesn't help, lol. Increasing suspension of disbelief by sustained continuity may be one instance where it's acceptable for our little minds to strive toward Emerson's "foolish consistency."
Sep 2, 18:01 by Lois Tilton
As a rule, when Wolfe seems to be incorrect, it's usually a sign that the reader has missed something. There is no more meticulous author than Wolfe, and his work is full of puzzles and secrets for readers to solve.
Sep 28, 04:57 by Zachary Spector
I'll admit that although in my own fiction I attempt to stay consistent, I sometimes envy Bradley for the freedom she was able to bring to her works, liberated by the knowledge that she, at least, did not feel restrained by the expectations of fans or her past words—that she could continue on with new visions, instead of working with old ones, over and over, until they grew tired and faded with repetition.

There are plenty of options other than these two. We have an entire genre called "alternate history" where we read about what would have happened in the real world if some historical event had turned out differently; why not do the same thing within the context of one's own fictional world? It would certainly spare the fans a lot of trouble trying to sort out the inconsistencies for you.
   

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