Terror Island
"some photos of chess pieces don't want to buy groceries?"
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Strip #52 — Wednesday, October 11, 2006
it's hard to appreciate this comic strip without seeing it
first current
Notes, Thoughts, &c.

Ben's Notes

One idea I had for this strip was for First Folio to be vegan, instead of kosher. Except it would be NetHack-style veganism. As a NetHack vegan, you're allowed to slay lichen and eat their corpses, for example. But if you polymorph into a mind flayer or master mind flayer, you can't use the brain-eating attack against monsters with brains.

To learn more about the differences between NetHack veganism and regular veganism, why not read this NetHack conduct spoiler?

Lewis's Notes

It is almost never the case that someone asks me my opinion on the various types of canon and fanon that can exist. However, that's what I was thinking about today, so it is the subject of my comments.

What we want to generate is an ordering of strength for claims about what is true in a fiction, relative to the source of that claim. For instance, obviously, those claims which are either explicitly made by a reliable narrator in the narrative, or describe events which explicitly took place in the narrative, will be stronger than all other claims. We'll call that Strong-Canon.

I will now mention some alternate sources, and attempt to rank them, intuitively. Authorial comments will either be retcons, which I will set aside, or permissible elaborations/clarifications. The elaborations/clarifications will be what I'll call "Defeasible Strong-Canon" which means that it is treated as Strong-Canon, but can be overridden by actual Strong-Canon. Rather than having contradictory truths, the Strong-Canon would simply take precedence. Claims which are fair inferences on the basis of Strong-Canon (including claims like, "So-and-so wasn't lying when they said X", or "Sherlock Holmes wore undergarments", based on the assumption that most men of his stature in that day wore undergarments) fall under "Defeasible Weak-Canon". Note that it is still canonical, but it is a weaker canon because it is overridden by an authorial comment to the effect that such and such a character was lying.

All fanon, obviously, falls below this level, and I will save discussion of fanon proper for another time. What I will note is that Ben and I have carved out a neat niche that I consider "Wildcard Canon", which we store, largely, in the title text. Wildcard Canon comes from the authors, which is why it is canon, but, on authorial whim, it could in fact, be weakened or strengthened arbitrarily.

All this, then, was really to remind you to always read the title text, but also to alert you that often, it is not to be taken too seriously.

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