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Thread: Matter

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSV Not Really Listening View Post
    That's overly simplistic. 'Infinite Fun Space' isn't mentioned in CP either, but there is nothing to contradict its existence in the Culture universe either. IFS being discussed in Excession is not retconning.
    The Culture is a fictional universe. All that exists of it exists in the pages of books. Everything else is your own extrapolation. So if Banks didn't mention something in an earlier book, it didn't exist. That's not simplistic, that's the nature of creativity. If he then implies it existed earlier, then he's indulging in a form of retconning. I'm not saying retconning is a bad thing - some flexibility in world-building is good. But if you say it's not contradicted therefore it could have existed, then that's your imagination at work not Banks's.

  2. #22
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    ***Spoiler alert****

























    In excession the culture agent aboard the sleeper service was using single molecules to encode messages it wanted to send out to the other ships. If that isn't nanoscale technology I don't know what is.

  3. #23
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    Iansales:
    Maybe it's just a question of interpretations, but to me 'retconning' implies a degree of contradiction of things that were stated to be true. It can be blatant cheating or a subtle bending using weasly-words but it amounts to backing out of the road you turned down while trying to convince the reader that you never really made that turn.

    Just because TMH didn't publish the Culture Universe Grand Unified Encyclopedia and Bestiary up-front doesn't mean he's disregarding canon by writing about things that were off-screen in CP.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by iansales View Post
    The Culture is a fictional universe. All that exists of it exists in the pages of books. Everything else is your own extrapolation. So if Banks didn't mention something in an earlier book, it didn't exist. That's not simplistic, that's the nature of creativity. If he then implies it existed earlier, then he's indulging in a form of retconning. I'm not saying retconning is a bad thing - some flexibility in world-building is good. But if you say it's not contradicted therefore it could have existed, then that's your imagination at work not Banks's.
    That's a very strange point of view, I don't see how you can renconcile this to any book let alone the Culture.

    Yes the Culture is a fictional universe.

    As the author is still writing the books then the author reserves the right to embellish the story with each successive book, the obvious pitfall is contradiction.

    It's a story, that's the whole point. To say that something doesn't exist in a previous book because it was first mentioned in a later one is to admit a difficulty in understanding stories.

    I'll give you another example. A magic ring is mentioned in The Hobbit, later in the Lord of The Rings the magic ring becomes 'The Ring'. It's the same ring but it's history and attributes were written in the Lord of the Rings not the Hobbit.
    Last edited by Conscious Bob; 15-01-2009 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Grammar
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  5. #25
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    The Culture and the Universe it is set in is Banks' baby so he do what he wants with it, but he hasn't done anything to make the long-term continuity for the Culture books very rubbery like it is in Marvel comic books, Bond movies, Star Trek to a lesser extent, and Doctor Who.

    Also I don't think there were contradictions in the political and cultural landscape depicted in Matter either, with the new races inhabiting familiar niches with the Morthanveld most likely a direct peer to the Homomda, the Nariscene comparable to the Idirans (they could eventually clash with SC if they like to start wars amongst minor races), and the Oct most likely comparable to the Affront.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conscious Bob View Post
    To say that something doesn't exist in a previous book because it was first mentioned in a later one is to admit a difficulty in understanding stories.
    Er, no it's not. To imagine it existed in the earlier book, despite not being mentioned, is the imagination of the reader at work. Unless you have canonical evidence that said artefact existed in a previous book - i.e., a direct quote - then you're extrapolating.

    But, like I said, this isn't a bad thing.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSV Not Really Listening View Post
    Iansales:
    Maybe it's just a question of interpretations, but to me 'retconning' implies a degree of contradiction of things that were stated to be true. It can be blatant cheating or a subtle bending using weasly-words but it amounts to backing out of the road you turned down while trying to convince the reader that you never really made that turn.
    I suppose the variety I mentioned is a lesser type.

    Quote Originally Posted by GSV Not Really Listening View Post
    Just because TMH didn't publish the Culture Universe Grand Unified Encyclopedia and Bestiary up-front doesn't mean he's disregarding canon by writing about things that were off-screen in CP.
    The canon is what he's written, and it becomes canon on the day of publication. If you're being canonical about it. Yes, you can say it magically backfills and can be supposed to have been in existence since the beginning. But you can't say it was always there. Because it wasn't.

  8. #28
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    But that's not 'reconning', which is retroactively adjusting your continuity to account for the things you've changed your mind about. It's just publishing your works a novel at a time rather than leaving it all for a compendium when you're 80.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iansales View Post
    Er, no it's not. To imagine it existed in the earlier book, despite not being mentioned, is the imagination of the reader at work. Unless you have canonical evidence that said artefact existed in a previous book - i.e., a direct quote - then you're extrapolating.

    But, like I said, this isn't a bad thing.
    You're perfectly correct but storytellers add to their stories and by your straightforward reasoning, the Affront and the Excession don't exist in Consider Phlebas, the Chelgrians don't exist in Excession and the Morthenveld, shellworlds and nestworlds don't exist in Look To Windward.

    Your point is therefore absurd.

    Anyway as Redking has provided you with evidence, your nanotech example doesn't even fit your own point.
    Drink, but very carefully...

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSV Not Really Listening View Post
    But that's not 'reconning', which is retroactively adjusting your continuity to account for the things you've changed your mind about. It's just publishing your works a novel at a time rather than leaving it all for a compendium when you're 80.
    From the Wikipedia definition of "retcon" - Some retcons do not directly contradict previously established facts, but "fill in" missing background details, usually to support current plot points.

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