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A fictional universe is a self-consistent fictional setting with elements which differ from the real world. It may be called, variously, a fictional realm, world or universe. The terms Multiverse, Parallel Universe, Alternate history, Story or Screen Bible, Backstory and Crossover have a considerable amount of overlap with fictional universes.

A fictional universe can be almost indistinguishable from the real world, except for the presence of invented characters and events which characterize a work of fiction. It can also bear little or no resemblance to reality, with invented fundamental principles of space and time. The subject is most commonly addressed in reference to fictional universes which differ markedly from reality, such as those which introduce entire fictional cities, countries, or even planets, those which contradict commonly known facts about the world and its history, or those which feature fantasy or science fiction concepts such as magic or faster than light travel, and especially those in which the deliberate development of the setting is a substantial focus of the work.

It may be contained in a single work, or be developed in a succession of works, as frequently happens in fantasy or science fiction series. Its history and geography may be well-defined, and even languages may be constructed. When subsequent works are written within the same universe, care is usually taken to ensure that established facts of the canon are not violated.

ScopeEdit

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Ais acohesivefictionalworldthat serves as thesettingor backdrop for one or moreof fiction. A fictional universe is a type ofconworld(structed) unique toserialized,series-based, open-ended orround robin-style fiction. A fictional universe may also be called a , , , or ,,or another reality. Most fictional universes are based directly or indirectly onour ownuniverse. A fictional universe is usually differentiated from the setting of, and thecosmologyestablished by, ancient or modernlegends,myths andreligions, although there are countless fictional universes that draw upon suchsources forinspiration.

It can be argued that every work of fiction generates a world of its own; Robert A. Heinlein coined the neologism to refer to such a world. A fictional universe generally consists of a time and place that invoke a sense of a distinct world, one which is unique to the content and context of that it is used to tell. Despite the name, a fictional universe does not necessarily concern an entire universe; for example, most of the television series is set in a single Californian city, and most of the action in the series occurs in and around a single school. On the other hand, a fictional universe may concern itself with more than one interconnected universe; a series of interconnected universes is called a multiverse. The His Dark Materials series takes place in a fictional multiverse.

Fictional universes are most common in, but not exclusive to, the science fiction and fantasy genres. Many universes written in one or both of these genres feature physical and metaphysical laws different from our own that allow for magical, psychic and various other types of paranormal phenomena. Although these laws may not be completely internally consistent, they do allow the author to provide some textual explanation for how their imagined world differs from our own.

Fictional universes are sometimes shared by multiple authors, with each author's works in that universe being granted approximately equal canonical status.These can get out of hand such as the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe,were can out of hand when their far far too many chief,who agree on what is canon and what isn't-even if come the original creators work. Other universes are created by one or several authors but are intended to be used non-canonically by others, such as the fictional settings for games, particularly role-playing games and video games. Settings for the role-playing game are called campaign settings; other games have also incorporated this term on occasion. Virtual worlds are fictional worlds in which online computer games, notably MMORPGs and MUDs, take place. A fictional crossover occurs when two or more fictional characters, series or universes cross over with one another, usually in the context of a character created by one author or owned by one company meeting a character created or owned by another. In the case where two fictional universes covering entire universes cross over, physical travel from one universe to another may actually occur in the course of the story. Such crossovers are usually, but not always, considered non-canonical by their creators or by those in charge of the properties involved.Often they are a cheap gimmick to get two groups of fans to buy a single title,that otherwise,they'd never touch in a trillion years.Sometimes the fictional cosmologies don't work,like the X-Men meeting the Uss Enterprise of Star Trek. or fan fiction,such as Star Wars meet Star Trek.Each created by different individuals,create different physical principles that work different,such Star Treks warp drive -that bends normal space and Star Wars [[hyperdrive],that pooks holes from normal into wormholes in hyperspace.

In most small-scale fictional universes, general properties and timeline events fit into a consistently organized continuity. However, in the case of universes or universes that are rewritten or revised by different writers, editors or producers, this continuity may be violated, by accident or by design. The use of retroactive continuity ( retcon) often occurs due to this kind of revision or oversight. Members of fandom often create a kind of fanmade canon ( fanon) to patch up such errors; fanon that becomes generally accepted sometimes becomes actual canon. Other fanmade additions to a universe ( fan fiction, pastiche, parody) are usually not considered canonical unless they are authorized.

See Fictional universes for a list of fictional universes by name and list of fictional universes for a list of fictional universes by genre.


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1 References Edit

  • Alberto Manguel & Gianni Guadalupi :
  • Brian Stableford :
  • Diana Wynne Jones: explains and parodies the common features of a standard fantasy world
  • George Ochoa and Jeffery Osier : ( Writer's Digest )http://

2 Related concepts Edit

Virtually every successful fictional TV series or comic book develops its own "universe" to keep track of the various episodes or issues. Writers for that series must follow the story bible[1], which often becomes the series canon. For example, the American sitcom Friends posits a universe where the soap opera Days of our Lives has a continuing character named Dr. Drake Ramoray and the actor in that role often hangs out at the fictional coffee shop Central Perk. Spin-off TV series (for example, Friends spin-off Joey) are often set in the same universe. Superman resides in the fictional municipalities of Smallville and Metropolis, both of which have extensive backstories.

A fictional universe may even concern itself with more than one interconnected universe through fictional devices such as dreams, "time travel" or "parallel worlds". Such a series of interconnected universes is often called a multiverse. Such multiverses have been featured prominently in science fiction since at least the mid-20th century.

The classic Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror" introduced the Mirror Universe, in which the crew of the Starship Enterprise were brutal rather than compassionate. The 2009 movie Star Trek created an "alternate reality" and freed the Star Trek franchise from continuity issues. In the mid-1980s, DC comic books' Crisis on Infinite Earths told of countless parallel universes which were destroyed.

Frequently, when a series gets too complicated or too self-inconsistent (because of, for example, too many writers), the producers or publishers will introduce retroactive continuity (retcon) to make future editions easier to write and more consistant. This creates an alternate universe that future authors can write about. These stories about the universe or universes that existed before the retcon are usually not canonical, unless the franchise-holder gives permission. Crisis on Infinite Earths was one such crossover event.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, when considered as all 5 books together, darts back and forth between different universes, or perhaps it is more accurate to say, flits through different timelines and different dimensions involving different states of existence for the characters and for the earth itself. The eighth season of the TV series Dallas was retconned into non-existence by the device of having Pam dream (in the opening episode of the ninth season) all of the events of the previous year.

A famous example of a fictional universe is Middle Earth from J. R. R. Tolkien's books The Lord of The Rings and The Silmarillion. It is interesting to note that he created his world more as a response to his languages, because Tolkien was a linguist. He knew that any sort of aesthetic or functional changes to his languages would need a cause in the fictional universe. This not only serves to make Tolkien's works more in-depth but they also have a sense of believability because of this.

FormatEdit

A fictional universe can be contained in a single work, as in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four or Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, or in serialized, series-based, open-ended or round robin-style fiction.

In most small-scale fictional universes, general properties and timeline events fit into a consistently organized continuity. However, in the case of universes that are rewritten or revised by different writers, editors or producers, this continuity may be violated, by accident or by design—film productions are notorious for altering fictional canon of written series.

The occasional publishing use of retroactive continuity (retcon) often occurs due to this kind of revision or oversight. Members of fandom often create a kind of fan-made canon (fanon) to patch up such errors; "fanon" that becomes generally accepted sometimes becomes actual canon. Other fan-made additions to a universe (fan fiction, pastiche, parody) are usually not considered canonical unless they get authorized.

CollaborationEdit

Main article: Shared universe

Shared universes often come about when a fictional universe achieves great commercial success and attracts other media. For example, a successful movie may catch the attention of various book authors, who wish to write stories based on that movie. Under US law, the copyright-holder retains control of all other derivative works, including those written by other authors. But they might not feel comfortable in those other mediums or may feel that other individuals will do a better job. Therefore, they may open up the copyright on a shared-universe basis. The degree to which the copyright-holder or franchise retains control is often one of the points in the license agreement.

For example, the comic book Superman was so popular that it spawned over 30 different radio, television and movie series and a similar number of video games, as well as theme park rides, books and songs. In the other direction, both Star Trek and Star Wars are responsible for hundred of books and games of varying levels of canonicity.

Fictional universes are sometimes shared by multiple prose authors, with each author's works in that universe being granted approximately equal canonical status. For example, Larry Niven's fictional universe Known Space has an approximately 135 year period in which Niven allows other authors to write stories about the Man-Kzin Wars. Other fictional universes, like the Ring of Fire series, actively court canonical stimulus from fans, but gate and control the changes through a formalized process and the final say of the editor and universe creator.[2]

Other universes are created by one or several authors but are intended to be used non-canonically by others, such as the fictional settings for games, particularly role-playing games and video games. Settings for the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons are called campaign settings; other games have also incorporated this term on occasion. Virtual worlds are fictional worlds in which online computer games, notably MMORPGs and MUDs, take place. A fictional crossover occurs when two or more fictional characters, series or universes cross over with one another, usually in the context of a character created by one author or owned by one company meeting a character created or owned by another. In the case where two fictional universes covering entire actual universes cross over, physical travel from one universe to another may actually occur in the course of the story. Such crossovers are usually, but not always, considered non-canonical by their creators or by those in charge of the properties involved.

See alsoEdit

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ReferencesEdit

  1. How to Give Maris Hives, Alphabetized, an April 2008 blog entry from the writer's blog of Jane Espenson
  2. Template:Cite book

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