Book 3 - Page 254

Hippies are trippy

Book 3 - Page 254
Comic - Book 3 - Page 254
Recent posts... (See full thread)
On "it's all a dream":

If Erfworld ended tomorrow with a final page showing Parson waking from a coma, Erfworld a complete fabrication of a half-destroyed brain, would it really ruin the whole thing? We've gotten over 10 years of entertainment from the story, with countless more fan-written fiction to boot, and enjoyed every minute of it. Would an ending where Erfworld was less "real" for its main (fictional) character make it any less real to us, the readers? Will it change what we've felt for the past 10 years? Will it really change our perception of what we felt? Erfworld is already fictional - what would another layer of fiction be detracting from?

I guess I never understood the complaints about long-running fictional series' being, in the end, a dream or some autistic kid's fantasy or whatever. Does it feel like a cop-out or something? Like the author(s) didn't do their due diligence for a proper ending that's satisfying to the audience? Can an ending not be both a dream and satisfying? What happened to all the satisfaction through the whole dang thing? At this point I can understand about that kind of an ending being a trope, and not a very good one, but I don't get why it affects people so strongly from a story perspective.


...that said please don't be all a dream
lordfisch wrote:
On "it's all a dream":

If Erfworld ended tomorrow with a final page showing Parson waking from a coma, Erfworld a complete fabrication of a half-destroyed brain, would it really ruin the whole thing? We've gotten over 10 years of entertainment from the story, with countless more fan-written fiction to boot, and enjoyed every minute of it. Would an ending where Erfworld was less "real" for its main (fictional) character make it any less real to us, the readers? Will it change what we've felt for the past 10 years? Will it really change our perception of what we felt? Erfworld is already fictional - what would another layer of fiction be detracting from?


Yes it would because it means that all outstanding plot threads, questions or contradictions can be explained away with "It's a dream, it doesn't have to make sense".

The "It's all a dream" ending is for when there's no way to tie it all back in.

Super Mario 2 for example is actually a reskin of Doki Doki Panic so they've used "It's all a dream" to justify it being a Mario game and write off inconsistencies.
lordfisch wrote:

If Erfworld ended tomorrow with a final page showing Parson waking from a coma, Erfworld a complete fabrication of a half-destroyed brain, would it really ruin the whole thing?


Yes.
Isaac looks creepy and disturbing; the smiling and prancing about made it worse D':

Getting to see Janis use her magic makes me happy, it's good to see what a "good" Hippiemancer can do :D

In regards to "is it a dream?" I think it can be done well depending on the author. I remember reading a comic from my high school's library called Tellos, and I found the reveal that the main character was in a coma to be very well done and very moving. I at least didn't feel like the entire adventure beforehand was a waste. So while I don't know either way if the comic would lead to that, I'm sure Balder would make it work if that's what he wanted.

Nothing much else to comment on the comic today :P
Nakedkali wrote:
Isn't it true that anything can be re-sized in Erfworld? We see folks doing this to weapons, eyebooks and hats. A bullet could be made to fit by whoever has the gun, although this too could be something you'd have to have auto-specialed to get exactly right.

Nope, not anything. It has to be magical. See paragraph 2.
kaylasdad99 wrote:
Chiu ChunLing wrote:
I was gonna post something about 40K bolters, but somehow ended up perusing Bolter to Kokoro. There are no words (and I don't mean in the mango itself, cause it does have a couple of surprisingly relevant words in there).

Ah, yes. Bolter to Kokoro; the fattest volume ever released by Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Perusing that must have taken you all day! No wonder you never got around to posting about 40K bolters...

What?
...and by "what?" I mean "what the hell are 40K Bolters?"

Image
lordfisch wrote:
On "it's all a dream":

If Erfworld ended tomorrow with a final page showing Parson waking from a coma, Erfworld a complete fabrication of a half-destroyed brain, would it really ruin the whole thing? We've gotten over 10 years of entertainment from the story, with countless more fan-written fiction to boot, and enjoyed every minute of it. Would an ending where Erfworld was less "real" for its main (fictional) character make it any less real to us, the readers? Will it change what we've felt for the past 10 years? Will it really change our perception of what we felt? Erfworld is already fictional - what would another layer of fiction be detracting from?

I guess I never understood the complaints about long-running fictional series' being, in the end, a dream or some autistic kid's fantasy or whatever. Does it feel like a cop-out or something? Like the author(s) didn't do their due diligence for a proper ending that's satisfying to the audience? Can an ending not be both a dream and satisfying? What happened to all the satisfaction through the whole dang thing? At this point I can understand about that kind of an ending being a trope, and not a very good one, but I don't get why it affects people so strongly from a story perspective.


...that said please don't be all a dream

The problem with it all being a dream is that it means there's no consequences. We're experiencing the story (usually) from the POV of the character having the dream, and if their best friend died, but then it turned out to be a dream... that is far less impactful. Basically a dream makes everything less meaningful, imo.
lordfisch wrote:
On "it's all a dream":
Spoiler: show
If Erfworld ended tomorrow with a final page showing Parson waking from a coma, Erfworld a complete fabrication of a half-destroyed brain, would it really ruin the whole thing? We've gotten over 10 years of entertainment from the story, with countless more fan-written fiction to boot, and enjoyed every minute of it. Would an ending where Erfworld was less "real" for its main (fictional) character make it any less real to us, the readers? Will it change what we've felt for the past 10 years? Will it really change our perception of what we felt? Erfworld is already fictional - what would another layer of fiction be detracting from?

I guess I never understood the complaints about long-running fictional series' being, in the end, a dream or some autistic kid's fantasy or whatever. Does it feel like a cop-out or something? Like the author(s) didn't do their due diligence for a proper ending that's satisfying to the audience? Can an ending not be both a dream and satisfying? What happened to all the satisfaction through the whole dang thing? At this point I can understand about that kind of an ending being a trope, and not a very good one, but I don't get why it affects people so strongly from a story perspective.



...that said please don't be all a dream


It depends how it's done. For an example of done well watch Total Recall (or read "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"). Like Skater901 said, it's aboit consequences.

If Parson woke up and needed several years of therapy to convince him it wasn't real, that would be 'OK'--not cool, but OK.
As a rule, "it's all a dream" is a terrible ending for any fiction. It takes the vast majority of the meaning out of anything significant that's happened, and requires a tremendous amount of setup/foreshadowing to carry any amount of satisfaction. It can very easily ruin an otherwise fantastic story, and definitely would piss all over Erfworld for sure. The only even remote link we've had to that awful, awful cliche is Parson suspecting it when he first arrived, and every bit of narrative we've seen points the exact opposite direction. There's no reason to suspect an unreliable narrative in this story, and if that ended up being the case, it would be an enormous disappointment.
It really depends.

I think that there is a lot of room for interesting metaphysics in "it could have all been a dream." That's how Wizard of Oz (book and movie) both sorta end (book is more "don't have any real proof it wasn't a dream" and movie is more "can't absolutely exclude the possibility that it wasn't just a dream"). As a conclusion, it loses to an ongoing dramatic tension about what is real (for me).

There's the famous "dream before dying" there the story turns out to be a delusion in denial of a non-survivable event early in the story. These vary a lot in value, the conceit alone was sufficient to carry some classic early examples, but now there needs to be more to the story, a contemplation of the nature of life and death, perhaps ideas about the afterlife, and the initial 'escape' should be significant to the story (so Erfworld can't be "Parson is in a coma after crashing on the way home" but it totally could turn out that his gaming group really did spike his drink with acid).

If you actually have something to say (or just questions to raise) about what makes reality different from dreams, or whether it even matters, then the "it was all a dream" ending can make for powerful literature. But if it's a cheap way of escaping from plot issues and internal consistency, then obviously it comes across as a cheat.

Deus Ex Machina was a stage technique to demonstrate divine intervention to rectify difficulties beyond the heroes capacity to fix. We receive the term as a synonym for lazy writing, but sometimes the entire point of a story (certainly for the ancient Greeks) is that things work out in the end because of divine intervention, not human efforts. Basically, if the gods approve of your virtuous conduct, they arrange things for the best, despite the lack of any obvious causal mechanism other than some deity saying "hey. this guy tried hard to do the right thing, he deserves a good ending" (the Greek gods mostly only ever did this for guys, cause they were giant sexists, I guess). More modern miracle literature usually works with a string of small miracles rather than having a god or divine messenger pop out and fix everything at the last moment, but you still see the "faith rewarded in the final scene" ending. The key is that there has to be an in-character, in-story reason for the divine intervention, we have to see in the story why it is that a particular god would care to fix things for this person but not everyone else.

It doesn't have to be a "good" reason either. On the other hand, even with a "good" reason, it can still make for a dumb story.

Like they say, tropes aren't bad, it's a matter of how they're used. Yes, these are things that happen in stories disproportionately often to how often they happen in life. But that's because we tell stories about the exceptional cases that we believe to reveal something important about life.

Including exceptional cases we just made up.

I do still think that it is more likely that Erfworld will go in the opposite direction, that eventually Parson will pull his gaming group in with him. Or that he'll learn magic in Erfworld and then go back to Stupidworld and still be able to do some. Or something like that.

But if Parson goes back to Stupidworld without any proof, and it's only a few minutes or months after he left...well, what real difference does it make whether it was real or a dream? The difference is himself. And I think Parson is a different enough person now to care more about how to life his life going forward than whether certain critical experiences really happened or not if he doesn't have proof on hand.
Mad Raven wrote:
On the other hand Wanda did decrypt an Archon from half a corpse.

And reading this, I just realized how this differs from OOTS, where your necromancer did NOT decrypt half a Miko.
On the subject of 'All A Dream' endings (the trope, not as relates to erfworld) - I could actually see it being pulled off in sequel by drawing parallels in the character's state of mind. To use Erfworld as an example, say something happens and they have to cut off erfworld unexpectedly with no time for a grand finale by having Parson die within erfworld and wake up in the hospital from let's say a brain hemorrhage. Eventually they are able to come back to erfworld universe and do in doing so they draw parallels from various events in 'erfworld' to changes in his personality from brain damage.