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<   No. 2538   2010-01-07   >

Comic #2538

1 {scene: Inside the Golden Citadel}
1 Ardaxar: You seek the Ruby of Dwarven Might.
1 Spanners: Er... yes.
2 Ardaxar: It is hidden in the Tangled Forest.
2 Iki Piki: Where's that?
3 Ardaxar: Beyond the Swamp of Terror, on the far side of the Orcrift Mountains.
4 Serron: Back where we started? Oh man, it took us forever to get here!

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I was thinking today about continuity in stories. Particularly episodic, ongoing stories, such as webcomics.

There are of course scads of continuity tropes on TV Tropes, covering all sorts of things from continuity porn (perfectly safe for work, unless you have a boss who doesn't want you spending 6 hours of your workday opening tabs into other TV Tropes pages) to continuity drift.

The thing I'm thinking of, however, is localised continuity. In a long, sprawling story, all the things that happen near each other are consistent, but if you go back and examine things from ages ago, you uncover contradictions. It's a bit like continuity drift, but I'm thinking more of islands of rock-solid continuity set amidst a sea of broad strokes. Actually, it's probably described perfctly well by the "broad strokes" entry of TV Tropes. Although there's still one thing that I don't think I've ever seen discussed anywhere.

Imagine an intransitive continuity. In other words, event A is perfectly and completely consistent with event B. Event B is completely and wholly consistent with a later event C. But event A and event C are inconsistent and totally incompatible with each other.

I'm not quite sure how you could do this, but I'm guessing it would involve some sort of ambiguities along the line. Or would it need to? Could you actually do something like this and make it seem natural at the time, with the contradiction only surfacing when someone goes back and checks?

Maybe there are examples of this sort of thing out there.

This has nothing to do with today's comic. It was just on my mind and I decided to record it here, since I don't really have anything to say about today's comic.

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Last Modified: Thursday, 7 January 2010; 02:11:02 PST.
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This work is copyright and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Licence by David Morgan-Mar. dmm@irregularwebcomic.net