META: The Problem of Fourth Wall Breaking

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Sat Aug 2 11:13:21 PDT 2008

On Aug 2, 9:39 am, Martin Phipps <martinphip... at> wrote:

> But taking it seriously as a writer means actually trying to get
> something to work.  Only a lazy writer would throw something absurd
> out there and not at least try to make it seem plausible.


>  If in a
> story that is already absurd on its face you add yet another element
> of absurdity then it becomes the kiss of death.

If I agreed with that, I'd hate the Fourth World instead of love
it. :-)

But I understand your point, that some things stretch credulity.  I
think it's kind of relative, though, and as always, a matter of
differing tastes.

> Let's face it, not
> all fans of Superman are going to embrace Krypto the Superdog.  Nor
> all fans of Batman embrace Batmite.  Hell, most fans of Batman seem to
> think Batman does just fine without Robin thrown in!

I see your point there-- not every character, concept, or story is to
all tastes.  (If it was, it wouldn't really be any damn good.)
There's something to be said in favour of the peculiar, the unique,
and the sublimely ridiculous-- and the superhero genre can get away
with that more, I think, than most other genres, even in the
speculative realm.

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