META: Shared Multiverse

Andrew Perron pwerdna at
Wed Mar 9 08:38:41 PST 2011

As I grapple against the terrible strength of Remember-To-Vote-In-The-
RACCies-Or-I'll-Rip-Your-Arms-Off Man, I'm reminded of one of the
defining characteristics of RACC: shared universes.  Some succeed,
some fail; some live long beyond the point where any reasonable person
would have considered the concept over and done with, while others,
launched with much fanfare, fall flat as a pancake.

Personally, I'd say that the most important factor in the success of a
shared universe - or any open-ended setting, for that matter - is that
it feels like it goes beyond what you see "on-screen"; that there are
other people out there, doing other things; that it feels like a
world, with unanswered questions and mysteries yet to be plumbed, with
old friends we haven't met yet and old villains just waiting to jump
back into the spotlight.

A good example of this, I think, is Star Wars - showing both success
and failure.  The original movies tossed out references to a larger
world left and right, making it feel like these were events taking
place in the midst of a vibrant, living galaxy; the prequels, however,
confined themselves mostly to fulfilling references already made.
While they introduced new elements, said elements never felt like they
were leading to anything outside the story itself. (The Expanded
Universe had this problem as well, though a few authors managed to
either match the original or sidestep it altogether.)

What about you guys?  What do *you* think is the key to a universe's
success?  Which works have done this well, and which poorly?

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, and what about Scarecrow's brain?

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