Although an overabundance of postmodern conventions can alienate a reader from the story, adding a touch of metafiction can go a long way towards defining the relationship between several distinct works tied together across an extended universe. As mentioned in a previous entry in this series, using a touch of metafiction to obviate reader confusion has a history that extends all the way back to Don Quixote, a work often credited with being the first Western novel. While Cervantes judiciously applied pressure on the fourth wall, this article examines an extended universe that delights in constructing an entire room of fourth walls before gleefully knocking down the building: Jasper Fforde’s Nextian universe.
When attempting to create a cohesive extended universe, what qualifies as part of the story is often just as important as what is excluded. Enter the notion of canon: the portion of the narrative that is considered official and definitive. By properly employing canon, a storyteller can provide parameters for what will be included within the narrative – an essential element of extended universe building. Let’s look at Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote and George Lucas’ Star Wars to see how delineating what qualifies as canon creates the boundaries of an extended universe. Continue reading “Other Worlds Than These: Extended Universes 201”