Meditations on Canonicity

Michelle Joelle ponders the evolution of fictional (and mythological) stories, which I found particularly interesting given some of the discussion on the previous post.

Stories & Soliloquies

I originally intended to write a post about the hyper-rigidity of fantasy and science fiction fans. I’ve read my fair share of theoretical analyses of fictional works, and generally speaking, all theories are beholden to a canonical standard in their analysis – no suppositions can be made outside of what is officially accepted and sanctioned by the author – the creator. The text is fixed with copyright laws, and the story is fixed by the veneration of a fandom. Movie adaptations are harshly judged on their adherence to the canon, and anyone who takes up a story element without explicit credit is derailed for “stealing” from the canon, as though the derivation constituted heresy.

I don’t put a lot of store in the sacredness of fictional canon. I don’t mind when movies alter the story to fit the medium of film (though I do mind when they alter the story…

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How Farming Almost Destroyed Ancient Human Civilization

Annalee Newitz has a fascinating article at IO9 on early neolithic societies: How Farming Almost Destroyed Ancient Human Civilization. Roughly 9,000 years ago, humans had mastered farming to the point where food was plentiful. Populations boomed, and people began moving into large settlements full of thousands of people. And then, abruptly, these proto-cities were abandoned for … Continue reading How Farming Almost Destroyed Ancient Human Civilization