Levels of reality?

  1. Harpo

    Harpo Laird Of Lewis

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    With an apology for the thread title, I don't know what to call this thing.

    If one of my characters is an author, and they write stories about an author, do the characters created by the first and second authors exist on different levels of reality? (Fictional or otherwise)
    And do I exist on another such level 'above' them?

    I picture it like this:
    1st level of reality - me.
    2nd level - my characters, including 'first author'.
    3rd level - first author's characters, including 'second author'.
    4th level - second author's characters, including a philosopher who's wondering about different levels of reality.

    Is there a better name for this than 'levels of reality'?
     
    Sep 21, 2017
    #1
  2. Cathbad

    Cathbad Level 30 Geek Master

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    No, I think "Levels of Reality" is sufficient for this (unless someone comes up with a cool name). ;)

    Love the idea!
     
    Sep 21, 2017
    #2
  3. R.T James

    R.T James Furry Steampunk Street Urchin

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    If you want even more fun make one of them a schizophrenic or have DID. Now you're cooking with kerosene.

    (somebody who might have experience with both of those things.)
     
    Sep 21, 2017
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  4. J Riff

    J Riff The Ants are my friends..

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    It's like the fifth dimensional catapult, which uses mirrors to see into the 5th dimension... so call it... errrrrrrrrrr..... a story within a story, cubed. No, scratch that, levels of something is good, maybe not reality, but something clever, like uhnmmmmm...*
     
    Sep 21, 2017
    #4
  5. Harpo

    Harpo Laird Of Lewis

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    Exactly. I have no idea if there's already a word for it.
     
    Sep 21, 2017
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  6. Stephen Palmer

    Stephen Palmer author of novels

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    It's called intentionality.
    For instance, Shakespeare worked sometimes at sixth order intentionality.
     
    Sep 21, 2017
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  7. Cathbad

    Cathbad Level 30 Geek Master

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    I'm not sure that is what he's aiming for.

    I took it as the lower (level) characters had consciousness themselves?
     
    Sep 21, 2017
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  8. Harpo

    Harpo Laird Of Lewis

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    Of course they do, because their authors write them that way.


    Whoever 'wrote' me and the rest of us (not our online personae but the actual persons doing the typing) exists at a level 'above' the one in which I'm sitting in my kitchen here in the Outer Hebrides, and my story's characters (including 'first author' mentioned above) exist (in my imagination) in the various settings I'm writing around them, in a level 'below' this one I'm sipping tea in.

    But if I were to type the words 'sips tea' between a pair of asterisks, that would also be tea-sipping at a level below me, see?

    *sips tea*
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
    Sep 21, 2017
    #8
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  9. Juliana

    Juliana Juliana Spink Mills. "No capes!"

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    I love it! I think 'levels' works well, or you could use a term like 'circles' - thinking of Dante's circles of hell concept. Or maybe some sort of ripple effect, since anything you do at level 1 affects level 2, and so forth...
     
    Sep 21, 2017
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  10. J Riff

    J Riff The Ants are my friends..

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    Or call it Wawawa. An acronymous descriptoid for 'writing about writing about writing about...'
     
    Sep 22, 2017
    #10
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  11. SilentRoamer

    SilentRoamer Well-Known Member

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    This sort of reminds me of a point in Ernest Clines Ready Player One where I realised I was reading a book about a character immersed in a virtual reality environment, playing a game within another game.

    It's Turtles all the way down.
     
    Sep 22, 2017
    #11
  12. farntfar

    farntfar So what did you expect?

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    Christopher Priest wrote a story along those lines. (A Dream of Wessex)
    A project has a number of people in a sort of Matrix type affair (Only a dozen or so people though), where the projected world mirrors the real world and has a similar project in the created project and you can get the idea.

    (It's been used since of course. See Star Trek TNG's Moriarty etc.)
     
    Sep 22, 2017
    #12
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