"How do you keep doing
"It's a simple Re-Write Reality According To Your Whim
If a Retcon
is changing the past, and a Cosmic Retcon
is an in-universe changing of the past, then Retconjuration
is the ability to create
a Cosmic Retcon. Possibly a subtrope of Reality Warper
was once mayor of New York
may or may not involve leaning on
the Fourth Wall, or pressing a literal Reset Button
. (Although, depending on the scale of the Retconjuration instance, it may categorically force other in-universe examples of Reality Warper
into becoming an in-universe subtrope of Retconjuration itself.)
There are two flavors of this trope, items that allow individuals to change the past (a Time Machine
being the Trope Codifier
) and individuals who can change the past under their own power. Said individuals may believe themselves to be
deities, and depending on the scope of the power, they might not be wrong
Compare Peggy Sue
. Contrast Ret Gone
Anime & Manga
- Madoka uses her wish to do this in the final episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, completely rewriting the Magical Girl system so that no magical girl will become a witch, on this or any world, in this or any time past, present or future — which has the effect of completely destroying and remaking the universe anew. This doesn't come without a cost, however: Madoka essentially erases herself from existence after annihilating Walpurgis Night, since the power she expended during the battle would have otherwise made her a witch.
- Doing this is Tsukishima's entire schtick in Bleach. With each cut of his blade, he inserts himself into the target's past up to the point where they think he's always been in their lives - and this works on inanimate objects too, to the effect that cutting a battlefield allows him to have set up explosives there. Creepy. What makes this even worse is that he can apply similar changes to himself, allowing him to retroactively memorize opponents' battle strategies, for example.
- Black Butler: Angels have a variant of this. While they can't change the past on a world-wide scale, they can alter a single person's timeline to erase negative emotions associated with certain events. Since this action is against nature, however, the results are NOT pretty.
- In Another, a class is plagued by a curse kills members of the class and immediate family. This is caused by the presence of an extra, Dead All Along, student. Retconjuration comes into play because it's impossible to identify the "Extra" due to all the students having False Memories of that presence. On top of that, even official paperwork has incorrect information. Identifying the "Extra" can only be done after the school year ends, because everything reverts back to normal at that point.
- Transformers Cybertron: In Japan, it wasn't connected to Transformers Armada and Transformers Energon. In America it was, and any inconsistencies were explained in a comic book as being the black hole that was the main problem in TFC spreading its effects across reality, causing events to not always match up. This makes it the possible reason for every plot hole in any Transformers work.
- Superboy Prime does this by punching.
- Spider-Man, Mephisto, "One More Day"
- In The Sandman dreamers have the power to do this if enough dream the same thing at once; in the short story A Dream of a Thousand Cats, Morpheus reveals that at one point the world was ruled by cats with humans as their prey, but then a thousand-or-so humans simultaneously dreamed of a world of human dominance, and changed the world so that humans had always been dominant, and the world of cats never existed. A cat prophet is attempting to spread the word of this so that cats can dream the world back into its original state, but is implied to be doomed to fail, since even the cats themselves think it would be impossible to get a thousand cats to agree to do anything at the same time.
- Dr. Eggman in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog has a device called the Genesis Wave, allowing him to rewrite reality to a limited degree when powered by a Chaos Emerald. He not only used it on Mobius twice, he also used on the Mega Man world during its crossover.
- Nero does this by accidentally creating an alternate timeline in the latest Star Trek film, attacking the Kelvin and setting Starfleet down on a rather more militaristic bent. Also Vulcan is gone.
- In the Nicholas Cage film Next, the lead character has a limited version of this ability, which he uses to stop terrorists and score dates with younger women.
- The Wheel of Time's Balefire is a handy, portable way to do this, essentially burning the affected individual's "thread" out of existence. Not everybody's happy about this happening.
- Also, there's a Ter'angreal that does it. Uncontrollably. Only the most depraved villains are willing to even go near the thing.
- Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven: George Orr's "effective dreams" change not only the present but the past as well: people don't realize that the world has changed (and was different in the past).
- Discworld yeti can leave a "bookmark" at some moment in time and later snap back to it if they are killed or in other troubles — now knowing what's going to happen and able to avoid it. They died out. Several times.
- Or, for those who aren't aware of the entirety of time, they most definitely did not go extinct. Ever, and if you thought they did then you're remembering wrong. Again.
- In the Jonathan Lethem novel Amnesia Moon this power is possessed by a number of people, which to some extent includes main character Chaos/Everett Moon. The effect is that as you move across the country, you can be thrown from one reality into another that's completely different.
- In the Young Wizards series there's a spell which overwrites the past of a wizard's universe with a copy of the past from an Alternate Universe. Combined with the portion of the spell which searches for just the right Alternate Universe to copy from, it's a powerful tool for maintaining The Masquerade.
- In The Emperor's Soul, Forging allows a practitioner to change objects by crafting and placing a magical stamp that tells reality that something in the object's history went completely different - for example, a Forger can restore a ruined table by "telling" it that it was carefully maintained, instead. Forging a person's history is also possible, but it requires such intimate, thorough knowledge about that person that only the very best Forgers can even do it to themselves, much less anyone else, and it only lasts a little while.
- The Year of Hell two-parter in Star Trek: Voyager has the Krenim timeship, with a Ret Gone cannon the ship itself is insulated from ( unless the effect is triggered inside the ship due to damage sustained). The effects are limited to removing things from the timeline, but it can be modified to some things hit by while removing others (this is used for such things like removing a specific species while leaving their planet behind and inhabitable). The captain had spent 200 years desperately trying to undo the damage he inadvertently caused when he first used the ship... by doing pretty much the same thing, but with more careful calculations.
- The Chronomancer 2E Dungeons & Dragons supplement included three progressively stronger versions of this, in the Minor Paradox, Paradox, and Major Paradox chronomancy spells.
- Forgotten Realms has a spell that is a very limited version of this — Spellstrike. It completely negates all effects of one recent (in the same or previous round) casting of a spell or use of a spell-like ability, as if it just failed.
- The Sidereal Exalted boast a technique called Avoidance Kata which, when used early in a battle that turns out to have been a bad idea, allows them to have never got involved. Wounds already inflicted stay, but get a new cause- if you used it after the First and Forgotten Lion never has ripped off your arm, for example, you now will have got it caught in a grinding mill or something.
- They also have a martial arts style that essentially consists of punching your opponent's destiny. Fail to dodge, and you may suddenly be a married carpenter in Nexus.
- Similar to the above, Mage the Awakening has a Time spell called Shifting Sands, which sends the caster back in time by three seconds, allowing them to essentially redo the previous turn. Injuries do carry over, though. There is also a higher-level spell that allows one to place a temporal marker and Snap Back to it that has no time limit, but people tend to ignore or houserule it away.
- And that's not even the start of the time-related fuckery in the line. A Master-level Time spell allows you to temporarily rewrite your personal history so that, say, you studied martial arts instead of computer programming, allowing you to trade dots in Computer for dots in Brawl. The Cult of the Red Word, a Cannibal Cult that worships a demon made of living anti-history, has the ability to eat people out of existence if they're slaughtered in their sacred temple. And then there's the stuff Archmastery can do... by mistake.
- The Mistborn Adventure Game allows you to expend Spirit to edit previously introduced facts. It's very likely to fail, though, and really big Retcons are flat-out impossible.
- In Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Dr. Nefarious plans to use the Great Clock to create a universe where evil always wins.
- Obligatory Touhou example: a weaker version of this is the domain of Keine Kamishirasawa; she's able to "eat" the history of things, which changes the way people perceive the thing whose history was eaten. For instance, during the 8th game, she devoured the history of the human village so that they wouldn't be affected by the dangers of The Night That Never Ends (she restored it later); this way, the village was invisible to pratically everyone, because people would be seeing a reality where humans never settled there in the first place (particularly powerful beings don't seem to be affected by it, though; Yukari, for instance, wasn't affected at all by Keine's ability and could see the village and its inhabitants with no problems).
- The Trope Namer is Erf World, in which Retconjuration was actually Retconjured into existence as a subset of Naughtymancy after the authors didn't like a special they had given a minor character.
- 8-Bit Theater's Sarda uses Retconjuration with abandon and White Mage mucks up his attempt to retconjure the world to how he wants it, but he's more of a straight Reality Warper. Black Mage tries the same spell and it backfires (Sarda wrote the spell to rewrite reality to Sarda's will, not the caster's).
gets a minor one when he changes the archives so his red outfit was always black has never, ever tampered with the fabric of the universe.
- Clockstopper in Super Stupor (a side-comic of Something Positive); he calls it Nut-Punching Father Time.
- Homestuck: John gains the power to move through and alter canon during Act 6. This is called out as being different from time travel, which happens a lot, in that it is not bound by the requirement to create Stable Time Loops and can move through other universes and even into fictional contexts like Con Air.
- Germaine uses a "reset button" invented by Foamy in the web series: Neurotically Yours to initiate a series reboot.
- In SCP Foundation one of their charges is a book that chronicles the history of an extremely unpleasant civilization (human sacrifice, cannibalism, functional dark magic, etc.) that was wiped out at some point in the past. Whenever something that could be used to write with comes near the book (blood works best), more is written about the civilization and what was previously written changes, so that a battle that previously ended as a defeat becomes a victory - and suddenly archaeologists start finding evidence of them in the places and times it writes about. The book at one point said that the Daevite civilization had been destroyed around 200 BCE, and now it records the destruction of their empire by Genghis Khan, about 1400 years later. Naturally the Foundation doesn't add to it themselves, but they don't think they've destroyed all of the copies, so they keep checking theirs lest they wake up one day to find the Daevites have suddenly been around the whole time.