Misused: All Myths Are True

Deadlock Clock: 1st Feb 2014 11:59:00 PM
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I finally took a look at the Sci-Fi Counterpart, All Theories Are True. It's defined along the lines of "Intentional use of dodgy science for the purpose of Rule of Cool or Art Major Physics." On the upside, the examples there seem to be right on topic.

On the downside, that doesn't seem to be the same thing as our proposed fantasy version, "If a real world myth is used in a story, it will always turn out to be true." Nor does it seem all that similar to the current All Myths Are True. Now there certainly are examples of things like this in science fiction — Eureka comes to mind.

And then there's this lovely page, A Mythology Is True, which when combined, becomes Crossover Cosmology. So I'm starting to think that we're going to need some parallel pages for scifi and fantasy versions:

Does that seem like a reasonable description and organization of those pages, or am I missing some important details?

I think y'all might be reading the trope too narrowly. Characters don't have to explicitly talk about mythology in order for it to be implicitly present in the setting. For any setting that's based on the real world, it's assumed that the fictional setting has the same cultural expectations about mythological stuff that we do.

The idea behind this trope, from the Doylist perspective, is that fantastic elements of a work are based on real-world mythology because the audience is expected to be familiar with it—it's easier to connect with Our Monsters Are Different versions of the things you're already familiar with than with random things the author just made up out of nowhere. On top of that, there's an element of Magic A Is Magic A consistency—if there are vampires and we didn't realize it, it sets a precedent that there are supernatural things happening that we don't know about, and once that door is open it's easy to let werewolves and faeries and wizards through it too.

So in that respect, it should be perfectly valid to treat it as Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

Fantasy Kitchen Sink differs in that it's the result of tossing together lots and lots of different elements willy-nilly. All Myths Are True is the expectation that a setting creates—you could think of it as the author reserving the right to draw from whatever mythologies he likes. Fantasy Kitchen Sink is what happens when this gets taken to its logical extreme, mixing together a very diverse variety of disparate fantastical elements.

edited 8th May '12 7:44:22 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
[up]I think this is exactly what I was afraid of, writing the last post. I'm still not entirely sure what Fantasy Kitchen Sink wants to be, either.
29 ShanghaiSlave9th May 2012 04:39:27 AM from YKTTW , Relationship Status: is commanded to— WANK!

You're describing the exact problem regarding the trope title. it implies exactly that, yet it's definition(All (In-Universe) mythologies are based on real people and events.) doesn't . also why there was talk on splitting this trope. since as you've said,
it could be considered a downplayed Fantasy Kitchen Sink * where Real Life mythologies are incorporated in the work.


reading between the lines I think I can see your point. it really does mean Real Life mythologies are true (In-Universe). however, most examples still misuse it in the sense that the myths used are either "customized" or used In-Name-Only.

edited 9th May '12 4:50:16 AM by ShanghaiSlave

Is dast der Zerstorer? Odar die Schopfer?
30 johnnye9th May 2012 04:44:31 AM from Brighton, UK , Relationship Status: If it's you, it's okay
[up][up]I just don't think that interpretation is tropable.

Think about it;
  • If you have one public-domain fantastic being in your work, it probably has its own individual trope.
  • If you have a whole set of fantastic beings from one consistent conceptual source, it's A Mythology Is True
  • If you have beings from more than one conceptual source, it's Crossover Cosmology
  • If you have beings from a whole slew of sources, it's Fantasy Kitchen Sink.

So in what circumstance would something fall under All Myths Are True, under your definition, without being covered by one of those tropes?

Defining it as referring to myths presented in-universe has the advantage of giving it a distinct definition compared to all those tropes. Plus, y'know, that's how it's already defined — you're essentially suggesting we broaden the definition into a space that's already saturated with quite specific tropes.

EDIT: Actually, I suppose there is one more possibility - that literally all mythological beings are kicking around somewhere, as in The Sandman. I suppose that would be tropable, as long as it was clearly restricted to cases where it's somehow acknowledged that every single myth is true, due to something like Clap Your Hands If You Believe.

edited 9th May '12 4:52:19 AM by johnnye

"We don't harm little girls in Dorne."
— Oberyn Martell
[up][up] Okay, so what you're saying is that they don't have to specifically talk about vampires if the setting is our current world, because it's simply expected that the characters and the audience more or less know about vampires?

I don't think that's an example of the trope, in that case. All Myths Are True is about myths that are discussed in the work.

An implicitly present real-life mythology ("The story takes place in Japan, and it turns out that oni and kappa are real") doesn't fit the trope. The trope is "IF a myth or legend is described in the work, THEN that myth or legend turns out to have a seed of truth." If the myth isn't explicitly described in the work, then that's A Mythology Is True, but it's not this trope.

Or to put it another way, if no details were given in the work, there is no detail to conserve, so it's not beholden to The Law of Conservation of Detail, so it doesn't fall under this trope (which is a subtrope of Conservation).

Troacctid, I see where your line of thought is, but this isn't a trope about just saying "some mythological event has a truth behind it". That theoretical trope would encompass every use of any real-world mythology in a work. And anyway we have a trope for that already.

edited 9th May '12 9:10:21 AM by Escher

Dragon Writer
^ Exactly. If a story is set in the "real world" but legend X isn't mentioned due to Law of Conservation of Detail, there's no grounds on which to evaluate whether the story considers legend X to be "true" or not.

(For some reason this reminds me of a "valley of the dead" that one of my 2011 Nanowrimo characters brushed up against. I'm trying extremely hard not to use it as a plot point later.)

edited 10th May '12 8:31:02 AM by Stratadrake

Wait, so... it has to be mentioned IN the story, and then be proved to have some grain of truth to it and likely, some plot or character relevance owing to Law of Conservation of Detail ?

And the current title is so misleading people not only use it wrongly, but confuse it with both Crossover Cosmology and Fantasy Kitchen Sink ?


Let me get this straight:

1.) All Myths Are True is too confusing as a title, for what this article is trying to actually describe. It's a superlative title talking about mythologies (read: sounds like it's saying a BUNCH of mythologies are secretly or not-so-secretly true in-universe), and it appears, at least, that the majority of people have misinterpreted it to be basically Fantasy Kitchen Sink (possibly minus more modern fantasy tropes) or an extreme version of Crossover Cosmology.

2.) Speaking of which, there seems to be a slight bit of confusion over Fantasy Kitchen Sink and Crossover Cosmology ... there shouldn't be, though. It seems to me that the titles should be Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

Allow me to elaborate on point 2.: a cosmology by definition is a way (often, and traditionally always was, mythological) of describing, as it were, a theory of Life the Universe and Everything in an organized, human-comprehensible way *. Thus, when I see the term "Crossover Cosmology", especially in the context of myths, it makes me think at least two myths - of a "gods and origins of the universe" type, specifically, not just your typical fantasy creatures like The Fair Folk or werewolves - that are being brought into play as in-universe real things. This appears to be exactly what it was supposed to be.

In regards to the name of Fantasy Kitchen Sink, though... due to the "Kitchen Sink" part, (which of course comes from the idiom "everything but the kitchen sink", meaning "Holy crap, is there anything you DIDN'T include!?") I've always assumed it was describing an "anything goes", Trope Overdosed fantasy setting, e.g. The Dresden Files which is SO inclusive not only of various, seemingly incompatible myths and legends *, but fantasy tropes in general, that it's to the extent you actually have multiple types of things like werewolves and vampires running around. Another good example I would note is Buffy the Vampire Slayer which not only has at least one variant each of werewolves and vampires, but features Lovecraftian horrors, demons, deities, witches, ghosts, and of course, a Chosen One to provide supernatural pest control (again, just off the top of my head!). To me, that would be the very epitome of a Fantasy Kitchen Sink . That would be Exactly What It Says on the Tin .

Or, put another way, Fantasy Kitchen Sink often includes Crossover Cosmology elements, but a Crossover Cosmology need not be a Fantasy Kitchen Sink setting.

3.) Meanwhile, there seems to be some moderate similarity and thus confusion between A Mythology Is True and All Myths Are True... with the latter, according to its description anyway, requiring the myth to be both discussed in-story and proved true in-story, and reference is made to Conservation of Detail (which is the very reasoning behind a Chekhov's Gun). To claim that this can't be alternately called Chekhov's Myth is kind of silly, because that's pretty much what it is: a Chekhov's Gun that happens to be a myth or legend. And while I can understand not wanting too many subtropes of Chekhov's Gun sprawling all over the Wiki, this is actually quite arguably common enough in Science Fiction and Fantasy alike to warrant its own article.

So, this is my position on what should be done, as to me at least it would make the most sense:

First: A Mythology Is True and All Myths Are True are extremely similar... but All Myths Are True is basically A Mythology Is True when said "mythology" is also a Chekhov's Gun. In other words, there's a difference between a myth or legend being true in-story, and it being explicitly mentioned in-story to the characters or whatnot so that it can be revealed as true, also in-story.

So, logically, we should note that (whatever we're calling) All Myths Are True is "When The Law of Conservation of Detail causes A Mythology Is True to cross over with Chekhov's Gun, with the myth being mentioned only to because it will be proven to at least partly true later."

Second: All Myths Are True as a title is too easily confused with Fantasy Kitchen Sink and Crossover Cosmology. Thus, I think it should be changed to the more obvious (and arguably more accurate) Chekhovs Myth with All Myths Are True redirecting to either Crossover Cosmology or Fantasy Kitchen Sink (preferably Crossover Cosmology, if only because it needs more awareness, I feel), with a note to: "See Also: A Mythology Is True for when there is no mythological crossover (just a myth happening to be true in-story), and Chekhovs Myth for when A Mythology Is True and it's a Chekhov's Gun. "

Third: I believe it should be made more clear that a Crossover Cosmology is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, without having to be a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, but that they often cross over.

i.e. on Crossover Cosmology, something like "When a Crossover Cosmology setting becomes Fantasy Trope Overdosed , it becomes a Fantasy Kitchen Sink."

and then on Fantasy Kitchen Sink, something like "Can also feature elements of Crossover Cosmology, as A Mythology Is True in not just one case, not even just multiple cases, but on a grand scale. Will often feature Chekhov's Myths."

edited 9th May '12 3:46:45 PM by snickersnack

Exactly. If a story is set in the "real world" but legend X isn't mentioned due to Law of Conservation of Detail, there's no grounds on which to evaluate whether the story considers legend X to be "true" or not.
Well it's easy to tell whether legend X is true because...it will appear in the work and it will be true. Simple enough. And you'll know it's coming from the myth because the kappa will be a kappa and the oni will be an oni.

The big difference between All Myths Are True and A Mythology Is True is that one is "Take as many as you like" and the other is "Pick one."

It wouldn't make sense for the trope to require that the myth is discussed beforehand because that basically never happens. It tends to look more like:

"ZOMG a monster! What is that thing?"
"It's a kappa."
"Like from Japanese mythology? But they're not real!"
"Yes they are."
Rhymes with "Protracted."
35 ShanghaiSlave9th May 2012 09:32:38 PM from YKTTW , Relationship Status: is commanded to— WANK!
[up] your example looks like Monster Mash to me. How I see it, A Mythology Is True is the use of a whole body of mythology, while All Myths Are True is meet the cast of your All Time Favorite Disney Mythology Characters!. Yeah, at this point, I'm taking back what i said about the current page image. *Facepalm*


Okay, so what you're saying is that they don't have to specifically talk about vampires if the setting is our current world, because it's simply expected that the characters and the audience more or less know about vampires?

not quite. what I was saying goes something like this:

1st version: real life myth

let's say their's this 12 episode show called Monstruo la Del Barrio, the premise is there's a group of teens having a vacation in a small town in the philippines *. their local tourguide warns them about the various creatures * that lurk in the surrounding forest and their town. his version of the story tells about real people/families in the town and surrounding areas.

later in the story they encounter each of the mentioned and explicitly detailed on monsters. the ones that were simply referred to didn't appear.

2nd version: in universe myth.

Lets say the work is the "Sword of Report Siht". the setting is a generic european fantasy world. the story opens with an old teacher telling various myths to his pupils, some myths weren't very detailed. later in the story, the detailed myths turned out to be true and they meet the people and were shown to the places mentioned in the myths.

in other words, whether the myth used is a Real Life one or made specifically for the work. the places and characters involved will have to turn out to be real. it won't count if the characters/places were just named after greek mythological figures or the demons of Ars Goetia *. it doesn't count if the work uses their own version * of The Divine Comedy and the Titanomachia *.

EDIT: fixed a few markup errors.

edited 9th May '12 9:49:18 PM by ShanghaiSlave

Is dast der Zerstorer? Odar die Schopfer?
Dragon Writer
To claim that this can't be alternately called Chekhov's Myth is kind of silly, because that's pretty much what it is: a Chekhov's Gun that happens to be a myth or legend.
The ban on Chekhov-based titles is solely because people have tried to stamp the Chekhov name on everything.

Well it's easy to tell whether legend X is true because...it will appear in the work and it will be true. Simple enough. And you'll know it's coming from the myth because the kappa will be a kappa and the oni will be an oni.
While that by itself is true, it's not what I was talking about. If a given myth does not appear in the work (like, at all), then whether or not said myth is "true" within the framework of the setting is irrelevant.

For example, just because medieval Europeans believed in witches, vampires, and werewolves doesn't mean that every novel set in, say, Victorian England will automatically have real vampires and werewolves. That's Flanderizing.

edited 10th May '12 8:38:17 AM by Stratadrake

[up][up] I don't understand the distinction you're drawing between Case 1 and Case 2 with regard to this trope. Both of those are examples of the trope. Whether the myth has its roots in a real life legend or not is irrelevant. If they discuss the trope on screen (or in the text) then it's potentially an example (if the legend comes up later as a plot point). If they don't discuss it within the work, then it's not this trope.

For example: If they don't have any discussion of greek myth in the story, but the characters vacationing in greece find a crashed spaceship called Olympus that has a flying motorcycle and a lightning gun, and the characters decide these are the origins of Pegasus and Zeus, that's not and example of the trope, because they're expecting you to know what those are and didn't discuss them earlier in the piece.

edited 10th May '12 12:50:13 PM by Escher

Well it's easy to tell whether legend X is true because...it will appear in the work and it will be true. Simple enough. And you'll know it's coming from the myth because the kappa will be a kappa and the oni will be an oni.

The big difference between All Myths Are True and A Mythology Is True is that one is "Take as many as you like" and the other is "Pick one."

No, that's the MISUSE version.

The trope has nothing to do with whether or not the work is using real world myths in it.

Okay, examples:

The second or third season of Jackie Chan Adventures was NOT an example of the trope. They go to investigate some supernatural goings-on, and Toru gets the willies because the incident has all the signs of an attack by an Oni, which his mother had scared him with when he was little. Turns out he's right, and there are oni wandering around. It's not an example because nobody ever brought up Oni until Toru said, "Hey, this real life event looks familiar!"

Gurren Lagann IS an example: In the underground community where Simon grew up, they told stories of the mythical Surface and of the gods that cast down humanity and forced them to live in the depths. Then stuff happens, and ultimately the heroes wind up on the fabled Surface and discover that the "gods" are actually giant robots driven by aliens. We hear legends about the Gods and the Surface, and then it turns out to be more or less true.

edited 10th May '12 1:00:10 PM by Escher

[up] I'm saying that it's not misuse and you're interpreting the trope too narrowly.

While that by itself is true, it's not what I was talking about. If a given myth does not appear in the work (like, at all), then whether or not said myth is "true" within the framework of the setting is irrelevant.
Well yeah. Duh. That's an Averted Trope. What's your point?
Rhymes with "Protracted."
Okay, I think I'm more confused now than when the thread started.

Is there an Exactly What It Says on the Tin version of All Myths Are True that is distinct from either Crossover Cosmology or Fantasy Kitchen Sink? (Question mostly aimed at Troacctid)
Crossover Cosmology is the theological and cosmological equivalent. It deals specifically with religion. Hence the name "Cosmology".

I talked about Fantasy Kitchen Sink in this post. The gist is that All Myths Are True is what leads to Fantasy Kitchen Sink, much in the same way that Continuity Creep leads to Continuity Lockout or Status Quo Is God leads to Snap Back.

I think Planet Eris incorporates more specific pop-cultural things, so instead of just "Vampires are real" you could also have "Twilight and Buffy and Dracula and Nosferatu are all real, and so are Batman and Darth Vader and Cthulhu". But don't quote me on that. I think that has its own TRS thread.

There's also One Myth To Rule Them All, which is a variant where one myth was behind all the other myths (Beethoven Was an Alien Spy-style).
Rhymes with "Protracted."
42 ShanghaiSlave10th May 2012 10:20:04 PM from YKTTW , Relationship Status: is commanded to— WANK!
Escher — There was no distinction (unless real life/in universe counts), I just used two examples. ya Got me confused when you said "it's simply expected that the characters and the audience more or less know about <myth>". but at this point, I think we're on the same boat on the definition.

Troacctid — hilariously, Fantasy Kitchen Sink at the moment tackles pop culture stuff as well. at the moment, there really isn't much differentiating Fantasy Kitchen Sink and Planet Eris. so i wouldn't say All Myths Are True Up to 11 is Fantasy Kitchen Sink. besides, they wouldn't be much of a myth if the world is established to be weird enough that myths can be expected to be real. All Myths Are True seem to rely on the fact that the myths are not established truths but some relevant ones are true anyway.
Is dast der Zerstorer? Odar die Schopfer?
Planet Eris is indeed in TRS, and is the origin of both this thread and the Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink TRS. People are voting on its definition now, and while I won't quote you, the fact that pop culture myths are common is well worth bringing up over there.

[up][up] So, in a very broad brush, Myths Always Come True (Chekhovs Myth) is a narrative law and plot device, All Myths Are True is a repeated plot behavior, and Fantasy Kitchen Sink is the resultant setting (or otherwise a setting with speculative fiction trope overload). A Mythology Is True and Crossover Cosmology deal with uses of mythology groups (e.g. Norse Mythology) rather than myths (Vampires exist).

That does seem tropable. I think the main complaint here has been that one can't know about all myths, but only those actually used in a work. But what if a single myth is brought up in a work early on. Is it likely to be true? Chekhovs Myth says more than likely, yes. It could be a short story or fairy tale and still qualify, with only one myth.

One Myth To Rule Them All sounds suspiciously like Meta Origin, though the two aren't linked. Given all of the pages that have come up on this thread, I'm starting to think we really need a Myth Index, or Myths And Theories Index if we want to include the sci-fi side.

edited 10th May '12 10:26:23 PM by BrentLaabs

As they are currently described, I am not seeing any difference between Fantasy Kitchen Sink, All Myths are True and Crossover Cosmology. The Cross-over Cosmology seems to say that All Myths Are True requires the myths to be internally consistent, but nothing in the title or description for that page backs this up. If All Myths Are True is supposed to be a corollary of the law of conservation of detail, very little on the page communicates this.

There are some distinctions. Some settings have all mythologies co-existing in a literal fashion (super hero universes) and others only say that myths are vaguely based on true stories (Stargate SG-1, Enchantment). If we are going to separate on this basis, we need way clearer descriptions.
[up][up][up] Okay, cool. I kinda thought we were on the same page, I just keep getting confused by people who insist that All Myths Are True means the work has to be overflowing with mythological characters.

[up][up] Brent, are you sure ALL of those are tropable at the same time? I'm with Ace here, it seems like there's an awful lot of overlap and iffiness between those proposed tropes.

I mean — okay, let's just call it Chekhovs Myth to differentiate for now.

Chekhovs Myth would mean "If it's brought up in the story, it'll be important later". But if that's the case, then what's All Myths Are True? It's when you do Chekhovs Myth a lot? Isn't that just The Same, but More? And you can get a Fantasy Kitchen Sink without using Chekhovs Myth even once — supernatural things just pop up all the time, and that's how it is. Dresden Files works that way; we don't know that cobbler elves (cobbs) even exist in the Dresdenverse until Harry walks up to a shoe store and calls the out, and zombies are never really mentioned as a serious thing until they show up on screen. We rarely hear about a Monster of the Week before it shows up on screen. At the most, we hear about it after Dresden finds some evidence that suggests to him that Creature X is the culprit. "That sounds like something a troll would do; let me tell you all about trolls." (That would not be a Chekhovs Myth since the myth being discussed does not seem unimportant or patently 'just a story' to begin with.)

I'll buy that A Mythology Is True and Crossover Cosmology are referring to a particular religious or belief system rather than just a particular myth (like, say, the chupacabra), but I'm not sure I see the distinction between those two anyway. Buuut that's another topic, I'm sure.

Still, do we need two different tropes to describe a behavior and the resultant setting? Can't we just put a note at the bottom of Chekhovs Myth noting that "Overuse of this trope can lead to a Fantasy Kitchen Sink" or something? If so, I don't see any need for a whole separate trope.

edited 11th May '12 6:55:20 AM by Escher

Chekhovs Legend, incidentally, would be a more fitting name for it than Chekhovs Myth, since the same principle applies to any sort of oral storytelling. (The Ghost Story always comes true, etc.) Probably tropable, but I don't think it's all that close to All Myths Are True.

[down] That's not correct.

edited 11th May '12 1:00:55 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
47 peccantis11th May 2012 12:38:43 PM , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
the flies will find you
All Myths Are True would be when each and every myth or legend mentioned in the story are Chekhovs Myths.

edited 11th May '12 12:38:55 PM by peccantis

before the darkness arrives
[up][up]"Probably tropable"


This whole thread is about the fact that "Chekhovs Legend" (and yeah, I do like that name better) is what All Myths Are True is meant to be, but it's been misused to mean something completely different.

From the OP: Apparently, All Myths Are True has been misinterpreted as "real world myths are used in a work" instead of "If a Myth is mentioned In-Universe, it will be true"

You seem to be arguing, "No, lots of real world myths are used in a work is what it DOES mean!"

Edit: In any case, yes, I think Chekhovs Legend is DEFINITELY tropeable. You've Seen It a Million Times. Granny starts scaring the kiddies with stories about fairies that'll snatch them away if they're bad? Prepare for kid-snatching fairies. The village elder tells the tale of how their people came to this land on the back of a great shining eagle? I promise you there'll be a crashed spaceship before we're through.

There're really only three reasons to insert a "telling the legend" scene into your work — you're either going to have the legend turn out to be (partly?) true; you're drawing a parallel between the tale and the current or future position the heroes are in (this includes where the hero gets an idea of how to beat the bad guy by remembering something in a story); or you're trying to explain the psychology of a creature that's difficult for humans to comprehend (like the legends in Watership Down that help illuminate the lapine mind).

edited 11th May '12 2:20:29 PM by Escher

[up] Well, there could be a fourth reason: a "Shaggy Dog" Story.

Yeah, I think that everyone is agreed that Chekhovs Legend is very tropable, and that's its the best name we've heard so far. Should we send it to YKTTW? If you think that they're separate tropes, the answer is probably yes. But if you think it's the same trope, are the examples bad enough that they could benefit by getting a fresh set at YKTTW?
The picture is probably adding to the misuse, since the caption talks about how all the real world myths are true there instead of talking about how the myths mentioned in the work will inevitably turn out to be true.

edited 11th May '12 4:57:52 PM by Scardoll

Page Action: All Myths Are True
14th Jun '12 5:40:04 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
At issue:
All Myths Are True is being misused as "real world myths are used in a work", while it really is about a myth turning out to be true after mentioned in-universe.

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