Misused: All Myths Are True

Deadlock Clock: 1st Feb 2014 11:59:00 PM
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[up] Is Fantasy Kitchen Sink well defined enough that we can tell the difference? I started a TRS thread for Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink (which I've been ignoring while this is going through). Some people there say Fantasy Kitchen Sink includes the Sci-Fi tropes too. Is that the same thing as a work that has a lot of true mythology — works that have lots of scifi and fantasy tropes?
Are here any widespread fantasy tropes that aren't largely inspired by real-world mythology? The best example I can think of is Tolkein-style elves (since mythological elves are usually malevolent) but I'm sure even that is Older Than They Think.

The reason I ask is that while mythology and fantasy are different, fantasy draws a lot of its ideas from mythology, so I'm not sure it would be useful to make a distinction just on that basis. Especially once you throw folklore and paganism into the mix.
All Myths Are True is, broadly, the rule that supernatural elements of a work will tend to be based on real-world mythology, legend, and folklore, rather than trying to create something new and original that nobody has ever heard of before.

You can have a Fantasy Kitchen Sink without All Myths Are True. RuneScape is probably a good example. It's a Constructed World that includes a wide variety of fantasy elements from all over the map, ranging from castles and knights to crystal cities to steampunk laboratories. However, a pretty hefty portion of its fantasy elements aren't derived from any particular mythology or legend—it has its own cosmology, it has all sorts of Our Monsters Are Weird creaturesnote  Generally speaking most of the content, while usually inspired by common tropes, is never directly associated with any particular legendary whatnot (with only a few exceptions).

Harry Potter would be an example of All Myths Are True that is not a Fantasy Kitchen Sink. Skim through Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and it should be pretty obvious that All Myths Are True, but the fantastic elements that appear within the world are all pretty consistent in their tone and can easily stick under the general umbrella of "Magic". There's no space aliens or ninjas or anything, and Our Monsters Are Different is applied to make everything fit under a Magic A Is Magic A sort of consistency.

It's very common for a Constructed World to use original fantasy elements not based on real-world myth. Consider goombas, chocobos, wookiees, slivers, daleks...you get the idea.

edited 18th May '12 4:25:38 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
Oh, I get what you're saying. "All myths are true" = "all mythical stories are based on real-world ('true') mythologies"?

That's one way of reading the title. But that's not what it's meant so far. And how tropable is that? Examples would just be any story that uses a conventional myth. And we could hardly mark this as omnipresent and list aversions either, since there are too many of those to be notable.
Well since this is All Myths Are True, only works that extend that to a variety of different myths (common practice, since once you get a foot in the door with wizards, it's easy to let werewolves and dragons through too) will count.

Just look at the examples section and you should get a good feel for the trope.

edited 18th May '12 10:37:16 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
So, as someone suggested before, can you suggest an example of something that's FKS and not AMAT, and vice-versa? It's a good way of ensuring we have distinct definitions (unless one is a subtrope of the other, in which case just an example of the supertrope that wouldn't count as the subtrope).

[down]D'oh, sorry. Shouldn't skim-read...

edited 20th May '12 7:14:28 AM by johnnye

Rhymes with "Protracted."
I don't see how Harry Potter applies to this last definition that you gave. It contains myths that are, as you call it, true, but it also makes up its own. And even if it didn't make up its own, what would the criteria be for using this trope? Just incorporating multiple myths?
If you don't like that one, try Pirates of the Caribbean, which has voodoo, Greek gods, sirens, krakens, Davy Jones, the Fountain of Youth, cursed treasure, etc. Lots of stuff, but all of it is consistent with the pirate theme, so it's not a Fantasy Kitchen Sink.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
So the page should cover stories that incorporate multiple, consistent myths?
86 ShanghaiSlave20th May 2012 01:40:49 AM from YKTTW , Relationship Status: is commanded to— WANK!
[up] perhaps Incorporate multiple myths in a way that they are internally consistent would be a better way to put it. some authors tweak their myths to be consistent with other myths in their story.
Is dast der Zerstorer? Odar die Schopfer?
Fantasy Kitchen Sink is when it ends up looking like a patchwork of lots of disparate fantasy elements. It may or may not overlap with All Myths Are True.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
Whether a work's use of a large number of fantasy elements ends up looking consistent or not is almost entirely subjective.
Dragon Writer
Unfortunately true, but as netaphors go, disparity and "kitchen sink" go hand in hand anyway.
[up][up]Definitely. I don't see anything consistent in Pirates of the Caribbean, apart from the "sea" theme that's pretty much essential to the genre of pirate stories. Not sure consistency is an adequate distinction to make.
Edit: I guess what I want is to get a solid set of definitions between KFS, AMAT, and Planet Eris (as well as any related tropes). At the moment they all seem too fuzzy to make decent distinctions between them. Should we just open a new thread devoted to untangling the FKS mess?

Troacctid, you said: "Fantasy Kitchen Sink is when it ends up looking like a patchwork of lots of disparate fantasy elements. It may or may not overlap with All Myths Are True."

Look, the first line of FKS says, "What happens when All Myths Are True is turned Up to Eleven? You get a Fantasy Kitchen Sink!" If FKS is AMAT Up to Eleven, how can you POSSIBLY be the former without being the latter? At what point does adding more AMAT equal "not AMAT"?

I think I can see the distinction you're drawing, but it doesn't follow from the current definition of these tropes. You seem to be saying "this is how it is now" rather than providing a set of possible definitions that could live side by side, but I don't see that reflected in the actual tropes as currently designed.

And even so I'm still not convinced that your versions are distinctly tropeable.

I can accept FKS requiring that the work is using a mishmash of origin culture and time period. For example, anything that mixes folklore (like faeries and gods) with modern myth (say, aliens and psionics) and urban legends (the mothman, the MIB) could certainly be a FKS, while a work that has a consistent theme to its fantastic elements ("everything from middle-ages european folklore, from werewolves to brownies") is not, even if it's packed with different legends.

It may be that Runescape put a lot of effort into making sure they weren't cribbing from existing creatures — but is that common enough to warrant a whole new trope for it?

I think part of the problem is that FKS is already poorly defined, so trying to make distinctions around the edges of it is a bit futile. (You said that Harry Potter is a good example of NOT being FKS... it's listed as an example on the FKS page...)

edited 22nd May '12 11:13:48 AM by Escher

I don't know why you're assuming that because two tropes exist they must be describing distinct things, if only we poor mortals could discern what the difference was. It's already been explained that All Myths Are True was originally meant to refer to something utterly different to FKS and they got conflated by mistake. So why can't we just merge the two pages we're left with?

edited 22nd May '12 11:28:52 AM by johnnye

When the description is weak or unclear, the questions to ask are what does the name imply, and how are the examples using it?

Meaning of "kitchen sink": [1][2][3]

The connotation is that you've got this very wide variety of things—whether or not they would logically belong—and they're all crammed in there together. So the name Fantasy Kitchen Sink should reasonably be expected to go with a trope about works that include a wide variety of fantasy elements to the point where they might not necessarily fit together.

Is this supported in the examples? I'd say so. I'm not familiar with every single work listed, but the trend for pretty much all of them is for the example to list off a whole bunch of different fantasy elements that the work includes, which is good enough for me.

I think the page quote and the description point that way too—I think the key part of the description is this:
Everything is true, even if it comes from vastly different origins. So not only are there really fairies, there are ghosts, vampires, werewolves, mummies, Sea Monsters, giant worms, superhuman mutants, zombies, aliens, time travellers, espers, angels, demons, God, Jerkass Gods, Evil Gods, Lazy Gods, Eldritch Abominations, Precursors, magic, psi, chi, and so on. Generally a sure sign of it is when creatures from typically different genres (aliens, vampires, fairies) all exist within the same world with individual origins of their own, each implausible in their own way — leading up to a long series of suspensions of disbelief rather than just one.

Note that some of the things listed there aren't from real-world myths or legends either.

edited 22nd May '12 1:54:49 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
Okay, how about this for a difference in laconic form:

  • All Myths Are True describes a setting that uses a large number of real-world myths and legends (all of which turn out to be true due to Chekhovs Myth, of course)
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink describes a setting that uses a large number of Fantasy Tropes (which may or may not be mythology related)

Therefore Cool Airship, Fantastic Drug, Fantasy Gun Control, Half-Human Hybrid, Healing Hands, Hermetic Magic, Humans Are Average, In Spite of a Nail, Magic A Is Magic A, Mundane Utility, Muggle Foster Parents, North Is Cold, South Is Hot, Ragnarök Proofing, Plot-Relevant Age-Up, Prophecies Rhyme All the Time, Token Heroic Orc, Upgrade Artifact, Whatevermancy, and Wizards from Outer Space — they all would be evidence of Fantasy Kitchen Sink, but not of All Myths Are True. They're tropes that are common in fantasy settings, but not related to legends and mythology all that much.
I don't think plot tropes like Muggle Foster Parents are evidence of a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, since it's a setting thing. Also, there can be supernatural elements from Horror or Sci-Fi as well, so it's not just Fantasy, although it should be Fantasy enough not to step on Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink's toes (don't ask me about that one, I have no idea).
Rhymes with "Protracted."
"Uses a large number of fantasy tropes"? Isn't that the definition of Fantasy?
[up][up] Fantasy basically is a setting thing. There's very little difference between Fantasy and the rest of Speculative Fiction without the setting tropes. Also Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink needs progress in the TRS thread, noted.

[up] Okay, it's a Troperiffic version of Fantasy? I would just copy paste the current Laconic.Fantasy Kitchen Sink, except that it's awful.

[up]Well, except you can totally have a Troperiffic fantasy work that is in no way a kitchen sink, can't you? The Princess Bride pops to mind immediately; it's stuffed with fantasy tropes — and made awesome or funny as required — but there's no way you'd call it a kitchen sink.

To me, "kitchen sink" implies that the work has a sort of literary multiple personality syndrome; it doesn't seem sure what it wants to be, caroming wildly from angels and demons to zombies and pirates. Tropes Are Not Bad; it can certainly work (Dresden Files is a wonderful example of when it works), but just being Troperiffic doesn't seem enough to qualify a work for FKS.

edited 25th May '12 11:38:39 AM by Escher

[up]The thing is, "caroming wildly" is an subjective opinion. There is nothing inherently incompatible about angels, zombies and pirates.

If both tropes are defined basically as "(almost) every supernatural thing you can think of exists here," with only a subjective sense of consistency to tell them apart, we should merge them.
I don't think it's subjective that wizards, robots, and dinosaurs are a mismatch.
Rhymes with "Protracted."

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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