2546: Fiction vs Nonfiction

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Fiction vs Nonfiction
The real challenge is how to file Boba Fett's biography of Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Title text: The real challenge is how to file Boba Fett's biography of Doris Kearns Goodwin.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by A FICTIONAL DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN WATCHING A REAL BOBA FETT ON A DURASTEEL-BESKAR TV- Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
Cueball is asking Ponytail and White Hat to classify different Star Wars books and movies as fiction or nonfiction. (Perhaps he is working at a library or bookstore, or sorting a personal collection.) Star Wars as a whole is a multimedia franchise, which includes films, TV series, novels, etc, but often singularly refers to the original 1977 film later more lengthily titled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. The classifications get more complicated to determine as the conversation progresses while revealing a quite specific obsession with the character of Boba Fett. The complexity may even end up converting lumpers into splitters, a philosophical distinction that another recent comic touched upon.

Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document or media content that intends, in good faith, to present only truth and accuracy regarding information, events, or people. In contrast, fiction offers information, events, or characters expected to be partly or largely imaginary, or else leaves open if and how the work refers to reality.

In the end, White Hat suggests that, since Cueball has so many works featuring Boba Fett, it would be more useful to group them together in a new category rather than sorting them into the fiction and nonfiction sections.


Media name Explanation
Star Wars Star Wars is a science-fiction movie released in 1977 (re-released in 1981 as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope)
The Making of Star Wars This was a television special about how Star Wars was made, which would make it nonfiction.
Star Wars: The Adventures of Boba Fett This would be one of the Star Wars franchise's continuity of stories, making it fictional. Not a currently extant release, but something like this has been long anticipated, and now possibly inspired by the imminent release (as of the comic's time of posting) of The Book of Boba Fett.
Star Wars: The Official Guide to Boba Fett's Armor and Weapons While the content of this guidebook is entirely fictional, the book is factual. Boba Fett (a fictional character)[citation needed] does in fact have durasteel/Beskar armor (a fictional material), so the book is technically non-fiction.
Boba Fett's Gadgets and How He Got Them This could either be a non-fictional book or docuseries similar to the previous entry, or instead an in-universe adventure series or film. The rhythm of the words is similar to the in-universe guidebook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them from the Harry Potter universe - this is a non-fiction book used educationally for young wizards within the fictitious world and also a fiction book within the real world. This book was turned into a 2016 feature film, starring Eddie Redmayne.
Boba Fett: A Life by Doris Kearns Goodwin Doris Kearns Goodwin is a historian and biographer who has written biographies of many influential people. Since Goodwin is a non-fiction writer, one would have to read this (non-existent) book to determine whether the biography is a fictional account of the character, or a factual account of the fictional history of the character. If the book doesn't establish any new canon, and is instead citing only recorded (fictional) facts from the Star Wars Universe and, perhaps, the real-world influences on and by the character, it could legitimately be considered non-fiction. Doris Kearns Goodwin is also mentioned in 2160: Ken Burns Theory.
(title text) Boba Fett's biography of Doris Kearns Goodwin It is unclear how, or why, a fictional character would write a biography on a real life person, but there's always the possibility that there was already a fictional Doris, in-universe to Boba, whose own life and exploits would be natural for an actually fictional factual output.


[Cueball is talking to Ponytail and White Hat.]
Cueball: Star Wars?
Ponytail: Fiction.
[Same setting.]
Cueball: The Making of Star Wars?
White Hat: Nonfiction.
[Closeup of Cueball.]
Cueball: Star Wars: The Adventures of Boba Fett?
Off-panel voice: Fiction.
[Closeup of Ponytail.]
Cueball (off-panel): Star Wars: The Official Guide to Boba Fett's Armor and Weapons?
Ponytail: Nonfiction, technically.
[Cueball has lifted a hand palm up as he talks to Ponytail and White Hat.]
Cueball: Boba Fett's Gadgets and How He Got Them?
Ponytail: ...Fiction?
Ponytail: It depends.
[Cueball is talking to Ponytail and White Hat. Ponytail has turned towards White Hat and has taken a hand to her chin.]
Cueball: Boba Fett: A Life, by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin?
Ponytail: Hm.
White Hat: Maybe we should just have a Boba Fett section.

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Doris Kearns Goodwin also mentioned in https://xkcd.com/2160/ 05:51, 25 November 2021 (UTC)

Why "Boba Fett's Gadgets and How He Got Them" is not described? It is clearly a mix of sort-of-facts - description of Fett's gadgets and how artists designed them, and fiction stories of how he got them. -- [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]]) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

well, it could also be a list of what the gadgets are in-universe and the stories of how he got them, which is non-fiction in the star wars universe but fiction in real life. 16:47, 25 November 2021 (UTC)Bumpf

(Edit comment) "Bobba Fett's armor is definitely Beskar, as shown in the Mandalorian season 2. However, there are conflicting official star wars publications that mention his armor being durasteel. The commonly accepted solution is that it is an alloy of both."... Or a composite laminate/overlay. Like Stormtrooper armor has a layer of Explodium on the inside, hence how Rebel gunshots are so incapacitating to them. 09:25, 25 November 2021 (UTC)

  • Nope, they're made of "implodium" otherwise someone else might get hurt. SDSpivey (talk) 16:02, 25 November 2021 (UTC)

Could we call it Meta fiction or Meta nonfiction?

What's the context here—a library? And has anybody asked Doris Kearns Goodwin whether she has such a work in some stage of preparation? Yngvadottir (talk) 22:28, 25 November 2021 (UTC)

"Fictional" is very hard word to use. Consider the phrase "fictional character". Character means a person in a novel, play, film etc. If the novel is fiction, the person is also fictional ... but it is fictional character? What's fictional on it being a character (fact) in real (fact) book? Or another example: Red Book of Westmarch. This is real book in fictional universe. Is it fictional book? But wait, its content is basically same as Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, real books in real universe. -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:33, 25 November 2021 (UTC)

Hadn't read this before making my edit in one spot, of using "Fictitious". Maybe that helps, maybe it doesn't. 03:15, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
Also, in a fictional story featuring a version of a real person, is the person in that story real or fictional? 17:52, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
The Explain XKCD commentary refers to "the original Star Wars" of 1977 vintage, however the first released Star Wars media item was a book, in 1976. The film came later. From Wikipedia, Star Wars page: "The novelization of the film was published as Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker in December 1976, six months before the film was released. The credited author was George Lucas, but the book was revealed to have been ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster. Marketing director Charles Lippincott secured the deal with Del Rey Books to publish the novelization in November 1976. By February 1977, a half million copies had been sold.[7]" So technically the "original Star Wars" is 1976 and was not a film. Reference to 1977 original should state "original film".

I actually saw Randall at a Doris Kearns Goodwin event in Western Massachusetts the Sunday before this! -- [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]]) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Related to this... I'm not the person who got edited out here but I think the intention by them was that DKG certainly is real, while I assume the editer-out thought it was the how-and-why as a whole that was 'questioned'. Still, if it's confusing, yeah maybe best not given the faux-CN tag. 22:25, 29 November 2021 (UTC)