S.F. Jude Terror wrote:
Yes it can, unless the reader is a robot. When people read fiction, they form an agreement with the writer to suspend disbelief and accept the fictional world as a reality of sorts. The writer, in return, agrees to keep the events, characteristics, laws, etc. in this fictional world consistent within itself, at least enough so that the reader is able to immerse him or herself in the reality. Human beings are not perfect, not eve writers, and you're never going to have "perfect continuity." Take, for instance, when a new artist comes onto a comic book. He's going to draw characters slightly differently than the previous artist. Does that make it a new world with new characters? No. We as the readers accept this difference.
With retcons, the agreement between writer and reader has been expanded to account for the generally shared desire to continue telling stories about these same characters in the prime range of their fictional lives. To do that, certain elements of the fictional past that are tied to elements of the real world which make the story unbelievable, shattering the suspension of disbelief, are changed by the writer with the agreement of the reader.
The changes need to not be so egregious as to destroy the agreement for the reader, and often they fail at that (OMD for instance), and there is backlash, but it doesn't change the fact that tweaks and changes to continuity happen all the time, and if they are accepted by the reader, they are part of continuity as we all understand it. Because continuity isn't real. It's a concept in your mind, the culmination of all the stories you've read and how your mind ties it all together.
Just like reality, it's based on your perception. It's impossible for you to perceive it any other way. You perceive it through reading and imagination. The mind is an amazing instrument that will make sense of all that and provide an enjoyable fantasy experience for you.
Unless it's damaged, like yours is.
LOL. The social contract of fiction reading.
- Continuity is or it is not. There is no such thing as soft continuity.
- A character IS his continuity.
- Continuity is consistency of the characteristics of people, plot, objects, and places seen by the reader or viewer.