Hello and welcome to History of the Reality Wars 101. You can call me Thaddeus or Mr. Zeal. I see that as usual, we have a wide variety of life-forms in this class. Some of you will find much of the material familiar, especially in this first lesson. I apologize for this and ask you to bear with me. Please hold your questions until the end of the lecture. Now, since some of you lack hands or reject the dichotomy of up and down, we've provided you with Frobozz Magic Question Buttons. If your button doesn't work, do not go to the FrobozzCo InterTemporal Complaints Department. Especially not in person -- don't ever visit FrobozzCo HQ without a specific invitation, no matter what it says on the package. Instead, consult the psionic manual and if that doesn't help, look for one of the techno-geeks on the list outside.
All clear? Good. Then let's begin. I'd like to start at the beginning, but unfortunately I can't. Anyone who looks for a beginning in the Reality Wars will find at least five, and not always the same five. Most of those beginnings never happened anyway, just like all of the major battles. So instead, we'll start with some terminology. [indicates the blackboard, which shows the word “grammar” inside the image of a many-tentacled creature clutching various terms.] I just used the general erasure tense. I think I'd better explain why people invented it, and why this Cthuloid needs so many tentacles. The general erasure tense indicates something that would have occurred, something we could observe in history, if not for one of the following forms of editing:
First level editing means using the rules of a specific reality or ficton to cause drastic change. This includes time travel and Amber-style reality molding.
Second level editing means using the Heinlein-Burroughs-Long rules of World As Myth to change the rules of first level editing. We also sometimes speak of ‘second level events’ that show no sign of an author beyond the ficton or storyline itself. For example, the Heinlein-Duane Law of Conflict says that when two timelines or storylines come into conflict, due to first level editing for example, each will try to absorb the other. Sometimes one will succeed without difficulty. In other cases, the warring realities will generate new timelines as they attempt to absorb each others' energy and so forth. In some cases one of these new fictons will absorb the first two. In every case, the inhabitants of each ficton will think of themselves as real. As you know, our town of Podge – I'm sorry, we're calling it Hodge today – our town is the only ficton that has never thought of itself as the One Real Reality.
Third level editing does not occur in the currently accessible version of multiversal history. I just used the third level erasure tense, by the way. If editing of this form did occur, it would take place entirely in the theorized Deep Reality Wars, where life as we know it could not survive. Battles here would consist entirely of conflicts between special living fictons or archetypal figures who could function in such an environment. Remember this for later classes, when we discuss the Powers Born of Life and the question of who creates who.
[long explanation of grammar cut for space]