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Retcon
  • n. The common situation in pulp fiction (esp. comics or soap operas) where a new story `reveals' things about events in previous stories, usually leaving the `facts' the same (thus preserving continuity) while completely changing their interpretation. For example, revealing that a whole season of "Dallas" was a dream was a retcon.
  • vt. To write such a story about a character or fictitious object. "Byrne has retconned Superman's cape so that it is no longer unbreakable. " "Marvelman's old adventures were retconned into synthetic dreams. " "Swamp Thing was retconned from a transformed person into a sentient vegetable. " "Darth Vader was retconned into Luke Skywalker's father in "The Empire Strikes Back". [This term is included because it is a good example of hackish linguistic innovation in a field completely unrelated to computers. The word `retcon' will probably spread through comics fandom and lose its association with hackerdom within a couple of years; for the record, it started here. -- ESR] [1993 update some comics fans on the net now claim that retcon was independently in use in comics fandom before rec. arts. comics. In lexicography, nothing is ever simple. -- ESR]