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Can one produce/write a work of fiction that is so fictional that there is no connection to anything within the real world? If not, why?

And what I mean by connection is that there is no relation in every way starting from each letter and word to the storytelling, the plot, characters, relations between characters dialogue, setting (every aspect of the setting)?

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    You do realize how subjective "so great", "so different" and "nothing similar" are? And it would have to be written in words whose meanings are established based on "everyday reality", ultimately, so "absolutely nothing similar" is not going to happen.
    – Conifold
    Mar 8 at 1:04
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    "Different perspectives" on subjective questions are personal opinions. Asking for those is off-topic here.
    – Conifold
    Mar 8 at 3:56
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    Take a look at the Codex Seraphinianus.
    – Scott Rowe
    Mar 8 at 13:08
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    This comes to mind, too.
    – T. Sar
    Mar 8 at 15:32
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    My first thought was Jabberwocky. I guess there are a few real things described like "boy", but in most of the story is based upon coined words that had no pre-established meaning. If the few recognizable things were also replaced with new coinages, the story wouldn't work nearly as well.
    – supercat
    Mar 8 at 15:59

6 Answers 6

7

Of course, no problem at all. Look.

The Cadmium Sycamore's Lullaby

Rzbxl qpjnfds hwutrck bly'pq omvlei kczmnu 8&% t3rv\ `po98iq 23rp$ mxnldjg rgsbqlx cafj0y1 n2ue6d@ 5t7yzw0 lmqojan %ks^2pv :p8*qmr gnbhfs& iwjrqdc 9q7zcni jiqstdp ql03@%y 6zxr28u f9nmt4b gj2lpxv t7q93bz xthn8pm rg2wql6 yjnvdmz q7p5xkg 6tqypj3 zibnoq1 lkczuxm rqmw9yj ljnqbsk #q2x%yn w9msrg2 qmsdbcr 2@zep$q 3uvnjlx 6wdlg#1 rb5xktn wunezf7

n@wqt^x p2e#cko ns0qm6 4#8alji k7pngvb 2rgit%x qcwlmf5 2@s^pqt hobxwlt 9yx6%d inluk7q mjlbveq nhiwok$ z9n&ry5 xqnpl6* xvg@r7 q9g5r3w egvqsmb @xp!8r4 vafbxzt h7xpwmu k6q5yt# mq4zt@n q!2^8vx israedc 2ug7nk cjglt$3 mrqa#dt ysxnrj* nwpcg%7 8ts9b*n 3qbpxw2 bz6yacm

pfm2wt5 owlt#jn @7qpbic zsqxmjn 9@vxgzl 6$3awkn bp5cq\j r7lfdxz %4qc3js i&2^qnk 6uzwfmh lnjpq28 bjn$4kd kf5mbql 09x6#y2 rd8ltwx ybnvqdp 53\tpq cshgrqz xvtdnjb hpmqy7z dvxsbt8 tpq^#69 fjmrncq wlxfeou 7qnv3pz q9ldx7s gh6qld xbgsz%t

Explanation (or lack thereof):

Words and Symbols: Random combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols.

Plot: There's no discernible plot or event progression – just a sequence of nonsensical arrangements.

Characters: No identifiable characters exist.

Dialogue: Random character strings that don't resemble language.

Setting: There's no hint of a specific place or time frame.

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    But how can you say that it's fiction? Every gh6qld of it was true!
    – g s
    Mar 8 at 1:39
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    I edited it and gave it a name - The Cadmium Sycamore's Lullaby. Now you can be sure it's fiction!
    – Groovy
    Mar 8 at 1:42
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    Oh, but I see that it is based on reality since your story is structured into words and paragraphs, that is something you have taken from this reality. Not complete fiction!
    – How why e
    Mar 8 at 1:43
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    Ah, but you see, by the very act of perceiving and comprehending this text as words and paragraphs, have you not also tethered your own consciousness to the constraining constructs of our shared reality? Perhaps this linguistic cyber-Singularity is the true fiction, an imprisoning simulated semblance in which we are all unwitting characters.
    – Groovy
    Mar 8 at 1:47
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    On a more serious note, have you read - Finnegans Wake by James Joyce?
    – Groovy
    Mar 8 at 1:53
5

It is a nature of the human brain to make shortcut connections (while processing information) to something already known or experienced.

Even if an alien who has never been on Earth wrote a novel, you would see familiar patterns and ideas anyway.

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    One would try to find familiar patterns but seeing or finding similar patterns is a different argument. I would say "not necessarily" it is very dependent to the alien, even the idea of a novel might be so completely different that it might not be written but instead spoken or even completely telepathic or maybe even the "novel" itself woven into time-space itself. "Alien", here, could range from just a bacteria, to some incredibly sentient civilization to even AI.
    – How why e
    Mar 8 at 11:17
4

A narrative work made out of words is unlikely to satisfy your criteria, as every word is so loaded with connections to our world. So, of your "produce/write" request, write is probably impossible. Produce is more plausible, as works of fiction don't have to have words! The movie Metropolis is undoubtedly a work of fiction and is composed of a sequence of images with no words or audio, for example. (of course Metropolis is very connected to the world and so doesn't satisfy your request)

So lets hunt for a sequence of images that is fiction (I pick the definition of fiction: has narrative and is untrue) and yet unconnected to the real world

A strong candidate is a Mandelbrot Zoom video. It has narrative structure (progression over time, repeating motifs appearing with different details, climax) but no connection to the real world. Unfortunately, it is not untrue: it's more of a documentary of a strange world, it depicts the mandelbrot set accurately.

So what about a fake Mandelbrot Zoom video? As far as I can tell no one has done this, but a diffusion transformer like SORA but trained on mandelbrot videos could produce a work of fiction like you request.

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  • I think I've seen one of these, like flying through a weird spiky cavern.
    – Scott Rowe
    Apr 5 at 23:03
3

My vote would be for the current undeciphered writings that exist today. They can't be understood. Fiction and non-fiction have no meaning since they are undecipherable. They are not similar to each other and many may never be deciphered.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undeciphered_writing_systems

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    They can't be understood but not for the reasons a question starter describes. (no relation in every way starting from each letter and word to the storytelling, the plot, characters, relations between characters dialogue, setting)
    – Groovy
    Mar 8 at 5:23
3

you'll forgive the opportunistic promotion, I hope, since questions like this are once-in-a-lifetime. I suggest you take a free peek inside one of the novels purportedly written by Marco Ocram (not me, I should add). The alleged author- a geeky fantasist- is a self-penned character, inventing his existence in real-time while starring as his own protagonist. Such is his literary incompetence, he cannot see as far as the end of whichever sentence he is typing, which causes him to pen increasingly bizarre and improbable twists to extract himself from whatever corner he has blindly run into. The narrative weaves either side of the fourth wall, switching even within a sentence between the deluded perspectives of Marco the author and Marco the character, while breaking one convention of fiction after another. Although seemingly works of immense incompetence, the subtext presents no end of scope for philosophical reflection about the nature of reality, society and self.

While the books are not quite as dissociated from reality as the OP might have envisaged, they certainly satisfy the criteria of there being absolutely nothing similar in the world of published fiction. If you have read the original by Umberto Eco, you might appreciate Ocram's post-postmodernist homage The Awful Truth About The Name Of The Rose in which Marco solves a series of crimes in an A-list celebrity retreat run as a medieval monastery.

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  • I have taken a look at your bio before and I have read some of the synopsis for your books before and I thought to myself there is truly nothing like this that has quite an unorthodox way of incorporating the author's real time into his work of fiction. I haven't read your book fully but I will definitely try and read it when I have time. The experimentality and unorthodoxy of your setup for your book is pretty creative.
    – How why e
    Mar 8 at 11:12
2

Can one produce/write a work of fiction that is so fictional that there is no connection to anything within the real world? If not, why?

And what I mean by connection is that there is no relation in every way starting from each letter and word to the storytelling, the plot, characters, relations between characters dialogue, setting (every aspect of the setting)?

Let's see if HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy fits the bill. It has 3 important inclusions that may help it be one of the answers.

  1. The Babel fish is a small, bright yellow fish, which can be placed in someone's ear in order for them to be able to hear any language translated into their first language. Ford Prefect puts one in Arthur Dent's ear at the beginning of the story so that he can hear the Vogon speech.
  2. The Infinite Improbability Drive was a wonderful new method of crossing interstellar distances in a mere nothingth of a second, without "tedious mucking about in hyperspace."
  3. 42 (or forty-two) is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. This Answer was first calculated by the supercomputer Deep Thought after seven and a half million years of thought. This shocking answer resulted in the construction of an even larger supercomputer, named Earth, which was tasked with determining what the question was in the first place.

So we have plausible reason why the languages are understandable to us the reader, (BabelFish), A drive that takes you to infinitely improbable places, and the iconic "42" the answer to life the universe and everything (if that don't just beat all!). Toss in the bonus... finding out why Earth exists, and that the mice are the rulers and well..

... Ya gotta a pretty amazing piece of "right out there" sci-fi. With only some forgiveable mention of regular day-to-day life here on Earth so the contrast to galaxy-traipsing would be so dramatic to the reader.

Its maybe not "the" answer to your question, but it might be "an" answer to your question.

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    This doesn't really seem to answer the question as given. The plot and world-building might both be far afield from reality, but it still has living beings which communicate with one another in order to fulfill internal desires, it's still set in a universe that's mostly empty space with nearly every character being from a planet that orbits a star, it's presented in relatively straightforward narrative form, etc. etc. HHGTTG is a great series of novels, but it's not that abstracted from reality except in the base sense of being in a fictional setting.
    – Idran
    Mar 8 at 18:52
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    Well there is that. But... they live in a universe where there IS an answer to the nature of reality, life the universe and everything. A large percentage of people, even here in this philosophy group... think an answer to everything is an absolute impossibility. So... there is that. Mar 8 at 22:23

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