Bittercon panel number three. And dual-purpose of getting something off my to-write list!
Levels and Limits of Metafictionality
Stories about stories. When can the teller of a story successfully interact with the story, and when is it a cheat?
Examples that I think work (how they do is spoiler-protected and cut for length): Pamela Dean's Secret Country trilogy, in which kids cross into another world and it looks like their "let's pretend" game is real; the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, where a fan of a musical plays a record, imagines the production, and talks to the audience about the songs, staging, artists, and story; Katherine Blake's (Dorothy Heydt) novel The Interior Life, in which a housewife has detailed daydreams about a secondary fantasy world. What else? And is Dream of the Endless automatically disqualified?
(Don't spoil people, please: ROT13 spoilers or put them between <span style="color: #999999; background-color: #999999"> </span>.)
All spoilers are ROT13'ed, which I prefer because I'm sure no-one's styles will mess it up.
The Secret Country trilogy: hzz, rzoneenffvatyl V qba'g guvax V pna npphengryl qrfpevor gur zrpunavfz orpnhfr vg'f orra n juvyr, ohg pregnvayl gur bgure jbeyq jnf erny; gurer jnf whfg fbzr jnl gung fgbevrf sebz bhe jbeyq pebffrq bire naq unq rssrpg ba gurvef. Evtug?
The Drowsy Chaperone: gur aneengbe trgf nyy fnq ng gur raq naq cnhfrf gur erpbeq, naq gur punenpgref va gur zhfvpny pbzr bhg bs gurve sebmra cbfrf naq vapbecbengr uvz vagb gur qnapr fprar—juvpu ng svefg unq zr ivoengvat jvgu vaqvtangvba, ohg ng gur raq bs gur ahzore ur'f onpx va uvf punve, naq vg frrzrq pyrne gung ur jnf vzntvavat orvat cneg bs vg gb yvsg uvf fcvevgf, be vg jnf n zrgncube sbe gur cbjre bs fgbel gb erzbir barfrys sebz bar'f gebhoyrf; gur zhfvpny jnfa'g ernyyl gnxvat cynpr va uvf ncnegzrag.
The Interior Life: V jnf pbaivaprq gung gur ubhfrjvsr jbhyq pebff vagb gur frpbaqnel snagnfl jbeyq, naq V jnf fb vzcerffrq jura fur qvqa'g.