I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about fictional universes lately for our fiction project. I am also an incorrigible comic book geek, and I stumbled upon this which I found pertinent: the Conan stories of Robert E. Howard have generated multiple competing chronologies:
In an attempt to provide a coherent timeline which fit the numerous adventures of Conan penned by Robert E. Howard and later writers, various “Conan chronologies” have been prepared by many people from the 1930s onward. Note that no consistent timeline has yet accommodated every single Conan story. The following are the principal theories that have been advanced over the years.
- Miller/Clark chronology — A Probable Outline of Conan’s Career (1936) was the first effort to put the tales in chronological order. Completed by P. Schuyler Miller and John D. Clark, the chronology was later revised by Clark and L. Sprague de Camp in An Informal Biography of Conan the Cimmerian (1952).
- Robert Jordan chronology — A Conan Chronology by Robert Jordan (1987) was a new chronology written by Conan writer Robert Jordan that included all written Conan material up to that point. It was heavily influenced by the Miller/Clark/de Camp chronologies, though it departed from them in a number of idiosyncratic instances.
- William Galen Gray chronology — Timeline of Conan’s Journeys (1997, rev. 2004), was fan William Galen Gray’s attempt to create “a chronology of all the stories, both Howard and pastiche.” Drawing on the earlier Miller/Clark and Jordan chronologies, it represents the ultimate expression of their tradition to date.
- Joe Marek chronology — Joe Marek’s chronology is limited to stories written (or devised) by Howard, though within that context it is essentially a revision of the Miller/Clark tradition to better reflect the internal evidence of the stories and avoid forcing Conan into what he perceives as a “mad dash” around the Hyborian world within timeframes too rapid to be credible.
- Dale Rippke chronology — The Darkstorm Conan Chronology (2003) was a completely revised and heavily researched chronology, radically repositioning a number of stories and including only those stories written or devised by Howard. The Dark Horse comic series follows this chronology.
I hope people argue over my work like this someday.
Reminds me of string theory in a way -