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The Play Within the Play: An Analysis of Going Meta in Speculative Fiction (Salon A/B)

Among many other qualities, Shakespeare was a master of using plays within his plays to amplify his themes and plot arcs. This technique of self-reference has been used for dramatic and comedic effect in many works. Orson Scott Card had Ender Wiggin playing through a story game that ultimately tied into and reflected his "real life" story; P.C. Hodgell has traditional stories in her novels that shadow the main action; Stephen King pulled the ultimate coup and wrote himself into his Dark Tower series as a character, incorporating his struggles with substance abuse into the decay of the universe; Michael Ende's novel The Neverending Story famously loops in on itself. Is this an effective tool for writers to use? What makes it work and when does it fall flat? Let's analyze the phenomena!

Room: 
Salon A/B

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