recently asked me what I consider "canon" for Duster. After all, she's the subject of several novels, novellas, short stories, image serials, comics/graphic novels, stand-alone images, and more. (I'm kind of surprised she doesn't have her own lunch box yet...) While we creative types often tend to play fast and loose with things like "continuity", that sort of thing matters to fans. So allow me to clear this up a bit, for those of you who care about such things.
First off, I am indeed one of those fickle creative types who regards some things as, well, "more canonical" than others. Basically whatever story I'm trying to tell will dictate the past events that may or may not be pertinent to it. Nevertheless I do strive for some level of consistency. After all, as early as Duster's second story ("Duster versus Professor Pervy"), I included references to elements of the first story, tying Duster's fictional world together.
As a general rule, the "bigger" the story, the more canonical I consider it. The written stories, which take the most effort, are therefore the most canonical. So the "Collections" of early stories and the novels available at Smashwords
(and some at Amazon
) are canon. As are the written stories that used to be at The Wizard's Lair
which have yet to be republished in collections (one day...).
Here are Duster's canonical fictional stories in chronological order:
You might notice that the most recent Duster novel, Game Theory
, is missing from that list. Game Theory
, as I explained in the book's introduction, is definitel
y an alternative universe story and is not
canon. You could regard Flechette: Mesmerized
as canon, though it only contains a brief, somewhat vague reference to Duster in passing.
What about the Duster stories published here at Deviant Art? They could
be considered canon, and to have chronologically followed the written stories. However, you might notice that those stories, much like the one-off images, short serials, and even the graphic novels, are all formulated much like an old-style TV episode. That is, they're largely self-contained and have a sort of "reset button" implied at the end. You could read them in just about any order (mostly) and they'd make sense (or so I hope). You also don't need to have read the above stories and novels for them to make sense (again, so I hope). If you've read my character profiles
, that should be enough background to know who's who and what their relationships are.
This loosey-goosey approach allows me to avoid confusing anyone who hasn't read the above stories; it also gives me the freedom to disregard the events of these stories if I want or need to when telling another story. So far, though, that hasn't been necessary and I hope it never will be.
The D.A. stories, in rough chronological order, are:
There are also a number of comics/image serials featuring Duster... too many to list here! Again, the ones that are the "most" canonical would be the bigger ones. These are listed below, but not necessarily in chronological order, especially since some of them remain unfinished:
Oh yeah, that last one... my next graphic novel will be a longer version of that story. You heard it here first.
So where does that leave everything else? Well, as I said, any shorter serial or stand-alone image might
be canon or might not. You would have to assume (as you would for some of the serials listed immediately above) that Duster eventually finds a way out of the depicted predicament so she's free to fight crime another day. Even if her amazing escape is not depicted. Also, stories featuring Duster by other writers, such as those submitted to contests or art jams, are almost definitely not
canonical. But they could be if I ever decide they are. For example, I consider NathanOmir's "The Parthenon Contract"
to be canonical.
But I'd like to finish off with a list of longer serials/stories that I definitely do not consider "canonical". Not because they're bad or anything, just because they don't fit into my tidy little Dusterverse for one reason or another:
- Storm Warning: This is obviously a different universe, a fantasy setting, with a different version of Duster.
- Future Shock: Once again, this is definitely an alternative universe, this time with a SF setting.
- Dust in the Breeze: With all due respect to NebraskaBoardMaker, who crafted and commissioned this sexy tale (still one of my favourites), I don't regard it as canon. It remains unfinished because NBM and I had a respectful disagreement over the final chapter. He wanted Duster to become Breezy's permanent slave, while I wanted to hit that reset button. So instead it has a somewhat ambiguous ending. Nothin' wrong with that.