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We've had two questions tagged Peanuts both with well received questions and answers:

The second of the two was closed as off-topic due to not being about SFF, was left closed in the re-open queue but is currently sat in the re-open queue again. The first was deemed on-topic in some of the comments but has entered the close vote queue recently and unanimously been left open.

In a similar vein to this meta question:

Is there any information to suggest that the Peanuts comics would be on-topic or should the questions be redirected to Literature?


Related reading:

- Is Calvin and Hobbes on topic?
- Is "The Rats of NIMH" series on topic?
- Are works that aren't SF per se, but have occasional SFnal elements on-topic? (e.g. spy movies)
- Are anthropomorphic animals by themselves enough to deem a work fantasy?

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    'Occasional SFnal content' seems to describe Snoopy very well – Valorum Jul 2 '18 at 10:55
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    @Valorum "If the question is specifically about an sf-nal element, even if it's only a minor part of the work, it's on-topic." also describes the questions that have been asked very well imo. – Edlothiad Jul 2 '18 at 18:32
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    @Edlothiad - How he manages to sleep on a wooden house isn't on-topic. – Valorum Jul 2 '18 at 18:41
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    @Valorum It most certainly is. (unless you happen to think sleeping on a pointy roof without falling is normal in our universe for dogs). – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 19:30
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    @TheAsh - Not normal, but certainly not obviously supernatural. – Valorum Jul 2 '18 at 19:41
  • @Valorum Where does one draw the line between supernatural and 'not normal'? Especially here, where the author's answer implies that there is a supernatural ability uncommon to all dogs. – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 19:44
  • After rereading the discussions here it seems to be that the main disagreement is whether the act of sleeping on top of a doghouse without falling in Peanuts is scifi. Those of us more familiar with the work understand it to be yes, but most of those who have a mere cursory understanding intuitively feel its not scifi and thus off-topic. – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 21:57
  • Can I just point out that most likely, these questions would be off-topic at Literature as well? Also, as the asker of those two questions, i would prefer they not be moved, even if they stay closed, as they would merit wider exposure here. – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 21:59
  • @TheAsh - The roof one has been migrated – Valorum Jul 3 '18 at 18:12
  • @Valorum It should be migrated back, as it is off-topic for literature as well. – TheAsh Jul 3 '18 at 21:46
  • @Valorum We'll see what happens. SO far although some in the comments don't like it there, there has been no vtc – TheAsh Jul 3 '18 at 22:58
  • @TheAsh why would it be off-topic in literature? – Edlothiad Jul 4 '18 at 5:15
  • @Edlothiad look at Zyerah's comment on the question literature.stackexchange.com/questions/6892/… – TheAsh Jul 4 '18 at 12:57
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    @TheAsh they never say it's off-topic, nor do they come close to even suggesting that. They're simply stating that on Literature they tend to default to a literary analysis of the texts available as opposed to the word of god default that this site is rather obsessed with. If SFF can find a quote from the author, nothing else could be better. For Lit, if you can provide a solid analysis of the literature providing evidence from the text and explaining your viewpoint well, you'll get more upvotes. They're merely mentioning since they done adore WoG, the voting is a bit bizarre. – Edlothiad Jul 4 '18 at 13:00
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Null Jul 5 '18 at 13:44
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Both Science Fiction and Fantasy are broad categories but I fail to see how Peanuts fits into either of them.

There are many cartoon tropes (characters only falling after noticing they've run into thin air, stepping off falling objects at the last second without injury, drawing then opening doors) where the normal laws of nature do not apply. Perhaps a more accurate characterization would be surrealist. They reflect the reality that the cartoonist can make anything happen.

I'm not going to attempt to define Fantasy but it seems to me that a more permanent and sustaining set of features need to exist. The example of the 'larger on the inside' kennel is just a throwaway joke. It will not be repeated or referred to again. Would you claim that Peanuts also belongs in History because Snoopy imagines himself as the Red Baron?

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    The general consensus on works like Peanuts is that questions about the SFF-nal aspects of the work are on topic. General questions are not. If we decide to make Peanuts completely off topic you are going to have to do the same to all similar works and good luck with that... – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 13:34
  • For reference to the "larger on the inside kennel" I believe it has been referred to a few times throughout the comic but I'd have to dig up the relevant strips to find out for sure. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 14:17
  • Running off a cliff and hanging for a moment before falling seems like a great edge case to me. Another edge case might be a question about how an "Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator" works. Perhaps that latter question would be on-topic without any implication that Looney Tunes works in general are on-topic. – Todd Wilcox Jul 2 '18 at 14:51
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    " The example of the 'larger on the inside' kennel is just a throwaway joke. It will not be repeated or referred to again" Completely false and against Peanuts canon. Snoopy manages to fit a Van Gogh and Pool Table, among other things, into his doghouse. It's a running gag that most certainly is basic Peanuts canon. – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 15:04
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    @TheLethalCarrot - While the "larger than seen" (it's not necessarily larger on the inside, if there's a basement dug out underneath it).aspect of the doghouse is not as frequently seen as Snoopy sleeping on the peak of his doghouse's roof, it was mentioned on multiple occasions across the years, not merely as a theme in one week's strips. – RDFozz Jul 2 '18 at 16:21
  • @RDFozz Isn't that what I said? – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 16:22
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    @TheLethalCarrot - Arrgh! Yeah, that should have been general to the answerer, not specific to you - sorry. – RDFozz Jul 2 '18 at 17:06
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    If a mundane story has elements that could be SFF, but could also be mundane, it seems to me that they should be assumed to be mundane unless there is clear evidence to the contrary. A basement dug under the house is a perfectly reasonable mundane explanation that makes more sense in context. Occam's Razor. – Donald.McLean Jul 2 '18 at 21:50
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Reacting specifically to the "How does Snoopy sleep on the peak of his doghouse's roof?" could have been venturing into the realm of asking for a real scientific answer to a SFF-nal element of a story; however, given the answer Schulz proposed — his floppy ears keep him on the roof — I'd have to say it fits. If the OP pressed for a more realistic answer, or if Schulz hadn't provided that solution, that'd be a different issue.

I wouldn't considered Charlie Brown being knocked out of his clothes as an SFF-nal element of the strip, even though it's not realistic; it's a way of communicating what happens without showing the entire baseball field. Even occasional references to helping him find his clothes afterwards wouldn't change my opinion. The one thing that would, would be a comment from the creator indicating it wasn't intended as shorthand (as I'm stating), but as a fantastic element of the script the he was deliberately playing with.

So, I'd guess I'd say that the intent of the author should help determine the nature of the strip's elements. If it's merely intended to be exaggeration to communicate, it's not really SFF-nal; if it's expressly intended to be a fantastic element of the work, it is.

  • Answers don’t determine whether or not a questions is on topic or not. Though I agree with the general idea here that essentially the SFF-nal aspects are on topic. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 17:22
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    The intent of the author may not be the answer to the question. And, of course, the intent of the author may not be obvious one way or the other. However, if the creator explicitly intended for an element of their story to be SFF-nal, it's harder to argue that it's not. – RDFozz Jul 2 '18 at 17:43
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    My point is that to know the intent of the author you pretty much have to know the answer. And answers don't make a question on or off topic. Though I'm not arguing against this point: "if the creator explicitly intended for an element of their story to be SFF-nal, it's harder to argue that it's not." – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 18:22
  • I'm not 100% convinced that knowing the author's intent would always provide the answer - but, I can't immediately come up with a great example where that's true. I do understand that the answer shouldn't make a question on- or off-topic. – RDFozz Jul 2 '18 at 19:30
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The linked meta about on-topic-ness in general has this:

If there is a minor supernatural element (e.g. a fortune teller's prediction comes true, or someone sees a ghost, or a story for children involving anthropomorphic animals) but it's just a throwaway plot element that's not particularly relevant to the question, it's off-topic.

To me, Snoopy balancing on his doghouse fits in this category completely. It's never part of the plot that he sleeps or sits on his doghouse. Contrast that with a question about Snoopy's "Sopwith Camel" fantasies. A question like, "Where did Snoopy's helmet and goggles come from?" seems a lot closer to on-topic.

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    I think you should look at the strip in my answer and re-think your answer. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 13:46
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    Also the key part of the quote is this "that's not particularly relevant to the question". It may not be relevant to the plot but the quote you mention is about the question not the plot. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 13:47
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    I'm not sure why this answer has UVs since it actually contradicts Peanuts canon and completely misinterprets a quote it uses as a main source. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 14:14
  • @TheLethalCarrot Was that drawn by Schultz? It looks very strange. But I've gotten rid of that half-answer to the original question because we don't know either way and it doesn't belong in the meta. Regarding the quote, what's the supernatural aspect of Peanuts that's relevant to the question? – Todd Wilcox Jul 2 '18 at 14:35
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    Not sure but this quote by Schultz clears it up anyway "The more Snoopy moved into his life of fantasy, the more important it became for his doghouse to remain in side view." (from the TheAsh's self answer). And you're still mis-interpreting the quote anyway. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 14:38
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    The balancing on a really thin SFF-nal object whilst asleep. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 14:38
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    @TheLethalCarrot Maybe the disconnect is related to whether there is anything SF&F about the doghouse itself. To me, there's nothing that suggests that the doghouse itself has anything about it that makes it an unusual doghouse in any way, and it's just Snoopy's internal fantasy mind that allows us to see it flying when it's actually on the ground the whole time. Maybe a question about, "Does Snoopy's doghouse actually fly, or is that all in his head?" would be on-topic. There are many creatures that balance on thin tree branches and sleep in real life. Balancing doesn't seem like SF&F. – Todd Wilcox Jul 2 '18 at 14:41
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    If you can look at the comic in my answer and reasonably come to the conclusion that, that is a normal doghouse then I'd love to buy one. As for the balancing itself I've never seen a dog balance on something like that whilst asleep never mind whilst awake. Seems pretty fantastical to me. The quote by the author even implies there are fantastical elements of the story. Remember this meta is about peanuts in general not just that specific question. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 14:44
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    @TheLethalCarrot Well I think the difference of opinion on what is fantastical and what is not is inherent in the issue itself, so we can agree to disagree on that and still discuss the meta aspects of Peanuts. The point of my quote in this answer is to highlight the fact that previous meta discussions have concluded that there are universes where some questions are on-topic and some questions are off-topic. If you haven't yet gone through the related reading linked in this meta question that gives a bit of the history of these kinds of questions. – Todd Wilcox Jul 2 '18 at 14:49
  • Yes but the quote is about the question and you quote it and use it to talk about the plot. As for if there are some questions on-topic and some off-topic I totally agree (see my answer). I suppose we will have to agree to disagree but I'm still unsure of how a doghouse of that size can fit 5 people and a dog inside and not be fantastical. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 14:51
  • @TheLethalCarrot I don't think the vast majority of strips are on-topic, but some most certainly are. – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 15:02
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    @TheAsh Which is exactly my point (see my answer)... Here I'm disagreeing with Todd stating your question is off topic. – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 15:03
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    @TheLethalCarrot I know. I just wanted to clarify your position. – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 15:12
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Yes, for SFF-nal subjects

While Charlie Brown is mostly off-topic (the character is a normal child with various normal issues that are not SFF-nal), Snoopy is arguably fantasy. Consider

  • Snoopy understands human speech, and not in a rote command ("Want to go outside?") way (we see his thoughts in balloons, where he is clearly comprehending what is said) and he can type on a typewriter in response enter image description here
  • Snoopy acts like a human in numerous circumstances. Here, Snoopy is engaged in some sort of campaign for votes. He's clearly interacting with the characters speaking to him and him responding as a person would (without talking himself) enter image description here

Both of these are SFF-nal

  • Or essentially "at least questions regarding the SFF-nal aspects of the comic are on topic" as my answer states. +1 – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 15:08
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    I agree there aspects of Peanuts and certain Peanuts strips that may be on topic. That said, a dog that understands human speech is in no way SFF. There are many dogs and other animals that understand human speech in the real world. I feel like Snoopy understanding a bird's speech is more SFF. – Todd Wilcox Jul 2 '18 at 15:16
  • @ToddWilcox You might want to clarify your answer then that you agree certain aspects of Peanuts may be on topic because at the moment it reads like you think Peanuts is completely off topic. And I believe voters on your answer are interpreting it that same way (see answer votes for the two different positions). – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 15:21
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    @ToddWilcox A dog that understands human speech and responds on a typewriter isn't SFF? – Machavity Jul 2 '18 at 15:27
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    @ToddWilcox and he can type) – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 15:32
  • @ToddWilcox Uhm, I did mention that Snoopy types, and I have an image that shows him responding to a human by typing. Not sure what else I could do there – Machavity Jul 2 '18 at 15:33
  • @ToddWilcox I've clarified this to that end. I'm not talking about rote commands here, but a comprehensive understanding of what is being said to him, in the same way a person would – Machavity Jul 2 '18 at 15:45
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    -1 As clarified by another meta question scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5117/… anthropomorphic animals aren't enough to make something a work of fantasy. – kuhl Jul 2 '18 at 16:18
  • @kuhl You did read this answer right? It's saying there is more to this than anthropomorphic animals. Also this probably falls into the on topic section of that meta post: "Their speaking was somehow fantastical to the other characters." (At least from my understanding of Peanuts). – TheLethalCarrot Jul 2 '18 at 16:25
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    @kuhl The exception to that rule is that the animal acting human was somehow fantastical to the other characters. Snoopy is clearly exceptional within his universe – Machavity Jul 2 '18 at 16:27
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    @TheLethalCarrot I did. The examples in the answer are about a dog doing human things. Snoopy isnt treated as a normal dog in the serious, outside of Schultz providing a fantastical reason for Snoopy and Woodstock to act in this way, this is off topic. – kuhl Jul 2 '18 at 16:28
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    @Machavity That comic in no way shows that Snoopy is magical. I could say the same thing about a dog who is missing a leg. Would you say that the missing leg was magically removed? – kuhl Jul 2 '18 at 16:41
  • @kuhl Show me where the mandate was for "magical". Indeed, the answer you linked notes that a character discovering an animal can understand humans (no magic involved) is on-topic – Machavity Jul 2 '18 at 16:46
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    @Machavity Show me an example where humans are shocked by Snoopy's sentience, and I'll retract my comments. That appears to be the point of Valorum's comment. In Ratatouille (which feels borderline at best to me) humans are genuinely shocked by the rat's sentience. In Peanuts, Snoopy's actions are accepted for the most part. – kuhl Jul 2 '18 at 16:52
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    @kuhl - Indeed. If one of the characters suddenly went "Oh holy crap, you can understand me!???" that would probably bring it all on topic. – Valorum Jul 2 '18 at 18:43
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It depends which strips.

These strips, yes: ![enter image description here

enter image description here

But the mundane strips, I would say not.

In regards to the questions in the question, they are on topic, as they are based on scifi elements.

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    Clearly Charlie is having a mental breakdown/hallucination in the one with the tree. Are those SFF? Is anytime a character has a daydream enough to make a question on-topic? – Skooba Jul 2 '18 at 15:35
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    @Skooba There are clear kite-eating tree comics where the tree is personified. I'll try to find one – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 16:21
  • @Skooba fixed with amuch more obvious comic. – TheAsh Jul 2 '18 at 17:16

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