52: Secret Worlds

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Secret Worlds
No two adjacent circles are the same color.
Title text: No two adjacent circles are the same color.


The quote written in the large white circles comes from The Sandman, a comic book series about dreams. Neil Gaiman is a science fiction and fantasy author who came to fame for writing Sandman.

The meaning of the interconnected circles is ambiguous. They could represent the numerous dream worlds inside a person, or perhaps the worlds of different people. Or they could simply be abstract decoration.

The title text is probably a reference to the Four color theorem, which states that a graph drawn on a flat plane (like this one) requires at most four colors so that each region differs from all of its neighbors. The comic uses four colors (red, yellow, green, blue) but it does not properly account for the white circles, and would need to be recolored if they were included.


[Pieces of a quote in circles with lines drawn in between them.]
[Some of the circles are small and colored.]
"Everybody has a secret world inside of them.
All of the people in the whole world
I mean everybody
No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside
Inside they've all got unimaginable
magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing, worlds
Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe."
--Neil Gaiman


  • This is the fiftieth comic originally posted to livejournal. The previous comic was 51: Malaria, the next is 53: Hobby.

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Just to the left of the small circle that says something like "I mean everybody!" are two adjacent yellow circles. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Nope. Red and yellow. Zoom in and you'll see it. 04:13, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

The graph does indeed require four colors, since it contains four mutually connected circles in the upper left corner. Richmond tudor (talk) 04:52, 13 March 2015 (UTC)