Over here, Jon Hotten responds to the Non-endings post about his book The Years of the Locust. It is reasonable to say that Tim Anderson got life without parole because the Judge insisted on keeping his narrative within narrow limits for the purposes of the trial. When you're aware of the wider story, this seems terribly harsh. But who is to say that the Judge was wrong? Stretching the narrative would have been arbitrary too - you could, after all, start the story with Rick Parker's great-great-grandparents if you wanted.
But Anderson is in a real prison. Jon and I agreed that the arbitrary nature of narratives is a diverting philosophical game... unless the length of your prison term depends on it.