Posts Tagged ‘TV Tropes’

Tropes of Science Fiction

Stumbled upon a fun site today. I was searching for tropes of Science Fiction and came across a site called TV Tropes. Don’t let the name fool you, it much more comprehensive than just TV. This wiki is a catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction; or at least, that’s what the homepage states.

I just found it highly amusing. It written in a very fun and informal style. And although their aim may not be to poke fun at the tropes, they are pretty silly and may have you thinking about SF in a new way. And there’s a lot of them.

Check out these Speculative Fiction Tropes excerpts:

Well with a blog called Brain Plucker, this caught my disembodied brain’s attention:

Brain In A Jar

We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

The Wonders of Science can keep a human brain alive in a plastic fishbowl with a few wires and doo-dads running into it. Sometimes this is benevolent, but usually it’s nefarious. Occasionally, an underachiever Mad Scientist may need to keep the whole head alive, not just the brain. Sometimes the spinal cord and/or eyeballs are also there. Sometimes it is presented as the end result of natural evolutionary processes. One day, we may find the rest of our bodies superfluous and exist simply as disembodied brains. Occasionally with this trope, a virtual reality is put into the brain so that it thinks it’s a regular person with a body, making it a sort of Lotus-Eater Machine. See The Other Wiki‘s “brain in a vat” article for further discussion of this idea. It seems that in about one in five examples of this trope the brain will always be Hitler’s. Walt Disney (or, more likely a No Celebrities Were Harmed Expy of him) is also popular. Expect them to be given mobility by being encased in robotic life support units… with Death Rays! For Science!! Compare with People Jars and Man In The Machine; pretty much the same thing, but with complete bodies instead of just a brain. Compare also Soul Jar, in which the more immaterial essence of one’s self, is preserved. Compare Heart Drive, for a robotic (and sometimes biological) equivalent. Compare with Oracular Head when the head may be preserved by other means and used for answering questions of a divinatory nature. Compare to Losing Your Head when the whole head is preserved and capable of independent movement. This may or may not lead to And I Must Scream.

I’ve been reading a lot of Fantastic Four comics, so this entry caught my eye:

Reed Richards Is Useless

You’re smart enough to invent it. Therefore, you’re surely smart enough to duplicate it, changing human society forever.Right?

“Stardust, whose vast knowledge of interplanetary science has made him the most remarkable man that ever lived, devotes his abilities to crime-busting…”

Stardust the Super Wizard, Fantastic Comics #14

The observation that in some genres, characters can have fantastic technology far beyond our own, yet this technology only gets used to solve equally fantastic problems. A person who controls weather will never make it rain in drought-stricken areas, or stop the rain during terrible flooding, or stop a heatwave. A person who can control fire will never douse bush fires or burning buildings, or get a job at a power station. And a supergenius (such as Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four) who can save the life of starving demi-god being like Galactus but will never take a weekend to duplicate and market Dr. Doom’s burn-victim cure device. (or even five minutes to find out what causes piss shivers) or release his inventions that could solve a variety of real-world problems. All potential solutions to real-life problems will only be done in novel (fictional) situations — useless. Status Quo Is God, and the status quo of the real world even more so. It’s the same reason you can’t stop Hitler from starting World War II.

It then goes into typical motivation for this kind of logic in writing. And many examples of in different mediums. Good Stuff!

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