Sunday, May 15, 2011

Science Fiction Tropes

What would science fiction be without the "science" of an entire genre?  Here's a brief introduction to the fantastic tropes of science fiction, some of which are more scientific than others.

trope (from the Greek tropos - "turn, direction, way")
In science fiction and fantasy, "trope" refers to the pantheon of commonly recurring devices and themes. Note that many of the tropes of theme (such as the "hero's journey") are common to both speculative genres. "Device tropes" may likewise be similar, but almost always take different specific forms (e.g. "teleportation" versus "apparation" in Harry Potter)
The idea that a human being (or other object) can be dematerialized (i.e. broken down into its constituent atoms or an unspecified form of energy), transmitted across great distances practically instantaneously, and then rematerialized without (much) ill effect.

Time Travel
Moving backward and forward in time.  The implied violations in causality often lead to ethical dilemmas regarding use of the technology.

Tolkien Tradition of Fantasy
The basic model upon which many contemporary fantasy epics are based.  Essentially, the basic story will involve dragons, wizards, and various humanoids living in a complex society with multiple nations.  Usually, the heroes must embark on a difficult and dangerous journey in order to defeat the evil forces of darkness and restore the balance of justice, order, and tradition.

No comments:

Post a Comment