I came across a short story a few years back. Probably post 2010.

I suspect it may have been on a forum thought it may have been a short story site. I thought it might have been a comment on on Charles Stross's blog but can't find it googling.

It was a somewhat meta story that I believe was inspired by some discussion about the standard "heroes journey" style stories like star wars etc.

The story opens with some kind of space battle, with attention focused on the fleet commander of one side.

They get news that a small group has managed to board one of their vessels.

The commander is alarmed and asks questions for some details of the infiltrators along the lines of asking whether they're a plucky young hero with a band of misfits.

upon confirmation he exclaims something to the effect that they're (not exact quote) "using [generic term for that story structure] against us!"

They refer to doing such a thing as one might about the first use of nuclear weapons in a conflict.

He then orders the fleet to stop firing and for all ships personnel to connect to their computers and to take whatever drugs they have to hand, it doesn't matter what drugs, anything, because (not exact quote) "we're changing genres, lets see how long plucky young hero lasts in cyberpunk!"

  • 3
    this reminds me of the Teen Titans switching genres in order to (try to) take revenge on a squirrel
    – SPArcheon
    Dec 20, 2017 at 12:25
  • 1
    @SPArchaeologist I wondered for a moment why I didn't recognise that epsiode. Then google pointed me to the new 'reboot' series and I suddenly understood.
    – Pharap
    Dec 21, 2017 at 8:38

1 Answer 1


Finally located it.

author: Xylem

Deploying the monomyth in Space Opera

The tide of battle was turning against the rebels when the flagship of the Imperial Fleet exploded violently, several minutes after all contact was lost. The captain who assumed command was now receiving disturbing news. “This is the last video surveillance data we got from the flagship. It’s right near the main reactor.”

On the screen, a young man holding some kind of ancient sword was seen running down the corridor, with blaster rounds exploding all around him, but none actually hitting.

“What is this, a suicide bomber?”

“I don’t think so, we have detected a single escape capsule departing from the ship, five second before the explosion.”

The captain was silent for a few moments.

“Grim news. The rebels must be truly desperate at this point. It appears that they are deploying the monomyth against us.”

“What? This is against all conventions!”

“Indeed. Well, we have said many times that the Empire won’t be the first side to use Narrativium-based weapons, but those madmen leave us no choice. Arm the trope emitters. Command all ships to stop firing. Then, everyone with an brain-interface implant will take drugs - any drugs will do - and connect to the fleetnet.”

“Is this wise, sir? The rebel fleet is still firing.”

“You can’t fight a monomyth in Space Opera setting, so we are switching genres. Let’s see how long their plucky hero can survive in Cyberpunk!”

  • 1
    That. Was. Fifteen different kinds of AWESOME!
    – slebetman
    Dec 21, 2017 at 17:15

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