Questions tagged [plot-device]

An element introduced into a story, film, play etc. to advance the plot.

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Was a ferret used in an attempt to try to kill the Borrowers in the novel “ The Borrowers” (1952, 1953) by Mary Norton or any adaptation of it?

Today in a discussion about ferrets I wrote: I don't doubt anyone who says ferrets make good pets. However, I sort of think that ferrets are rather sinister ever since reading Mary Norton's The ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
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What was the explanation for the existence of the Klingon sleeper ship in the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “The Emissary?”

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Emissary” (S02E20), the plot revolves around the following: “In this episode, the Enterprise is sent a half-Klingon, half-human emissary to help ...
Giacomo1968's user avatar
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Is there an SF story on the theme of language that does NOT use the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? [closed]

There are numerous SF stories based on language but I have never heard of one that doesn't focus on the idea that language shapes thought. For example, here is a previous question that lists a few ...
Qwokker's user avatar
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6 votes
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Why was it necessary to destroy Skynet?

In Terminator 2: Judgement Day, why was it important for John Connor, his mother and the T-800 to destroy Skynet? From the sequels we find out that it didn't work anyway. So why not have the Skynet ...
user13267's user avatar
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Was there ever a "flu season" in the Flintstones original TV show or in subsequent works?

Inspired by the Biology SE question Was there a flu season in paleolithic times?. From Wikipedia's Paleolithic: The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic... also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek: παλαιός ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Did the Tri-Wizard Tournament organizers know Hagrid put in a blast ended skrewt in the maze?

There is this line in GoF before the third event of the TWT "We seemply ’ave to get through the maze?” said Fleur. “There will be obstacles,” said Bagman happily, bouncing on the balls of his ...
user13267's user avatar
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What were all of those other chambers and floating bat bodies in the spaceship in Lifeforce (1985)?

In Lifeforce (1985), the crew of a joint British and American space mission to explore approaching Haley’s Comet discover an alien spaceship in the tail (coma) of Haley’s Comet that seems to contain ...
Giacomo1968's user avatar
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Why did Eleven lose her powers at the end of season 3?

The scene made it feel like the Mindflayer, or the piece of itself that it injected in her, did something to her to reduce her powers. The Mindflayer also seems to recognize her as a threat the moment ...
user13267's user avatar
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Why is twin core priori incantatum supposed to be so rare?

The twin-core priori incantatum that happened between Harry and Voldemort at the end of Goblet of Fire was supposed to be a rare phenomenon (I don't remember where exactly this fact was mentioned, it ...
user13267's user avatar
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Is there an “expiration date” related to how long a living creature can be frozen in Carbonite and then safely revived?

After asking this other question about Han Solo’s personal experience of being frozen in Carbonite, I was wondering: Is there the equivalent of an “expiration date” when it comes to a living creature ...
Giacomo1968's user avatar
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21 votes
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What did Han Solo experience while frozen in Carbonite?

Inspired by this other question about what Captain America experienced after being frozen for 67 years at the bottom of the ocean, is there any in-universe explanation for what Han Solo experienced ...
Giacomo1968's user avatar
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Did Star Trek have any episode (in any of the incarnations or even novelizations) inspired by ultra high-g creatures in Dragon's Egg?

I ask this because since the original series, Star Trek has done a real decent job apparently of employing qualified technical advisors. Only Star Trek seemed to understand astronomical distances even ...
releseabe's user avatar
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Dragon's egg -- fear of heights?

Not sure this can be answered, but I recall and the synopsis in Wikipedia mentions the extreme fear of heights that creatures who live in 67 billion Gs have. It is reasonable that such creatures would ...
releseabe's user avatar
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In "The Rubber Bend", what is the significance of Dr Dodson's lover being called his 'daughter'?

"The Rubber Bend" is a Gene Wolfe short story which parodies Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. It first appeared in Universe 5 and also appears in Storeys from the Old Hotel. The detective's ...
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What happened after the first video conference between Jason and Sarris?

In Galaxy Quest, when the show's cast are taken to the spaceship by the Thermians the first time, Jason gets into a conference call with Sarris. At the end of the call, he off-handedly tells the ...
user13267's user avatar
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2 answers
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Are there any prior (in universe) indications of seven being the most magically powerful number before Slughorn's memory?

I have been reading a bunch of older questions here, and some of them are questioning the importance of Slughorn's memory in HBP, and I feel for good reason. The only explanation the story gives that ...
user13267's user avatar
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10 votes
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Why does Weyland Yutani want a xeno for weapon when they have, for example, androids?

I could see xenos being useful from a medical standpoint but in a time when technology includes not just FTL drives but also controllable androids, what could xenos do as a weapon that would be useful?...
releseabe's user avatar
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8 votes
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Was The Blob in the Steve McQueen version or the 1980s remake sentient?

Maybe not explicitly so, but hinted at that the creature has, for example, some understanding of humans being separate creatures? I thought that in the remake it animates the dead body of a kid, ...
releseabe's user avatar
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In the Time Machine (2002) did the fiancée have to die?

In some respects, the idea that somehow a new "story" is written (By whom? the Guardian of Forever? The mind of the Creator of the Universe?) each time The Time Traveler tries to save his ...
releseabe's user avatar
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27 votes
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In the movie Donnie Darko (2001), what was the symbolism or purpose of the obese girl?

In the movie Donnie Darko (2001), what was the reason for inclusion of the obese girl who is highlighted in several scenes but does not seem to play any part in the overarching plot? Is she supposed ...
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4 votes
2 answers
305 views

What was supposed to make replicants obedient?

I think in one of the short films, Neander Wallace says his new "angels" will obey no matter what and he seems to demonstrate that. But the replicants prior to that: was it believed that ...
releseabe's user avatar
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How is the Daybreak mental state transferred from person to person?

In John Barnes' Daybreak series, we are given to understand that people are infected with "Daybreak" -- ideas that lead them to create bioengineered bacteria, immense fusion bombs, and other ...
Invisible Trihedron's user avatar
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2 answers
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Why is Chevy Chase's clothing sometimes visible in "Memoirs of an Invisible Man" and sometimes invisible?

In this first clip his clothing is visible. In this second clip, his clothing is invisible, as otherwise the men who are hunting him would have seen his clothing. ...
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3 votes
1 answer
107 views

The movie Seconds (Frankenheimer/Rock Hudson): Was the procedure purely medical?

Or was there some "magical" aspect? The transformation is of course quite remarkable but also, when the main character, pre-transformation, says he wants to be a tennis pro, he is told this ...
releseabe's user avatar
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3 votes
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Why didn't they also rescue the cavemen?

In the film Time Trap there are two kind of people trapped in the cave, people from 21st century and then some cavemen that have been living in the cave for ages. The rescue team that come from ...
Wiper's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
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Radio interference caused by Martian dust storm

In comments below this excellent answer to Are there methods of lightning detection on Mars? I lament not being able to remember where I'd read about radio noise in the receiver of a real-world ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Why did the Armageddon (1998) plot require a "rogue comet that jarred loose a Texas-sized asteroid"? [closed]

Wikipedia's Armageddon (1998 film); Plot begins: A massive meteor shower destroys the orbiting Space Shuttle Atlantis, before entering the atmosphere and bombarding New York City. NASA discovers that ...
uhoh's user avatar
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What was the un-named French phrase in Joe Hart's Obscura?

In Joe Hart's Obscura, at two points when Dr. Gillian Ryan visits Dr. Eric Ander's office/dwelling, the narrative mentions a French phrase that is prominently visible. On the farthest wall was an ...
Alex M's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
265 views

Which story describes this aircraft maneuver?

I'm looking for an aircraft maneuver described in (I believe science) fiction. In order to get going fast a jet climbs higher than it needs to, then in a powered descent or dive gains additional speed ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Explain rift plot points of Season 2 finale of Lost in Space (2018)

I'm having great difficulty understanding the basic Rift-related plot points of S2E10 Ninety-Seven of Lost in Space. Since ships can follow others through the Rift (as jeffronicus points out, the ...
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0 answers
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Was a hand-held Claymore mine-based space weapon or anything similar described in fiction before it was proposed in reality? (ca. 1959)

This answer in Space SE contains the images below which come from a 1959 report on project Horizon which was found here (direct link to PDF). The images show an astronaut on the Moon using a hand-...
uhoh's user avatar
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-28 votes
1 answer
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Why did Rey not change her clothes for 6 years (three movies)?

Why was Rey’s character made so unhygienic by making her wear the same clothes the entire time? I shiver every time I think how she must have smelled. And if she did change, where on Earth did she ...
Itay Moav -Malimovka's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why were wayfinder directions written on a dagger?

In The Rise of Skywalker, the heroes find the location of a Sith wayfinder by reading a runic inscription on Ochi's dagger. What purpose does it serve to inscribe a random artifact's location on an ...
TheIronCheek's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
442 views

What is special about "Quantum spatial entanglement"?

In book 2 of Peter Hamilton's Salvation sequence, there is some talk about elements having tried to subvert the key portal teleportation technology, similar to his FTL/wormhole trains in previous ...
Italian Philosophers 4 Monica's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
346 views

When does Logan become a runner?

I'm somewhat confused by the ambiguity in the intentions of Logan in Logan's Run (the movie). He seems genuinely interested in running as soon as he leaves his mission briefing with the supercomputer ...
Joao Neto's user avatar
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1 answer
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Why did the Andromeda Strain start digesting rubber (polychron) and human bodies?

Michael Crichton's 1969 science fiction thriller The Andromeda Strain and the 1971 film of the same name ficticiously describe/depict a Phantom F-4 where a biological agent recovered from a satellite ...
uhoh's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
512 views

Has a hard SciFi story addressed launching from Venus and its high-density atmosphere, especially after 1967?

Background: The answer to the first part of When did planetary scientists realize Venus' surface pressure was almost 100x that on Earth? How did they find out? is 1967, though it was known or at ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
155 views

When was DNA evidence from a crime investigation in space first used in a SciFi plot?

In the Space SE question Why were blood and hair follicles from 25 people put on the Moon? I wrote It sounds more like a potential plot for a future CSI Spaceforce episode. That got me thinking, ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why do wizards in OTBTW restrict their magic to their staffs?

In Off to be the Wizard the shell program that does all the magic for the wizards is programmed so that it only listens to the spells if the wizard is holding his staff (or wand). But why would they ...
Matthias's user avatar
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-7 votes
2 answers
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In Avengers: Infinity War, what did Dr. Strange need to do to ensure the outcome in Endgame?

Dr. Strange explains to Stark in Infinity War as follows: Strange: I went forward in time, to view alternate futures. To see all the possible outcomes of the coming conflict." Stark: How many did ...
ThePopMachine's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is the status of the Infinity Stones post Avengers: Endgame?

In Avengers: Endgame, the heroes travel back in time to "borrow" the Infinity Stones from the past to use them in the future. I get that. At the end of the movie, But because the movie has ...
Paulie_D's user avatar
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-2 votes
3 answers
934 views

Does every generation of Starks have a Brandon?

I'm playing catch up with Game of Thrones and relying on YouTube to help fill in blanks, but have noticed there are a lot of Brandon Starks who all have important roles in shaping the story. I know ...
Seamusthedog's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
64 views

Is this a time-travel discrepancy in Gone World?

This is a question on Gone World. At one point, Shannon gets back in time without the formal channel (i.e. getting on her ship and heading back over a period of 3 months). She actually uses the time-...
atm's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
6k views

Who is the mother of the son of Godzilla from the 1967 movie of the same name?

This is the son of Godzilla (Minya/Minilla) as seen in the 1967 movie Son of Godzilla. So, Godzilla’s son is “born” after hatching from an egg a trio of giant praying mantises dig up on Sollgel ...
Giacomo1968's user avatar
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18 votes
3 answers
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In the novel The Three-Body Problem, does the Sun's amplification of radio transmissions have a scientific basis?

Per Wikipedia [...] However, she is rescued at the last minute by Yang Weining and Lei Zhicheng, two military physicists working under Red Coast (a Chinese initiative for alien communication ...
uhoh's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
690 views

How closely did When Worlds Collide authors pursue the physics of the catastrophic damage and planet trajectories?

After writing this comment I thought of the 1933 novel When Worlds Collide co-written by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer. South African astronomer Sven Bronson discovers that a pair of rogue planets,...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
178 views

When was methane first described as a rocket fuel in an SF story or plot?

The SyFy.com article If we’re going to go to Mars, this is how we’ll have to deal with trash ends with Mars and deep space will be an even greater challenge because astronauts will be too far from ...
uhoh's user avatar
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48 votes
5 answers
31k views

Why did Dumbledore tell everyone that Voldemort had killed Cedric Diggory?

At the end of the Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, Dumbledore tells the school that it was Voldemort who killed Cedric Diggory. However, it was actually Wormtail (Pettigrew) who killed Diggory. So ...
Sandun's user avatar
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13 votes
0 answers
677 views

What level of control does the Alien Queen (from the “Aliens” films) hold over the eggs and other aliens around her?

The title says it all. And this is spurred by a comment posted to this post on the “Movies & TV” site here. Does the queen get to choose when the eggs open? That's not how it works with any egg ...
Giacomo1968's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
705 views

Why did Bancroft choose Ryker's sleeve for Kovacs?

After Bancroft's "murder", he uses his considerable resources to get the last envoy brought out of prison to investigate the crime. The problem I'm having is why he dumped Kovacs into Ryker's sleeve? ...
DMfiend's user avatar
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