Questions tagged [trope]

For questions about tropes, a common plot, cliché or meme which appears in literature or media.

2
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1answer
166 views

Trope identification and earliest examples: Stereotype exists because of banished people

Trope described: Humans live (quite far) away from race/species/distinct group of people called X. There is a lot of negative stereotypes about the X. They are all dishonorable, thieves, murderers, ...
25
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3answers
5k views

Does the Disney canon of Star Wars include any multiple-biome planets?

Star Wars is quite famous for fitting the Single Biome Planet trope to a T (warning: TVTropes link). You have the desert worlds of Tattooine and Jakku, the Forest Moon of Endor, the woodland planet of ...
40
votes
1answer
5k views

Origin of genies (from lamps) having a three wish limit?

In the original 1001 Nights (a.k.a. Arabian Nights) story "Aladdin" the titular character gets a lamp that contains a magical being called a "genie" that grants wishes. This is fairly common knowledge ...
97
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2answers
7k views

Is there a term for the science fiction trope where a character lists two historical things and a future thing?

In Babylon 5, for example, a character lists famous bombings like "Hiroshima, Dresden, San Diego" with the first items in the list being real and the last being fictional. This dialog technique of ...
3
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0answers
146 views

The evil, repressive government is trying to stop the heroes! For a very good reason, it turns out [duplicate]

I have a memory of a short story in which a plucky group of scientists and researchers (and maybe students?) invent a machine that allows you to view any place and period in history. It will ...
14
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2answers
3k views

First non humanoid intelligent alien depiction in television?

Broken out from this related question Given that human looking intelligent aliens are so common as to be a trope, what is the earliest depiction in Television of an intelligent alien life form as ...
3
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3answers
236 views

First non humanoid intelligent alien depiction in film?

Broken out for film from this question Given that human looking intelligent aliens are so common as to be a trope, what is the earliest depiction in Film of an intelligent alien life form as being ...
2
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5answers
353 views

First non humanoid intelligent alien depiction in literature?

In an unrelated question, I was thinking of the Horta (ST:TOS, Devil in the Dark), which to paraphrase McCoy in one of the books looks like "an ambulatory pepperoni pizza, extra cheese". Given that ...
31
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3answers
3k views

Is there special symbolism of evil and undead in the north?

Is there a reason or special symbolism for evil to fester in the northern reaches of a world? Three examples I can remember on the top of my head is Tolkien with Melkors/Morgoths stronghold of ...
11
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1answer
3k views

How many Dornishman-jokes do we know?

In Westeros, like our world, stereotypical and/or racist jokes are common. Given the rivalry between Highgarden and Dorne, such jokes about Dornishmen seem to be particularly popular in the Reach1. ...
26
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2answers
1k views

What was the first published SF story to use the surprise twist “and these characters were the original Adam and Eve!” at the end?

A very long time ago, I checked out a book from a library. It was 100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories, edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg. One of those short-shorts is "Present ...
108
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7answers
14k views

Were the Smurfs the first to smurf their smurfs?

On Rick and Morty, Squanchy squanches some of his squanches with "squanch". On South Park, we saw the Marklar marklar their marklar with "marklar". Before those two shows, the Smurfs already smurfed ...
2
votes
1answer
214 views

Is super heroes lighting their logos on fire a trope?

Frank Castle did it in the first of the recent Punisher movies: Batman in The Dark Knight Rises: Let's not forget Matt Murdock's tag in Daredevil the movie: Are there more cases of this in film and ...
1
vote
2answers
162 views

Origin / History of the “Small crew & beat up starship” trope

I really like the: "Small crew and beat up starship" trope: The Millennium Falcon (Star Wars) The Bebop (Cowboy Bebop) Serenity (Firefly) Ships that aren't the nicest, but have a hard working team ...
5
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4answers
691 views

Is there a precedent for the use of this trope in Star Trek?

I liked most of Star Trek Beyond, but I wasn't thrilled about the climax, when the crew I didn't enjoy it because it's so implausible, but I'd be more comfortable if it was a nod to an event in the ...
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0answers
120 views

What's the first appearance of Becoming the Costume on Halloween in literature?

What's the first appearance of Becoming the Costume on Halloween in literature? Something turns people into whatever costume they are wearing.
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0answers
210 views

Origin of “giveaway eyes for shapeshifters” trope

This use of giveaway eye flashes, changes in colour or iris seems to be a common trope in several series as a way of informing the viewer when a nearby shapeshifter is listening/watching/involved. ...
4
votes
1answer
225 views

When has Superman stunted human progress, and what prevents him from doing so?

Superman takes care of problems the human race appears unable to contend with on their own. Even without evil geniuses and super-powered villains, though, Superman has the capacity to do things that ...
11
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8answers
704 views

What is the earliest example of a “Blighted Land” created by human or semi-human activity?

Chernobyl is the ur-example of a real Blighted Land. There is an 18 mile exclusion zone around the melted reactor that is deemed not fit for human habitation (this is of course ignored by animals, ...
15
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1answer
748 views

Is there anything to the idea of an “Uncle Ben” trope? [closed]

There seems to be a trend of Uncles Ben who inspire a protagonist and then die (or at least appear to), inspiring them some more: Spider-Man's Uncle Ben Luke Skywalker's "uncle" Ben Kenobi (uncle in ...
32
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16answers
11k views

If the ship's self-destruct is such a great idea why don't real Navies do this? [closed]

Background to my question: I watched a recent episode of The Expanse where the ship's captain It got me thinking, in-universe this appears to make no sense! Ships having a self-destruct is a ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Why is the strongest magic frequently ancient? [closed]

It seems a common trope in universes with magic that the most powerful spells are ancient and no longer in practice either because they were forgotten or forbidden. New wizards learn the basics but ...
5
votes
1answer
914 views

What's the history of the prefix “Age of”?

Context I came to realize that there are two recent films (probably more) which contain Age of in their subtitle: Avengers: Age of Ultron and Tranformers: Age of Extinction The thing about these ...
3
votes
1answer
275 views

Where did wishes come from?

When you look into the wish trope, you tend to get pointed back to Aladdin from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights as the originator. But wishes in Aladdin really didn't work the way modern ...
1
vote
1answer
143 views

What sci fi book series did a Viver appear in?

I read this at local library once, I liked it, but title has always escapes me. It sort of followed the unlikely hero trope. The one thing that I clearly remember were the Viver. These were not aliens,...
3
votes
1answer
183 views

Was Tarzan's dialogue in movies influenced by the Hulk Speak trope?

Today I learnt that Me Tarzan, You Jane is a Me Beam Up, You Scotty. TV Tropes notes that movies from the franchise did have some Hulk Speak. Going through the TV Tropes page for the trope, I couldn'...
7
votes
1answer
837 views

Bringing spare horses when you have to “ride hard?” [closed]

How does this trope make any sense? I've been re-reading the Sword of Truth series, and numerous times they mention that they need "6 horses. We're going to ride hard and need the spares." How does ...
6
votes
1answer
425 views

The “superhuman speed” special effect in movies and television

What's the earliest example of a character exhibiting "superhuman" speed in either film or television (doesn't have to be Hollywood, if the earliest example is foreign, very interested in hearing of ...
8
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2answers
680 views

Was “American Werewolf” the first story to have a werewolf haunted by ghosts?

In the 1981 film "An American Werewolf in London" and its 1997 sequel "An American Werewolf in Paris", the protagonist is haunted by increasingly decayed apparitions of his victims. These "ghosts" ...
10
votes
1answer
733 views

Was Smaug's treasure-hoarding a bug or a feature in-universe? [duplicate]

Smaug (and all other dragons) were created by Morgoth as species as warfighting machines. As such, the desire to amass bling seems to be a somewhat... tangential feature, to put it mildly. If I was ...
12
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4answers
1k views

First known author to use the concept of “Bigger on the inside”

Who namely known author used the concept of being bigger on the inside first? A holodeck is bigger on the inside, the TARDIS is, on Diskworld the Home of Death and Rincewind's Luggage are, Hermione's ...
5
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0answers
111 views

How many times has Superman caught the falling Daily Planet statue?

When and how many times has the Daily Planet's statue (of the eponymous Daily Planet) at the top building fallen and been caught by Superman?
3
votes
1answer
886 views

Is it possible to call every mobile phone in a particular area at a time? [closed]

I've seen this phenomenon in the movie Eagle Eye, Sherlock Holmes television episodes, and The Lawnmower Man. Every mobile gets a call at a same time from the same guy in a particular area. Is this ...
3
votes
1answer
677 views

When does “extra dimensional space” appear?

I am a bit puzzled because the concept of beings from extra dimensions or from extra dimensional space seems mentioned in comic already in the sixties, at least. That is previous to the use of d=26 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Does one's alter ego have to be darker? [closed]

We have all heard, read and seen several tales related to individuals' alter ego. Even many of the modern video games call the player's avatar's as their alter ego (especially in Role Playing Games I ...
41
votes
5answers
9k views

The cliche science fiction glass tube filled with liquid and a person floating in it, what do you call it?

For nearly every other science fiction trope there is a name. A movie where the heroes travel faster than light, whether they actually name the mechanism or not, will be called subspace/warp/...
18
votes
9answers
14k views

Why do manga characters love to eat a lot of food?

A common theme in Japanese cartoons (manga and anime) is having a protagonist that has a big appetite and the ability to eat a lot. We see examples of this in Dragonball and One Piece. Historically, ...
4
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3answers
2k views

What brought about the 90s Anti-Hero?

I was idly browsing TV tropes, and stumbled over this page about the nineties anti-hero (Warning, link may contain TV Tropes). What on earth brought this about? Was it just a sign of the times, or ...
7
votes
3answers
644 views

Where Did the “Pinocchio” trope of Bringing Your Creation To Life Start?

This evening I was watching Coppelia, a ballet where a toymaker tries to bring a doll he made to life. Coppelia premiered in 1870 and the story of Pinocchio was written in 1870. This shows up even ...
54
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7answers
12k views

Why do consoles explode in “Star Trek”?

In Star Trek (an indeed many/most other sci-fi shows), a reoccurring theme is the exploding console, usually ones placed behind consoles where squishy human-folk sit. Source: Memory Alpha Such ...
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4answers
3k views

Science Fiction plot resource (website)

At least five years ago, I had an idea for a website that was a database of plot elements used in science fiction books and movies, creating lists of the works that use each element. So one entry ...