Questions tagged [trope]

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

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38 votes
8 answers
26k views

Symbolic meanings of everyone losing their hands?

I've just had my memory jogged by a few questions on this site. It occurs to be that the men of the Skywalker family have a propensity for losing their hands in duels. Is this a common thing among ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
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64 votes
7 answers
20k 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 ...
Chad Levy's user avatar
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55 votes
10 answers
16k views

What is the origin of the "being immortal sucks" trope?

In a lot of science fiction and fantasy, there is the trope of someone becoming immortal, but then being really sad about it, deciding that it is worse than being mortal. What is the oldest work to ...
Stormblessed's user avatar
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41 votes
5 answers
23k 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/...
John O's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why do time-travel stories often have the characters "returning" to the future? [closed]

In Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, the duo travel all through time. After they accidentally travel to 1,000,000 BC, they repair their booth and attempt to return to their "present" but arrive "the ...
Jack B Nimble's user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
519 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 ...
JohnP's user avatar
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111 votes
7 answers
15k 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 ...
SQB's user avatar
  • 38.7k
102 votes
2 answers
8k 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 ...
Wickethewok's user avatar
42 votes
1 answer
15k 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 ...
VLAZ's user avatar
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18 votes
9 answers
21k 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, ...
spong's user avatar
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17 votes
5 answers
3k views

Why are trilogies so prevalent in Fantasy?

Why are trilogies so prevalent in Fantasy? (I don't really recall trilogies outside genre-literature and even in genre, trilogies in sci-fi seem to be less prevalent). Can it be simply chalked down to ...
apoorv020's user avatar
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15 votes
6 answers
3k views

What is the first appearance of Elves in fantasy?

Elves are a common appearance in many worlds in Fantasy. From Tokien, to Harry Potter, to Dungeons and Dragons, and Eragon. Many works feature Elves in some way, all with many common characteristics. ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
924 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 ...
Joshua's user avatar
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14 votes
3 answers
3k views

What are the common themes present in both Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and Jordan's "Wheel of Time"?

This is probably going to be a rather detailed set of answers. Hopefully someone can come up with a "short list" of common themes. Both sets of books have a distinctive theme of good vs. evil, but ...
TristaanOgre's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is a Dire Wolf? [closed]

In many fantasy stories, there are creatures called Dire Wolves. What's a Dire Wolf, how is it different from existing wolves?
user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
723 views

First story to feature the trope "the nice self-sufficient society that welcomed us are actually cannibals"?

It is not an infrequent trope in sci-fi shows for our protagonists to be struggling in their adventure, only to stumble across a seemingly nice self-sufficient society which they are welcomed into, ...
Kitsune's user avatar
  • 1,425
5 votes
0 answers
263 views

Did Tolkien invent the trope of the "green glint" in the eye? If not, who did?

In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers (1954), Sméagol has a transient "green glint" in his eye when his Gollum alter ego surfaces in his consciousness. At the word hungry a greenish light was ...
Invisible Trihedron's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
198 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,...
Kometman's user avatar