Yet another weird SF fan

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Yet another weird SF fan

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rating the Ten Plotlines

Io9 has a list of Ten plotlines you'll find in science fiction - over and over again:

  1. Robots
  2. Interstellar Travel
  3. Time Travel
  4. Superpowers
  5. Bodily Transformation
  6. Parallel Universe
  7. Alien Invasion
  8. Immortality
  9. The Post-Apocalyptic World
  10. Godlike Aliens
I would rate the likelihood of the ten tropes (from most likely to least likely) as follows:
  1. Robots
  2. Bodily Transformation
  3. Immortality
  4. Interstellar Travel
  5. The Post-Apocalyptic World
  6. Godlike Aliens
  7. Alien Invasion
  8. Superpowers
  9. Parallel Universe
  10. Time Travel
Parts of the above ordering are trivially obvious. For example, bodily transformation must be more likely than immortality or superpowers because either immortality or superpowers imply bodily transformation. Immortality is almost certainly more likely than interstellar travel because it will probably take longer than a current human lifespan to get from star to star. (This might not apply if it's ETs doing the traveling.) Alien invasion is less likely than interstellar travel, a post-apocalyptic world, or godlike aliens because aliens will need to be godlike to invade at the end of that long a supply line, because anything resembling a successful alien invasion will produce a post-apocalyptic world, and because aliens will need interstellar travel to get here.


Anonymous Cambias said...

None of those "plotlines" are plotlines at all. They could be plot elements, but are more likely to be elements of the setting of a story.

Confusing setting details with plot is a very old problem in science fiction. H.G. Wells's first novel isn't about a Time Machine (even though that's the title). It's about a man who travels into the future aboard said Time Machine, and what happens to him.

11:20 AM  

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