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Old Jan 4, 2009, 05:04 PM   #16
homeworldrelic's Avatar
104 flights since May 2004
Location: Glorious Khazakistan
Re: Most Over-Used Sci-Fi Plot?

Originally Posted by jill_valentine
A supersoldier learns to love! And then defies/ overthrows/ enlightens their evil creators. Resident Evil and... hm. I've gone completely blank. Maybe it's not so common. Ne'ermind...

Resident Evil.........Paul..please guy, please....just stop already. Your wifes hot, we get that. Whatever happend to your talent? EVENT HORIZON
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Old Apr 2, 2009, 09:29 AM   #17
SF_not_Sci-Fi's Avatar
2,877 flights since Nov 2001
Re: Most Over-Used Sci-Fi Plot?

From TVtropes:

Overused Plots and Storylines

1. Post-cataclysmic rag-tag armies struggle to kick the Rooskies out of the good ol' US of A.
2. Post-cataclysmic rag-tag armies struggle to survive against gangs of bandits, mutants, cyberpunks, bikers, etc.
3. The rag-tag rebel army/fleet struggles valiantly to overthrow the Evil Empire.
4. The Good Guys travel through time to stop a historical Bad Guy, usually Hitler.
5. The Bad Guy travels through time to kill the Hero in his childhood, or to prevent him from ever being born.
6. The Chronocops travel in time to catch a Bad Guy who escaped into some other era.
7. Scientists work feverishly to develop a cure for the Supervirus or a weapon to stop the Invincible Bad Guys.
8. An alien:
1. Is stranded on Earth;
2. Befriends a human child or falls in love with an Earth gal;
3. Is pursued by shadowy malevolent Pentagon officials under the pretense of national security;
4. Uses his/her/its alien powers to defeat the shadowy malevolent Pentagon officials, making them look foolish without really harming them;
5. Makes teary farewell and returns to its home planet.
9. A virtual reality program is activated, and the distinction between reality and the program becomes confused or indistinguishable.
10. People connect their brains directly to computers and get dependent on them.
11. Aliens travel a zillion miles to loot the Earth of resources which exist in far greater and much more easily exploitable quantities on the many uninhabited bodies they pass on the way to Earth.
12. A complex computer system spontaneously becomes self-aware.
13. A couple files an application to the government for permission to conceive a baby.
14. A human falls in love with a robot.
15. A robot falls in love with a human.
16. UFO abductions.
17. Brain-controlling parasites attempt to wrest control of human race.
18. Aliens put someone on trial for the sins of humanity.
19. A high-tech amusement park goes lethally berserk.
20. Death from old age turns out to be due to some simple, single cause, leading to an easy immortality treatment, with consequent catastrophic social implications.
21. A great hunter decides that humans are the most entertaining prey of all, and visits Earth to bag a few.
22. Psychedelic drugs give somebody magical power over space, time and reality.
23. Aliens with completely incomprehensible motivations make war on the human race/invade Earth.
24. The bureaucratic/reactionary mindset stands in the way of scientific progress. A researcher overcomes it through ability, purity of heart, and use of the scientific method. Or not.
25. Two hostile factions colonize a planet within walking distance of each other.
26. The government ships criminals off to other planets.
27. A human male becomes pregnant.
28. An android discovers emotions and loses control.
29. A young researcher:
1. Gets a job at a Mega-huge Corporation or Ultra-secret Government Agency;
2. Learns that the employer's latest discovery has a Nasty Side Effect or involves some obvious human rights abuses;
3. Confronts the employer, who casually dismisses the researcher's concerns and chides her/him for not being a "team player";
4. Tries to blow the whistle to avert disaster;
5. Gets hounded by Shadowy Malevolent Goons;
6. Attempts to meet with inside sources, and finds them either dead or with just enough life left to utter a cryptic clue;
7. Watches the disaster overtake the CEO;
8. Testifies before Congress;
9. Enters the Witness Protection Program;

in roughly the order given above.

30. Aliens invade Earth in order to eat humans.
31. An AI turns on its creators.
32. A person from the past goes into suspended animation and wakes up in modern times, or a person from modern times goes into suspended animation and wakes up in the future.
33. A person travels back in time to meet a major historical personage and winds up either becoming that person or taking that person's place at a critical juncture.
34. The rightful monarch or long-lost heir is restored to the throne.
35. A sexually selective plague kills off or sterilizes almost all of the men, or almost all of the women.
36. A human discovers that the human race is being controlled by aliens.
37. The alien invasion that flounders because their technological advantage is perfectly neutralized by their lack of resources, compared to the humans.
38. Earth is threatened by an asteroid, and a space mission is mounted to save the planet.
39. Humans are seen as a menace to galactic society, having developed technology over a few short centuries compared with the thousands it took the other races.
40. The government bans music, painting, dancing, or some other art form; only the hero seems to care enough to do anything about it.
41. A technological innovation prompts a large portion of society to violently suppress it.
42. "Single female monster ISO single human male. Object: Mating."
43. An entire society is run by a computer. Maybe it goes berserk.
44. An alien being is sent to Earth on a mission of assassination or genocide; it changes its mind after getting to know (and perhaps falling in love with) one or more humans.
45. The crew's memories are wiped. As they recover, they discover that they are helping the guy who did it to them.
46. A man escapes a VR simulation, and later discovers that he has escaped into another VR simulation.
47. An alien that is substantially like us doesn't understand love, and visits humans in order to learn. The lesson is completed after the alien gets a Dose of Good Luvin'.
48. A Bad Guy captures the Hero, and instead of killing him, attempts to brainwash him into thinking that his powers aren't real.

Overused Story Events and Plot Devices

1. Discussions, ending with a joke, about how bureaucracies are the same everywhere in the galaxy.
2. The most intelligent course of action is precluded by orders from high-ranking ignoramus, on the basis of a transparently flawed rationale.
3. Technological malfunction as a plot device.
4. The timer count-down on the Bad Guy Device being stopped by the hero with bare seconds left.
5. Alien contact is perceived or regarded as a spiritual/quasi-religious experience.
6. Aliens who are vastly more intelligent and advanced than we are, but we beat them anyway by "ingenuity," plain guts, or exploiting an Achilles Heel.
7. A teenage genius discovers an entire new field of science, and builds practical devices that use it, in his bedroom.
8. The psychological trauma/attitude problem of female character is cured (or at least temporarily relieved) by a Dose of Good Luvin' from the hero.
9. Persons of different species interbreed without difficulty.
10. The author lectures the viewer/reader; the lecture takes the form of a Platonic Dialogue between two characters, or of the Cosmic Message from the Ultra-enlightened Aliens to the Great Unwashed Human Masses.
11. A conspiracy develops, involving lots of people, and remains secret for an extended period of time.
12. The author attempts to wittily euphemize the phrase "go screw yourself" by referring to it as "a physiologically impossible act".
13. The availability of firearms notwithstanding, swordfighting returns as a significant method of combat.
14. A Big Surprise awaits the reader/viewer at the end of the tale:
1. The Barbaric Society is really post-cataclysmic Western civilization.
2. The man and woman who flee from a doomed civilization and start rebuilding on the third planet of a medium-sized yellow star are named Adam and Eve.
3. The alien children, slaves, or pets are really the parents, masters, or owners
4. The head of Terran government is a disguised Bad Guy or is under direct control of the Bad Guys.
5. A major figure in the conflict is really another major figure in disguise.
6. The Kindly Benevolent Aliens are neither.
7. The reputedly inhospitable Outdoors is not only inhabitable, but markedly better.
8. It was all just a dream/game/simulation.
9. The alien threat was just a hoax to unite humanity.
10. An ancient civilization was actually founded by space aliens.
11. A major historical figure (Jesus, Einstein, Lincoln, Elvis) was really a space alien.
12. The apparently-human leader of the robot/cyborg army is also a robot or cyborg, and this becomes apparent when his/her/its "skin" falls off.
15. Telepaths use their power to achieve a heightened sexual experience.
16. Telepaths are regarded as witches or lunatics, and are dealt with accordingly.
17. Inherited supernatural power (telepathy, lycanthropy, etc.) becomes pronounced at the onset of puberty.
18. Humans leave for the stars, forget all about Earth, and rediscover it later.
19. No matter how slowly the monster shambles along, or how quickly the victim runs, the monster is always right behind the victim when she/he trips or encounters an obstacle.
20. When fleeing danger, females trip over their own shadows while men can sprint without caution.
21. An alien artifact imbues human(s) with incredible abilities.
22. A fighter pilot, upon destroying an alien vessel, yells "yeeeeeeee-haaaaaaa!"
23. The time traveller helps the future society mellow out by introducing music from his period.
24. Time travellers go back in time to prevent some Bad Thing from happening and in the process actually cause the Bad Thing to happen.
25. Time travellers go back in time to prevent some Bad Thing from happening; they succeed, but cause something worse to happen.
26. When a player gets "killed" in a virtual reality simulation, they also die in real life.
27. A war gets started over a stupid misunderstanding between two sides that otherwise have no reason to fight, and no effort is made to resolve the crisis diplomatically.
28. The two opponents in a war have been fighting for so long that they've forgotten how the war got started in the first place, but no effort is made to resolve the crisis diplomatically.
29. The two opponents in a war have been fighting for decades/centuries/millenia; the main characters end the war peacefully in a matter of days or hours.
30. Humans have a special quality that makes us unique, so that even superbeings can learn something from us.
31. A pet survives the disaster, and is discovered at the end of the story.
32. So-called elite forces get their butts kicked by a smaller, less well-armed force.
33. A scientist develops an artificially intelligent computer system that can understand natural language and draw inductive conclusions from incomplete data, and uses it on projects far less practical and/or profitable than such a computer would be.
34. Someone gets healed by contact with aliens (often by a laying on of hands).
35. The greedy businessman refuses to recognize that his dangerous product/service will screw him over long before he can hope to make a profit.
36. The monster kills/eats the token black guy first.
37. Explorers are greeted as gods by the natives, who cling to this belief in spite of everything the explorers do and say.
38. An alien custom throws humans into confusion, even though one or more human cultures share the custom and have followed it for centuries.
39. Low-brow white male human bar patron of the future spouts bigoted remarks that wouldn't be tolerated today, while protagonists look on in silent dismay at the "dark side" of the human race.
40. A person's physical impairments vanish when they are possessed by the Alien Entity.
41. A technologically advanced race conquers a technologically inferior race, and puts them to work doing things that the conqueror's machines can do far more efficiently.
42. The gang of cute and/or misfit kids rescue the universe, where a large group of competent, organized and well-armed adults failed.
43. The aliens' plan to exterminate the human race is stopped at the last moment when they notice a human exhibiting some virtue, such as love, humor, etc.
44. A fellow has Super Powers, but can only use them when he is emotionally agitated.
45. The protagonists destroy the entire social structure and governmental system of the society they encounter, and only a few old fuddy-duddies complain.
46. A problem involving an alien is resolved in a manner dependent on the unusual and heretofore-unknown location of the alien's reproductive organs.
47. The human abdomen is an ideal incubator for Alien Eggs/Spawn, and this has no apparent effect on the host until the Alien Spawn erupts from their stomach in a messy fashion.
48. No matter how large a ship is, any monster let loose on board will learn its way around in an hour's time, enabling it to sneak up behind its victims without fail.
49. A female antagonist changes sides after receiving a Dose of Good Luvin' from the hero.
50. The crewmember who is brainwashed or otherwise subverted into sabotaging/betraying the ship is allowed to return to duty, with no concerns that they remain a security risk.
51. Resolving the imminent threat to mankind requires that the drunken has-been get sober.
52. A high-ranking matriarch, in a society that oppresses men, falls for the Hero's rugged charms.
53. A crewmember has a radical change of personality, but the few people who notice don't seem particularly bothered by it.
54. Human spies are sent to infiltrate an alien society in order to better understand it.
55. When the Evil Overlord dies, none of his surviving henchmen move into the power vacuum; instead, his empire collapses.
56. The Good Guys, after a setback, launch their counterattack with the help of members of a Rastafarian-like culture.
57. The death of the Bad Guy involves a long fall.
58. At some point the protagonists must enter a hostile region called The Forbidden Zone.
59. When the Heroes destroy the computer that runs an entire society, it's considered a good thing for the members of that society.
60. When an ordinary crewmember transforms into the Enlightened Being of Cosmic Power, he departs the scene instead of staying around to help out his still-human buddies.
61. A society of humans adopts an artificial means of reproduction (such as cloning), forgets about sex and intimacy, and has to learn about it at some later point.
62. Any weapon can be picked up and used by anyone, no matter how lacking they are in training and/or upper-body strength.
63. When defeat is imminent, it is avoided by a strategem, tactic, or weapon that could just as easily been used at the start of the fight.
64. Away teams going on dangerous missions are comprised of irreplaceable members of the ship's crew, such as the captain, medical chief, chief engineer, etc. Expendable flunkies are left behind to mind the store.
65. Time travel from the future into modern times winds up in the year of the show's production.
66. Any class of people having super powers will be persecuted by normal humanity.
67. The lowest-ranking members of any mission team are doomed.
68. A starship captain disobeys a direct order from a superior. When the dust settles, he's still a starship captain.
69. The episode ends with the two arch-enemies playing a game of chess.
70. Malignant aliens land in densely-populated regions, and are instantly targeted by a criminal (who is fatally defeated). Benevolent aliens land in the boondocks.
71. After a remonstration from the Good Guys, the Great Dictator confesses that he was merely trying to keep order, and reforms.
72. The possessed human exhibits superhuman strength.
73. The crewman in the leaky spacesuit is rescued with seconds of air to spare.
74. The stranded heroes come across a crashed space vessel. The ship is returned to a serviceable condition after only a little bit of repair work.
75. The characters in the distant future are interested in the period of Earth history during which the story was written.
76. The time-traveler gets only one chance to change the past or the future, instead of repeating the trip as many times as necessary.
77. In spite of chronic crewmember deaths and a complete lack of new personnel, there is no lack of manpower.
78. Cryogenically frozen people are never thawed on schedule. They are either revived way, way too early or way, way afterwards.
79. The conquering aliens are dependent on a very rare resource to maintain their empire. Earth has some of it.
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Old Apr 2, 2009, 11:11 AM   #18
Iwata's Avatar
2,558 flights since Aug 2001
Location: Helghan
Re: Most Over-Used Sci-Fi Plot?

Quite a few of those are merelly well-known, which is hardly the same as overused.
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Old Apr 2, 2009, 11:16 AM   #19
SF_not_Sci-Fi's Avatar
2,877 flights since Nov 2001
Re: Most Over-Used Sci-Fi Plot?

Au contraire. Just about all of them have been used often enough in film, television and literature to rightly be labeled 'cliches.'
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 11:07 PM   #20
Father of Lies
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1,104 flights since Jun 2004
Location: The left hand of power
Re: Most Over-Used Sci-Fi Plot?

Anything involving an asteroid.....or a robot, or lasers, or aliens............or people living at any point in the future.
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