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Glom
2004-Mar-15, 02:48 PM
This site. (http://enphilistor.users4.50megs.com/cliche.htm)

Bloody hell there are a lot of cliches. Is there anywhere else to go?

Iain Lambert
2004-Mar-15, 03:38 PM
"When fleeing danger, females trip over their own shadows while men can sprint without caution. "

Actually, I'd argue for just the opposite. I think it was a Bond Girl who argued that, far from being a sexist stereotype, she did everything that the hero himself could, but in high-heels and an uncomfortable skirt, and so was pretty darn impressive.

However, "When something explodes in space, the shock wave is ring-shaped" should involve electrocution for all involve, if you ask me. I hate, hate, hate that.

mike alexander
2004-Mar-15, 03:50 PM
Woof! Don't read that list before you start writing a story.

On the other hand, how many times did Gilbert&Sullivan use a magical lozenge, or something...

captain swoop
2004-Mar-15, 04:55 PM
Actually, I'd argue for just the opposite. I think it was a Bond Girl who argued that, far from being a sexist stereotype, she did everything that the hero himself could, but in high-heels and an uncomfortable skirt, and so was pretty darn impressive.

.

Wasn't it Ginger Rogers commenting on dancing?

TriangleMan
2004-Mar-15, 05:09 PM
Woof! Don't read that list before you start writing a story.
Woof? Is that an acronym or something? :)

eburacum45
2004-Mar-15, 05:59 PM
A very useful site to help writers avoid certain pitfalls; however some of the cliches are debateable in some respects; take this one;

9 : A virtual reality program is activated, and the distinction between reality and the program becomes confused or indistinguishable.
which is said to
flatly contradict the known laws of nature, introduce an irreconcilable contradiction, require the characters involved to have the IQ of a banana peel, or are abysmally stupid for some other reason.

Well, John VanSickle (if that is his name) doesn't seem to have read Nick Bostrom on the subject of virtual reality programs;

certainly using them badly to cover up plot holes becomes a tired cliche, but thy have not yet been demonstrated to contradict the laws of nature, and could fool Einstein if properly written...

Iain Lambert
2004-Mar-15, 05:59 PM
You're right it was - I'd gone completely blank on that one, and guessed way wrong. It was actually that she did everything Fred did but backwards and in high heels, wasn't it?

Grand Vizier
2004-Mar-15, 06:08 PM
Great list...

But, actually, rather than being intimidating, that suggests a literary competition - how many clichés can be packed into one piece of writing of a given size? Don't think I'd want to enter, though - better to write a program that churns the stuff out.

I also wonder who actually wrote a story with this in:


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

This cliché is cited all the time, not just on this site. But the trouble is, I've never seen or read this scenario anywhere.

mike alexander
2004-Mar-15, 06:24 PM
No, woof! is just a noise, like erp! ummm... and gak!

Now I'm wondering if the Adam n' Eve thing might be a SF Urban Legend, buried in racial memories of moldering pulps with ample ladies in brass bustiers on the covers. The only place I can think of it being used was one Twilight Zone episode (With Richard Basehart?), and Rod Serling was a good writer but didn't know SF worth squat. There was also Alfred Bester's story Adam and No Eve which was a deliberate anti-take on the theme.

Ooh, here's a cliche' that was missed: in the future, EVERYONE looks good in Spandex.

Swift
2004-Mar-15, 06:52 PM
But, actually, rather than being intimidating, that suggests a literary competition - how many clichés can be packed into one piece of writing of a given size?
The last Enterprise script? :D

rigel
2004-Mar-15, 07:35 PM
Well there go all my potential ideas, as if I could ever write a book.

Xbalanque
2004-Mar-15, 08:26 PM
Psychedelic drugs give somebody magical power over space, time and reality.

I'm guessing he's not a fan of Dune.

informant
2004-Mar-15, 08:29 PM
Or The 3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. :)

mario
2004-Mar-15, 09:12 PM
I still haven't gotten to see it yet, but I'm willing to bet that this movie (http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/thelostskeletonofcadavra/) covers a lot of those clichés.

Paul Beardsley
2004-Mar-15, 09:30 PM
I also wonder who actually wrote a story with this in:


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

This cliché is cited all the time, not just on this site. But the trouble is, I've never seen or read this scenario anywhere.
Back in the mid 70s, when I was just a teenager, I picked up a copy of a pulp magazine called Worlds of If in a flea market. It had no date on it but certain bits of text suggested 1954. There was a story in it that exactly fits the above template. And I was blown away by it! I thought, Wow! This isn't set in the future at all, this is our past!

I have read others since (along with loads of tales of space/time travellers "explaining" the better-known bits of the Bible). I believe Doris Lessing was guilty of this cliche too.

TheGalaxyTrio
2004-Mar-15, 10:30 PM
Here's a fundamental one they missed: outer space

SF does not necessarily have to have any space travel, or have anything to do with space or spacecraft, but many people assume it does.

TheGalaxyTrio
2004-Mar-15, 10:35 PM
However, "When something explodes in space, the shock wave is ring-shaped" should involve electrocution for all involve, if you ask me. I hate, hate, hate that.

In all cases? I accepeted it for Star Wars, Episode IV, Version 1.5 because the Death Star had that slot around its equator. Maybe the station was weaker there, and the initial blast escaped out that ring first before the rest of the structure disintegrated. :D

I've seen the argument that all explosions in space should be spherical, but that assumes a perfectly symmetrical blast and no obstructions, so I've always found that kind of weird.

On the Manhatten Project they went to great pains to create a symmetrical explosions (directed inwards at the plutonium).

ToSeek
2004-Mar-15, 10:55 PM
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

This cliché is cited all the time, not just on this site. But the trouble is, I've never seen or read this scenario anywhere.

Nelson Bond wrote one where Adam and Eve were escapees from a science experiment - not quite the same thing, but close.

Paul Beardsley
2004-Mar-16, 09:46 AM
Psychedelic drugs give somebody magical power over space, time and reality.

I'm guessing he's not a fan of Dune.
I think that's an unfair "cliche". Sure, it's not likely to happen, but it's a reasonable premise. One might as well rule out "A machine that allows someone to travel in time."

Or The 3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.
Or Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said.

Iain Lambert
2004-Mar-16, 10:18 AM
I can cope with the idea that explosions won't be perfectly spherical, but the Special Ed. releases from 1997 have rings going in all sorts of silly directions, for no apparent reason. Didn't the Second Death Star have a vertical ring? I remember one of them sweeping down the left soundfield from front to rear in a showoff way.

Paul Beardsley
2004-Mar-16, 10:47 AM
I think the ring explosion thing is something someone did once and nearly every other film/tv/cartoon maker thought it looked cool so they just copied it.

In good SF, authors sit down and think things through. Sometimes the result of their thinking resembles much that has gone before, but not always.

SF readers are thus accustomed to thought-out books, which is partly why we get so irritated by the unthought-out, immitative approach practiced by film/tv/cartoon makers.

Grand Vizier
2004-Mar-16, 11:54 AM
SF readers are thus accustomed to thought-out books, which is partly why we get so irritated by the unthought-out, immitative approach practiced by film/tv/cartoon makers.

An awful lot of the clichés were invented in written SF - but, of course, they weren't clichés at the time. :)

It's also interesting to note dead clichés - one of my favourites (and I think this was invented by Hugo Gernsback) is 'food pills', whereby, in the future, you get your entire daily nutritional requirements from a few capsules. Woody Allen had fun with that one, which is what probably killed it off...

As a spin-off, one of the old Gerry Anderson series, Fireball XL5, had the characters taking 'oxygen pills' for EVAs, which saved on spacesuit costumes for the puppets, I guess...

Amadeus
2004-Mar-16, 01:15 PM
With regards to the explosion shape in space thing.....

Has anyone done any experiments and actualy caused them?
Or would it be too dangerous?

What would the effect be anyway? In an explosion on earth the biggest killer is not the fire but the shockwave and the low pressure it leaves behind in its wake. In a vacume would there be a shockwave?

I might be wrong on this as I got my physics of explosions off FOX 8-[

informant
2004-Mar-16, 01:44 PM
Nevermind the shape. What annoys me is how you can see fire and smoke in explosions in space. You shouldn't, should you?
Oh, and the sound, too.

gethen
2004-Mar-16, 01:56 PM
I've always wondered why vessels capable of travelling at near light speeds, or even faster-than-light speeds in the movies always have some guy sitting at the front of the bridge "steering" the thing. They have to "drive" their ships through asteroid fields, and dangerous nebulae. Some of them even have a steering wheel or yoke for this purpose. That's why than scene from "Galaxy Quest" was so funny-couldn't get the thing steered out of the docking bay.

SciFi Chick
2004-Mar-16, 02:21 PM
That's why than scene from "Galaxy Quest" was so funny-couldn't get the thing steered out of the docking bay.

:lol: I love that movie. And I love how he learns to steer better from watching old episodes of the show. :lol:

SciFi Chick
2004-Mar-16, 02:29 PM
So far, I'm reading this, and I would much prefer just a list of the cliches without the commentary provided by the symbols. For one thing, he acts like sexism can only be directed at women.

For another thing this cliche: "A smart, courageous, gorgeously attractive woman who is rarely if ever asked out. "

is marked as if it's completely impossible, and, speaking from personal experience, it's not impossible at all. Here's a cliche for you. I can't tell you HOW many TIMES I've had men tell me they can't BELIEVE I don't have a boyfriend or husband. I'm also constantly being told how some smart guy is going to snap me up any time. :roll:

Mind you, I'm not tooting my own horn here at all. I'm simply saying that a large number of people have gone out of their way to tell me how attractive I am, and how amazing it is that I don't get asked out on dates regularly. In fact, most of them think I'm lying and that I'm the one being too picky. :lol:

Mellow
2004-Mar-16, 02:33 PM
Hi,

obvious post here but, well, I am pretty smart but UK based, please feel free to call me when you are visiting England, I'd be happy to ignore any stereotypical behaviour and ask a smart attractive woman out.

No worries

SciFi Chick
2004-Mar-16, 02:34 PM
:D It just so happens I plan to do some studying over in the British Isles some time in the next five years.

Mellow
2004-Mar-16, 03:21 PM
Marvellous, I'll take that as a pseudo date then

Just kidding!

daver
2004-Mar-16, 05:05 PM
For another thing this cliche: "A smart, courageous, gorgeously attractive woman who is rarely if ever asked out. "
I've skimmed a few tabloid interviews of models/actresses; a fair number of them complain how seldom guys ask them out--they assume that the guys are either intimidated or figure they already have a boy friend.

Glom
2004-Mar-16, 05:07 PM
The phrase "out of my league" comes to mind.

daver
2004-Mar-16, 06:09 PM
The phrase "out of my league" comes to mind.
I tended to feel that way about every woman i found attractive, which resulted in a trivially simple social calendar.

Rift
2004-Mar-16, 07:04 PM
I tended to feel that way about every woman i found attractive, which resulted in a trivially simple social calendar.

I still feel that way... :oops:


Ever get to Kansas, SciFi Girl? :P

eburacum45
2004-Mar-16, 07:17 PM
Quoth Amadeus;
With regards to the explosion shape in space thing.....

Has anyone done any experiments and actualy caused them?
Or would it be too dangerous?

The Starfish Nuclear test was above most of the atmosphere; the pattern it made is almost beautiful, and different to cinema interpretations of space explosions-
see here
(especially the second movie)
http://www.nv.doe.gov/news&pubs/photos&films/0800062/default.htm

SeanF
2004-Mar-16, 07:25 PM
I tended to feel that way about every woman i found attractive, which resulted in a trivially simple social calendar.

I still feel that way... :oops:


Ever get to Kansas, SciFi Girl? :P

Rift, are you aware that those two statements taken together do not come across as exactly complementary to SciFi Girl?

"Attractive women are out of my league, but I think I've got a shot with you!"

:o

Rift
2004-Mar-16, 07:52 PM
gah...

:oops:


Anyway, it was a joke...

hickboy
2004-Mar-16, 08:19 PM
LOL

That was a pretty good list, but what about the ability for a human to install a computer virus and take down an advanced alien civilization's superior (to the point of not being understood by most humans' feeble minds) defenses using nothing but a laptop (an example using a macintosh comes to mind)

SciFi Chick
2004-Mar-16, 08:53 PM
I've skimmed a few tabloid interviews of models/actresses; a fair number of them complain how seldom guys ask them out--they assume that the guys are either intimidated or figure they already have a boy friend.

That's what I usually assume as well. I should point out that I look nothing like a super model... One of these days, I'm going to get around to posting a picture over in that thread Babbling. Basically, I'm 5'6", dark blonde hair, blue eyes that sometimes look hazel or gray, depending upon the mood. My best feature is my smile. :D


Ever get to Kansas, SciFi Girl?

I drove through there once. All the jokes about corn were not exaggerating. :lol:


Rift, are you aware that those two statements taken together do not come across as exactly complementary to SciFi Girl?


I knew what he meant, and I'm very flattered by all the pseudo dates I've just picked up. :D

daver
2004-Mar-16, 09:10 PM
I knew what he meant, and I'm very flattered by all the pseudo dates I've just picked up. :D
My wife says that I can look but not touch; which, come to think of it, isn't that much different from my pre-marital social "life".

Rift
2004-Mar-16, 09:17 PM
I drove through there once. All the jokes about corn were not exaggerating. :lol:


No they aren't. Neither are the jokes about cattle and wheat. Even I find western kansas mind numbing to drive across. I got in a chat room discussion the other day, somebody made the comment they were going to the mountains for the weekend. When I pointed out it would take me all weekend just to get to mountains, somebody asked how long it would take me to get to a corn field. "2 minutes; 30 seconds if I ran". Which is NOT an exaggeration. :P


I knew what he meant, and I'm very flattered by all the pseudo dates I've just picked up. :D

Good, that's precisely how I meant it. :wink:

JohnOwens
2004-Mar-17, 02:47 AM
I think the ring explosion thing is something someone did once and nearly every other film/tv/cartoon maker thought it looked cool so they just copied it.

The first example of that that I can specifically remember was in Star Trek V or VI: The Undiscovered Country (which one was that?), when the Klingons' experimental power station or whatever it was blew up at the beginning. Anyone got any prior art out there to that?

DataCable
2004-Mar-17, 05:53 AM
The first example of that that I can specifically remember was in Star Trek V or VI: The Undiscovered Country (which one was that?), when the Klingons' experimental power station or whatever it was blew up at the beginning. Anyone got any prior art out there to that?
That's the one that started the ball rolling onto the bandwagon... or, something like that. (and it was VI). I believe I read somewhere that ILM (who did the FX for that film) refer to the effect as a Praxis Ring (or Praxis Wave), as Praxis was the name of the exploding Klingon moon which caused it.

AGN Fuel
2004-Mar-17, 05:54 AM
One cliche I hope to never read or see again is the lucky charm/broken pendant/unusual hood ornament carried unsuspectingly by the hero's offsider, which turns out to be an ancient key that opens a mystic tome/secret tomb entrance or re-energises a derelict spacecraft.

I think that has been done to death.

Evil_Bomber
2004-Mar-17, 06:32 AM
Or The 3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.
Or Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said.

Man, I haven't read those books in ages. Philip K Dick has a very large section of my personal library devoted to him. Probably one of the most talented & unique SF authors I've read. Despite how good these are, I'd have to say "The Divine Invasion" and "A Scanner Darkly" are his best works.

Gremalkyn
2004-Mar-17, 07:09 AM
Along the lines of the child with access to upper government: The aliens(s) land, locate a native, and intone "take me/us to your leader." Natually, the local can - and usually does - without either much difficulty or much concern.

Also: Advanced civilizations do not eat meat, engage in aggressive sports/activities * , or have music with a "fast" beat.

* I do not necessarily mean gladiator events, just things like football, archery, racing ... Most/all competitions, if even present, are of the artistic/academic variety.

DataCable
2004-Mar-17, 07:44 AM
One that the various Trek incarnations really drove into the ground like a railroad spike made of expired equine bones (errr, something like that) was the Alien who doesn't understand some particular human custom/characteristic (love, death, good/evil), and so either needs to experience it first-hand or have it demonstrated for them (under threat or false pretenses). :roll:

Gremalkyn
2004-Mar-17, 08:21 AM
I could take those if the alien, soon after the beginning of the display, said: "Oohhh, I get it. What you call 'love' is what we call 'freeb.' Matter of linguistics, really. What else do you have?"

captain swoop
2004-Mar-17, 09:54 AM
Also when one of these 'ring' shaped explosins happens, the heroes ship is always in direct line.

Gremalkyn
2004-Mar-17, 09:56 AM
... And turning into the wave makes all the difference. I doubt Excelsior's deflector dish would have the energy output to even dent the wave at the bow of the ship. Certainly not in the time allowed.

Iain Lambert
2004-Mar-17, 12:54 PM
Of course turning into the wave helps. There's no other sensible explanation as to why a class of craft that has never deliberately entered an atmosphere before or since is quite so streamlined...

Amadeus
2004-Mar-17, 12:59 PM
Come on guys.... don't hassle SciFi Chick. Lets be mature about this.

*re-reads the posts*
shes comming to engand???

Forget what I said! I've got a spare room if you want it. :D

informant
2004-Mar-17, 01:14 PM
More clichés:

- Every starship has a SELF-DESTRUCT MODE;

- When the self destruct mode is turned on, a loud mechanical voice counts the number of seconds left to self-destruct;

- In fact, whenever a technological accident of any kind happens in a spaceship, a loud mechanical voice always counts the seconds left to the final destruction. :roll:

Gremalkyn
2004-Mar-17, 01:24 PM
... Or a crewmenber counts down, causing a far more emotional crewmember to "lose it," and thus establish an apparent unprofessionalism that, heroically, gets corrected at the end of the story.

Quite a few of the "unprofessional" ones seem to redeem themselves.

Grand Vizier
2004-Mar-17, 01:25 PM
More clichés:

- Every starship has a SELF-DESTRUCT MODE;

- When the self destruct mode is turned on, a loud mechanical voice counts the number of seconds left to self-destruct;

- In fact, whenever a technological accident of any kind happens in a spaceship, a loud mechanical voice always counts the seconds left to the final destruction. :roll:

And don't forget the strobe lights! (Just what you want when you're rushing for the escape pods - turn off all the main lights, make sure everything is flickering and flashing - preferably in livid red - and turn on 15 different deafening alarms just to create maximum sensory disorientation.)

gethen
2004-Mar-17, 01:27 PM
And the hero's ship is always just able to outrun the explosion, or at least get far enough out to be relatively undamaged.

informant
2004-Mar-17, 01:54 PM
:lol: Remember Galaxy Quest? "It always stops at 1 on the show..." :wink:

informant
2004-Mar-17, 02:41 PM
(Just what you want when you're rushing for the escape pods - turn off all the main lights, make sure everything is flickering and flashing - preferably in livid red - and turn on 15 different deafening alarms just to create maximum sensory disorientation.)
In some of the early episodes of Battlestar Galactica, when the Cylons attacked and the crew went to battle stations, the lighting on the bridge would change to red emergency lights. Because when the enemy is attacking your ship you don't really need to be able to see your instruments. :D

captain swoop
2004-Mar-17, 03:09 PM
In some of the early episodes of Battlestar Galactica, when the Cylons attacked and the crew went to battle stations, the lighting on the bridge would change to red emergency lights. Because when the enemy is attacking your ship you don't really need to be able to see your instruments. :D

Or all available power is diverted to weapons and defence, instruments should be illuminated.



'It would mean changing the bulb sir'

Grand Vizier
2004-Mar-17, 03:26 PM
In some of the early episodes of Battlestar Galactica, when the Cylons attacked and the crew went to battle stations, the lighting on the bridge would change to red emergency lights. Because when the enemy is attacking your ship you don't really need to be able to see your instruments. :D

And, in addition to which - and almost every SF series is guilty of this - you put the ship's main control centre/bridge in a hugely vulnerable position on the outside of the ship instead of burying it deeply inside the hull. This is in spite of the fact that the crew actually get all their information via monitor screens and frequently don't have even have any windows to look out anyway (well, not in ST original series, though TNG has that ornamental skylight in a completely useless position).

Babylon-5, admittedly had the bridge somewhere inside the rotating sections on the Agamemnon class, but this rather worried me, too - safer to have the bridge in zero-G, less to go wrong.

I guess this, along with a refusal to use seat belts, is all part of giving the bad guys a sporting chance...

informant
2004-Mar-17, 03:35 PM
Speaking of Babylon 5 and the Agamemnon, I never understood what was the point of having a conspicuous rotating section in a warship. Perhaps there is one, but to me it always seemed like one more weak spot.
Even if you need a rotating section to avoid medical problems in long stays in space, why not hide it inside the ship? Or rotate the whole ship every once in a while?...

TimH
2004-Mar-17, 03:39 PM
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

This cliché is cited all the time, not just on this site. But the trouble is, I've never seen or read this scenario anywhere.

This was covered in a Twilight Zone episode, sort of. A deep space exploration ship crash landed on a primative world, the sole survivor was Capt. Adams. He meets a native girl that calls herself Eve

Edited: Oops, this was covered in an earlier post. Sorry for being repetative.

And Sci Fi Chick, if you are ever in Ohio... 8)

Grand Vizier
2004-Mar-17, 04:01 PM
Speaking of Babylon 5 and the Agamemnon, I never understood what was the point of having a conspicuous rotating section in a warship. Perhaps there is one, but to me it always seemed like one more weak spot.
Even if you need a rotating section to avoid medical problems in long stays in space, why not hide it inside the ship? Or rotate the whole ship every once in a while?...

I'd also hope that the bridge guys were working a shift system - not going to do much for their alertness otherwise, unless they're doped up on amphetamines all the time. I'd have thought 8 or even 12 hours in zero-G isn't really going to do them a lot of harm. You just need to rotate the living quarters, basically.

captain swoop
2004-Mar-17, 04:48 PM
Why doesn't the ship just steer a course like a 'slinky' it would effectively be rotating.

Amadeus
2004-Mar-17, 05:29 PM
I think the RED light thing comes from the Navy.

I have been told two version of the reason for this.

1) It adapts the eyes to see at night so if they have to amandon ship they can see.

2) certain instraments are marked in red so when the light comes on you cannot see them and are ignored in a battle situation.

Dont know if any of its true though.

TriangleMan
2004-Mar-17, 05:34 PM
I think the RED light thing comes from the Navy.
1) It adapts the eyes to see at night so if they have to amandon ship they can see.
I don't know about the other one but my understanding is that a red light will not affect your night vision so if you leave a red-lit room you do not have to wait for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. I use a red flashlight when stargazing if I need to check something in a book.

mike alexander
2004-Mar-17, 09:44 PM
Did this cliche' get covered? All the starships have blinking lights on the outside, like aircraft lights.

dgruss23
2004-Mar-17, 11:02 PM
Interesting, but it would be pretty hard to create a story and not use some of the items on the list.

Maksutov
2004-Mar-17, 11:19 PM
My favorite overused SF cliché is "Aliens visit the Earth."

ToSeek
2004-Mar-18, 01:44 AM
My favorite overused SF cliché is "Aliens visit the Earth."

Fine. You just wiped out Doctor Who. ;)

Krel
2004-Mar-18, 01:49 AM
Remember the 80's mini-series about a cop and alien woman doctor fighting a shape shifting alien critter? They go to her ship to try and kill the beasty, she asks the cop his plan.

(Not exact, but pretty close)
Cop: We go on board and activate the ship's destruct system.

Woman: What destruct system?

Cop: Your ship doesn't have a destruct system?

Woman: Why would you have a destruct system on your ship? Why would you need one? How woud you get home without your ship? Anyway I'm a Doctor, I wouldn't know where to find a destruct system even if we had one.

At least the Nostromo didn't have a deticated destruct system, they just turned off the engine cooling system. Although I can see a military vessel having one, it could be bad if you ship was captured by hostile forces.

David.

Eirik
2004-Mar-18, 07:39 AM
I'm not sure that considering self destruct systems on sci-fi ships is all that strange, didn't capital ships in WWII carry scuttling charges? At the least, I thought that the Bismark had them.

captain swoop
2004-Mar-18, 08:31 AM
I'm not sure that considering self destruct systems on sci-fi ships is all that strange, didn't capital ships in WWII carry scuttling charges? At the least, I thought that the Bismark had them.

You don't need charges, just open valvesand bust up a few pipes.

I know RN ships didn't carry 'scuttling charges' and neither did US ships, that's why abandoned ships were finished off with a torpedo.

captain swoop
2004-Mar-18, 08:36 AM
I think the RED light thing comes from the Navy.
1) It adapts the eyes to see at night so if they have to amandon ship they can see.
I don't know about the other one but my understanding is that a red light will not affect your night vision so if you leave a red-lit room you do not have to wait for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. I use a red flashlight when stargazing if I need to check something in a book.

RN ships go to red in the 'Ops' room and passageways between there and the bridge, this is to help with night vision. On the Bridge itself there are no lights apart from one at the navigators table. If there is a power failure the battery backup lights are white not red. In action the 'Ops' room is in white light but it's quite low level around any displays to improve contrast. At the mail 'Plot' it's at what would be considered normal levels.

kucharek
2004-Mar-18, 08:41 AM
One thing that gets especially on my nerves is, that spaceships often seem to have more leaking steam pipes than any steam engine that ever was on tracks here on earth.
And don't mention the consoles that all seem to be operated with more than 5000 volts... Did ever anyone experienced in real life his keyboard going up in sparks?

Xbalanque
2004-Mar-18, 09:33 AM
'It would mean changing the bulb sir'

Aw heck. I had hoped I would get to be the first to quote Red Dwarf.

Smeg!

captain swoop
2004-Mar-18, 11:13 AM
And VDU screens that update one character at a time as though they were being typed by a one fingered Sloth. Or, scroll so fast that there's no way to even see what's being displayed.

kucharek
2004-Mar-18, 11:36 AM
And VDU screens that update one character at a time as though they were being typed by a one fingered Sloth. Or, scroll so fast that there's no way to even see what's being displayed.
And the slow ones that make a sound for every character displayed...

TriangleMan
2004-Mar-18, 12:08 PM
Has anyone mentioned the cliche about when the large spaceship hits something the crew shift back and forth in their chairs a bit or fling themselves forward a few feet? Happens all of the time in Star Trek but you see it in a few other shows/movies as well.

Gremalkyn
2004-Mar-18, 12:47 PM
... And someone always mis-times the free-action attempts.
... And someone seems to get a "bad bounce" when the set is on a gimbal.

I also like the holding-of-breath a) before rushing into the cold, b) before decompression, c) or to "prove a point."

Wally
2004-Mar-18, 01:03 PM
Did this cliche' get covered? All the starships have blinking lights on the outside, like aircraft lights.

I always thougtht this was a nice throw-back to our nautical days. Besides, it's dark out there! I've had to dodge freighters quite a few times while crossing lake Michigan at night in a sailboat. It becomes quite a guessing game on whether the freighter is heading towards you, or is already past you. Bottom line, if you see both the green and the red light, you better get your butt moving!

Gremalkyn
2004-Mar-18, 01:13 PM
Good for us to use, but odd for the aliens making first contact. To them, assuming they see those colors, the flashing lights could mean anything or nothing. The flashing itself might indicate a power fluctuation.

jokergirl
2004-Mar-18, 01:33 PM
I knew this page before and still like to turn to it whenever thinking of potential Scifi stories (I tend to do some dilletantic writing and comic book drawing from time to time...).


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

Actually, ages ago (I was in highschool at the time) I wrote a story (based on a dream I had) where people flee from the destruction of Earth to a past where humans were just beginning to evolve. The crew consists of children; the only two adults were called Adam and Lucy.
Now I'm not saying calling her Lucy (after the skeleton Lucy, look it up somewhere) is any less lame.......... :lol:



So far, I'm reading this, and I would much prefer just a list of the cliches without the commentary provided by the symbols. For one thing, he acts like sexism can only be directed at women.

For another thing this cliche: "A smart, courageous, gorgeously attractive woman who is rarely if ever asked out. "

is marked as if it's completely impossible, and, speaking from personal experience, it's not impossible at all. Here's a cliche for you. I can't tell you HOW many TIMES I've had men tell me they can't BELIEVE I don't have a boyfriend or husband. I'm also constantly being told how some smart guy is going to snap me up any time. :roll:

Mind you, I'm not tooting my own horn here at all. I'm simply saying that a large number of people have gone out of their way to tell me how attractive I am, and how amazing it is that I don't get asked out on dates regularly. In fact, most of them think I'm lying and that I'm the one being too picky. :lol:

Well, same here. :D I do have a boyfriend right now, but that's not saying I can't relate.

Actually, I can list quite some potential reasons for this, of course biased by own experience:
- Men (provided they don't work in the same field) tend to be intimidated by "smart" women.
- Scientists are usually (no matter which sex) described as less social than "normal" people. At least, if they are social, they tend to stay in their own group, have their own kind of humour, etc.
- From own experience, "smart" people tend to be picked on in school no matter how nice they might look otherwise. Logical conclusions are low self-image etc.

But I completely agree that sexism in such clichés isn't constrained to women At All.

Please correct me if I said something stupid, my brain is only operating at half power at the moment. Must be spring tiredness...

;)

Gremalkyn
2004-Mar-18, 01:39 PM
Glasses w/tape on the bridge, pocket protectors, and calculators = nerd. Mostly in "comedies," but the nerd is the science kid, so I count it as SciFi (fictional science character).

jokergirl
2004-Mar-18, 01:48 PM
Glasses w/tape on the bridge, pocket protectors, and calculators = nerd. Mostly in "comedies," but the nerd is the science kid, so I count it as SciFi (fictional science character).

Hehe. Don't forget the lab coat :lol:

Of course, men being intimidated by smart women is also cliché.

But from what I've experienced, it really is so, unless the men are scientists too.
Also, men still seem to be more inclined to tradeoff for less intelligent partners than women, however clichéd that sounds. :x

;)

SciFi Chick
2004-Mar-18, 02:58 PM
Has anyone mentioned the cliche about when the large spaceship hits something the crew shift back and forth in their chairs a bit or fling themselves forward a few feet? Happens all of the time in Star Trek but you see it in a few other shows/movies as well.

Ah, that's one I'm fond of. They used to have this attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood where they would splice several people into one of the Star Trek movies. I got to be on the Enterprise and wear the uniform and everything.

At one point we were attacked by the Klingons and we all had to react to the firing in just the way you described. :lol:

Grand Vizier
2004-Mar-18, 04:36 PM
Has anyone mentioned the cliche about when the large spaceship hits something the crew shift back and forth in their chairs a bit or fling themselves forward a few feet? Happens all of the time in Star Trek but you see it in a few other shows/movies as well.


I think Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea could have invented this. I always liked the way the Captain would order the crew to 'brace yourselves' when an impact was imminent (while remaining standing himself). But I could never detect any sign that any crewmen were braced for impact in any way, and frequently even the helmsman would fall out of his chair. And then, of course, all the bridge electrical gear would explode or catch fire.

captain swoop
2004-Mar-18, 04:53 PM
Has anyone mentioned the cliche about when the large spaceship hits something the crew shift back and forth in their chairs a bit or fling themselves forward a few feet? Happens all of the time in Star Trek but you see it in a few other shows/movies as well.


I think Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea could have invented this. I always liked the way the Captain would order the crew to 'brace yourselves' when an impact was imminent (while remaining standing himself). But I could never detect any sign that any crewmen were braced for impact in any way, and frequently even the helmsman would fall out of his chair. And then, of course, all the bridge electrical gear would explode or catch fire.

And several small spurts of water would appear which were turned off by the crew with little valves.

And the entrance to the Reactor room was across the top of the Shark tank via a walkway with no handrails.

And their SONAR was actively 'pinging' all the time.

Grand Vizier
2004-Mar-18, 05:08 PM
And several small spurts of water would appear which were turned off by the crew with little valves.


That seems to be a stock feature of almost all submarine movies, with the possible exception of Das Boot. Sometimes they do the same thing with a few turns of a monkey wrench - but either way, I've never figured out how those repairs work.

I always like the way, too, that all submarines can be taken way beyond their safe depth with no apparent ill-effects except for a bit of psychological stress (and this one Das Boot does do).

TriangleMan
2004-Mar-18, 05:12 PM
... And someone always mis-times the free-action attempts.
I recall on one Star Trek during a crash (or being hit by something) everyone fell one direction but Spock flung himself the other way. :lol:

daver
2004-Mar-18, 05:27 PM
Good for us to use, but odd for the aliens making first contact. To them, assuming they see those colors, the flashing lights could mean anything or nothing. The flashing itself might indicate a power fluctuation.
There's a pretty good chance that they would recognize flashing as an attention-getting device, although I suppose it depends on the location of their ancestors in the food chain. Here on earth hunters and hunted tend to alert on movement; movement can be indicated by a change in brightness.

daver
2004-Mar-18, 05:36 PM
I always like the way, too, that all submarines can be taken way beyond their safe depth with no apparent ill-effect
That's because they don't make movies out of the subs that don't.

mike alexander
2004-Mar-18, 06:56 PM
Oh, Boy, Voyage to See What's on the Bottom. What memories.

When they rocked the camera back and forth and the crew also rocked back and forth, the pencils on the plotting table didn't move at all.

And they moderated the reactor by manually pushing and pulling the control rods.

And I recall that a CO2 jet represented everything from leaking propellant to leaking radioactivity. (Star Trek, too).

And you could hold the ballroom scene from The Merry Widow in the missile room.

Theodore Sturgeon wrote the novelization of the screenplay, and it was actually a good book. But, then, it was Ted Sturgeon.

gethen
2004-Mar-18, 08:00 PM
That seems to be a stock feature of almost all submarine movies, with the possible exception of Das Boot. Sometimes they do the same thing with a few turns of a monkey wrench - but either way, I've never figured out how those repairs work.


Does this sound like the incident in Armageddon where the Russian cosmonaut "fixes" the ship by pounding on the offending part with a wrench or hammer, because all the technical stuff doesn't work? :roll:

Grand Vizier
2004-Mar-18, 08:44 PM
Oh, Boy, Voyage to See What's on the Bottom. What memories.

When they rocked the camera back and forth and the crew also rocked back and forth, the pencils on the plotting table didn't move at all.

[...]



Then there was that high-powered laser mounted on the bow of the Seaview that they kept forgetting about. They'd get attacked by some giant mutant squid or something and me and my friends would be jumping up and down in front of the TV shouting 'The Laser! Use the Laser, you twits!' - but no, after much agonising they'd send out a couple of guys in scuba gear armed with harpoon-guns or whatever...

Swift
2004-Mar-18, 09:19 PM
LOL

That was a pretty good list, but what about the ability for a human to install a computer virus and take down an advanced alien civilization's superior (to the point of not being understood by most humans' feeble minds) defenses using nothing but a laptop (an example using a macintosh comes to mind)
A related one is the 8 year old child who can hack into a computer system that all the professional computer can't (Jurassic Park I for example).

Swift
2004-Mar-18, 09:24 PM
One thing that gets especially on my nerves is, that spaceships often seem to have more leaking steam pipes than any steam engine that ever was on tracks here on earth.
And don't mention the consoles that all seem to be operated with more than 5000 volts... Did ever anyone experienced in real life his keyboard going up in sparks?
In Star Trek they seem to always blow the "Plasma Couplings" whenever they are under attack. Maybe they should be using 10 Gauge couplings instead of 18 Gauge. Or have Gordy put a penny in the fuse box.

Swift
2004-Mar-18, 09:29 PM
I don't know if this is just a Star Trek thing but the event (attack, whatever) always takes place when first shift is on. The only time Picard ever gets awaken is if it's a message from an annoying admiral with a stupid request.

TriangleMan
2004-Mar-18, 09:53 PM
A related one is the 8 year old child who can hack into a computer system that all the professional computer can't (Jurassic Park I for example).
An offshoot of that is that the "amazing hacker" always seems to accomplish things in under a minute by typing really quickly:

hacker: I'll see if I can get around the protection and get into the classified area.
<types for 6 seconds>
hacker: okay, I'm in.

Very lame. Makes me :roll: everytime I see it.

Maksutov
2004-Mar-18, 11:46 PM
Did this cliche' get covered? All the starships have blinking lights on the outside, like aircraft lights.

I always thougtht this was a nice throw-back to our nautical days. Besides, it's dark out there! I've had to dodge freighters quite a few times while crossing lake Michigan at night in a sailboat. It becomes quite a guessing game on whether the freighter is heading towards you, or is already past you. Bottom line, if you see both the green and the red light, you better get your butt moving!

What's to worry about? You're in a sailboat, you've got the right-of-way! :) :wink:

AGN Fuel
2004-Mar-19, 12:41 AM
... And someone always mis-times the free-action attempts.
I recall on one Star Trek during a crash (or being hit by something) everyone fell one direction but Spock flung himself the other way. :lol:

That's that damnable green Vulcan blood again, causing Spock to react differently to the rest of the crew!!



And then, of course, all the bridge electrical gear would explode or catch fire.

That always used to happen on 'Lost in Space' as well. That main console blew up so many times that I'm amazed that it wasn't just a huge glop of molten plastic by the time Dr Smith got through his first icepack for the day. :lol:

captain swoop
2004-Mar-19, 08:49 AM
What's to worry about? You're in a sailboat, you've got the right-of-way! :) :wink:

Not such a joke, on the River Tees we have a major oil terminal, a container port and bulk ore terminal. This is in addition to the general cargo, RoRo and around 15 specialist chemical jetties. You would be amazed at the antics of the dingies from the sailing club that inhabit an old WWII Fort on the Gare. They play in the main channel, dodging Supertankers and OBOs. It's not as if there isn't a huge bay sheltered by the main Gares (Breakwaters) at the river mouth that is completely outside the channel.

kucharek
2004-Mar-19, 09:26 AM
That seems to be a stock feature of almost all submarine movies, with the possible exception of Das Boot. Sometimes they do the same thing with a few turns of a monkey wrench - but either way, I've never figured out how those repairs work.


Does this sound like the incident in Armageddon where the Russian cosmonaut "fixes" the ship by pounding on the offending part with a wrench or hammer, because all the technical stuff doesn't work? :roll:

That's a well established technique. During Apollo 12, Bean and Conrad gave the RTG-element a few whacks with the hammer to get it out of its cask. Also the failed tv-camera got a few whacks as it what thought that maybe the color wheel was stuck. And during Skylab, Conrad again gave a few whacks onto a box, IIRC to free some stuck relais contacts inside. Never forget a hammer when you go into space!

Harald

Iain Lambert
2004-Mar-19, 02:48 PM
Monkey-wrenches on submarines are great for when the leak is coming from an internal pipe, and not the hull at all. What you do is turn off the water/gas/whatever in the offending bit of pipe, and then actually repair it later, when you're not being shot-at/blown-up-by-depthcharges/annoyed-by-cameraman.

Amadeus
2004-Mar-19, 08:09 PM
I don't know if this is just a Star Trek thing but the event (attack, whatever) always takes place when first shift is on. The only time Picard ever gets awaken is if it's a message from an annoying admiral with a stupid request.

The 2nd shift is just better at avoiding attacks!

Coming soon "Star-Trek TNG - Nightshift"

:lol:

Gremalkyn
2004-Mar-20, 12:35 PM
Several years ago, I wrote a long fanfic for TNG, where quite a lot happens on the 3rd Shift - distress message, alien ship, away mission, first contact - all things that would not require alarms to sound or for the ship to get knocked around, and things which *should* be covered in Starfleet Standard Operating Procedures / Standard Diplomatic Protocols. Each thing, by itself, seemed so simple that the Duty Officer never felt the need to wake anybody up. When Riker and Picard arrive for duty the next morning, they ask the Duty Officer: "So, what happened while we were out?"

Response: "Uh ..."

The Watcher
2004-Mar-23, 03:32 AM
Hello
This has been a great thread, lots of funny comments.
I have to say that the original list is pretty long but I'm not sure that many of them are cliches.
Isn't a cliche something which occurs many times in TV series or films to the point where it looks like the writers couldn't think of anything better to put in to further the plot? They resorted to tried and tested plot ideas. In other words: A cliche is a cliche because it's used lots of times.

Well it seems to me that many on the list only appear once or at the most twice in the SF world. (Granted I've not scene a hugh amount of SF) Is this enough to make them a cliche? Well...no.

For example, didn't these only happen once??
Aliens put someone on trial for the sins of humanity.
Extra breasts on the alien women.
The time traveller helps the future society mellow out by introducing music from his period.
The Good Guys, after a setback, launch their counterattack with the help of members of a rastafarian-like culture.
...and many others.

Sorry, I seem to be taking it all to seriously.
One thing is obvious though.
We all love our Sci-Fi for various reasons but none of us takes it too seriously. It's just entertainment. As long as we can laugh at ourselves, we'll do alright. :D

jokergirl
2004-Mar-23, 09:40 AM
For example, didn't these only happen once??
Aliens put someone on trial for the sins of humanity.
Nope. I count Heinlein's books in on this one, but I'm quite sure it happened more than once in Star Trek already.


Extra breasts on the alien women.
Nope. Seems to be quite a common theme actually ;)
First two to come to mind are one that is not alien (Total Recall) and one that wasn't in a movie (well, originally not, HHGTTG) though.


The time traveller helps the future society mellow out by introducing music from his period.
Hm.
Only one that comes to mind right now is Bill&Ted, and maybe Back to the Future, although that is past society iirc. But I'm not very well-versed in Time-travelling movies. Sounds like a humourous cliché though.


The Good Guys, after a setback, launch their counterattack with the help of members of a rastafarian-like culture.
...and many others.

Two words: Gungans. Ewoks. :x :x :x

Anyway, in reply to your above statement, the point of the page is not to completely repress those clichés. I agree that a lot of times, they are useful because for one, archetypal stories just work - look at LOTR and Star Wars for proof - and second, they help the author and the reader by introducing common and/or expected elements.

But as the author of the page says, often those clichés are unneccesary, saucy, or just plain wrong ("Having a robot bleed oil is saucy. Having a robot bleed hydraulic fluid is good.").
The page offers help to not stumble in such traps and use plot device the reader can smell from a mile away. I think it's very helpful to offer alternatives on that (see above quote) and hints on how to twist these expectations in an interesting way to surprise the reader. Because that's what makes, at least in my opinion, a good story.

;)

Glom
2004-Mar-23, 11:25 AM
I think their list also reflects ideas they feel are stupid. But you're right in a way, a cliche is something that has been done to death.

informant
2004-Mar-23, 12:44 PM
The time traveller helps the future society mellow out by introducing music from his period.
Hm.
Only one that comes to mind right now is Bill&Ted, and maybe Back to the Future, although that is past society iirc. But I'm not very well-versed in Time-travelling movies.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (http://www.scifi2k.com/buck_rogers/buckrogers.html)


Sounds like a humourous cliché though.
I think it comes from a presumptuous assumption that the music of our time is the best in history. Or that civilised people are uptight, and they need primitives to teach them to have fun.

jokergirl
2004-Mar-23, 12:54 PM
I think it comes from a presumptuous assumption that the music of our time is the best in history. Or that civilised people are uptight, and they need primitives to teach them to have fun.

Ever seen Interstella 5555 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368667/)?

;)

informant
2004-Mar-23, 12:58 PM
No. It looks interesting. 8)

Wally
2004-Mar-23, 01:39 PM
Did this cliche' get covered? All the starships have blinking lights on the outside, like aircraft lights.

I always thougtht this was a nice throw-back to our nautical days. Besides, it's dark out there! I've had to dodge freighters quite a few times while crossing lake Michigan at night in a sailboat. It becomes quite a guessing game on whether the freighter is heading towards you, or is already past you. Bottom line, if you see both the green and the red light, you better get your butt moving!

What's to worry about? You're in a sailboat, you've got the right-of-way! :) :wink:

Yeah, them darn stink-pot captains and their 700 foot ore freighters!!! They think they own the lake!

Actually, during a race from Milwaukee to Muskegon, a freighter capt'n was kind enough to veer away from the fleet so as not to interfere with the race. Pretty nice of him, but not seen very often!

The Watcher
2004-Mar-23, 03:45 PM
I'll get my coat. :oops:


I've obviously not watched enough Sci-fi, Is this a good or bad thing?

I did a writing course recently and learn't that all writers 'borrow' ideas from each other and there are only so many basic plot ideas. The trick is giving that basic plot idea a unique twist which fits into the premise of the film/TV series.
Perhaps after seeing such a long list I was in denial that there has been enough Sci-fi produced to generate so many cliches! :D :wink:

informant
2004-Mar-23, 04:02 PM
I did a writing course recently and learn't that all writers 'borrow' ideas from each other and there are only so many basic plot ideas.
That's their story, and they're sticking to it. :D

Paul Beardsley
2004-Mar-23, 10:50 PM
Speaking as one of the contributors to that list (although I can't remember which ones were mine)...

There are a couple of things people sometimes say in defence of cliches:

1) It's only a cliche because it's true!
2) It had to be good to become a cliche in the first place.

Countering the first, it's a cliche that when a woman says "no", she actually means "yes". Does that mean it's true?

As to the second, well, you'll probably fit good tyres on your car. But if they have become bald through use, you will want to replace them rather than keep using them.

Some cliches are undoubtedly unsalvageable, offensive, idiotic or cringe-inducing. They need to be ditched. But some of the ones on that list are more like warning lights. Writers sometimes get lazy, and when they get lazy they don't always think about what they're writing. When this happens, they sometimes get away with it. But if they stray onto the cliche minefield, they are being lazy about things that their audience is now wise to.

The solution is either to avoid cliches like the plague (ho ho) or to navigate the minefield carefully. For instance, if you are reading a book in which an impoverished space trader starts walking around in obviously Earth-normal gravity while his stuck-together-with-chewing-gum ramshackle space freighter is coasting in free-fall, you think to yourself, "How come he's got gravity - a luxury - when he hasn't even got the necessities?" And then you think to yourself, "Because the author hasn't thought it through. He's just copying something he saw on a cheap rip-off of Star Wars. He's got no interest in imagining what it's really like in space."

By contrast, in Lois McMaster Bujold's space adventures, personnel on full-sized battleships walk around in Earth-normal gravity, but the shuttlecraft used to ferry them from one ship to another don't have gravity generators because they are too small to fit one. So we immediately see that Bujold has bothered to imagine her setting, and so we are invited to invest a little more faith into her creation - and perhaps be a little more forgiving if she slips up later.

DataCable
2004-Mar-24, 05:41 AM
Extra breasts on the alien women.
Nope. Seems to be quite a common theme actually ;)
First two to come to mind are one that is not alien (Total Recall) and one that wasn't in a movie (well, originally not, HHGTTG) though.
Absolutely true (to the best of my knowledge): One of Roddenberry's early outlines for TNG described Deanna Troi as "An oversexed, four-breasted hermaphrodite." D.C. Fontana has a field day with that one (and not in a good way.)

Ripper 2.0
2004-Mar-24, 12:13 PM
Extra breasts on the alien women.
Nope. Seems to be quite a common theme actually ;)
First two to come to mind are one that is not alien (Total Recall) and one that wasn't in a movie (well, originally not, HHGTTG) though.
Absolutely true (to the best of my knowledge): One of Roddenberry's early outlines for TNG described Deanna Troi as "An oversexed, four-breasted hermaphrodite." D.C. Fontana has a field day with that one (and not in a good way.)

There was one with eight in Heavy Metal 2000.

Alex12
2004-Mar-24, 04:48 PM
Extra breasts on the alien women.
Nope. Seems to be quite a common theme actually ;)
First two to come to mind are one that is not alien (Total Recall) and one that wasn't in a movie (well, originally not, HHGTTG) though.
Absolutely true (to the best of my knowledge): One of Roddenberry's early outlines for TNG described Deanna Troi as "An oversexed, four-breasted hermaphrodite." D.C. Fontana has a field day with that one (and not in a good way.)

There was one with eight in Heavy Metal 2000.
And there was a reference to one with three in So Long and Thanks for all the Fish (but she WAS a whore)

captain swoop
2004-Mar-24, 04:59 PM
And there was a reference to one with three in So Long and Thanks for all the Fish (but she WAS a whore)

Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon Three.


As the guy says in HHGTTG

Iain Lambert
2004-Mar-24, 05:31 PM
Eroticon Six, actually, if memory serves. :D

ToSeek
2004-Mar-24, 05:39 PM
LISTER: Oooh, I can't wait to see your face in the morning, I really can't.

RIMMER: And nor I yours, Lister, when that pod opens and from it emerges a beautiful alien woman with long green hair and six breasts.

LISTER: Six breasts? Imagine making love to a woman with six breasts!

RIMMER: Imagine making love to a woman!

- Red Dwarf (http://www.ganymede-titan.info/episodes/waitingforgod/summary.php)

Alex12
2004-Mar-29, 04:52 PM
At least one decent ( relatively cliche-free) webcomic: www.schlockmercenary.com and archives

mike alexander
2004-Mar-29, 06:42 PM
I'm not sure what the fascination with numbers is here, except that it is an indirect means of estimating litter size.

Boy. If Gene Roddenberry had been Geena Roddenberry I wonder how the males would have been designed?

Oh. Wait. We do know. Kirk. Ryker. Oversexed two-fisted gonadophiles.

TriangleMan
2004-Mar-30, 02:19 PM
I can't think of a specific example (hmmm, maybe it's not a cliche then) but when most shows introduce a 'scientist' it seems that they can operate almost any scientific equipment, regardless of their discipline of study. Just once I'd like to have the scientist tell everyone something like "I have no idea how this nuclear reactor works - I'm an entymologist!"

jokergirl
2004-Mar-30, 03:24 PM
I can't think of a specific example (hmmm, maybe it's not a cliche then) but when most shows introduce a 'scientist' it seems that they can operate almost any scientific equipment, regardless of their discipline of study. Just once I'd like to have the scientist tell everyone something like "I have no idea how this nuclear reactor works - I'm an entymologist!"

Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor not a [insert profession here]!

;)

Gas Giant
2004-Mar-30, 06:13 PM
A related one is the 8 year old child who can hack into a computer system that all the professional computer can't (Jurassic Park I for example).
Not entirely fair. As I recall in the book, the designer of the system hacked it to switch the security systems off, and lock everyone out. They ended up crashing the system to force a reboot, then had to go to a separate building to switch the power on. At this point they were eaten by rampaging dinosaurs. The kid was the first one to make it back to the computer room, and brought it up by punching buttons more or less at random.

Glom
2004-Mar-30, 06:24 PM
Yes, I believe the events of Jurassic Park implied that Alex was the first one to try to control the system after reboot when Nedry's hacking was wiped. Had the other technicians been there and not eaten, they could have done it as well.

Darasen
2004-Apr-05, 07:20 AM
I have always hated the way computers are used in movies and TV. They all seem to be on the same network, wich I find amazing, use the same OS, can be hacked by a third grader and, if you shoot or bash the monitor the hard drive loses all of it's data.

Indepence day is a good/bad example.

Darasen

TriangleMan
2004-Apr-05, 11:26 AM
Yep. Hollywood and computers have a long history of misunderstading. One of my favourites (can't quite recall the movie, it was either Mission Impossible or The Saint) where our hero needs to find out something about Job (as in the Biblical person), types 'Job' on a web search engine, and gets something like 4 hits.
Someone in the theater immediatly yelled "Whatever!" =D>

I think the same movie showed someone sending an email - when the character hit "send" the thing folded itself up like a letter and zoomed off away from the monitor! #-o :roll:

kucharek
2004-Apr-05, 11:51 AM
Yep. Hollywood and computers have a long history of misunderstading. One of my favourites (can't quite recall the movie, it was either Mission Impossible or The Saint) where our hero needs to find out something about Job (as in the Biblical person), types 'Job' on a web search engine, and gets something like 4 hits.
Someone in the theater immediatly yelled "Whatever!" =D>

I think the same movie showed someone sending an email - when the character hit "send" the thing folded itself up like a letter and zoomed off away from the monitor! #-o :roll:

That was M:I. Just saw it yesterday the first time on the telly. Glad I didn't spent money on it at the cinema.

Swift
2004-Apr-05, 01:18 PM
Movie computers also seem to use giant 36 point fonts when they are only showing text, but absolutely HDTV quality graphics when they show photographs or movies.

SeanF
2004-Apr-05, 01:58 PM
While we're on the subject of computers, anybody watch 24? There was an episode recently where a worm was working its way through their firewall, and they only had a certain amount of time to disable it before all their data (undercover agent lists, etc.) would be available to all these hackers out there.

I'm sitting there going, "Uh, why don't you just unplug the T-1 cable?"

:D

TriangleMan
2004-Apr-05, 02:14 PM
I'm sitting there going, "Uh, why don't you just unplug the T-1 cable?"
Did they show a computer screen picture of a worm-like object burrowing into a barrier? How about a 'security breach' countdown? :lol:

Iain Lambert
2004-Apr-05, 03:00 PM
I know that the big silly writing is both incorrect and a cliché, but its done for good reason.

Shots of people working at computers aren't terribly interesting, but close-ups of the screen are usually worse (10/10 to The Matrix for managing to pull this off, however). So a cinematographer looking at the scene will want an over-the-shoulder shot to give it a bit of relevance as to what is going on, who is typing away and so-on. But as much as we all like to think that the theatrical showing is paramount, there has to be the odd concession to the ones that have to watch what is going on via a VHS tape. At which point, for the text on the screen to be readable you've got to make it pretty large.

Grand Vizier
2004-Apr-05, 08:48 PM
I know that the big silly writing is both incorrect and a cliché, but its done for good reason.

[...]

At which point, for the text on the screen to be readable you've got to make it pretty large.

Fine and good - but it doesn't explain why everyone in the movies uses a Mac...

Tuckerfan
2004-Apr-05, 11:28 PM
A very useful site to help writers avoid certain pitfalls; however some of the cliches are debateable in some respects; take this one;

9 : A virtual reality program is activated, and the distinction between reality and the program becomes confused or indistinguishable.
which is said to
flatly contradict the known laws of nature, introduce an irreconcilable contradiction, require the characters involved to have the IQ of a banana peel, or are abysmally stupid for some other reason.

Well, John VanSickle (if that is his name) doesn't seem to have read Nick Bostrom on the subject of virtual reality programs;

certainly using them badly to cover up plot holes becomes a tired cliche, but thy have not yet been demonstrated to contradict the laws of nature, and could fool Einstein if properly written...Well, considering he's spent the past 50 years or so in a jar on a shelf, I don't think that he'd complain no matter how badly it was written. :o

Personally, I think it'd be entertaining if someone made a film where the characters were well aware of the standard movie cliche's and avoided them. For example, the big bad alien is running amok on the ship, one of the characters suggests splitting up to go get something, and the other characters turn to the first one and say, "What are you, an idiot? Don't you know that's how people get killed in scary movies? We're sticking together!"

daver
2004-Apr-05, 11:35 PM
Personally, I think it'd be entertaining if someone made a film where the characters were well aware of the standard movie cliche's and avoided them.

There was a Teen Titans episode where some big scary monster had invaded the Titan's building; they were going to split up and look for the monster. Beast Boy wasn't too keen on the idea; he figured he'd be the first one to be picked off (that's what had happened in the movie they just saw). The rest made fun of him, but the next scene they're exploring the building in a pack.

Tuckerfan
2004-Apr-05, 11:44 PM
I know that the big silly writing is both incorrect and a cliché, but its done for good reason.

[...]

At which point, for the text on the screen to be readable you've got to make it pretty large.

Fine and good - but it doesn't explain why everyone in the movies uses a Mac...Because Apple shells out big bucks for product placement.

Iain Lambert
2004-Apr-06, 09:46 AM
Its not always Apple, though. All the iMacs (very sensible and believable choice) hanging around the Torch newspaper office in Smallville turned into ridiculously overpowered Alienware Windows XP boxes a while back.

Mind you, maybe that was because Lionel Luthor had donated them; I've got him pegged as a Microsoft fan.

kucharek
2004-Apr-06, 09:50 AM
Personally, I think it'd be entertaining if someone made a film where the characters were well aware of the standard movie cliche's and avoided them.
There was this SG-1 episode where they meet the Asgard for the first time and Carter whispers to O'Neill something like: "That's silly. They look like the aliens in those sf-movies!".

Harald

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2004-Apr-06, 10:40 AM
Its not always Apple, though. All the iMacs (very sensible and believable choice) hanging around the Torch newspaper office in Smallville turned into ridiculously overpowered Alienware Windows XP boxes a while back.

Mind you, maybe that was because Lionel Luthor had donated them; I've got him pegged as a Microsoft fan.

Well ...

Microsoft does follow the Evil.

Amadeus
2004-Apr-06, 11:41 AM
Its not always Apple, though. All the iMacs (very sensible and believable choice) hanging around the Torch newspaper office in Smallville turned into ridiculously overpowered Alienware Windows XP boxes a while back.

Mind you, maybe that was because Lionel Luthor had donated them; I've got him pegged as a Microsoft fan.

Well ...

Microsoft does follow the Evil.

*sniff* *sniff* Can I smell a lawsuit? :D

I've noticed that the XBOX game console gets quite a lot of product placement as well. Just saw an episode of "The shield" and it had one in there.

AndrewGPaul
2004-Apr-06, 12:03 PM
On Angel the other day, Spike was playing what suonded like an 80s arcade game on one. Didn;t know you could get a MAME emulator for the XBox :)

Iain Lambert
2004-Apr-06, 12:51 PM
Didn't know you could get a MAME emulator for the XBox :)

Yes, you can. You need to chip your XBox to be able to run unsigned code, but after that it is reasonably simple to find both MameX and the necessary ROMs.

More simply, he could have been playing the excellent Midway Arcade Treasures compilation, which includes the likes of Robotron, Defender and Marble Madness in emulated form legally. Its only £15 from Amazon or Choices Video have it in their 2 for £30 range if you don't want to faff with online ordering. Not bad for 24 games, and has the added bonus over MAME of XBox Live high-score tables.

Alex12
2004-Apr-06, 01:21 PM
what about when one or more minor crew members die, the main characters express no emotion, or even joke about soon after. Yet, when a major character dies, there are tears, crying, etc. (think Tasha in "Skin of Evil" or Data in "The Most Toys"- or for that matter, "Time's Arrow" when everyone thought he was going to die)

captain swoop
2004-Apr-06, 01:22 PM
I confess I have never seen smallville but I understood it to be a series about a young Superman?

Doesn't that mean it was set in the 60s or 70s?

If so how can they have iMacs or XP boxes?

Amadeus
2004-Apr-06, 01:45 PM
I confess I have never seen smallville but I understood it to be a series about a young Superman?

Doesn't that mean it was set in the 60s or 70s?

If so how can they have iMacs or XP boxes?

Or any type of computer for that matter......

Iain Lambert
2004-Apr-06, 01:59 PM
I confess I have never seen smallville but I understood it to be a series about a young Superman?

Doesn't that mean it was set in the 60s or 70s?

Nope. Its not set in the 20s or 30s either. Much the same way that Batman, James Bond and everyone else is always set in the present day, but at the same time doesn't get older.

Paul Beardsley
2004-Apr-06, 02:36 PM
what about when one or more minor crew members die, the main characters express no emotion, or even joke about soon after. Yet, when a major character dies, there are tears, crying, etc. (think Tasha in "Skin of Evil" or Data in "The Most Toys"
When Tasha died, the doctor (Beverly Crusher IIRC) announced, "She's dead!" in such a surprised voice. You could hear the subtext: "I can't believe it - one of the regulars has just died on me!" And of course they milked it for years and years and years. A bit like what Doctor Who fan-writers did with Adric.

Amadeus
2004-Apr-06, 04:10 PM
I confess I have never seen smallville but I understood it to be a series about a young Superman?

Doesn't that mean it was set in the 60s or 70s?

Nope. Its not set in the 20s or 30s either. Much the same way that Batman, James Bond and everyone else is always set in the present day, but at the same time doesn't get older.

True but they don't normaly get younger. :wink:

Maybe we'll find out that he's not "Super-man" but Clark Kents love child.
:D

Iain Lambert
2004-Apr-06, 04:42 PM
I doubt it - after all, practically every DC character is on something like their 4th or 5th origin story by now, thanks to Crisis On Infinite Earths and subsequent attempts to re-jig the continuity.

Alex12
2004-Apr-07, 01:29 PM
A few missed cliches:
they need a doctor to announce something painfully obvious (character gets heart blown out or something like that, doctor feels strange need to announce that they're dead)
Enemy has never encountered a certain type of weapon (Borg need to freshly adapt to phasers)

captain swoop
2004-Apr-07, 03:22 PM
Enemy has never encountered a certain type of weapon (Borg need to freshly adapt to phasers)

Why wouldn't that happen/ Aliens would have alien ways of doing things other wise they wouldn't be alien! Ask Arnold Rimmer how they say 'hello' for instance.

tracer
2004-Apr-07, 06:02 PM
Ask Arnold Rimmer how they say 'hello' for instance.
Why, "bonan tagon," of course! Arnold Rimmer was learning elementary Esperanto, y'know.

captain swoop
2004-Apr-08, 08:29 AM
Ask Arnold Rimmer how they say 'hello' for instance.
Why, "bonan tagon," of course! Arnold Rimmer was learning elementary Esperanto, y'know.

I was thinking of the episode 'Thanks for the Memory' in season 1

RIMMER: Look, you're not thinking alien. That's what aliens are: alien. They do alien things. Things that are... (shrugs) alien. Maybe this is the way they communicate.

CAT: By breaking legs?

LISTER: And doing jigsaws?

RIMMER: Why should they speak the way we do? They're aliens.

LISTER: OK, professor, what does it mean?

RIMMER: Maybe, maybe, OK? Breaking your leg hurts like hell, OK? "Hel." They do it below the knee, "lo." "Hel-lo," gettit? They do it twice - twice, "two." "Hello two." And the jigsaw must mean "you." "Hello to you."

CAT: I wouldn't like to be around when one of these suckers is making a
speech!

Disinfo Agent
2004-Apr-20, 12:02 PM
Here's another overused scifi cliché:

Even in the middle of a crisis, the captain of a starship always has the time to write the captain's log. Even when he's been captured by the enemy! :roll:
(Star Trek, this means you.)

Not exactly a cliché, but still annoying:

Someone's talking to another person through video, or someone's watching the occupants of a room through a spy/security camera. The image follows the movements of the characters, and even changes the camera angle! #-o

ToSeek
2004-Apr-20, 01:46 PM
Not exactly a cliché, but still annoying:

Someone's talking to another person through video, or someone's watching the occupants of a room through a spy/security camera. The image follows the movements of the characters, and even changes the camera angle! #-o

My wife and I were impressed with those "exterior visuals" they somehow kept managing to acquire in Star Trek: The Motionless Picture.

Heimdall
2004-May-01, 08:25 AM
And several small spurts of water would appear which were turned off by the crew with little valves.


That seems to be a stock feature of almost all submarine movies, with the possible exception of Das Boot. Sometimes they do the same thing with a few turns of a monkey wrench - but either way, I've never figured out how those repairs work.

I always like the way, too, that all submarines can be taken way beyond their safe depth with no apparent ill-effects except for a bit of psychological stress (and this one Das Boot does do).

Problem is, once water gets into the part of the sub where the crew is, the pressure hull has a hole in it. Even if the sub is only at, say, 100m depth, the water pressure would be so great there's no way on earth you could just "plug your thumb on the hole to stop the water". Now I'm not that good at physics, but IMHO if there is even the smallest of holes in the pressure hull, the whole boat would be smashed.

------------

Oh btw, has this one been mentioned?

The last thing to fail on a spaceship _always_ seems to be artificial gravity :roll:

Lycus
2004-May-01, 09:42 AM
Here's (http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Labyrinth/8584/stuff/cliche.html) the fantasy version of a grand list of cliches.

boppa
2004-May-04, 03:59 PM
Yep. Hollywood and computers have a long history of misunderstading. One of my favourites (can't quite recall the movie, it was either Mission Impossible or The Saint) where our hero needs to find out something about Job (as in the Biblical person), types 'Job' on a web search engine, and gets something like 4 hits.
Someone in the theater immediatly yelled "Whatever!" =D>




Search Results Images Directory Results Directory Categories Advanced Search
Search took 0.19 seconds

Web Results | powered by Google Results 1-10 of about 6,640,000


nothing in the first 3 pages about that job-just employment agencies lol

SciFi Chick
2004-May-04, 04:24 PM
Here's (http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Labyrinth/8584/stuff/cliche.html) the fantasy version of a grand list of cliches.

Here's why I don't like that list. It's apparent that whoever wrote it doesn't like fantasy. I mean, they say opposites continually.

Example: All good guys are handsome; all bad guys are ugly.

A few lines later: The handsome man with an evil heart.

I mean, the list seems to cover every aspect of what has been established as a general fantasy environment.

I realize there are cliches that should be removed from fantasy, but that list is like saying you like science fiction, but you wish there was no science in it, because that's sooo cliche.

Or, I like stories about people, but there's just too many humans. :D

Zamboni
2004-May-04, 09:58 PM
I've always wondered why vessels capable of travelling at near light speeds, or even faster-than-light speeds in the movies always have some guy sitting at the front of the bridge "steering" the thing. They have to "drive" their ships through asteroid fields, and dangerous nebulae. Some of them even have a steering wheel or yoke for this purpose. That's why than scene from "Galaxy Quest" was so funny-couldn't get the thing steered out of the docking bay.

Maybe they're actually playing "the Sims" on their plasma consoles (before it explodes from a hit on the say, waste management system).

One thing that bothered me in star trek (TNG) is that the Captain is almost always seen in his "ready room" yet there are no signs of restroom of any kind present... Though they fixed this in First Contact by adding a facet on Enterprise E (wow... a design feature that actually is practical...)

DataCable
2004-May-05, 07:05 AM
One thing that bothered me in star trek (TNG) is that the Captain is almost always seen in his "ready room" yet there are no signs of restroom of any kind present... Though they fixed this in First Contact by adding a facet on Enterprise E (wow... a design feature that actually is practical...)

Whattaya think was around the corner from the replicator? :wink:

Actually, I don't think any of the Treks even acknowledged the excretory functions of carbon-based lifeforms until DS9's cryptic references to "waste extraction" :-k :-s 8-[

Paul Beardsley
2004-May-05, 07:15 AM
Responding to SciFi Chick's valid complaint, a much better treatment of fantasy cliches is The Tough Guide To Fantasy by Diana Wynne Jones. Her observations are very sharp, and include:

* When crossing the desert, your caravan will be attacked by raiders who will kill the armed escort. You'll survive to continue the crossing, and have no further trouble with raiders, now that you have no escort.

* During your quest you'll eat creatures which have confused aspects of hare and rabbit, almost as if the author doesn't know the difference.

* When a seemingly-pleasant (but actually treacherous) person approaches your party, one of you will note a "reek of wrongness" about him.

And much else. I can't remember if she mentions the villain who tries it on with the buxom barmaid, who slaps his face, causing him to say, "I like a woman with spirit!" Come to think of it, she probably doesn't, because she knows we all know about that one.

SciFi Chick
2004-May-05, 01:10 PM
* When crossing the desert, your caravan will be attacked by raiders who will kill the armed escort. You'll survive to continue the crossing, and have no further trouble with raiders, now that you have no escort.

That's a good one!! =D>


* When a seemingly-pleasant (but actually treacherous) person approaches your party, one of you will note a "reek of wrongness" about him.

It makes me wonder if authors think we just can't handle it if we're surprised that someone turns out to be treacherous, and we weren't suspicious. I think that sets up a false sense of jeopardy, and I have grown very tired of it.


And much else. I can't remember if she mentions the villain who tries it on with the buxom barmaid, who slaps his face, causing him to say, "I like a woman with spirit!" Come to think of it, she probably doesn't, because she knows we all know about that one.

That's what I hate about romance novels. Every single woman is generally described the way you would a nice mare. :roll:

In any case, being a fan of fantasy, I will be checking out that guide. Thanks for the tip.

Swift
2004-May-05, 01:20 PM
...That's what I hate about romance novels. Every single woman is generally described the way you would a nice mare. :roll:
Good teeth? No, just kidding, no, wait, no, no hit. :D

SciFi Chick
2004-May-05, 01:44 PM
Good teeth? No, just kidding, no, wait, no, no hit. :D

Unfortunately, that's not as big an exaggeration as you might think. :P

ToSeek
2004-May-05, 02:37 PM
Responding to SciFi Chick's valid complaint, a much better treatment of fantasy cliches is The Tough Guide To Fantasy by Diana Wynne Jones.

She's got about a page-and-a-half about horses in fantasy novels that I recall as being falling-down funny, though I can't remember the details offhand.

Paul Beardsley
2004-May-06, 12:12 PM
Another SF cliche – now mercifully rare. Hungry space travellers, or visitors to the future, are promised a meal of roast chicken, sprouts, potatoes, gravy etc. They are then handed a selection of tablets. Dismayed, they say, “What’s this?” and their host tells them it’s what they asked for. This “joke” has been used so often, and even the wording is more or less the same every time!

I happened to glance at the Options just now, including, "Disable Smilies in this post". I misread it as "Disable Similies in this post". I can just imagine a program doing a search-and-delete routine for phrases such as "As light as a feather."

Maksutov
2004-May-06, 01:02 PM
I know that the big silly writing is both incorrect and a cliché, but its done for good reason.

[...]

At which point, for the text on the screen to be readable you've got to make it pretty large.

Fine and good - but it doesn't explain why everyone in the movies uses a Mac...

Because movies are scripted in Hollywood and we know how talented and intelligent Hollywood writers, producers, and directors are.

Plus the scripts are based on demographics, ergo lowest common denominator.

"Gee, what a cute smile! My computer is working OK!"

"Got to eject my disc. I'll just drag it into the trash!"

"Huh! What's that black bomb with the lit fuse...?"

:roll:

Maksutov
2004-May-06, 01:11 PM
Another SF cliche – now mercifully rare. Hungry space travellers, or visitors to the future, are promised a meal of roast chicken, sprouts, potatoes, gravy etc. They are then handed a selection of tablets. Dismayed, they say, “What’s this?” and their host tells them it’s what they asked for. This “joke” has been used so often, and even the wording is more or less the same every time!

I happened to glance at the Options just now, including, "Disable Smilies in this post". I misread it as "Disable Similies in this post". I can just imagine a program doing a search-and-delete routine for phrases such as "As light as a feather."

We MUST have similes, or as Browning (or was it Exeter?) said "What's a metaphor?"

captain swoop
2004-May-06, 03:33 PM
"Got to eject my disc. I'll just drag it into the trash!"



Well, hit the eject key on the keybosrd at least.

Disinfo Agent
2004-May-06, 03:37 PM
I think you missed Maksutov's point. :)

Mellow
2004-May-11, 08:13 AM
sorry if this as posted before, but just remembered the number of times that shooting a "laser" at a door control forces the door to automatically slide open.

Disinfo Agent
2004-May-11, 11:26 AM
Yeah, shouldn't it just leave the door permanently closed? :lol:

mid
2004-May-11, 01:15 PM
sorry if this as posted before, but just remembered the number of times that shooting a "laser" at a door control forces the door to automatically slide open.

Its clearly the momentum of all those photons hitting the button. :D

Demigrog
2004-May-11, 03:31 PM
sorry if this as posted before, but just remembered the number of times that shooting a "laser" at a door control forces the door to automatically slide open.

Funny that, I was just thinking how many times shooting the door control locks the door. Sometimes it works both ways, depending on whether the Hero is trying to get in or get away.

Krel
2004-May-11, 05:51 PM
I know that the big silly writing is both incorrect and a cliché, but its done for good reason.

[...]

At which point, for the text on the screen to be readable you've got to make it pretty large.

Fine and good - but it doesn't explain why everyone in the movies uses a Mac...

It's called 'product placement', which is where a company pays the production company, or studio a ton of money to have their product featured prominently on screen. Apple is real big on that. The funniest take I've ever seen on product placement was in "Return Of The Killer Tomatoes".

David.

captain swoop
2004-May-12, 09:50 AM
it's easier for Apple to do, they have a recognisable product and logo. Look at the Drew Carey Show for lots of Apple placement.

c-Row
2004-May-12, 10:00 AM
Funny that, I was just thinking how many times shooting the door control locks the door. Sometimes it works both ways, depending on whether the Hero is trying to get in or get away.

See, you can still rely on Sirius Cybernetic Corporation manufactured doors. =D>

LlomaxX
2004-Nov-17, 09:48 PM
I have enjoyed reading this board....and about movies that know about their clichés...like not having a self-destruct on a spaceship...

There was an animated movie (I think it was Titan AE) where two people were trying to get past a guard. Can you guess what they did? Of course, one of them dressed in the clothes taken from a knocked out/killed guard, and pretended to have "captured" the other one. But the guard immediately saw through the disguise when he noticed the gun the imposter was using wasn't standard issue. The character in disguise stated something along the line of, "An intelligent security guard. Who saw that coming?" I thought that was really funny.

And with "Scream" pointing out all of the clichés in scary movies, will the pointing out of movie clichés in movies become, well, cliché?

Demigrog
2004-Nov-17, 09:52 PM
Funny that, I was just thinking how many times shooting the door control locks the door. Sometimes it works both ways, depending on whether the Hero is trying to get in or get away.

See, you can still rely on Sirius Cybernetic Corporation manufactured doors. =D>

I have to back off of my mocking now. The new security doors in the building I work in really do unlock if you shoot the controls (or just cut the power). Makes us all feel much safer.

Paul Beardsley
2004-Nov-17, 10:21 PM
Of course, one of them dressed in the clothes taken from a knocked out/killed guard, and pretended to have "captured" the other one.

I had this idea of a villain only employing grossly misshapen guards and giving them made-to-measure uniforms so that nobody can nick their clothes. Unless his captives were similarly misshapen...

Humphrey
2004-Nov-18, 01:53 AM
Or use Tattos for uniforms. Rather drafty, but it works :-).

Tobin Dax
2004-Nov-18, 04:44 AM
Or use Tattos for uniforms. Rather drafty, but it works :-).

Humphrey, I'm almost afraid that you know this from experience. I guess I need to keep my eyes peeled for guys with turtle-shells tatooed on their backs. :wink: :D

nomuse
2004-Nov-18, 08:10 AM
Heh. I'm glad this one is back.

I hate to say it (it's so similar to the lame defence of the "swoosh") but the ring-shaped explosions make sense as a visual trick. You can show the "shock wave" going to infinity, _past_ the camera.

Reviving dead cliches is one of those dangerous occupations. It is too easy to yank the reader out of the story if you engage them on a meta-level by exposing a cliche.

There's a very odd trilogy by Lawrence Watt-Evans where he presents some truly cliched worlds to his everyday heroes. Unfortunately, the cliches of the Evil Galactic Empire may include purple uniforms, ray guns and jack boots, but they do not include being a knockover for the heroes....who have a very hard time of it indeed.

(And I go back to my attempt at doing a shoujo manga, sentai story that is aware of the cliches involved and does not always permit them).

Morrolan
2004-Nov-18, 08:29 AM
"Any character with a perpetual two-day growth of beard"

glad i'm not in the movies, then... :lol:

Disinfo Agent
2004-Nov-20, 09:52 PM
The omniscient computer that explains to the viewer everything that's going on, even things that the crew should be able to tell from the instruments.

JonClarke
2004-Nov-20, 10:52 PM
SF movie clches is an inexhaustible field :lol: !

I'll restrict myself to one sub genre, the Mars movie.

1. Mars looks remarkably like the SW of the USA.

2. There is life on Mars

3. There is (or was) intelligent life on Mars

4. That life (intelligent or otherwise) is hostile of humanity

5. Any government or coporate agency will be either incompetent or evil

6. Mars settlements will be almost exclusively settled by people from the US.

7. Mars missions will be almost exclusvely performed by the US. Any foreigners will be incompetent, evil, or simply killed off ASAP.

8. The technology will be flawed in some fundamental way magically overlooked by review panels.

9. The crew will consist of people who would fail even the most basic selection procedure, not surprisingly they then behave in extraordinarily immature and unprofessional ways.

10. The movie will show staggering ignorance of the basics of the Mars environment and travelling there.

11. The history of Mars settlement will show extraordinary similarities to the most cliched view of the US frontier.

12. Mars will contain some extraordinarily hostile factor that has escaped or been overlooked by earlier explorers. This will render the surface of Mars totally usable for humans.

Cheers

Jon

edited for content

fossilnut
2004-Nov-21, 02:05 AM
I'm jumping in late but I like the one mentioned:

"All the starships have blinking lights on the outside, like aircraft lights."

To take it a step further. All those UFOs that don't want to observed for whatever reason...you'd think they'd turn the outside lights off on their ships.

This may have been written, but aliens have perspective issues. They can't shoot straight. Green aliens, reptile aliens, robot aliens, etc. have taken thousands of close-range weapon shots at the good guys and still haven't hit the target. They would have had more success using a potato-spud gun. At least by now they might have poked a few eyes out.

Back to aliens landing on Earth. The USA makes up 1/52nd area of the surface of the Earth but aliens in movies usually crash in the USA. Even more remarkable is the size of the UK...back in the 50's movies aliens were landing on the island left and right.

The most remarkable cliche is that old dottering professors always have knock-out, model-looking daughters who assist them with their research. Her young gentlemen friend makes some remarkable breakthrough in science to save daughter, future father-in-law and the world. The breakthrough is often complex...like using big polished mirrors to reflect the deady rays back on to the alien spacecraft, destroying it and thus save Earth.

Leads to the last cliche. After aliens are defeated why do they never regroup and make adjustments such as "Hey, next time we try and conquer the Earth, why don't we just nuke the whole place first instead of trying to destroy each building with a laser beam? And while we're at it, let's can the self-destruct button on our spacecraft." :o

Tha_Pig
2004-Nov-22, 07:31 AM
Does this sound like the incident in Armageddon where the Russian cosmonaut "fixes" the ship by pounding on the offending part with a wrench or hammer, because all the technical stuff doesn't work? :roll:

That's not so far fetched. Anyone who ever had to work with Soviet technology knows that's standard procedure. We even had a special word for it (no exact translation to English, but it meant something like "applying tenderizer")

nomuse
2004-Nov-22, 07:43 AM
Percussive Maintenance goes way back. Sometimes the best thing to do is give it that special tap that makes it work...fix it after it breaks for good.

A little orthogonal to the subject, after decades in theater my toes are practically calibrated. I can kick a platform to within quarter-inch tolerance.

Tha_Pig
2004-Nov-22, 08:47 AM
There is one that bothers me a lot (very common on Star Trek)

Any electronic device or piece of technology will have one or several blinking lights which serve not purpose at all. This is especially ridiculous in the case of devices that are supposed to be hidden (like a bomb or a spy device) but are designed with blinking lights and emit audible humming or beeps.

nomuse
2004-Nov-22, 08:58 AM
But didn't we sort of discuss this? Most of the electronic devices I've built have a couple status LEDs wired into them. For one thing, they make it easy to see what's going on when the thing doesn't work right. And for another, they just plain look cool.

Bombs or spy devices....but then Star Trek has enough problems with their whole "sensor masking" thing anyhow.

(Just watching the latest Enterprise, where due to the usual mystery rocks "sensors don't work" and the ships flying overhead can't see them. So...what exactly happens to the photons? Why is it image magnification and computer pattern recognition no longer works? And doppler radar stops bouncing? And infared stops being emmited by Captain Archer?)

But that's really a subset of the whole "special effects don't work inside here" field. Which is to say, magically, phasers, communicators, even pistols and grenades don't work, and edged weapons do (but somehow humans don't suddenly go blind, paralyzed, and shortly dead as the same processes cease inside them).

Kaptain K
2004-Nov-22, 11:30 AM
Percussive Maintenance ...
When I was growing up (mid 60s) we had a TV that required a pretty good "thump" every once in a while! By the time it quit for good, it had a large dent in the side.

kucharek
2004-Nov-22, 11:45 AM
Does this sound like the incident in Armageddon where the Russian cosmonaut "fixes" the ship by pounding on the offending part with a wrench or hammer, because all the technical stuff doesn't work? :roll:

That's not so far fetched. Anyone who ever had to work with Soviet technology knows that's standard procedure. We even had a special word for it (no exact translation to English, but it meant something like "applying tenderizer")
Sometimes, there is nothing better than a few well dosed whacks. During Apollo 12, a few were needed to get the stuff RTG fuel element out of it's cask. Later, they gave their burnt-out video-camera a few whacks, as they suspected the color-wheel may stuck.
During Skylab, Conrad used a few whacks to free a stuck relais.
Don't know about issues on later spaceflights, especially ISS construction, but I'm pretty sure there are some.

Harald

Humphrey
2004-Nov-22, 01:26 PM
(Just watching the latest Enterprise, where due to the usual mystery rocks "sensors don't work" and the ships flying overhead can't see them. So...what exactly happens to the photons? Why is it image magnification and computer pattern recognition no longer works? And doppler radar stops bouncing? And infared stops being emmited by Captain Archer?)
I was wondering why they never parachuted down. Or a pack animal.

darkhunter
2004-Nov-22, 07:57 PM
Does this sound like the incident in Armageddon where the Russian cosmonaut "fixes" the ship by pounding on the offending part with a wrench or hammer, because all the technical stuff doesn't work? :roll:

That's not so far fetched. Anyone who ever had to work with Soviet technology knows that's standard procedure. We even had a special word for it (no exact translation to English, but it meant something like "applying tenderizer")
Sometimes, there is nothing better than a few well dosed whacks. During Apollo 12, a few were needed to get the stuff RTG fuel element out of it's cask. Later, they gave their burnt-out video-camera a few whacks, as they suspected the color-wheel may stuck.
During Skylab, Conrad used a few whacks to free a stuck relais.
Don't know about issues on later spaceflights, especially ISS construction, but I'm pretty sure there are some.

Harald

If it don't work the first time, get a bigger hammer :D

John Dlugosz
2004-Nov-24, 07:31 PM
Glasses w/tape on the bridge, pocket protectors, and calculators = nerd. Mostly in "comedies," but the nerd is the science kid, so I count it as SciFi (fictional science character).

That doesn't make sense to me.

A few years ago, a co-worker came in with tape on his glasses. I told him that any self-respecting technogeek would use epoxy. The next day you couldn't even see where they had been mended, and he still wears them.

Van Rijn
2004-Nov-24, 09:09 PM
Heh. I used to wear glasses from the minute I woke up until I fell asleep. A few years ago, when I was already planning to get Lasik, my glasses must have fallen off the bed ... and the next morning I stepped on them and snapped them right in the middle. Since I was going to get rid of them in a couple of months anyway, I glued and taped the things back together. It provided the perfect geek look. It was a bit of a ceremony when I finally threw them in the trash.

No pocket protector, though. I type. I don't believe in writing.

nomuse
2004-Nov-24, 09:11 PM
What, don't you carry a tweaker? (A small, thin screwdriver)

Van Rijn
2004-Nov-24, 09:44 PM
Nah. I have plenty of screwdrivers lying around (not to mention plenty of other tools), a kit in the car, etc., so I don't need one. 'Course, years ago when I took turns on "PC Hotline" at my job, I would carry a minimalist kit: One floppy disk with various diagnotic software and one of those mini screwdrivers with a clip. I did NOT put it in my shirt pocket, however. I may have geek genes, but there are limits to what even I will do.

Humots
2004-Nov-26, 03:06 AM
I remember a reverse cliché I saw on a TV movie some years ago.

A hot female alien and her human ally (tough guy detective) are returning to her ship, where there is a dangerous monster who killed all of the crew but her.

Their conversation is as follows (more or less):

He: how’s this, we board the ship and you hit the self-destruct button.

She: the what?

He: you know, the button that sets off an explosive that destroys the entire ship.

She: why would we have a dangerous thing like that on board? And if we did, it would be highly classified. I wouldn’t know anything about it.

Anybody remember that one?

DataCable
2004-Nov-26, 04:40 AM
A hot female alien and her human ally (tough guy detective) are returning to her ship, where there is a dangerous monster who killed all of the crew but her.

[snip]

Anybody remember that one?
Can't say I remember the line specifically, but the movie (later a series) sounds like Something is Out There (http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0096134/)

Paul Beardsley
2004-Nov-26, 12:53 PM
Referring more to the fantasy cliches, there's one that gets my goat. Actually there are quite a few variants, but they all come under the heading "introducing a 'what if?' and then refusing to deal with the implications".

In the early part of the 20th century, L. Frank Baum wrote a book called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, set in a fantasy land which was difficult (but not impossible) to get to. After Dorothy's adventure there, there followed another adventure without her, then loads with her. At one point her impoverished guardians were compelled to emigrate to the land. Oz had people, politics, relations with other lands (Ev, the Nome King's kingdom et al).

The best-known film version changed all that. Instead of Oz being a place, it was all a dream that Dorothy had. This, to my mind, totally emasculates the whole idea. Dorothy never achieved anything, was never in any peril, and never learned anything except that you should never leave your own backyard.

What possessed the producers to make such a naff decision? Did they think the audience would have difficulty understanding the concept of an imaginary land? Did they think it somehow "made more sense" if it turned out to be a child's dream after all?

The worst of it is, it has served as a precedent. When Life Of Pi was considered for the Booker Prize, they decided it was okay that it was all a dream "because after all The Wizard of Oz was a dream." Aaargh!

I hate all variations on the "it was all a dream" ending (including it was all a VR simulation), and anything else that dodges the issues. Characters who visit hell, are reincarnated, have magic friends and so on - I loathe it when they suddenly lose their memory of the fantastic events, or time shifts so that it never happened, or whatever. It would be much more interesting to consider how people are changed by the fantastic events. Even if the story ends before we're actually shown this.

In a similar vein, I get a little impatient with the scenes where the protagonist brings the police back to the house where the murder took place - only to find the house has been deserted for years. Or where the prot finally gets somebody to believe him that something is going on - but the somebody then gets killed. I also dislike the person chased by a creature that nobody else can see - it's so hackneyed!

Er, that's enough ranting for one lunchtime.

nomuse
2004-Nov-26, 05:51 PM
Of course writers today are too sophisticated to use "It was all a dream."

So instead they go back in time and the whole sequence gets "erased."

(Or a holodeck sequence....let's hope that one has finally died and gone away.)

Paul Beardsley
2004-Nov-27, 10:42 AM
Of course writers today are too sophisticated to use "It was all a dream."

So instead they go back in time and the whole sequence gets "erased."

(Or a holodeck sequence....let's hope that one has finally died and gone away.)

Exactly - all examples of dodging the implications.

I have an idea for a novel in which going back in time to change things is the start of the "things that need dealing with". But I haven't written it yet...

Krel
2004-Nov-27, 07:21 PM
Humonts, it is a mini-series, later a tv series named "Something Is Out There". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096134/

Her last lines was more like: Why would you want to blow your ship up? How would you get home then? Besides, I'm just a Doctor and wouldn't know anything about that.

A great exchange.

David.

Humots
2004-Nov-28, 01:17 AM
Humonts, it is a mini-series, later a tv series named "Something Is Out There". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096134/

Her last lines was more like: Why would you want to blow your ship up? How would you get home then? Besides, I'm just a Doctor and wouldn't know anything about that.

A great exchange.

Thanks. I didn't know there was a whole series.

Makgraf
2004-Nov-28, 06:38 AM
The worst of it is, it has served as a precedent. When Life Of Pi was considered for the Booker Prize, they decided it was okay that it was all a dream "because after all The Wizard of Oz was a dream." Aaargh!

Except for Life of Pi wasn't "just a dream". There were two stories at the end and you had to choose which one to believe. So why did the author do this? Think about the half of the book that wasn't Pi on the lifeboat but was him talking about religion. Was that just irrevelent filler? No, it directly applies to the ending. Pi talks about making leaps of faith and believing something that can seem outlandish (religion) as oppose to something harsher but more realistic. The end of the book presents the reader to apply this to themselves. Do you believe the brutual story about cannibalism and murder. Or do you make a leap of faith and believe the wonderful story (in the sense of the word meaning full of wonder)?

JonClarke
2004-Nov-28, 09:18 AM
Is "And it was all a dream" a true cliche or rather a powerful literary device that can be used well or poorly? I would regard a chiche as something small or a single idea that is over used - the big red LEDs on a time bomb. The dream approach is larger and more complex, not so much a genre, although it approaches that, but a particular mode of story telling. It is a technique that allows a particular type of story to be told.

This approach has a long and noble history - Kepler's Somnium, for example, or Pilgrim's progress. Paul Gallico, Shakespeare, William Golding are other authors who have used it to considerable effect. How well it works depends on the skill of the story teller, and perhaps the listener/watcher and their assumptions about the nature of dreams and their significance.

Cheers

Jon

Paul Beardsley
2004-Nov-28, 10:14 AM
JonClarke: I'm not opposed to the use of dreams per se - I am opposed to any kind of ending that reveals that the story you just read (or watched) might as well not have happened. In this regard, The Wizard of Oz is a prime offender.

And even when the dream/amnesia/whatever doesn't totally negate the story, I would argue that it diminishes it more often than people will admit. For instance, G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday has an ending that pretty well implies it was all a dream - and I ask, what on earth does Chesterton think he's added by having that ending? We know we're reading fiction - why add an extra layer by making it a fiction within the fiction?

Like E. Nesbit having her children forget all about their magic experiences when they grow up, it seems to me a simple case of Chesterton distancing himself from the fact that he's written fantasy.

But dream accounts that are presented as dream accounts - they're fine if used well. A dream can provide a lot of insight into character.

Makgraf: I've not read Life Of Pi, so I've no doubt you are right in what you say. My complaint was about literary types who cite a book they have not read but think they know coz they've seen the film. It's like saying, "Mary Shelley chose to end her novel by having angry villagers chase the hideous Frankenstein to a windmill which they then set on fire."

My feelings on this matter are summed up in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. After his ordeal in the year 802,701, the time traveller wonders if he fell asleep in the lab and dreamt the whole thing. But, having considered this, he reflects that this is an empty, unsatisfying explanation, because if it was a dream, where did it come from? A coherent dream about a credible future for humanity that ran totally against his expectations? (And, incidentally, left him quite badly bruised.) Oh, and the book's got the best closing line ever...

eburacum45
2004-Nov-28, 04:07 PM
Well, more than half of the population of Orion's Arm live in virtual simulations; so in the novel I'm writing set in that universe, it is inevitable that parts of the plot happens in virtual reality. But the simulations are just as much part of the real world as the events that happen in real-life; they just take place in a different substrate...

the thing is, I don't think the concept of virtual reality can be treated as a cliche in itself, as it is perfectly possible that VR will be the main habitat of a substantial proportion of humanity in a millenium or three.

nomuse
2004-Nov-28, 07:55 PM
It's too early in my day to weave words properly, but let me try....

A story which explores the effect upon the dreamer can be excellent.

A story that uses a dream to solve plotting problems is likely execrable.



To put it in terms of today's buzzwords, you can write very well about a society permeated by or even addicted to VR, or you can write some silly psudeo-historical fantasy played out on the Holodeck.

JonClarke
2004-Nov-28, 09:13 PM
Hi Paul

I agree, I think. Having a protaganist go through a set of experiences and them dismiss it all by saying it was only a dream or delusion is a cheap way out. I did not enjoy Golding "Pincher Martin" for this reason.

This is different though from using a dream as a device to say something meaningful about the world the writer inhabits (Pilgrim's progress) so to make a fantastic world possible for reasons of amusement (Alice in wonderland).

Cheers

Jon

mike alexander
2004-Nov-29, 08:56 AM
I agree with Paul in the essence of things. The equivanent of "Suddenly, they were all run over by a truck."

But I did recently see a sort of anti-cliche'. On the (aggh!) SciFi Channel, recent producers of some of the worst films ever made. It was called (I think) Skeeters. Giant mosquitoes invade, roobarooba. Do not ask why I was watching.

So the small group of heroes/ines are chased into a sewer complex (always one handily nearby) and are shooting these meter long suckers as they CRAWL EVER CLOSER DOWN THE PIPE AND THE GUNS RUN OUT OF BULLETS.

As the bugs prepare a final assault, one guy gets the bright idea to block their way with fire. So the guys take off their shirts, stuff them down into the pipe and light them. Which works like a charm. Then one turns to the other and says "That oughta hold them 'till morning."

Immediately my son (the 15 yr old reason I was watching) looked at me and asked, "WHAT is IN THOSE SHIRTS?"

Weird Dave
2004-Nov-29, 09:32 AM
Of course writers today are too sophisticated to use "It was all a dream."

So instead they go back in time and the whole sequence gets "erased."

(Or a holodeck sequence....let's hope that one has finally died and gone away.)

Exactly - all examples of dodging the implications.

I have an idea for a novel in which going back in time to change things is the start of the "things that need dealing with". But I haven't written it yet...

Sorry, The Butterfly Effect has already done something like this. It didn't totally close the loopholes, but it is a very disturbing, thought-provoking film.

Sphere did this kind of ending very badly; see Jabootu (http://www.jabootu.com/sphere.htm).

Paul Beardsley
2004-Nov-29, 12:45 PM
I think we're all broadly in agreement on the "dreams are okay but not when they negate the story" thing.

eburacum45 - it's perfectly acceptable to set a story in VR as long as the conflicts and implications are meaningful; I'd guess from your description that they probably are. If you think about it, we're not so far removed from the VR situation right now. I've had a lot of conversations with people I've never met. Most of us don't even consider the amazing fact that we're conversing with people on different continents, and half the time we don't even realise! Sometimes I've ended up carrying on private conversations with people I've "met" on a discussion group. Sometimes I feel really good about what someone's said; other times I'm offended, or I cause offense. The upshot is, it's as real as if the conversation was with a bunch of people in a room.

Weird Dave - yes, I'm aware that The Butterfly Effect has done the time-changing-as-starting-point thing. It's quite an old idea, in fact, and when I saw the preview for the film, I was reminded of a story of mine called Versions which was published in the mid-90s. I think there's plenty that can be done with the idea, though.

mike alexander - thanks for the "burning shirts" anecdote! It's one of those things people say in films - precise estimates of time based on nothing!

Weird Dave
2004-Nov-29, 03:31 PM
Weird Dave - yes, I'm aware that The Butterfly Effect has done the time-changing-as-starting-point thing. It's quite an old idea, in fact, and when I saw the preview for the film, I was reminded of a story of mine called Versions which was published in the mid-90s. I think there's plenty that can be done with the idea, though.

Where was it published? I'm always interested in finding new authors to read... :)

Paul Beardsley
2004-Nov-30, 09:01 AM
Where was it published? I'm always interested in finding new authors to read... :)

It was in a small-press magazine called Exuberance (issue 6). You might have difficulty tracking down a copy... :)

But I do have a Doctor Who short story in the forthcoming Doctor Who: A Christmas Treasury, published by Big Finish. Last I heard, it's only just going to be out in time for Christmas Day.

Meanwhile I'm working on two original pieces. In one, dark matter around the Earth slows light down to 200mph; another features a double planet linked by a "rope ladder", and tells of the "pilgrims" who attempt to travel from one planet to the other. (The latter shares some similarities with Bob Shaw's The Ragged Astronauts, but the story is very different.)

nomuse
2004-Nov-30, 10:06 AM
Well, keep us posted. I've liked the way you think from the posts I've seen here and I believe I would enjoy any stories by you.

Paul Beardsley
2004-Dec-01, 12:59 PM
Well, keep us posted. I've liked the way you think from the posts I've seen here and I believe I would enjoy any stories by you.

Thanks for your encouraging words, nomuse. You've helped motivate me to get on with the twin planet story.

I'll be sure to keep you posted.

NoXion
2004-Dec-04, 09:30 PM
As the bugs prepare a final assault, one guy gets the bright idea to block their way with fire. So the guys take off their shirts, stuff them down into the pipe and light them. Which works like a charm. Then one turns to the other and says "That oughta hold them 'till morning."

Wouldn't the sewer have exploded due the mixture of oxygen and methane produced by decomposition processes?

qubit
2006-Jan-21, 08:23 AM
It seems like these lists (the sci-fi and fantasy "cliche" lists) are mostly personal gripes about certain elements in stories that don't make sense to the individual.

Bad science, inaccurate history, or poor characterization don't really make a cliche. They just make for bad storytelling. A cliche doesn't necessarily mean that a story is bad, or illogical, or inaccurate. It just means that, as a concept, it has appeared so many times that we all issue a collective yawn when we see it.

I wish the makers of the lists had seen fit to separate it into categories: 1) bad science in Star Trek (which seems the most prevalent); 2) bad characterization (which includes sexist, racist, religious and political stereotyping); and 3) cliches. The last category would be limited to plot structures and be expressed in the most generic forms to avoid the tedious anti-<put your favorite TV-show/movie/slush-pile-fiction here> rhetoric that seems to pervade.

Dave Mitsky
2006-Jan-22, 07:02 AM
No, woof! is just a noise, like erp! ummm... and gak!

Now I'm wondering if the Adam n' Eve thing might be a SF Urban Legend, buried in racial memories of moldering pulps with ample ladies in brass bustiers on the covers. The only place I can think of it being used was one Twilight Zone episode (With Richard Basehart?), and Rod Serling was a good writer but didn't know SF worth squat. There was also Alfred Bester's story Adam and No Eve which was a deliberate anti-take on the theme.

Ooh, here's a cliche' that was missed: in the future, EVERYONE looks good in Spandex.

The Twilight Zone Adam and Eve allegory episode was called "Two" and starred Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery.

I seem to recall a sci-fi movie from the 1950s or early 1960s in which a spaceship landed on an uncharted planet. It was (surprise!) Earth and the crew was named (even bigger surprise!) Adam and Eve.

Dave MItsky

nomuse
2006-Jan-22, 09:14 AM
Whoah.

I'm trying to imagine the society populated by the descendents of Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery. (Or, rather, of the kinds of characters they are most known for playing.)


A little insight to the "Adam and Eve" story; according to several editors of SF magazines they have been getting this story since the 40's. The reason you never hear about them is that they haven't gotten out of the slush pile since the 40's.

Maksutov
2006-Jan-22, 10:32 AM
Whoah.

I'm trying to imagine the society populated by the descendents of Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery. (Or, rather, of the kinds of characters they are most known for playing.)...That's pretty easy to imagine. It could be illustrated by a numerical series of movies called Death Witch.

Enzp
2006-Jan-24, 12:38 AM
Death Witch?

Alright, you got me. Laughing out loud at my terminal.

nomuse
2006-Jan-24, 02:28 AM
Whoo!

(Sorry for the meaningless post....but that's a great answer to my question!)

Peteman
2006-Jan-24, 09:30 PM
Don't remember if this was mentioned: The Virtual Reality simulator that doesn't kill its users at the slightest drop of a hat.

nomuse
2006-Jan-25, 12:29 AM
Could maybe fold that into the concept of real damage from dream injuries -- all the way out to people dying when their avatar gets "killed" in cyberspace.

danscope
2006-Dec-09, 05:04 AM
Great list...

But, actually, rather than being intimidating, that suggests a literary competition - how many clichés can be packed into one piece of writing of a given size? Don't think I'd want to enter, though - better to write a program that churns the stuff out.

I also wonder who actually wrote a story with this in:



This cliché is cited all the time, not just on this site. But the trouble is, I've never seen or read this scenario anywhere.

Hi, Taken from the Twilightzone .....I think it starred Ephraim Zimbalist Jr.
Marooned spaceman......

Krel
2006-Dec-09, 09:03 PM
The Twilight Zone Adam and Eve allegory episode was called "Two" and starred Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Montgomery.

I seem to recall a sci-fi movie from the 1950s or early 1960s in which a spaceship landed on an uncharted planet. It was (surprise!) Earth and the crew was named (even bigger surprise!) Adam and Eve.

Dave MItsky

There is also an episode with Richard Basehart, where is ia a stranded spaceman who has crashlanded on an unknown planet. He meets another stranded traveler, a woman whom is from yet another planet. They call the planet they are on Earth. He is named Adam, and she is named Eve.

His spaceship is a prop from "Man in Space", and was also used in an episode of "The Outer Limits", and a movie the name of which I can't remember, but is about an astronaut that lands on a asteroid, and is shunk by it's atmosphere.

I think that this story is as old, or older than written science fiction.

David.

nomuse
2006-Dec-10, 04:21 AM
Yah. Comes from an early epic fantasy novel. Written in Aramaic or something....

Maha Vailo
2006-Dec-10, 10:50 PM
But that's really a subset of the whole "special effects don't work inside here" field. Which is to say, magically, phasers, communicators, even pistols and grenades don't work, and edged weapons do (but somehow humans don't suddenly go blind, paralyzed, and shortly dead as the same processes cease inside them).

I don't get this. Why would a field that stopped phasers and guns from working stop the human body from working as well?

- Maha Vailo

nomuse
2006-Dec-10, 11:12 PM
Oxidation.

If gunpowder can't burn, sugars in the human body can't oxidize to provide energy.

Similarly, what causes a radio to fail? In the real world it might be interference, or a Faraday Cage. In the movies it doesn't light up, doesn't receive; basically it acts as if it either has no power or the electronics don't work.

Well, batteries are a subset of the oxidation problem. If you can't get an electrical potential out of a battery, how can you get one inside your own nervous system? And same for electrical impulses -- of course, in the human body the electrical component is a small part of the nervous conduction chain (which is a complex mass of chemical changes and interactions), but we'd still be very, very unhappy if electrons suddenly decided not to move from potential to hole.

There are subtler physics involved in this, but it basically boils down to the problem of isolating something so basic as to cause ALL the technological devices to stop working (devices operating on, we can assume, a variety of principals), and yet so obscure as to have no properties in common with the rest of the observable world. As in...objects still fall when dropped, candles burn, photons propagate, surface tension holds liquids in droplet form, ad nas. We single out the human body because it both depends on so many kinds of chemical interactions and other physical principles, and because it must be so carefully balanced to permit life to continue. Change one number, say the permeability of membranes, and we die fairly quickly.

(Of course the error might be in describing this as a "field," aka a broadcast that effects all indiscriminately. In one of the episodes of the webcomic "Shlock Mercenary" a rogue AI disabled all the personal weapons of the mercenaries by use of a large number of carefully applied "beams"; basically, the non-material equivalent of going around with a fine pair of tweezers and yanking key components out of every weapon.)

Irishman
2006-Dec-14, 10:44 PM
For the "it never happened" effect, how many times did Voyager do that in one season? That got old. "The whole ship gets smashed so smithereens, and 3/4 of the crew dies. Oh, wait, time reset - everything is okay."

nomuse
2006-Dec-14, 10:54 PM
Not as annoying as Guinan, Holder of the Series Bible.

"No, Jean-Luc, you are supposed to be in command, Riker is supposed to be clean-shaven, and there are supposed to be kids on board."

"How do you know all this?"

"I just....feel it."

Does appear in a lot of scifi, in altered form; this strong assumption that the original way you met the characters, or the way we know our own history came out, is only "correct and true" version of reality, with all other alternaties merely shadows.

Doodler
2006-Dec-14, 11:23 PM
That's pretty easy to imagine. It could be illustrated by a numerical series of movies called Death Witch.

:clap:

Delvo
2006-Dec-15, 02:46 AM
For the "it never happened" effect, how many times did Voyager do that in one season? That got old. "The whole ship gets smashed so smithereens, and 3/4 of the crew dies. Oh, wait, time reset - everything is okay."How many times did that happen, seriously? People tend to say (and probably think) that particularly annoying things happen more often than they really do...


Not as annoying as Guinan, Holder of the Series Bible.My biggest problem with her was that in an early Q episode (the first Borg episode, I think), she looked at Q, struck a spell-casting pose (which also resembled a "Cats" castmember trying to bare his/her claws), and offered to Picard to get rid of Q for him.

If she could have done so, then she could have done it at any other time Q was playing with them, and could have used it to get them out of other kinds of jams too. And the fact that the Borg had wiped out her whole civilization means that the Borg were also more powerful than Q. But nothing was ever done with it again and it was otherwise pretty consistently presented that Star Trek had no more powerful entities than Q (except maybe Negilim, which is unrelated)... which indicates that Guinan had just been having some kind of delusion of grandeur, which is only a little bit less irritating.

Lord Jubjub
2006-Dec-15, 05:03 AM
They hinted that Guinan's race had certain temporal/perceptual abilities that made them largely immune from Q's shenanigans. I interpreted her comment about getting rid of Q to be about how she knows his weaknesses rather than she had more power than him. The Borg would have wanted to gain access to the abilities of Guinan's race. When they were denied, the Borg went with brute force.

They had opportunities to expand on what Guinan actually was. Too bad they never explored them. It would have been interesting to see how the Q/Guinan interaction would have played out with the Enterprise caught between.

JonClarke
2006-Dec-16, 07:10 AM
Oxidation.

If gunpowder can't burn, sugars in the human body can't oxidize to provide energy.

Similarly, what causes a radio to fail? In the real world it might be interference, or a Faraday Cage. In the movies it doesn't light up, doesn't receive; basically it acts as if it either has no power or the electronics don't work.

Well, batteries are a subset of the oxidation problem. If you can't get an electrical potential out of a battery, how can you get one inside your own nervous system? And same for electrical impulses -- of course, in the human body the electrical component is a small part of the nervous conduction chain (which is a complex mass of chemical changes and interactions), but we'd still be very, very unhappy if electrons suddenly decided not to move from potential to hole.

There are subtler physics involved in this, but it basically boils down to the problem of isolating something so basic as to cause ALL the technological devices to stop working (devices operating on, we can assume, a variety of principals), and yet so obscure as to have no properties in common with the rest of the observable world. As in...objects still fall when dropped, candles burn, photons propagate, surface tension holds liquids in droplet form, ad nas. We single out the human body because it both depends on so many kinds of chemical interactions and other physical principles, and because it must be so carefully balanced to permit life to continue. Change one number, say the permeability of membranes, and we die fairly quickly.

(Of course the error might be in describing this as a "field," aka a broadcast that effects all indiscriminately. In one of the episodes of the webcomic "Shlock Mercenary" a rogue AI disabled all the personal weapons of the mercenaries by use of a large number of carefully applied "beams"; basically, the non-material equivalent of going around with a fine pair of tweezers and yanking key components out of every weapon.)

Frank Herbert used this to great effect in a short story. the field did not stop chemical reactions as such, but only explosive detonation. The technology was simple and portable. It meant the end of internal combustion engines and explosives in war. Their use in peace was not a problem. So you could have a high tech civilisation that used edged weapons and horses in war. It would be interesting to explore the possibilities a bit more. Steam engines and gas turbines would still work, I would think, as would rockets.

This idea was a precursor to the idea of sheilds in the Dune universe, which largely eliminated explosive and high velocity projectile weapons and certailed the use of lasers.


Jon

greenfeather
2006-Dec-19, 10:05 PM
This site. (http://enphilistor.users4.50megs.com/cliche.htm)


That link isn't coming up. Can you write it out please? Thanks

Roy Batty
2006-Dec-20, 12:19 PM
That link isn't coming up. Can you write it out please? Thanks
I think the link was fine originally - over 2 1/2 years ago .... :)

Mellow
2006-Dec-28, 08:32 AM
"Beautiful and Deadly... a very sexy combination"

Maksutov
2006-Dec-28, 08:52 AM
"Beautiful and Deadly... a very sexy combination"
Zapp: You're an impressive piece of captain. Beautiful and deadly -- a potent combination.
Leela: Ow! I might've liked Zapp Brannigan if he weren't a pompous dimwit who threw me in prison.
Bender: You really are too picky.Fer sure.

peteshimmon
2006-Dec-28, 07:22 PM
"Now tell me/us professor/doctor..."

Doodler
2006-Dec-28, 07:50 PM
This idea was a precursor to the idea of sheilds in the Dune universe, which largely eliminated explosive and high velocity projectile weapons and certailed the use of lasers.

Heh, always thought that was an amusing plot device to re-impose close quarters combat as the primary means of military engagement.

Didn't make a bloody bit of sense to me, except that violating the ban on laser weapons would pretty much render whatever it was you were trying to capture so much useless slag.

Occam
2006-Dec-28, 09:08 PM
How about....
*CRT monitors that are SO bright they project images onto the user's face
*Security passwords that are overcome by typing "password override"
*Teletype noises whenever text appears on-screen, even when there are no speakers.
*Destroying the bad guy's systems entirely with a floppy disk and the command "upload virus".
*The evil global mega-corporation that has no backup data.
*Taking a crappy super-low resolution security camera frame and using "computer enhancement" on a tiny part of it to obtain a perfectly crisp 8x10 glossy of the bad guy.
*The aliens that are more advanced than us still wear impractical robes instead of trousers.
*The android that can calculate the number of atoms in the room but cannot use simple grammatical rules.