Science fiction, which is basically logical fantasy, is a genre that makes possible what science deems impossible, that too using scientific tools. It is a genre with immense capacity for creativity. But if you need a starting point to begin this creative journey, we’re here for you. Here is a list of 10 popular science fiction tropes for aspiring sci-fi writers. This you can use to swoon your readers.
10 Popular Science Fiction Tropes For Aspiring Sci-fi Writers
Basically, a dystopian reality is one where something fundamental is extremely wrong. There is some grave injustice, oppression or flaw in the system that governs the place. It is the opposite of a utopia, where everything is perfect and happy. Dystopias have immense scope for imagination and make for classic plots that disturb even the most detached of readers. They make for some of the best sci fi plots.
Space travel impediments
Space travel, where humans can traverse through space, as an iconic science fiction trope. So many books use the concept of spaceships being ‘faster than light’ to make their books appealing. Taking this a step further wherein space travel has certain obstacles, makes for something even more interesting. For instance, a space journey can halt because of a technical glitch or computer code gone wrong or even someone’s physical obstruction.
The possibility of multiverses is one of the most interesting elements of science fiction. A world where alternate dimensions or realities with properties vastly different from our own exists gives so much space for imagination. Now if these universes with their own inhabitants are at war with each other or compete with each other for a scarce and valuable resource, this builds conflict. You can amp this conflict up with battles of loyalty too.
This is perhaps the most overused trope in all of science fiction. The mad scientist is the evil genius who uses his extreme intellect for devastating purposes due to some secret motive. However, if you use it cleverly, this trope has a lot of scope too. Maybe the scientist can have an ingenious backstory. Or perhaps the scientist can be replaced by an institution, especially a capitalist one. There are a million different ways to use this.
This refers to a kind of technology that enables the exact replication of human beings. Science today says that no one can exist at the same time in different places. But can cloning technology make this a reality? Definitely, in science fiction. This would allow the same person to think, act and respond differently in different situations, which would make for interesting conflict points. If you involve love, this can get even more complex.
Artificial intelligence gone awry
Now, artificial intelligence in any form, from bots and virtual realities to robots and sentient technology form an important part of science fiction. Often, artificial intelligence is compared to human intelligence, pitting the former as lacking in empathy and emotion. Thus, the pitfalls and strengths of artificial intelligence can be a great area to explore. And if artificial intelligence breaks down for some reason, that can make for cool plot points too.
Philosophical and moral choices
The thing about science fiction is that it is rarely just fantasy, Often, there are important philosophical and moral implications to the content. For instance, the gap between technology and humanity, between science and art or between god and man has potentialities. Similarly, the philosophical inquiries of what it means to be human, whether life is real, or whether humans can supersede creation are great thematic ideas.
Cli-fi or climate fiction is one of the topmost genres of science fiction these days. Not only is it super informative and cautionary in terms of awareness of environmental degradation, but also it provides a lot of ground to root a story in. Thus an apocalypse which leaves no humans alive because of climate politics gone awry is a great setting for a sci fi book. This climate apocalypse could have taken place due to anything from drought to global warming.
The things about science fiction is that a lot of it relies on technology. And while technology is very cool, it is also a skill that has to be learned. And if it can be learned, it can also be unlearned. Thus, a very cool science fiction trope is one where technology is highly advanced but people have forgotten how to use it. This could be in the context of a shipwreck in space. The best part is this also creates an aura of mystery about who did it.
Non human elements with power
Like much of all fiction, the majority of science fiction is human focussed. Most aliens are copies of humans with one or two slightly different characteristics. But that doesn’t have to be the case. In Solaris, Stanislaw Lem explored the possibility of water as a sentient being. This is still something relatively underexplored in science fiction. Having inanimate objects such as elements, planets or even electronic devices as sentient beings is so cool.
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