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Fnord
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21 Oct 2021, 8:47 am

In an idle moment, I decided to record all of the "Gimmicks" I could think of that are used by science-fiction writers to establish their stories in the genre.  By "Gimmicks", I mean those features that make science-fiction all science-fictiony.  Here is my list so far:

• Alternate/Divergent Histories
• Arcologies
• Blasters
• Brain-Computer Interfaces
• Cloaking / Invisibility
• Crosstime Travel
• Designer Life-Forms
• Disintegrators
• Force Fields/Shields
• Faster-Than-Light Comms & Travel
• Galaxy-Spanning Portals (e.g., Stargates)
• Gravity Control
• Human Immortality/Rejuvenation
• Human Regeneration of Lost Body Parts
• Hyperspace/Subspace
• Inter-Species Hybrids
• Lightsabers / Force Blades
• Living/Sentient Robots
• Matter Replicators
• Nova Bombs
• Parallel Universes
• Planet-Busters
• Post-Apocalyptic Civilizations
• Pressor/Tractor Beams
• Flesh Golems (e.g., Frankenstein's Monster)
• Telekinesis
• Telepathy
• Teleportation/Transporters
• Terraforming
• Time Travel
• Universal Translators

Can anyone think of more?



shlaifu
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21 Oct 2021, 7:39 pm

-sentient AI
-Machine revolts

both of which are kinda what Frankenstein is about, except Computers were invented a couple of years later....

- Brave new worlds
- clones
- outlandish colourful hairstyles that defy gravity
- technobabble
- made up slang, remarkably rarely grounded in a mixture of existing languages. There's Russian slang in A Clockwork Orange and Chinese in Vladimir Sorokin's novel Blue Salo, but those are rare incidences


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Jakki
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21 Oct 2021, 7:58 pm

bright flashy screen lighting and infernos of all sorts,
Lazer lighting , multi eyed creatures of all sorts .
Lots of monster creations .With multi mouths and many many extra rows of teeth. :skull:


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DuckHairback
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23 Oct 2021, 8:12 am

What's that thing when they put humans in a pod and they sleep for years without aging while the spaceship goes wherever it's going?

Well that, whatever it is.



Fnord
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23 Oct 2021, 9:28 am

”Suspended Animation”. I will add it to my list.

Does anyone else have anything not previously mentioned?



Velorum
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23 Oct 2021, 2:51 pm

A complete disregard for the laws of physics resulting in spacecraft flying around like aeroplanes (no aerodynamics in space) coming to a dead stop as soon as they cut the engine (momentum is maintained unless opposite force equal to accelerating forces is applied) and having magical gravity (not possible unless force is applied).

A disregard for the laws or relativity including no ageing anomalies with people who have travelled at very high speeds.

Instantaneous communication over many light years.

Some good exceptions of course - including 'The Expanse'


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PhosphorusDecree
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02 Nov 2021, 4:54 pm

Velorum wrote:
A complete disregard for the laws of physics resulting in spacecraft flying around like aeroplanes (no aerodynamics in space) coming to a dead stop as soon as they cut the engine (momentum is maintained unless opposite force equal to accelerating forces is applied) and having magical gravity (not possible unless force is applied).

A disregard for the laws or relativity including no ageing anomalies with people who have travelled at very high speeds.

Instantaneous communication over many light years.

Some good exceptions of course - including 'The Expanse'


Big military spacecraft act like naval battleships, complete with "sinking" when holed badly enough. Small military spacecraft act like WWI biplanes, complete with fixed guns that mean you have to aim the entire craft at your target. And so many spacecraft manage to manoeuver in 3 dimensions in a vacuum using only 2 engines, both of them fixed pointing directly aft.


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PhosphorusDecree
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02 Nov 2021, 4:56 pm

Artificial intelligences without humanoid robot bodies.


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Jakki
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02 Nov 2021, 7:49 pm

very high IQ persons grew up with, in very high security printshop , back in the 1980 showed me a
cover of a TM ( training manual) used by government services for operating various equipment.
That he smuggled out of the printshop. Was for operating the onboard weapon system.
Supposably according to him. The Shuttles had a forward firing Lazer system .
Which went against my understandings of the international bans on Space based Weapons.
Years later Ronnie Reagan was yakking about the Star Wars projects . Then with the Trump
started the Space Force. Even before that , Later hubby was associated with a B-2 bomber pilot
Whom was bragging he had been to outer Space .
Since hubby was responsible for some of the maintenence . They had got to be friends by
coincidence .So hubby asked how . Probably no longer a secret but that aircraft altitude limits, were beyond 80,000ft . So question came up , if engines did not work in Space .How fo you get back to earth, and not stuck in orbit .Pilot said." You just have to wait for Gravity to work again"
My hubby took that to be a since answer .


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naturalplastic
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03 Nov 2021, 7:58 pm

Jakki wrote:
very high IQ persons grew up with, in very high security printshop , back in the 1980 showed me a
cover of a TM ( training manual) used by government services for operating various equipment.
That he smuggled out of the printshop. Was for operating the onboard weapon system.
Supposably according to him. The Shuttles had a forward firing Lazer system .
Which went against my understandings of the international bans on Space based Weapons.
Years later Ronnie Reagan was yakking about the Star Wars projects . Then with the Trump
started the Space Force. Even before that , Later hubby was associated with a B-2 bomber pilot
Whom was bragging he had been to outer Space .
Since hubby was responsible for some of the maintenence . They had got to be friends by
coincidence .So hubby asked how . Probably no longer a secret but that aircraft altitude limits, were beyond 80,000ft . So question came up , if engines did not work in Space .How fo you get back to earth, and not stuck in orbit .Pilot said." You just have to wait for Gravity to work again"
My hubby took that to be a since answer .


You have to be moving at 17,000mph to get INTO orbit. Any thing slower than that and you just fall back to earth. Eighty thousand feet is not really "outer space". You can reach 100 thousand feet in a weather balloon. Indeed a test pilot did just that in the 1950s, and then jumped out in the longest parachute jump ever. But even 100 thousand feet isnt really "outer space". Its just the stratosphere. The current thinking is that the cutoff altitude to call it "space" is 62 miles up. At that altitude a plane would have to move so fast to get any life from the hyperthin air that its speed would equal orbital velocity anyway (the aforementioned 17 thousand mph).



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04 Nov 2021, 11:31 am

Humongous artificial space structures. Space elevators, O'Neil cylinder habitats, artificial planetary rings, Culture orbitals, titanic alien superweapons, Ringworlds, Dyson spheres, Matrioshka brains etc. etc.


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