Created By: Les on January 20, 2008
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The Mary Sue Society

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Everything is perfect in this Socialist/Communist/Anarchist/Libertarian/Objectivist etc..etc.. utopia. Everyone lives a comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle, poverty and crime are not noticeably existant, people are friendly and well-behaved, and of course The Trains Run on Time . The society Works, and any historical references to why it shouldn't are either ignored or hand-waved as examples of not doing it right.

The only time you'll see anyone in distress in The Mary Sue Society is when they try to break with the society's core ideology. Frequently the biggest external threat to The Mary Sue Society will be an aggressive neighbor whose social-structure represents a Strawman Political version of the philosophy most diametricly opposed to that of The Mary Sue Society.
Community Feedback Replies: 44
  • January 19, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Gene Roddenberry's version of the Federation in Star Trek.
  • January 19, 2008
    Fanra
    Robert A. Heinlein's novel Beyond This Horizon. The world is "perfect" but a few people feel they should be in charge and that society has never given them the credit they deserve.

    Our hero fights them to preserve the utopia. Interesting in that this early work of his has the "best" people working but attaches no stigma to not working and the government gives out money to everyone, so you don't have to work. Contrasted later with his more "conservative" views that are negative toward "freeloaders".
  • January 20, 2008
    Arivne
    Ernest Callenbach's novel "Ecotopia", featuring an environmentalist utopia made up of several breakaway U.S. states. The villains are the U.S. government (which wants Ecotopia back in the U.S.) and Ecotopian businessmen who want a loosening of government regulations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecotopia
  • January 20, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Mary Sue Ciety, hehe...
  • January 20, 2008
    JethroQWalrustitty
    Mary Sueciety ftw.

    Basicly, any utopia. But dystopias were allways more fashionable.
  • January 20, 2008
    WilliamWideWeb
    Fanra: He was probably still married to Evelyn(his first wife, a liberal) at that point. When he wrote his later novels he was married to Virginia, who was conservative.
  • January 20, 2008
    FastEddie
    This is just a list of examples for Utopia, so far. Is the intention to have an article on this specific way of bursting a Utopia's bubble?
  • January 20, 2008
    Prfnoff
    Brave New World has this to some extent with Bernard Marx's rebellion against hedonism. (Then again, BNW isn't the standard model "shh, don't say it's a Crapsack World" Dystopia.)
  • January 20, 2008
    GracieLizzie
    Crystal Tokyo
  • January 20, 2008
    fleb
    This is Utopia. Can't we just put the pun somewhere on that page?
  • January 20, 2008
    fleb
    [double post]
  • January 20, 2008
    GracieLizzie
    I think this is about Utopias where La Resistance is supposed to be the badguy, but were many sympathize with La Resistance even though that is not the Authorial Intent.
  • January 20, 2008
    SteveMB
    The trope sounds like a Utopia story with a particularly severe case of Writer On Board.

    Another example: L. Neil Smith's Probability Broach series (a didactic Alternate History anarcholibertarian society)
  • January 20, 2008
    Les
    Mary Sue City, I dunno about that one. This trope could cover a city, a country, a planet or even a stellar 'empire'.

    The basic premise of this trope is to cover plots that involve a utopia or utopian-ish society built around a specific ideology or philosophy that works a little too well to be believable, and the author won't shut-up about how great everything is.

    Baicly (Points up at Steve MB) What he said.. ^_^
  • January 20, 2008
    FalconPain
    Suetopia?
  • January 20, 2008
    Tangent128
    Blending suggestions together, Mary Suetopia?
  • January 20, 2008
    Les
    Anyone thinks they can expand/improve upon this concept of a Speculative Fiction Trope feel free to do so and launch at your leisure.
  • January 20, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    There was one in the movie Big Fish. Very creepy town where everything was perfect.

    Too perfect o_o

    And I like both Mary Sueciety and Mary Suetopia.
  • January 20, 2008
    Les
    Haven't seen Big Fish, but sounds like it's missing the point of this Trope.

    The point isn't that everything is perfect, 'too perfect', the point is that the society is based on a pure strain of a certain philosophy or ideaolgy or '-ism' and is working way better than it has any right to. Usually serves as a backdrop for the Author to Anviliciously explain the virtues of said philosophy, often with a Take That to the philosophy diametrically opposed to it.
  • January 20, 2008
    Les
    Notable Subversions, Rapture in the game Bioshock (Objectivisim) and the Animal Farm in George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' (Communism).
  • January 21, 2008
    Air of Mystery
    I always thought that Oceania in 1984 was a little Mary-Sueish. I mean, absolutely nothing going wrong? Sure, the whole novel was an excuse for soapboxing, but still...
  • January 21, 2008
    Gizensha
    The Dimension of Lame in Sluggy Freelance might count as a parody of this trope. Beer doesn't exist, curses are automatically censored, the sewers smell of flowers, the most powerful weapon is a bomb with a payload of "Please be nice" greetings cards (the NUKE, or Notification of Unified Kindness Envelopes) and in alternate Bun-Bun's words "It was turning out to be a rather nice day. Normally we have extremely wonderful days, but every now and then we'd have to put up with a rather nice day so we'd know how extremely wonderful the extremely wonderful days were."
  • January 21, 2008
    HeartBurnKid
    Actually, I think the city of Spectre in Big Fish is a pretty good example. It's a tiny little town, isolated from the big bad world by a Spooky Forest, and everything is absolutely perfect there. Then, once the interstate goes through, it degenerates into a ruined husk of a town. Of course, then Edward Bloom buys up the whole town and rebuilds it better than it was before, but he's somewhat of a Marty Stu throughout the movie anyway.
  • January 21, 2008
    arromdee
    Oceania is an interesting point. It's obviously a dystopia, not a utopia, yet it's still a society that works a lot more well than it should in order for the author to make a point about it. It isn't good for the people, of course, but the government never has any real problems. Compare to the actual USSR, which was full of government corruption.
  • January 21, 2008
    FastEddie
    It is coming into a little more focus. The trope is not about the setting, per se, but more about how the setting is used as a foil for exposition. I think maybe Straw Dystopia may be closer to the intent. The implication being in line with the Mary Sue idea in that the setting is not quite honestly drawn.
  • January 21, 2008
    Les
    Sorta, sorry if my original wording didn't quite catch it clearly. Basicly the Mary Sue Strawtopia is what you get when the author decides he's gonna show you all how Anarchism/Socialism/Objectivism/Communism/Libertarianism and/or etc.. is the perfect philosophy for governing a society under while downplaying or ignoring all the ways it could could go wrong.

    I like how you imply with Straw Dystopia the use of such settings not only to laud a particular philosophy by building an improbably functional society around it but also as a Take That at a philosophy by building an improbably dysfunctional society around it.
  • January 21, 2008
    Yuri2356
    Maybe lump them for now as just Strawtopia ?
  • January 21, 2008
    anowack
    Strawtopia seems a good name to me. I suggest using some variation on the Mary Sueciety pun in the Straw Utopia section, though, as its too good to leave unused.
  • January 21, 2008
    Earnest
    Strawtopia's are a dime a dozen inside of Aesop Tinum, which might merit taking those examples to Straw Topia or vice versa.
  • January 21, 2008
    Les
    Hmmm...no. The Utopian examples in Aesop Tinum are examples of writers building a utopia/dystopia for the purpose of an Aesop through the use of Applied Phlebotinum. The Mary Sue Strawtopia is built by using Applied IDEOLOGY.
  • January 21, 2008
    Jordan
    Haven't read it, but my impression of comments on the Sword of Truth series is that it has something like this- where any character opposed to an objectivist utopia is treated as a villain deserving of horrible punishment.
  • January 21, 2008
    Fanra
    The problem is that some of these utopias might work. While most of them are, indeed, where the author ignores reality to push their viewpoint, there are some that might actually work.
  • January 21, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    The Noon World series, in a way. Better constracted than most Utopias, but thats the way it is. Intresting that the authors would have deconstructed the concept in latter books, if they had the time.
  • January 22, 2008
    Air of Mystery
    Exactly, arromdee. Maybe it's because I'm a rampant optomist, but I find it highly unlikely that a society could realistically work that well.
  • January 22, 2008
    Les
    Some of them might, Fanra, but too-often (especially in contemporary sci-fi) an author will make a society like this which works just too well to be believable, and then makes it a point to punish anyone who deviates from the society's core ideology to 'Prove' that ideology's superiority.
  • January 22, 2008
    FastEddie
    Well, there's the thesis statement. Seems ready for launch.
  • January 25, 2008
    FastEddie
    Bump. Les, you'll have to launch one sooner or later. No guts, no gory.<stet>

    The first hit is free.
  • January 25, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    I definitely favour "Mary Suetopia" for the trope name.
  • January 26, 2008
    Roland
    Is the tendency for societies to work without a hitch in whatever direction their ideology favors part of this?
  • January 27, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    It defines this.
  • January 27, 2008
    FastEddie
    This bitca has been up here for a full seven day week. I'm fixin' to launch it my own self, complete with Leet Lingo, grammar directly out my afterparts, and a thesis that completely misses the point. ;)
  • February 7, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    So, this is Up For Grabs?
  • February 7, 2008
    ShayGuy
    Looks like it.
  • February 8, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    I also favor Mary Suetopia.
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