Created By: shokoshu on January 23, 2013

Wittgensteins Foot Shoot

Starfish Aliens...who aren't

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You know Wittgensteins famous word - if it's ineffable, STFU! Now tell that to an SF (less: F) author. They sometimes seem to have outright ineffability contests - and if the Starfish Aliens are really alien Aliens by a top notch writer (example: Lem's "Solaris"), everything is hunky dory. But the obvious snag is, your SF can't start with "dfbb9467 <bang bang> <smell of morning breeze>" since however alien the Aliens are, the reader still has to understand what you write. And the bad way out of the dilemma of effably writing a SF on ineffable aliens (the selfsame Wittgenstein Foot Shoot) is that the author *declares* the aliens to be utterly alien, but the plot is rather Tarzan in Space Jungle or such, which creates a cognitive dissonance in the reader. Example for SF failing due to this trope: Greg Bear "City at the End of Time". ("Modern" authors are especially endangered, BTW.)

Trope not applicable to Rubber Forehead Aliens, since here you *expect* them to be human in disguise.
Community Feedback Replies: 2
  • January 23, 2013
    The description (and I'm using the word VERY loosely) is a mess, and I don't like it! :D
  • January 23, 2013
    What am I looking at?