Created By: HiddenFacedMattOctober 19, 2011 Last Edited By: HiddenFacedMattNovember 3, 2011

X Within X

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
'9/11 was an inside job' was an inside job!
- The alt-text for this XKCD comic.

This is for when an inner X is part of an outer X. If the X is a show, the subtrope in question is Show Within A Show, if the X is a dream, the subtrope in question is a Dream Within A Dream.

May also extend further to X-within-X-within-X, etc.

Often used as a form of Mind Screw.

Examples:

  • Parodied in the above XKCD alt-text.
  • Seen in many math-related fields, such as computer science, which has nested if-statements or nested do-loops to control for several conditions, and math itself, wherein a "second derivative" is basically a derivative of a derivative, a "third derivative" is basically a derivative of THAT, etc...
  • This meme.
  • All examples of Show Within A Show and Dream Within A Dream double as examples of this.
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • October 19, 2011
    Routerie
    Layers? Layers, of all kinds, is a trope?
  • October 19, 2011
    Spark9
    Suggest name: Recursive Event.
  • October 19, 2011
    Tiiba
  • October 20, 2011
    BooleanEarth
  • October 20, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In The Last Battle Aslan leads everyone "further up and further in" to Aslan's Country, where they find another Aslan's Country within Aslan's Country, and another, and another, and another... Each one more "real" than the last. One character likens it to an onion.
  • October 21, 2011
    Routerie
    But this trope doesn't appear to just be for recursive events. It appears to try to cover all recursion.
  • October 21, 2011
    ozzy63
    In Assassin's Creed the Animus is esentially a video game inside a video game.
  • October 22, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^^ Doesn't stop us from having Tempting Fate as a trope when there are subtropes of it.

    ^^^^ I already mentioned that examples of Dream Within A Dream double as examples of this. Stating Inception as an example would be redundant.
  • October 22, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    Yeah, sorry. I was just memeing it up there.
  • October 25, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Got it.
  • October 25, 2011
    MinshiHunter
    I have no idea if this would count or not... but what about Video Games? I am not talking about a bunch of minigames, in fact the only one I can think of is Day of the Tentacle, in which on Crazy Ed's computer, you can play the full game of Maniac Mansion. Also if using Show Within a Show #2, there are a lot of smaller game in game, which would include the minigames when presented as... well... video games.

  • October 27, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ I think game-within-game would count as show-within-show.
  • October 28, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    Add to the mathematics example:- Fractals
  • October 31, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Added @ Chunky Daddy

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