Created By: Gojirob on November 16, 2012 Last Edited By: Gojirob on November 17, 2012

EMP Motivated Premise

When the effects of an (Hollywood variety) EMP are central to the premise of a work

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The EMP has become a standard weapon of choice for forces in a story that want to drive their target into a pre-technological state or at least significantly weaken them without an outright nuking. While many, many stories have an EMP in the mix, for some, the story as written could not exist without them.

Examples :

Dark Angel

Revolution TV Series

The off-screen backstory for Amerika


Red Dawn Remake

Escape from L.A., though as more of a threat that might come to pass.
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • November 16, 2012
    Please give some description first, then provide examples. Otherwise you only have a list.

    (Now as for titles, EMP Motivated Premise would probably be better. It even abbreviates as EMP)
  • November 16, 2012
    The second Matrix movie would've played out very differently if the plot-device of the Nebuchadnezzar's EMP-based defense system hadn't been there.
  • November 16, 2012
    ^^Clever work with the trope name, Stratadrake.

    Live Action TV
    • The plot of one NCIS Los Angeles episode revolved around this. A college professor built an EMP device to demonstrate to the defense community how easy it was and how much chaos it could cause. As luck would have it a terrorist group got hold of the device, and the NCIS team had to locate and disarm it.
  • November 16, 2012
    We can also substitute "plot" for "premise", if we're including examples where it's the focus of an episode and not a keystone of the setting.

    And while I haven't seen it, Revolution seems to involve more than just an EMP, as the phenomenon essentially broke electricity itself, rather than just breaking most electronic devices (which, given even a fraction of infrastructure, could certainly have been rebuilt in 15 years). Still, it's a key part of the premise so picking it apart isn't exactly the point.
  • November 16, 2012
    • One episode of Terra Nova had an EMP generated by a ferrous meteor impact frying all the microchips in the colony. They had to hand-etch a new processor for their chip fabricator to get all the electronics back online and in the meantime hold off dinosaurs and Sixers with bow and arrows.
  • November 17, 2012
    Video Games
    • EMPs are a common weapon in Halo, but the plot of Halo 3 ODST is specifically spurned by an EMP, when an alien carrier escapes into Slipspace right above an Earth city, creating a pulse that damages the city and wipes out most of the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers that were falling to capture the ship. Most.
  • November 17, 2012
    Re: the name debate: I like Premise better than Plot, because it allows for examples of EMP as an element of why the setting is the way it is. For instance:

  • November 17, 2012
    Why is this necessary if we already have EMP?
  • November 17, 2012
    As to the why : The Main EMP article seems to be all inclusive, even where an EMP is less critical, like in Broken Arrow, where it merely aids the villain at a pivotal moment.

    And yeah, I have been wishy-washy. Premise does keep it as something central and endemic, rather than incidental or side-effect like. I guess EMP could encompass the use in general, and this covers it as core material.
  • November 17, 2012
    • The emponyomous satellites from Golden Eye. The first one is used to steal a pair of keys that operate the system; the second is supposed to wipe out London's technological infrastructure to help the villain complete a bank heist; and get revenge on the country.