Created By: Lumpenprole on November 13, 2017 Last Edited By: Arivne on November 16, 2017

Space Slum

run-down, poverty stricken settings in outer space or the future

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trope
"The poor you will always have with you".

The Future Will Be Better is a common fictional theme. In some instances this is expanded to the idea that poverty itself will be eliminated from the human condition. Automation will produce a post-scarcity society and those truly physically or mentally incapable of making a living will be cured or cared for. This trope is the aversion of that. That even in shiny techno-future settings there will be economic "winners" and "losers"; this trope is about the losers. Note that prosperity has to be common enough for poverty to be remarkable; for settings where everyone, or almost everyone is poor, see Crapsack World. Futures lacking the technological base to offer prosperity go under Apocalyptic Index.


Examples:

Film
  • The lower levels of the world-city Coruscant in Star Wars. - Zero-Context Example
  • Thor: Ragnarok: The planet Saarkar has several portals dumping waste from across the galaxy on it, which are fought over by the inhabitants. This is in contrast to the city which is a highly advanced metropolis where Bread and Circuses is in full effect.

Film Animated
  • Cale Tucker from Don Bluth's feature Titan A.E. got off on the wrong foot with Akima, declaring that he's better than the "drifter colony bums." Akima grew up on a drifter colony: a hodgepodge of spacecraft welded together into a workable biome, where many humans, bereft of a home world huddle in the margins of galactic society. Cale would later visit Akima's childhood home, and notes that people still cling to Earth trinkets as a coping mechanism.

Literature
  • Joan Vinge's novella "The Outcasts of Heaven Belt", depicts an entire solar system where a civil war left the survivors desperately impoverished.
  • In Buck Rogers: A Life in the Future, a 1995 novel updating the original Buck Rogers concept, Earth is now a has-been power and the orbital colonies around it are tenements.

Live-Action Television
  • Brown Sector, or "downbelow" of the space station Babylon 5 is an area not intended for habitation that has become a crime-ridden, crowded favela full of homeless and unemployed people - mainly those who came to the station hoping for work and were unable either to find it or to afford a ticket back home.
  • In The Expanse the outer levels of Ceres station, where the residents have a decent level of Centrifugal Gravity, are shown all clean white with green parks, while the inner levels look like rusting tenements and those in the asteroid itself are even worse.

Tabletop Games
  • Warhammer40000: Every Hive World has its Underhive, the lowest several levels of the skyscrapers covering the planet where all the toxic waste from the upper levels flows down and the residents scavenge what they can from the waste. The spinoff game Necromunda is about gang wars in the underhive of one of the larger hive worlds.

Community Feedback Replies: 6
  • November 13, 2017
    zarpaulus
    Comic Books
    • In Judge Dredd most of Mega-City One seems to be in constant poverty, which means that the Judges tend to be very, very, busy.

    Live Action TV
    • In The Expanse the outer levels of Ceres station, where the residents have a decent level of Centrifugal Gravity, are shown all clean white with green parks, while the inner levels look like rusting tenements and those in the asteroid itself are even worse.

    Tabletop Games
    • Warhammer40000: Every Hive World has its Underhive, the lowest several levels of the skyscrapers covering the planet where all the toxic waste from the upper levels flows down and the residents scavenge what they can from the waste. The spinoff game Necromunda is about gang wars in the underhive of one of the larger hive worlds.
  • November 13, 2017
    Chabal2
    Thor Ragnarok: The planet Saarkar has several portals dumping waste from across the galaxy on it, which are fought over by the inhabitants. This is in contrast to the city which is a highly advanced metropolis where Bread And Circuses is in full effect.
  • November 13, 2017
    LegitimateIdiot
    Fixed formatting and marked zero-context examples.
  • November 14, 2017
    Lumpenprole
    deleted zero-context entry.

    I'm not sure about Mega-City One. That may be closer to Wretched Hive; although the city has some really bad areas that make the rest of the city look safe and comfortable by comparison.
  • November 14, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Film Animated
    • Cale Tucker from Don Bluth's feature Titan AE got off on the wrong foot with Akima, declaring that he's better than the "drifter colony bums." Akima grew up on a drifter colony: a hodgepodge of spacecraft welded together into a workable biome, where many humans, bereft of a home world huddle in the margins of galactic society. Cale would later visit Akima's childhood home, and notes that people still cling to Earth trinkets as a coping mechanism.
  • November 16, 2017
    Arivne
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
      • Corrected spelling (Coruscent).
      • Namespaced work names.
      • Italicized work names as per How To Write An Example - Emphasis For Work Names.

    Zero Context Examples have been marked as such. They need more information to show how they fit the trope. Please don't remove the marking unless you add enough context.
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