Created By: jukyter on July 20, 2011 Last Edited By: jukyter on April 7, 2012

Imagination Eater

Something or someone is destroying imagination.

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Trope
Do We Already Have This? Something, or someone, is trying to suck all imagination out of the planet Earth, or a country or the Multiverse. Compare and constrast with Dream Stealer, Emotion Eater and Dream Weaver. Truth in Television - TV is often accused of doing this, especially when compared to books. And the Internet. And whatever comes next. Needs a better title.

Examples of this trope:

  • Aunt Redd from The Looking-Glass Wars is trying to contain and stop it from coming to Earth.
  • The Nothing from The Neverending Story 2 is this.
    • It has this role in the original book as well.
  • An episode of Dexters Lab parodied this, along with space oprea cliches.
  • IT, from A Wrinkle in Time, is trying to do this to the Multiverse.
  • The Pokemon Drowzee and Hypno have this as their trademark trait, along with the attack Dream Eater.
  • This was the reason for all the irons at the end of FLCL.
  • South Park had a trilogy of episodes where terrorists invaded Imaginationland.
  • Gradgrind, of Dickens' Hard Times was using non-magical means to inflict this upon his own corner of the world.
  • Also there was an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show where aliens have a substance that looks like a walnut that causes humans to lose their imaginations.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb Interrupted," Dr. Doofenschmirtz builds a Dull-and-Boring-inator. The boys are actually hit by it offscreen, before the show begins, and its effect is to make them dull and boring, and completely sap them of their usually fertile imagination.
    • In the special Phineas and Ferb Get Busted! Candance finally gets the boys busted and they get sent to a summer school where, using nonmagical means (similar to Gradgrind's) and along with a class of other boys, their imaginations get taken. It was All Just a Dream.
  • There was an episode of The Little Mermaid that had a creature that fed off of the imaginations of people. Ariel was one of its targets.
  • John Reuben's "Word of Mouth" music video, there are monsters that eat peoples' imaginations, which physically reduces them to brown blocks. When the monster is killed, everything's returned to normal.
  • In I Feel Sick, Devi's artist's block is caused by Sickness siphoning off her creativity for its own use. It also implies that the similar consumption of the creative talent of Johnny The Homicidal Maniac is what originally caused him to go crazy.
  • Changeling The Dreaming. There were two ways for Changelings to gain Glamour (AKA imagination, creativity) by draining it from humans.
  • Ravaging stole Glamour from human beings in a very painful manner. If a human was Ravaged repeatedly and frequently, they could lose all of their Glamour permanently. The Unseelie particularly enjoy this form of feeding.
  • Rapture forced a human to create a work of art that completely and permanently drained all Glamour from them. When the work was destroyed the Glamour was gained by the Changelings who participated.
  • The Undreaming in Dreamfall is strongly implied to be this, although it's exact nature is still unknown (the sequel is in Development Hell). However, it can also turn out to be a Dream Stealer, or a straight-up Eldritch Abomination, or all three.
Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • July 20, 2011
    c0ry
    Not limited to Earth, but IT from A Wrinkle In Time did this to Camazotz by removing all individuality. Not sure if this applies.
  • July 20, 2011
    fawn
    See also Dream Stealer.
  • July 20, 2011
    Damr1990
    i'm not sure but
    • The Never ending Story 2, the nothing is basically this,
    • parodied on one episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Goozy (Dee Dee's Imaginary Fried) ask dexter's help to defeat a villian with this intention... while makn fun of common space opera cliches and the villian is a Bishie style semi naked guy
  • July 20, 2011
    Angewomon
  • July 20, 2011
    jbrecken
    There was a two-part episode of South Park where Imaginationland was invaded by terrorists.
  • July 20, 2011
    TheChainMan
    Truth In Television (Sort of): Television is accused of being this, especially compared to books.
  • July 20, 2011
    jukyter
    Dream Stealer seems more individual-orientated, while the proposed trope is world, or [[Multiverse]] wide as it may be, orientated.
  • July 20, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    If magic is not required, how about Gradgrind from Dickens' Hard Times? Granted, he doesn't get to inflict this on the whole world, but he does try to put this into practice in education at least in his corner of the world.
  • July 20, 2011
    Acebrock
    You use curly brackets to link single words.

    Unfortunately I can't think of any examples right now.
  • July 21, 2011
    jukyter
    Thanks, Acebrock.
  • July 21, 2011
    Arivne
    Also compare with Emotion Eater, which does this with emotions.
  • July 21, 2011
    kentdyson88
    Television was metioned and these days many accuse the internet of doing the same. Also there was an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show where aliens have a substance that looks like a walnut that causes humans to lose their imaginations and their thumbs. Without them, humans can't build weapons that could be used against the aliens. It starts as a movie Rob is watching but then he has a nightmare about it happening for real.
  • July 21, 2011
    Shnakepup
    Not sure if this will fit: In The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross, there's a monster called "The Infovore" that eats, well, information. It eventually ends up destroying an entire alternete universe, and the main drama of the plot involves preventing it from reaching our universe.

  • July 21, 2011
    TooBah
    In the Phineas And Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb Interrupted," Dr. Doofenschmirtz builds a Dull-and-Boring-inator. The boys are actually hit by it offscreen, before the show begins, and its effect is to make them dull and boring, and completely sap them of their usually fertile imagination.
  • July 21, 2011
    Angewomon
    There was an episode of The Little Mermaid that had a creature that fed off of the imaginations of people. Ariel was one of its targets.
  • July 23, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    I'm not sure Hard Times is one of Dickens' more famous works, so many people won't know who Gradgrind is. (I don't see an Up For Grabs tag, so I didn't edit it myself.) BTW this might make the trope Older Than They Think.
  • July 26, 2011
    BraveHoratio
    I like this trope. I'm sure I've seen examples but they're not coming to mind at the moment.
  • August 6, 2011
    jukyter
    Sorry, I was away. Shnakepup-I'm not sure that will fit either. Thanks for giving me an example, though.
  • August 6, 2011
    MetaFour
  • August 6, 2011
    MaciekOst
    The South Park example - those where three episodes, actually.
  • August 6, 2011
    Xelloss08
    • In I Feel Sick, Devi's artist's block is caused by Sickness siphoning off her creativity for its own use. It also implies that the similar consumption of the creative talent of Johnny The Homicidal Maniac is what originally caused him to go crazy.
  • August 7, 2011
    jukyter
    Thanks Maciek Ost.
  • August 7, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Changeling The Dreaming. There were two ways for Changelings to gain Glamour (AKA imagination, creativity) by draining it from humans.
      • Ravaging stole Glamour from human beings in a very painful manner. If a human was Ravaged repeatedly and frequently, they could lose all of their Glamour permanently. The Unseelie particularly enjoy this form of feeding.
      • Rapture forced a human to create a work of art that completely and permanently drained all Glamour from them. When the work was destroyed the Glamour was gained by the Changelings who participated.
  • August 7, 2011
    Koveras
    "The Neverending Story 2" presumably refers to the Movie Of The Book. I think it would be more appropriate to list that example in the literature section, since Nothing did play this role in the original book.

    The Undreaming in Dreamfall is strongly implied to be this, although it's exact nature is still unknown (the sequel is in Development Hell). However, it can also turn out to be a Dream Stealer, or a straight-up Eldritch Abomination, or all three.
  • August 11, 2011
    Bruxist
    The Word Eater described in Clanbook Malkavian is said to survive by devouring words - specifically, ideas that these words represent. The words he eats disappear completely from the world, including not only the things they represent, but also the fact that they ever existed. Which means a lot of stuff existed and we ha e no id a t di . t ot er d re d o on a g obal scale. Scary prospect, ain't it?
  • January 9, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    Bump.
  • January 10, 2012
    Tuomas
    The plot of Momo involves a conspiracy of imagination eaters gradually trying to take control of the world.
  • January 10, 2012
    Frank75
    Nah, they were stealing the time of people. Of course, you could argue that without time, people can't let their imagination run.
  • April 7, 2012
    BlueGuy
    Bump.
  • April 7, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    In Zamyatin's dystopian novel We, the regime perfects a neurosurgery procedure called a "fantasectomy", which destroys the subject's ability to comprehend anything that is not a physical fact.
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