Created By: SolidSamurai on November 1, 2012 Last Edited By: SolidSamurai on November 14, 2012
Nuked

It's the future!

Sorta like 'because it's magic', except in this case, it's the future.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
'Futuristic' is pretty much an identifier and seemingly satiating explanation for why certain things, usually objects and items, behave the way they do. It also can be (at least for me), however, an acceptable explanation for why certain characters are the way they are - ie. it can't be fully ascertained what experiments in a lab were conducted to transform character X into random monstrosity or other superpowered being. Whereas, technology of the society is what allows certain objects and items to exist and remain accessible to the characters through established setting alone.

In which case, often times, little detail is given to the setting beyond 'characters have such and such because it's the future' no matter how interesting that setting may seem from whatsoever gets thrown in the audience collective faces.

And even though such things may clearly belong in the realm of fantasy - this is, sadly, the handwave for much of whatever passes for science fiction, past and present. No other thought will be given to that point, and thusly, quite like how 'a wizard did it' can degrade a setting, this sorta thing can potentially degrade a setting as well - which depends on the audience, and how much weight is given to the setting itself, etc.

NOTE: I searched 'futuristic' on here, checked page 1 results, and found nothing that covers this area. This article could be a subset of 'hand wave' or 'a wizard did it'.

Powered armor, because um... it's the future? (dunno how to do captions)

Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • November 3, 2012
    DracMonster
    I think this is Doing In The Wizard. (But more vague, I'm not seeing how powered armor could be construed as a fantasy element.)

    If it's just "it isn't explained how this could exist" that's Hand Wave or Bellisarios Maxim.
  • November 6, 2012
    SolidSamurai
    It's more 'sci fi that explains itself poorly', often by not even offering technobabble explanations and usually going by commmon conventions, on the premise that the audience will just accept it for what it is because 'that's the genre'. Of course, sometimes, that's completely okay, because space opera (*cough* star wars before phantom menace *cough*) has succeeded in that before.
  • November 6, 2012
    SolidSamurai
    So it's more specific than simply 'it doesn't explain itself'. It's more like a genre convention of sci fi that doesn't explain itself. It could fit into a sub-category of handwave or wizard did it.
  • November 6, 2012
    SolidSamurai
    Also, doing in the wizard was something that Phantom Menace did. Not really the same as 'oh, well it's the future'.

    Ie. What's a granite chopper? "Oh, well it's a futuristic implement for chopping granite." Doesn't really explain itself, or maybe even how well it chops granite. Yeah, I kinda figured that it'd take some incredible machine power to chop through granite that no one's bothered to design yet, so if it gets made, it'll be made and sold in the future, but thanks anyway... :P
  • November 6, 2012
    Omeganian
    I see little difference between that and Clarkes Third Law.
  • November 6, 2012
    SolidSamurai
    Not really, much of a referance, because I think Clarke's Third Law only really exists to expand the imagination on the possibilities of technology (so 'scientists, get cracking!' - that's kinda how AC Clarke is). It's presented in too positive a light for my tastes. :P
  • November 6, 2012
    SolidSamurai
    So this article is more 'being lazy' then just another exemplifying clarke's third law.
  • November 6, 2012
    SolidSamurai
    Actually, reading in, I think Clarke's Third Law could more be about playing off the superstitions of other characters. It's also an excuse for why genre such as steam punk exist. It doesn't fit into space opera, which most would probably consider more 'pure sci fi', silly as that is (considering sci fi is supposed to be a distinct genre of fantasy and if you want to write a fantasy, write a fantasy! Sci fi is a work that manages to explain itself on at least a somewhat scientific level, otherwise the word science shouldn't even be put in there).
  • November 6, 2012
    McKathlin
    This sounds like A Wizard Did It, as done in a science fiction context. Works that do little or nothing to explain their phenomena fall on the soft end of Mohs Scale Of Science Fiction Hardness.

    This may be tropable if we can come up with plenty of examples. Let's keep in mind that if something is explained (or just Hand Waved) with an alien technology or mysterious substance, there's already a trope for that: Applied Phlebotinum.
  • November 6, 2012
    McKathlin
    • The flying cars and other gadgets of The Jetsons universe are never explained; they just have them because in the future, we'll clearly have invented such things.
  • November 7, 2012
    DracMonster
    "The audience accepts this because its part of the genre" is covered by Anthropic Principle.
  • November 7, 2012
    nitrokitty
    This sounds like Clarkes Third Law to me.
  • November 11, 2012
    SolidSamurai
    I think Mc Kathlin interprets what I meant to say a little better.
  • November 12, 2012
    Tzintzuntzan
    The old Encylopedia of Fantasy by John Clute had an entry called "Technofantasy," which (IIUC) is what the OP is looking for.

    Technofantasy was defined as a story that is set in a high-tech world, but there is no attempt to have the technology obey real scientific law -- everything is based on Applied Phlebotinum and Traveling At The Speed Of Plot. Also, no effort is made to examine what that kind of technology would do to human behavior, except as it serves the plot. However, the technology can still be internally consistent in what fuel it uses, how long it takes to power up the rocket, etc. (just as a magic system can be consistent in whether the witch needs eye of newt, how long it takes to cast a spell, etc.)

    The result is a story that is effectively a fantasy or fairy tale, except that magic and monsters are replaced by technology and aliens (the city with teleport booths might as well be a fantasy city with magic portals).

    I suspect most examples of Recycled INSPACE would count as this, although some (like original Star Trek) occasionally dip into realistic science whenever it would be convenient for the plot.
  • November 12, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    This is not exactly like any existing articles, I don't think, but it's pieces of several with nothing additional to distinguish it. Combining two tropes does not usually make a third trope.
  • November 12, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    This comes off like a Stock Phrase more than a trope. A trope about overawed reactions to magic, future etc. might work, but it's not this.
  • November 14, 2012
    SolidSamurai
    So tzintzuntzan, that would make starcraft 2 a starcraft recycled in space (even though starcraft is already in space but whatever)?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=xeomo8wnq1f7pk02wdqt2c96&trope=DiscardedYKTTW