Creator / Fredric Brown
Fredric Brown (1906-1972) was an American Science Fiction and Mystery Fiction writer, author of What Mad Universe, Martians Go Home, and countless short stories. One of his most famous short stories, though often misattributed, is "Answer", in which all the computers in the world are linked together to form a single supercomputer capable of determining whether there is a God. His short story "Arena" has been adapted for television several times, most famously influencing an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series.

His works provide examples of:

  • The Aloner: "Something Green".
  • As You Know: Lampshaded in "Keep Out".
  • Ascended Fanboy: What Mad Universe
  • Binary Suns: The planet Placet in "Placet is a Crazy Place" orbits two suns in a figure-eight. When it is between the suns, the human colonists experience hallucinations. This is only one of the reasons why it is considered crazy.
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: Inverted in Martians Go Home. The Martians are real, and everyone on earth can see them — in fact, it's impossible not to — except for one guy, thanks to a Martian-caused nervous breakdown.
  • Combat by Champion: Arena.
  • Counterfeit Cash: "Don't Look Behind You"
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • In "Nasty", the protagonist makes a deal with the Devil for a pair of magic swimming trunks to restore his virility. But if he takes them off or even pulls them down...
    • In "Naturally", the main character is about to flunk out of college, so he summons a demon to help him pass his Geometry final. Because he's bad at Geometry, he puts the wrong number of points on the pentagram and the demon simply steps out of it and carts him off to Hell.
  • Deus Est Machina: "Answer"
  • The Dog Is an Alien: In "Puppet Show", an old prospector brings a very ugly Rubber-Forehead Alien out of the wilderness on muleback, and the captive is questioned by the military. After a bit of subterfuge, it turns out that the captive is a robot, and the prospector declares himself to be the real alien. The interrogator expresses relief that the master race of the galaxy looks human after all... at which point, the prospector reveals itself to be a robot as well, and the mule asks what a "master race" is and why its appearance should matter.
  • First Contact: "Puppet Show" revolves around the arrival of an alien sent to Earth to see if humans are ready to meet galactic society without embarrassing themselves.
  • The Fog of Ages: In "Letter to a Phoenix", which is told by a narrator who is 180,000 years old. He only remembers the important things... his real name is nowhere in the list.
  • Go Among Mad People: "Come and Go Mad"
  • Gone Horribly Right: "Answer"
  • Humanoid Alien: Played with in "Puppet Show".
  • The Last Man Heard A Knock: "Knock"
  • Lightswitch Surprise: "Knightmare in Yellow"
  • Mermaid Problem: "Fish Story"
  • Mistaken for Apocalypse: A real Tear Jerker case in "The Dome".
  • Napoleon Delusion: Played with in "Come and Go Mad".
  • Prospector: "Puppet Show" begins with a trope-standard grizzled prospector arriving in town with his trusty mule — which is carrying an alien visitor he met out in the wilderness. Invoked Trope: it turns out that the "prospector" is a member of the alien delegation (as is the mule) and his claimed meeting with the alien was set up as a way of introducing the alien ambassador to humanity.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The alternative in Arena.
  • Stable Time Loop: In Paradox Lost the protagonist causes a disturbance in a class five years in the future, which gives his future self a good pretext to hit on a student.
  • Stealth Pun: The ending of "Blood".
  • Temporal Paradox: "Experiment"
  • Time Police: "The Short Happy Lives of Eustace Weaver"
  • Tomato Surprise: "The Sentry"
  • To the Future, and Beyond: "Blood"
  • invoked Uncanny Valley: Invoked as part of the test set up by the aliens in "Puppet Show". The alien in question is particularly repulsive to humans because he is just humanoid enough to look severely wrong in their eyes.
  • Vicious Cycle: Letter To a Phoenix
  • You Wake Up in a Room: "Knock" begins with the following:
    There is a sweet little horror story that is only two sentences long:
    "The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door..."