->''"Robert Heinlein once wrote that the best way to give the flavor of the future is to drop in, without warning, some strange detail. He gives as an example, 'The door dilated open.' Mention it once, and never mention it again, except to satisfy the needs of continuity. And your readers know, from these subtle details, that they aren't exactly dealing with the real world anymore.''
-->-- '''Creator/LarryNiven''', in his essay "Building ''Literature/TheMoteInGodsEye''"

The general assumption that all of the unstated details of the setting of a work of fiction that remotely resembles RealLife can be filled in by the audience's knowledge of the world in which they live, except in areas where the fictional world explicitly or by necessary implication deviates from RealLife.

So, for example, if the characters note that they've just gotten back from Paris, the audience can safely assume that this is the capital city of France complete with Eiffel Tower, even if this is never made explicit in the narrative.

Such assumptions are still expected even if the setting has obvious deviations from RealLife, such as the presence of superheroes, vampires, aliens, or [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent a fictional President of the United States]]. The setting, after all, is Like Reality Unless Noted; the obvious fictional elements are the part that's been noted, and InSpiteOfANail the rest of the world is still assumed to be identical to RealLife.

When it becomes ''explicit'' that the setting is Like Reality Unless Noted in some aspect, that's TruthInTelevision. On the other hand, the audience's subconscious assumption that the setting is Like Reality Unless Noted may be suddenly and obviously disproven for TheReveal that it is actually an AlternateUniverse or AlternateHistory, which may serve as a TomatoSurprise.

Even when stories are not set in the PresentDay, they are still assumed to be Like Reality Unless Noted with the necessary adjustments. Historical settings are Like Reality Unless Noted with regard to their particular time period. Similarly, stories set in TheFuture are assumed to have at some point in the past been Like Reality Unless Noted and moved on from there. Even completely fantastic settings that have their own fictional history, geography, and culture, are probably assumed by the audience to be Like Reality Unless Noted with regard to a number of biological and physical facts - or at bare minimum, how people can generally be expected to behave. For that matter, even AlternateHistory stories that are ''explicitly'' set in a world not like our own may feature people and events that happened in reality to a far greater extent than mere chance would lead one to expect.

Many movies deal with, for instance, an attack on the United States government as if it happened in the present day. We can't really have a movie where the [[ThePresidents actual current elected president]] is killed or kidnapped (the majority citizens on both sides would likely consider it TooSoon while they are in office), so a NoCelebritiesWereHarmed substitute or an [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent outright fictional one]] will be in place so the story can take place in RealLife with the rest of our current culture intact.

The accusation that a writer is guilty of CriticalResearchFailure or DanBrowned is entirely based upon the premise that works of fiction ''should'' be Like Reality Unless Noted, and that an incorrect fact is not meant to be correct within the context of the fictional world. For example, it's not uncommon for readers to assume that a superficially MedievalEuropeanFantasy world has the same customs, values, etc. as Medieval Europe. But this [[LogicalFallacies fails the logic test]] for two reasons; one, historical Medieval Europe had no wizards or dragons, and was not on a planet with seven moons and a [[AlienSky lavender sky]]. And two, Medieval Europe covers dozens of cultures evolving (and interacting with dozens of other cultures) over a thousand year period so there was tremendous variation in the prevailing assumptions and values.

(Of course, if the book claims to be factually correct in some or all areas then it pretty much falls under {{Dan Brown|ed}}ing.)

A work that is Like Reality Unless Noted has strong ExternalConsistency. The CelebrityParadox is an exception to Like Reality Unless Noted. See also WeirdHistoricalWar (it has the same wars as our reality, but with noted fantastical elements). Contrast CallASmeerpARabbit, where people may use the same terms as they do in reality, but to describe entirely different things. See also the SlidingScaleOfLikeRealityUnlessNoted.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In its first episode, ''Anime/CodeGeass'' claims that [[TheEmpire Brittania]] invaded Japan in order to get access to its vast natural resources. Some viewers called foul on this, since in the real world Japan is a fairly resource-poor nation. It takes several episodes before viewers discover that 1) the world of ''Code Geass'' is an alternate history set in our equivalent of 1962, rather than a future version of our own Earth, and 2) the resource Brittania wants from Japan is "sakuradite," a fictional mineral that can be used as an isothermic superconductor or energy source rivaling nuclear power, and [[PhilosophersStone its discovery in the middle ages]] caused technology to develop along a very different path.
** Also, [[spoiler: later episodes reveal that the whole "invading for resources" thing was a bunch of bull. The real reason Brittania invaded was because the emperor wanted access to the witch's temple on one of Japan's smaller islands so he could complete the Ragnarok Connection.]]
* The setting of any given {{Super Robot|Genre}} is Like Reality Except That One Phlebotinum, from ''Anime/MazingerZ'' to ''Anime/GaoGaiGar'' to ''Lightnovel/FullMetalPanic''. The few settings that aren't that tend to be some sort of adventure or journey (''Combat Mecha Xabungle'', the first half of ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann''). {{Real Robot|Genre}}s, on the other hand, tend to be set [[AC:IN SPACE]].
** [[Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann TTGL]] is hinted to be in the near future. The near ''evolutionary'' future. When the map of the world is seen very briefly in one episode, it looks like a future map of the world where the continents have shifted a bit.

* Most comic book settings are like this, just with an incredibly extensive "noted" category. Superpowers, magic, alternate pantheons, the confirmed existence of the soul, contact with multiple alien races, and yet [[InSpiteOfANail everything else is the same as our world]].
** Creator/DCComics avert this more than Creator/MarvelComics, since in DC not only are most of the stories set in entirely fictional cities, unlike Marvel they are more willing to follow their own history (e.g. In Marvel, in the 2000's GeorgeWBush was President, as in RealLife; in DC, the President was ''SelfDemonstrating/LexLuthor'', before he was impeached halfway through his first-term on the grounds of trying to kill Superman--or rather, getting caught doing it). Both follow a (rough) history similar to Earth, but DC makes a decision to divert that Marvel does not.
** ''ComicBook/ExMachina'' played with this to great effect in its first issue: the series is centered on the only superhero in the world, who retired to become Mayor of NYC. Everything looks identical to our world until the WhamShot at the end of Issue #1 which shows [[spoiler:one of the Twin Towers still standing, with said superhero lamenting on not being able to save both.]]

* ''Film/InglouriousBasterds'': [[spoiler:UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler and most of the Nazi leaders are killed in one swift, bloody attack, presumably ending WorldWarII earlier than it did in our world.]]
* The town in ''Film/{{UHF}}''. It's a normal city with normal people watching their normal Channel 8... but when you see the odd content being aired on Channel 62 and realize all these people and things must have been out there already before they got TV shows, it makes you wonder what anyone found weird or odd about George at the beginning of the movie.
** It becomes even weirder when you know that almost everything was filmed at recognizable Tulsa, OK landmarks, and the Channel 8 studio was later used in real life by the station that helped the production crew build it.
* Very much the case in ''Film/TheInventionOfLying''. A world where absolutely no one could lie would be certain to have a profound effect on history, but the only differences from the real world are that advertising is forced to be honest, there is no fiction entertainment, and religion doesn't exist.

* A more generous interpretation of DaleBrown's work involves this. After all, the setting has clear elements of AlternateHistory already, such as ''Wings of Fire'' predicting the deposing of [[UsefulNotes/MuammarGaddafi Gaddafi]] way before it actually happened.
* In ''Anathem'', the world presented seems to be a post-apocalyptic Earth. There are lots of mentions of Greek philosophy and mathematics with only the names changed. And there's even a reference to [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Spock]] during an early discussion about the different ways Extramuros (normal people) view Avout (people living in the monastery who only come out once every ten years.)
** [[spoiler:Subverted when it turns out Arbre is NOT our Earth and the novel is set in a parallel universe.]]
* Toyed with briefly in Robert Harris' ''{{Literature/Fatherland}}'', set in an alternate 60s in a Nazi-ruled Europe. There are a couple of mentions of a President Kennedy (who one naturally assumes to be JohnFKennedy), but his unlikely characterisation and issues with the timeline are allowed to build up before a minor [[TheReveal Reveal]] that it's actually ''Joseph'' Kennedy, his father.
* In Creator/StephenKing's novel, ''Literature/TheLongWalk'', the setting [[AlternateHistory appears to be]] America in the 1980s, except for a few blink-and-you'll-miss-it details dropped in the narrative, namely that the "German air-blitz of the American East Coast during the last days of World War II", and the existence of April 31st and a 51st state.
* Andrzej Sapkowski (of ''Franchise/TheWitcher''-fame) wrote in his essay ''Pirog'' that critics once attacked him for the "anachronism" of placing batiste panties on an ex-[[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses princess]] he mentioned in [[TheWitcher one of his novels]]. And added that once that tempest in a teacup subsided, one young author still reacted with cold haughtyness, [[ShownTheirWork showing his research on such a subject]] in his heroine's disrobement scene -- but the effect was "hopelessly spoiled by the [[IKEAErotica description of intercourse that followed, ludicrous beyond any measure and imagination]]".
* Inverted in ''Literature/TheRestaurantAtTheEndOfTheUniverse'', one of the books in [[RunningGag increasingly inaccurately-named]] ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' [[TrilogyCreep trilogy]]. An incident is described in which a reader of the ''Guide'' (which more-or-less purports to be a sort of encyclopedia) sued the publishers over one of the more outrageous bits of inaccuracy contained within the guide. The publishers stand by the disclaimer that when reality contradicts what is written in the ''Guide'', then it is ''reality'' that is in error. To defend their case, they hired a lawyer who argued that what was written was more beautiful than the "correct" version and truth is beauty.
* The ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' series plays fast and loose with this. Because it's set in an AlternateHistory (later becoming an Alternate Present Day), some things happened while others didn't, and vice versa. The problem is that some of the events and books that were "changed" are so obscure, especially to non-Britons, that many readers will have no clue which is which half the time.
** Some are obvious, of course, such as the presence of the People's Republic of Wales and cheese being a controlled substance with prices in the hundreds. Also the cloned neanderthals and other extinct species.
** Interestingly though, it seems that as the series progresses, it moves slowly into our reality. For example, Neanderthals can't breed so will soon all be extinct again, and time travel no longer exists. However, there is mentioned in one of the books an "alternate universe" that has been discovered, which sounds just like ours, implying that the whole series is actually set in a different universe anyway and nothing to do with us.
* Used explicitly in JackChalker 's "Wonderland Gambit" trilogy, which is about alternate histories created within some gargantuan virtual reality game. To save computational space, all elements of reality not explicitly changed by the premise are Like Reality Unless Noted--but if magic exists or people are unisex centaurs, an awful lot of Reality may be Noted.
* The ''EarthsChildren'' series, which purports to be about humanity and Neanderthals just before the last ice age. Nevertheless, it has Ayla display intermittent psychic powers and precognition, and Creb is so revered because ''he's'' got psychic powers as well; in one scene, he gives other Neanderthals a sacred drink, then guides their thoughts back to the earliest Neanderthal ancestor and then forward in time until they're mentally tracing their own family trees and finally has them finish when they get to themselves.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The [[Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined remake]] of ''Franchise/BattlestarGalactica'' runs on this trope despite being set ''in an extrasolar system partway across the galaxy''.
* The average man's technology and culture remain just like reality in Franchise/PowerRangers despite humanity having made FirstContact and developing hyper advanced ranger technology. The only noted exception is that the [[{{Fiction500}} ludicrously rich]] can afford anti-gravity craft and such (but never use them in public) and universities now have majors in areas like "Galactic Myths and Legends".
* In at least one episode of ''Series/TheTwilightZone'', an otherwise normal-looking world turns out to be an almost-perfect duplicate.
* All works set in the ''Franchise/StargateVerse'' are set in the same year the episode aired and for the most part life on Earth is exactly the way it is in real life. There are some minor differences (OurPresidentsAreDifferent, for example, and the fact that there's about $80 billion in the defense budget that nobody without clearance can really account for).
* ''TheMightyBoosh'' is constantly referred to in-universe as taking place on a version of Earth in a parallel dimension. However, the only difference ever portrayed is that Britain uses the Euro as currency.
* Shows with magic are almost always this; magic is generally known to a small minority who [[TheMasquerade go out of their way to keep it secret]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/AceCombat'' does a variation. The series is set on an alternate Earth, the proper name for which is Strangereal, where the continents and countries are, to say the least, [[http://acecombat.wikia.com/wiki/File:Strangereal_Project_Aces_Full_Map.png different.]] History is similar, but often times, events anywhere from Strangreal's 1995 to 2015 have [[FauxSymbolism obvious parallels]] to real history; Belka is blatantly UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and then UsefulNotes/WorldWarII style Germany, for example. Other nations have clearly visible similarities to the cultures and geography they are based on, e.g. : Characters from Estovakia or Yuktobania are easily mistaken for Russians / Eastern European nationalities. Many fighter planes featured in the series are real planes (licensed from their real-world manufacturers by the game developers, no less) but with twists; the SU-47 Berkut was built as a proof-of-concept machine. On Strangereal, the Berkut went to mass production and became a high-end fighter jet for several militaries before 1995.
* [[DoubleSubversion Doubly-subverted]] in ''VideoGame/CustomRobo'': At one point, you are asked whether the world is flat or round. If you answer "round," your teammates scold you for joking - [[TheReveal revealing]] that you've actually been on a flat world the whole time - and [[ButThouMust the promptor asks the question again]]. When you answer "flat," though, the promptor then [[TheReveal reveals]] that you had been lied to your whole life and that the supposedly flat plane you'd been living on was actually a closed-off portion of a round planet the whole time.
** The fact that the main character can give the "wrong" answer to this and a similar question is actually {{justified|Trope}}, despite how that makes it sound. [[spoiler: The main character's DisappearedDad was one of the few who knew the truth and is established to have been opposed to keeping it a secret. It's implied your character learned it from him at some point.]]
* There's some weirdness here with the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' series. According to canon sources, our world and the Fallout world split at the end of WorldWarTwo, with the first significant divergences beginning in the late 1950s, resulting in the microtransitor never being created while nuclear power was perfected. Fallout's world became a world of {{Zeerust}}, essentially what America thought 2050 would be like in 1950. Then the bombs dropped. This is just compounded by the fact that the games take place quite a bit AfterTheEnd.
** In VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}, you can meet an American History fanboy who '''honestly''' believes that the Declaration of Independence was created by the [[FutureImperfect Second Judgemental Congress and sent to King George by airplane.]]
*** Makes sense in that region, there were few intact pre-war books left in the D.C. Ruins, much less history books. Places like [[VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas New Vegas]] both have more pre-war books available and accurate information on history.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'' has an alternate Earth with odd country or region names like "Electopia" for the Japan-equivalent, "Netopia" ("Amerope" in the original Japanese) for an America-Europe equivalent etc. Of course, the main difference is in the series premise, with the different way of browsing the 'net and all.
* The ''Franchise/MetalGear'' series can be quite confusing with this. About half of the past events that is referred to in the games actually happened and the other half is made up.
** It's interesting to note that some of this comes from most of the games' being set TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture, and the present day continually catching up to it. ''Metal Gear Solid'' released in '98, takes place in 2005. ''Sons of Liberty'' released in 2001, takes place in 2007 and 2009. ''Guns of the Patriots'' released in 2008, takes place in 2014.
** The beginning of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'' is a perfect example of this trope: it starts off as a skirmish between two groups somewhere in a destroyed city in the Middle East. Everything looks pretty standard for modern warfare...then giant robots hop out of nowhere and start stepping on people!
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance'' continues the trend with references to TheWarOnTerror [[spoiler: TheManBehindTheMan's plan is to restart it, this time pulling Pakistan in]], the Occupy movement[[note]]mentioned in a Codec conversation sometime during the FinalBoss fight[[/note]] and the Tea Party[[note]]in one of the promotional materials[[/note]] .
* At first, VideoGame/TheSims looks very similar to real life.... until you find out that over the various installments of the series and their expansion packs, the games have featured vampires, robots, time travel, magic, alien abduction, werewolves and the Grim Reaper. Why? RuleOfCool, that's why.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' and ''Film/FullMetalJacket'' are remembered 500 years in the future, and it seems most things stayed the same without {{Creator/Bungie}}'s existence (or at least ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'' and ''Halo'') in the ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' universe.
* Although most of the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' series occurs on the inside of the [[PocketDimension Great Hakurei Border]], there is a very obvious [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Outside World]] that is believed to be a parallel of our own time line alongside the AllMythsAreTrue wonderland, consistent chronologically until at least the moon landing. Of note: the strange college majors of the two popular outsiders are Maribel Han, Relative Psychology, and Renko Usami, Super Unified Physics. Bonus "alternate reality" points if its sister series ''VideoGame/{{Seihou}}'' is the same Outside World.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* If you write down the latitude and longitude coordinates provided in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' and put them into Google Maps, they are in fact real places. This makes [[spoiler:the fact that [[OurTrollsAreDifferent the Trolls]] [[CreationMyth created]] [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=004524 our universe]]]] all the more unsettling...
* ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'' lives in a world where up-to-date indie music references coexist with sentient, anthropomorphic personal computers. The town that it takes place in, Northampton, also appears accurate to modern day save for a few eccentricities.
* ''WebComic/DarthsAndDroids'' is about a tabletop RPG game taking place in a world where ''Franchise/StarWars'' never existed but otherwise the same. Semi-subverted when they point out the other logical consequences of ''Franchise/StarWars'' not existing (such as ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' remaining an obscure TV show)
** The same is true with the series it's a spiritual successor to, ''Webcomic/DMOfTheRings'' in regards to ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings''.

* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic points out in [[Recap/TheNostalgiaCriticS5E10 his review]] of ''WesternAnimation/ThomasAndTheMagicRailroad'' that the world in which Thomas is set is just like the real world with the exception of the trains talking, thus making the movie's "multiple universe" theme unneeded.
* For the first couple of chapters of ''Literature/{{Pyrrhic}}'' the story seems like it could easily fit in our world, until the mention of things like [[spoiler:the Hydra, vampires, and telekinetics]] bring this story firmly into this trope.

* ''WesternAnimation/UglyAmericans'' is set in a modern version of New York where nonhuman "creatures" ([[OurDemonsAreDifferent demons]], [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever giant apes]], etc.) exist as minorities. Spattered throughout the series are hints of how this has created an AlternateHistory, such as a [[ZombieApocalypse human-zombie war]] having taken place in TheSixties.