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Rational Fic
aka: Rational Fiction
"But when you look at what Sherlock Holmes does - you can't go out and do it at home. Sherlock Holmes is not really operating by any sort of reproducible method. He is operating by magically finding the right clues and carrying out magically correct complicated chains of deduction. Maybe it's just me, but it seems to me that reading Sherlock Holmes does not inspire you to go and do likewise. Holmes is a mutant superhero. And even if you did try to imitate him, it would never work in real life."

A Rational Fic is one which makes a deliberate effort to reward a reader's thinking. It's the opposite of Bellisario's Maxim. The world-building is intended to stand up to careful thought; the plot is driven by characters or circumstances that themselves are part of the story, the heroes generally think clearly (in ways the reader can follow), and a clever reader can deduce what's hidden or what's coming. Very often, the fic is also intended to teach the reader something about rationality.

The Genre Codifier is Eliezer Yudkowsky, who wrote his idea of what a Rational Fic is here. His interests are probably responsible for some of the genre's incidental characteristics.

Tropes of Rational Fic:

Tropes which are very common in Rational Fic, but not part of what makes it Rational:

Tropes which Rational Fic deliberately avoids:

The number of tropes Rational Fic attempts to avoid which are on the Bad Writing Index might suggest that it is some sort of universal principle of good writing. This is not the case. Even Those Tropes Are Not Bad, and many Rational Fics fail to avoid them in any case, or fall into other traps. Lord of the Rings would not have benefited from a clearly explained magic system, nor Threepenny Opera from a logical Downer Ending, nor The Dark Knight from making The Joker a Well-Intentioned Extremist.

Also note that the occasional appearance of a trope to avoid doesn't prevent the work from being Rational Fic, it just makes it not quite as good a Rational Fic as it could have been.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Literature 

    Music 

    Fanfic 

    Webcomics 
  • Fleep: The main character wakes up in a phone booth buried under concrete and has to figure out how he got there and how to escape.

    Web Original 

Rage FicFanfic TropesReal Person Fic
Porn with PlotFanficRecursive Fanfiction

alternative title(s): Rational Fiction
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