Snowclone (New Crowner 7/11): Dead Ex Machina

Total posts: [47]
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1 Lightflame8th Jun 2012 07:19:31 AM from where you can't find me , Relationship Status: Drowning in your pond, hoping you'll notice me
Stick of the Fallen
Hey want to play Guess The Trope? Okay! Predict what Dead ex Machina is. And since you can't just look at the trope to figure it out, due to it's description using Example as a Thesis and not actually explaining what the trope is, you can just check under this spoiler tag. A character is rescued by the ghost of a deceased character.

There aren't that many wicks, and the name definitely isn't doing it any favours. Can I suggest a rename to Rescue By The Dead or Ghastly Rescue?
"Oh great! Let's pile up all the useless cats and hope a tree falls on them!"
This is a sub-trope of Deus ex Machina that specifically plays with our automatic assumption that character death is permanent.

I think this part of the description is important. The name should get across that idea.

The current name is pretty bad though. Even Spiritus Ex Machina would have been better.

edited 8th Jun '12 7:27:51 AM by abk0100

Wow, that's... misleading. I initially thought it meant Dropped a Bridge on Him — a Deus ex Machina that causes character death out of nowhere.

Ghostly Rescue sounds good. (I don't think Ghastly is a good word to use here, since that implies ickiness; Ghastly Rescue sounds like somebody getting rescued when their buddy opens up with the BFG and makes the threat explode all over them.)

Let me just go fiddle with the trope description a bit...

Edit: OK, I think that's a much more solid introduction that actually explains what the trope is and a few variations on the theme. See what you think.

edited 8th Jun '12 7:50:46 AM by Escher

I guessed right. A dead person used as a deus ex machina. This title makes sense.
5 Spark913th Jun 2012 04:17:10 PM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
Whoa, can we cut it out with the awful Snowclones please? And mangling English and Latin into one phrase to boot. It's an awful and meaningless name, and we should get rid of it post haste. I'm not even convinced this is different enough to count as its own trope.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
7 Xtifr7th Jul 2012 03:22:16 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
I'd actually say this is surprisingly good for a snowclone title. It even makes sense of a sort. At the same time, it's awkward and rather confusing. The fact that this is better than most snowclones only emphasizes how bad snowclones can get.

However, no matter how bad a snowclone is, the important issues are misuse or underuse, so let's emphasis the obvious underuse here rather than whining about the snowcloniness. :)
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
8 peccantis7th Jul 2012 06:30:19 PM , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
the flies will find you
That name... it's just... ghastly.
before the darkness arrives
Dragon Writer
^^ Related wikilinks and inbounds stand at 48 and 48. What broad category do we sort those numbers under?
10 Xtifr7th Jul 2012 07:05:33 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
For a trope that's been around since at least 2009, and isn't exactly rare, that doesn't seem very impressive.
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
Dragon Writer
Anyone willing to do a misuse check? If we're interpreting the definition as "it's the dead person who saves the heroes / wins the day / vanquishes the Big Bad / etc" and not just "dead person who empowers the hero to save the day", then we do have misuse, but I'm not up to a full check.
13 Xtifr8th Jul 2012 12:18:09 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
[up]Honestly, I'm not sure whether that counts as misuse or not. The description is a bit vague, and full of example-as-thesis, but it seems intended to be quite broad.
Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
Can we at least get some more name suggestions? As it stands, I'm probably going to vote on Spiritus Ex Machina, which isn't really any better.
I don't like snowclones of Deus ex Machina.

edited 8th Jul '12 1:24:59 PM by spacemarine50

I wrote the original trope years ago, before I had any idea what a "Snowclone" was. I'm not sure what the problem is; it was once considered okay to have tropes that have similar names as other tropes, if it helps explain them.

Why is this difficult to understand? Deus ex Machina is a trope where the day is saved suddenly and arbitrarally by an unexpected source. Dead ex Machina is a sub-trope of that, when a dead person, or person previously thought dead, saves the day unexpectedly. This is a thing that happens in literature. Does it have to be popular to live on the wiki? Would "Spiritus Ex Machina" be a better name? It's not always a spirit that saves the day. Is maintaining Latin continuity that important?

I can see now that somebody really mangled the first paragraph, though. I'm obviously biased, but I think the trope could use some re-writing for clarity, though.
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." - E. Gary Gygax
No one has really suggested anything better than Dead ex Machina, so this does appear to be one of those pointless "I don't like the name, let's get rid of it and" threads. What is everyone planning on voting for? Ghastly Rescue isn't nearly as clear, and that's pretty much all we've thought of.
18 SeptimusHeap12th Jul 2012 02:36:20 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Is it essential that the new name be as bland as possible?

C'mon. It's a Deus ex Machina, performed by someone thought to be dead. Dead Ex Machina. With a slightly punched up first paragraph, it wouldn't confuse anyone. Also easy to remember.

This isn't one of those situations where your "snowclone" has nothing to do with the trope it's yanking its name from.

edited 12th Jul '12 2:53:54 PM by Dracomicron

"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." - E. Gary Gygax
20 SeptimusHeap12th Jul 2012 02:52:13 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Yes, if there are no clearer and conciser names around - mind, Clear, Concise, Witty in order of importance.
I don't know how it could be clearer.

In "Deus Ex Machina", it's talking about a god literally coming down from the top of the stage, up from belowstage, on a machine to save the day.

If you want to get precise about it, we use the term for plenty of stuff outside of stageplay contraptions these days. The term has become synonymous with that sort of rescue.

Replace the god with a dead person... Dead Ex Machina. I don't know how you want to make it clearer, unless you want to go changing the name of Deus Ex Machina to something more drab.
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." - E. Gary Gygax
22 SeptimusHeap12th Jul 2012 03:02:07 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
OK, I am not familiar with the etymology of Deus ex Machina, but for me Dead ex Machina means more "surprisingly dead" rather than "dead save the day"

There's another problem - Dead ex Machina and Diabolus ex Machina (example) need wholly different interpretations of the Deus Ex Machina snowclone to work. We can't read it as A in some names and B in others. And Diabolus is a stronger term than Dead Ex
23 nrjxll12th Jul 2012 03:17:47 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
Blah blah blah "TV Tropes is becoming boring" blah blah blah. Where have I heard this before?

I actually have no strong feelings about this name either way, but I'm very, very tired of the whole "bland" strawman coming up every time someone wants to rename a trope.

edited 12th Jul '12 3:18:03 PM by nrjxll

"Rescued By Ghosts? Rescued By A Dead? Rescued By Dead People? Rescued By The Dead?"

None of those are clearer than the current name. The fact that this is a form of Deus Ex Machina is essential to the trope. It can't just be "someone gets rescued by a ghost."

edited 12th Jul '12 3:27:38 PM by abk0100

25 SeptimusHeap12th Jul 2012 03:29:24 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
It isn't a strawman, but still one of the Top 10 Bogus Arguments.

The Deus ex Machina one is better, though, although not necessarily supported by the trope description. Ghostly Deus Ex Machina or Unexpected Rescue By Ghosts (or a variation thereof)

Alternative Titles: Dead Ex Machina
13th Jul '12 3:41:32 AM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the title will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative titles.
At issue:

Total posts: 47
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