Main Fantastic Aesop Discussion

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04:02:36 AM Mar 29th 2012
edited by CombatLibrarian
Is there a trope (or should there be a trope) for a Broken Fantastic Aesop? If there is there should likely be a link on this page.

Basically an Aesop that even though it's fantastic in nature, it manages to have glaring logical flaws such that within the fictional construct of the story it's broken.

A couple of off the top of my head examples:

The Butterfly Effect. The moral of the story seems to be "Don't screw with time travel", but the way it comes off seems a lot more like "Don't screw with time travel if you are incapable of thinking ahead to even the painfully obvious consequences of your actions."

Surrogates. While I guess there might be some sort of hamfisted relate-ability to real world concepts of online avatars and the dangers of forsaking your real body's existence, it just feels too divorced from those ideas upon examination to really be taken seriously as a non-fantastic aesop, especially with how the surrogates are used to interact with the "real world" rather than being purely digital constructs. That said, "letting robot bodies live your life for you is bad" utterly falls apart with the ending, both immediately and in the realm of fridge horror. The aesop really more reads like "Because Bruce Willis's wife and he couldn't get marriage counseling, and some people abused the surrogates who questionably might not have needed them, the entire world should go without, including para- and quadrapalegics, those with other disorders making their bodies non-functional, severe burn patients...etc."

And toss in a healthy dose of blatant transphobia to boot. (Dear lord I hated that movie on so many levels.)

And come to think of it there's some other examples on the talk page here, as well as on the page itself.
02:27:38 PM Dec 3rd 2015
edited by VVK
Actually it seems this trope is "failed fantastic aesop", since everything must go under "failed metaphor" or "arbitrary rules". I was looking for somewhere to put examples I removed from Space Whale Aesop because they were about things you can't even do in real life, so judging from that page's description about the difference of the tropes they would have gone here. But coming here, I see I can't put them here either because they're just about doing impossible stuff but not related to any real-world morals in either of these two ways.
06:02:32 PM Nov 2nd 2011
  • Doctor Who has this happen time and again.
    • Rose's father's death. If you try to save someone who died, Clock Roaches will come and eat the planet. The Doctor spends some time berating Rose and accusing her of joining his travels simply to accomplish this terribly improper change in history - despite the fact that in the episode just prior, he was happy to attempt a massive change of history by bringing an entire refugee alien species to Earth during the Victorian era. Apparently, it's only bad to change history if it would benefit you?
    • It also had the "immortality" version. Don't create technology designed to reverse the aging process and spare billions of humans the agony of slow and inevitable deterioration, because it's Against The Laws of Nature and therefore Wrong. If you do try, you will turn into a hideous scorpion creature who drains humans of their life energy to survive. Fortunately, there's that incredibly clever long-lived, regenerating guy to help you out when that happens...
    • In the case of Father's Day, though, that was more a case of one character's insecurities than a message of the show itself; the Doctor seemed concerned that she had only traveled back in time to save Pete and was afraid he would lose her, which makes sense considering how traumatized and desperate for companionship he was at the time. And the Reapers mostly showed up because this instance caused a direct paradox (if Rose goes back in time to save her father, and he lives, then why did she go back in time to save her father in the first place?) which most of the Doctor's adventures don't. In the case of Lazarus, the Doctor seemed more concerned that a.) he didn't really know what he was doing (as evidenced by the episode) and b.) he was planning on using the technology for commercial gain rather than any kind of philanthropy. So both cases are arguable.

This is quite the mouthful. Is this an example or not?
03:06:08 AM Oct 19th 2011
I removed this part due to too many Justifying Edits:

  • The Dr. Seuss story The Sneetches would not only fail to launch in the real world, but doesn't even make sense within its fictional context. The Sneetches are large, ostrich-like birds who are capable of human speech and mannerisms. There are two castes of Sneetch: ones with stars on their bellies ("star-bellied Sneetches") and ones without stars. The star-bellied Sneetches despise their non-starred brethren and refuse to have anything to do with them, even forbidding their children to play with non-starred children. Then along comes a gladhanding salesman named Sylvester McMonkey McBean, who has invented a machine that can change one's appearance. He offers the non-starred Sneetches the opportunity to have stars tattooed on their bellies so that they will be accepted by their already-starred counterparts - for a small fee per Sneetch, of course. Once the non-starred Sneetches have been through McBean's contraption, they effectively become star-bellied Sneetches themselves - but this does not please the natural-born star-bellied Sneetches, who become jealous of the nouveau star-bellied Sneetches! But....why should they be jealous? Now all the Sneetches look exactly the same. Would it even be possible to tell who were the original star-bellied Sneetches and who were the converts? Would it even matter? Okay, so let's assume that the original star-bellied Sneetches can't deal with change - pretty abstract, really, but it's enough for a children's book. But this wouldn't fly with different racial groups in the real world, because if a similar event actually happened, the only "change" for the natural-born race of the "different" race becoming a converted race is that now there are simply more individuals belonging to the race that the unchanged race preferred anyway! One would imagine them simply thinking: "This is great! No more threat of race-mixing."
    • Insofar as the star-bellied sneetches isolated themselves from the plain sneetches, they would develop their own subculture with its own mannerisms, figures of speech, customs, etc. (just like real-life privileged groups). Any star-bellied sneetch that failed to act the part would be recognized as an "impostor" after a while.
    • Except for the people who think other races are fundamentally different beneath the skin. I think the star-bellied Sneetches were upset because they believed themselves better than the plain-bellied, and the stars were just a way of marking them as better. They still think plain-bellies are inferior, star or not (since they were born plain-bellied), but they're upset because now everyone looks the same and no one can tell that the original star-bellies are "better" because everyone has a star.
      • This even has examples in the real world. People of various races would often have kids together; because of the complicated world of genetics, this could give problems. Imagine a 'white' child being born to black parents, but still being discriminated against the moment people learn of his or her ancestry.
    • Fridge Brilliance- it has nothing to do with racism, and everything to do with classism. The sneetches born with stars are aristocrats/old money. They look down on the those of common birth, even if those of common birth manage to build fortunes of their own.
08:51:03 PM Aug 25th 2011
For the Silly Reason for War: Type II, it looks like real reasons for war, like vampires need blood, have become trivial, vampires are gross or they might drain your blood, not gone away like the page says.
10:11:56 AM Aug 5th 2011
I'm having some doubts about Blade Runner entry. The original writer seems to have been working from the Robot Revolution sub-variant, but I think he stretched too far. Thoughts?
01:29:18 AM Jul 29th 2011
Should we come up with a new name for "Lime and Grape Riot"? All the other "flavors" make it clear which genre fiction element they're talking about (magic mishaps, robot revolutions, etc.) but you have to read the detailed description below to get that "Lime and Grape Riot" is about conflict between groups that don't exist in real life, and you pretty much have to use process of elimination to put that much together.

I don't have a really good suggestion, but maybe something like "Mutant Lime vs. Vampire Grape Swirl" or something that makes it clear (1) how it fits into the "Fantastic" part of Fantastic Aesop, and (2) that it's about conflict between the "lime" and "grape" elements.
01:59:33 PM Aug 5th 2011
How about "Like Vampire Oil and Holy Water Parafait"?
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