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The TVTropes Trope Finder is where you can come to ask questions like "Do we have this one?" and "What's the trope about...?" Trying to rediscover a long lost show or other medium but need a little help? Head to You Know That Show and try your luck there. Want to propose a new trope? You should be over at You Know, That Thing Where.

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26th Jun, 2020 11:25:01 AM

Something for Everyone for that example- it's primarily about an attempt to manipulate perception by presenting a customized appearance.

In the more general sense on A Form You Are Comfortable With, though, it's not necessarily a matter of "your mind will be destroyed if you gaze upon the true form" (though that's a common reason), its more about trying to facilitate communication. For instance, an AI might realize that Alice is getting distracted and weirded out by talking to a bunch of server racks, so it creates an avatar it can show on a monitor so she has a face to talk to.

Compare and contrast You Cannot Grasp the True Form, when the perceived appearance is the best understanding that the mind can come up with for the input it's presented with, and Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder when this is a property of X rather than something X does, and usually has some relationship to X's nature. (Alice perceives the Cosmic Keystone as a Reality-Writing Book, Bob perceives it as a Universal Remote Control, Charlie sees it as a Magic Wand...)

Edited by Scorpion451
29th Jun, 2020 10:10:18 AM

^ Thanks for the in-depth reply! I read through Something for Everyone and it led me to Empathic Shapeshifter, which I think is a marginally closer fit. (The virtual daemons in Snow Crash appear to imprint on the race/ethnicity of a client for a given period of time, and keep that appearance even when viewed by other users. Not that it was apparent in the short quote I included, but the protagonist observes other daemons in the virtual office who have taken on the appearance of Italian or Asian businesswomen. If this were a case of Something for Everyone, it seems that all the daemons would appear Black-Asian when seen by the protagonist?)

29th Jun, 2020 02:39:34 PM

They'd only have to be appealing to him when talking to him. Tropes Are Flexible- the important part is that it's the daemon is changing its appearance as an active attempt to appeal to whoever it's talking to. Stevenson made the aesthetic choice to let us see them adapting to other people (and some that are locked into an appearance by owner preference IIRC) but that doesn't affect the fact that the trope is in play.

Edited by Scorpion451

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