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Oct 11th 2014 at 11:48:32 PM •••

I'm looking for the very common SF sub-trope of this one where earth races are transposed to planets, such that the 'hat' in 'planet of hats' is of some racial type, with all the usual stereotypes thereof. It's a common enough one that I can think of a dozen examples without even trying hard, but I can't find a specific trope for it. Any ideas?

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Oct 12th 2014 at 2:08:49 AM •••

I think we have that trope, but I don't remember the name. You may want to ask in the Trope Finder.

Jul 22nd 2013 at 8:54:23 PM •••

Was there ever a writer that justified The Planet of Hats by simply arguing the protagonists were dealing with the planet's *dominant* culture instead of the planet's *single* culture? I've been thinking all along that the "dominant culture" idea is the only justification for The Planet of Hats- throughout history, Earth has had several examples of one culture or people that dominated over the others, so it's reasonable to think the same thing would happen in alien societies, and it's this "dominant culture" the protagonists actually deal with. I also think that, in many cases, the writers intend the viewer to think the planet's other societies are "in the background" and thus aren't mentioned since they're not relevant to the plot.

I'd put this in the article myself but I have no sources for it regarding an author actually using this justification.

Apr 16th 2013 at 2:39:48 AM •••

Perhaps Star Trek and possibly Star Wars should be given their own folders considering the lengths of each franchises' entries and the unlikelihood that they could be reasonably simplified and shortened. I'd do it myself, but I lack both wherewithal and self-confidence.

Nov 26th 2012 at 3:03:45 PM •••

I can't believe this article doesn't do the obvious "planet of Hutts" pun, even when in goes in lenght about Star Wars. Is that intentional?

Nov 18th 2011 at 10:07:01 AM •••

I wonder if it wouldn't be worth mentioning that Aliens may all seem alike because we focus on what distinguishes them from us and not them from each other. Or alternately that what distinguishes them is obvious to them but nigh invisible to us due to differing sensory and mental capacities.

Sep 2nd 2010 at 6:23:17 PM •••


  • The modern novels often suggest that humanity's hat is essentially a sort of ideological creativity, or a tendency to express themselves in ways that push the boundries - basically, humans don't like being contained or controlled, and resist any attempt to confine them, either in outlook or literally. This would fit the portrayal on the various TV shows — the afore-mentioned resistance to authority from the pilot, the desire for space exploration and knowledge for knowledge's own sake, Weyoun thinking an anti-Dominion rebellion would start on Earth, etc. In one novel, a Tellarite says creativity defines humans as logic defines Vulcans. This creativity expresses itself in various ways - including the formation of a vast variety of cultures, religions and nations that outnumber those of most other species; so making the apparent lack of a hat actually a part of our hat. This variety comes precisely because humans will squabble over the slightest of rules and end up dividing every creed or faith or nation into hundreds of smaller ones if given the chance. They just seem to naturally seek a creative diversion, something new, and become attached to their ideological tangent over current "reality", for better or worse. This creative streak is also shown in many novels to be evident in human language- alien characters regularly moan about how full of idioms and metaphors human speech is, and how difficult it therefore is to hold a straightforward conversation with them. Then there's the exploration drive perculiar to humans; more evidence of their tendency to branch out and break free of any boundaries as soon as they can. Most races have a few colonies, but humans expand like crazy, wherever they can, and seem to delight in pushing further and further. Along the same lines, several novels have also suggested humans are unique in their attachment to ideology, for better or worse. On the plus side, it makes them essentially a force for optimism and "good" (they insist on sticking to their morals rather than abandoning them when things get tough)- on the downside, it can be twisted into arrogant condescension (as mentioned by someone else, above) or worse; one novel points out that all races will fight and kill for territory, resources, freedom from opression, or survival, but that humans will fight and kill for an idea. Finally, at least one author is fond of suggesting humanity's hat is the ability to find humour in anything; again, this can be seen as part of our somewhat subversive creativity and desire to break down established order in favour of our own personal ideological outlook. One book, Q and A, even suggests this is actually humanity showing a deeper understanding of reality, rather than superimposing its own ideology over it. And...well, humans seem to break the Prime Directive as often as they insist upon it.

Who keeps putting these stupid walls of text onto pages? I'm not sure if there's anything useful in there, but if any braver souls than I want to make sense of it, go ahead.

Jun 23rd 2010 at 8:01:13 PM •••

It seems to me that in some sense a Planet of Hats is reasonable. If you assume that there's a wide range of possible personality types, then it seems possible that humans sort of "clump" around an average, though there are always outliers who have rather unusual personality types. An alien race could plausibly form a clump somewhere else in the space of possible personality types. So they'd have as much variety of humans, but virtually all of them would be wild outliers in the same direction by human standards. For example, they might be normally much more enamored of jokes than we are, so that only the very most humorless by their standards are normal by human standards...

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Jun 19th 2012 at 7:06:29 PM •••

Agreed, and many of the examples here seem to be implying that a Planet of Hats is inherently illogical when it is VERY frequently a Justified Trope.

Case in point: Tattooine. Of COURSE there are many skilled pilots from Tattooine; they use hovercraft constantly because they live on a desert world where things are far apart. It would be like saying that Earth's hat is driver's licenses.