Common Sci-Fi tropes that annoy you!

Eclectic Dreck

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Soviet Heavy said:
Eclectic Dreck said:
Soviet Heavy said:
And then at the end of Mass Effect 3, we see several thousand such ships firing a gigantic volley of such slugs at the Reaper fleet between them an Earth. Just how many of those shots actually hit, and how many missed the Reaper fleet and leveled half a continent on Earth?
That particular battle took place at point blank range according to the game's own codex as the range between the two fleets was measured in a handful of kilometers when firing started. At those ranges, it is reasonable to assume the fleet dreadnoughts were capable of perfect accuracy against opposing dreadnoughts.
And yet we still see dozens of shots flying right past the Reapers. It's right there in the cutscene.
The only argument I'd make there is that, given the extraordinary circumstances, perhaps the usual cautions were ignored. And, importantly, I have no way of knowing which rounds were produced by dreadnoughts and which came from cruisers and frigates. One would assume that given the vastly decreased level of ordinance in the smaller vessels they would be less cautious when it came to opening fire.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Eclectic Dreck said:
Soviet Heavy said:
Eclectic Dreck said:
Soviet Heavy said:
And then at the end of Mass Effect 3, we see several thousand such ships firing a gigantic volley of such slugs at the Reaper fleet between them an Earth. Just how many of those shots actually hit, and how many missed the Reaper fleet and leveled half a continent on Earth?
That particular battle took place at point blank range according to the game's own codex as the range between the two fleets was measured in a handful of kilometers when firing started. At those ranges, it is reasonable to assume the fleet dreadnoughts were capable of perfect accuracy against opposing dreadnoughts.
And yet we still see dozens of shots flying right past the Reapers. It's right there in the cutscene.
The only argument I'd make there is that, given the extraordinary circumstances, perhaps the usual cautions were ignored. And, importantly, I have no way of knowing which rounds were produced by dreadnoughts and which came from cruisers and frigates. One would assume that given the vastly decreased level of ordinance in the smaller vessels they would be less cautious when it came to opening fire.
Relatively speaking, that's still the equivalent of dropping hundreds of mis-aimed bunker busters at unsuspecting targets.
 

Floppertje

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Soviet Heavy said:
Eclectic Dreck said:
Relatively speaking, that's still the equivalent of dropping hundreds of mis-aimed bunker busters at unsuspecting targets.
Can we just assume they stuck to the rule of cool? yeah, it's a little weird, but in the whole ending... thing..., that wasn't really something that bothered me. Kind of a shame how that nice bit of universe building in the second game bit them in the ass there.
 

Floppertje

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DrOswald said:
The one that bothers me the most is "technology/science is magic."

The problem is not when highly advanced technology can do seemingly impossible things, but when that technology is inconsistent in the seemingly impossible things it can do. Then it stops being technology and becomes magic.

Also, planet of hats is super annoying, but only when taken to extremes. I understand that most often the crew of our sci fi show is going to deal with the dominant aspects of the culture of the worlds they visit. But when it goes from dominance to complete cultural obsession it is a problem. For example, the klingons. They are awesome when handled right, but they are totally stupid most of the time because their culture is so obsessed with warriors. What is wrong with being an administrator? Or a scientist? Or any of a thousand other non combatant jobs that every warmachine needs to be effective? I mean, without file clerks how the hell do klingons pay wages properly?
Yeah, this. Alien races are pretty much portrayed as being one character cloned ad nauseum. They're portrayed as having one or two qualities they do better than humans and everything else about them sucks. Guess what? If your entire society is 'a warrior', you'd never even get to the part where you invent guns, let alone space travel...
Same goes for planets. Pick one tiny bit of an ecosystem found on earth and BOOM! instant planet. Jungle planet, snow planet, desert planet, city planet. never mind that these planets would need ecosystems of their own and that they have poles too that would mean they have different climate zones... nope, one ecosystem per planet and they'll just have to make do.
 

Drake Barrow

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Evil AI. Sentient machines automatically going evil, or being so stupidly single-minded that they have no sense of scale when it comes to self-preservation, is sloppy and dumb. The default assumption is that machines will emphasize the worst of us, when I feel that an intelligent machine can emphasize the best and brightest of humanity. If you're into light-to-mid-grade military SF, read some Bolo novels for an example of this. Bolos are not mindless killers, despite being made for warfare, and they don't go Frankenstein without extraordinary circumstances (being actively hijacked by an enemy, or extreme damage that affects their brain). Almost Human, the series currently airing, has a synthetic character who's more human than a lot of the humans on the show. It's possible to have good AIs and still have a [email protected]#$% awesome story out of it, but instead we get the same old "ROBOT BAD HUMAN GOOD!!!" trash.

/endrant
 

Zontar

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Drake Barrow said:
Evil AI. Sentient machines automatically going evil, or being so stupidly single-minded that they have no sense of scale when it comes to self-preservation, is sloppy and dumb. The default assumption is that machines will emphasize the worst of us, when I feel that an intelligent machine can emphasize the best and brightest of humanity. If you're into light-to-mid-grade military SF, read some Bolo novels for an example of this. Bolos are not mindless killers, despite being made for warfare, and they don't go Frankenstein without extraordinary circumstances (being actively hijacked by an enemy, or extreme damage that affects their brain). Almost Human, the series currently airing, has a synthetic character who's more human than a lot of the humans on the show. It's possible to have good AIs and still have a [email protected]#$% awesome story out of it, but instead we get the same old "ROBOT BAD HUMAN GOOD!!!" trash.

/endrant
I think this might be popular because of the fact that so many people have a fear of machines in some form, coupled with the fact that a highly overrated movie did it well not by having the machine be evil, but having an illogical confusion in its orders (2001). Given the ridiculous amount of regulations surrounding AIs that are already in place, no true AI will probably be made, either intentionally or otherwise, without being friendly towards humans.
 

DkLnBr

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an annoyed writer said:
SmallHatLogan said:
This one also bugged me to some extent, though it's been getting solved in more recent years. I still want to design and experience tech that isn't designed with the human body in mind, however. While a lot of aliens are losing their resemblance to humanity, I've yet to see spaceships that are designed exclusively for the ergonomic comfort of a large Crab-like race or something.
I wasn't going to post (everything was either already posted, or not worth saying), but then I read your post and I have to agree with you. Like how in Mass Effect the guns all seem to be designed for humans, so when a large, bulky krogan holds an assault rifle it looks like its awkward for him to hold (like he's playing with a childrens toy). Or Kit Fisto from starwars (this guy [http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kit_Fisto]) With a light sabre designed for humans, and all the fast movements of a combat, you would think that he would accidentally cut off his tentacle hair
 

Dastardly

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My personal peeve is, in a world like the Star Wars universe, this is intended to be an entire galaxy... and yet sameness abounds.

Everyone uses the same slang across the whole galaxy -- no one just says "Crap," no no, it's "Poo-doo." You say something-something gundark, and everyone automatically knows what animal you mean, despite coming from planets that don't have them. Or rancors -- aren't those supposed to be, like, crazy rare? But everyone references them.

And for thousands of years, there have been the same, like, four ship makers? And all of their ships have the same basic look for millenia?

Despite the whole "one biome per planet" problem, the entire galaxy has the same greyish, bland flavor throughout.
 

Adept Mechanicus

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Technobabble. Either provide a plausible scientific explanation for how your shit works, or go all out Space Fantasy. Don't just throw a bunch of bullshit sciency words together. You'll just confuse the people who don't understand it, and you'll piss off the people who do, who will know how full of shit you are.
 

6_Qubed

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Alien races that by all rights should've died out long before they could reach the intergalactic political theatre. My best example, or at least the one stuck most prominently in my craw, comes from Mass Effect. But no, it's not the Krogan, it's the Asari. Because the whole reason the Asari bone animals* was because the more pure-blooded an Asari bloodline, the more likely it was for Bottom Mommy to spawn a power-mad sex-vampire who will at first available opportunity enter into a life which mingles one-night stands and serial killing in the worst way, how on Earth** has this entire species not fucked itself to death in the 50k+ years since the Protheans disappeared, let alone the countless years before?! I mean, say what you will about the Krogans, but at least for all their violence and murder they had the common decency to breed in litters.




*(I've heard human-alien relations phrased in terms of bestiality before and it is difficult to imagine that the Asari wouldn't have given the idea some thought at some point, what with being essentially eons-older lesbian space drow with more raw time on their hands to reach such conclusions)

** (or Thessia, whatever)
 

VeneratedWulfen93

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Ihateregistering1 said:
Melee combat in the future.

I'll be the first to admit I'm a huge Warhammer 40K fan (which has probably the most egregious use of this) but I always found it bizarre that we have these futuristic settings where firearms and weaponry are supposed to be vastly superior and more advanced than modern day firearms, yet melee is used MORE often in combat than it is now. Riddick, StarCraft, WH40K are all pretty bad abusers of this.

I wouldn't mind it so much if they provided a reason for why, but the only one that really gave a good explanation was the "Dune" books, in which pretty much everyone had personal shielding that stops fast-moving objects (ie. bullets, arrows, etc.) but doesn't stop slower moving objects, so Soldiers are forced to fight with swords and knives.
Even in 40 thousand years the best way to clear people from a building or strong point is close assault with specialized weapons after they have been suppressed by heavy fire. The main difference in 40k and why I think it works is that all assault units have a better chance of getting up close to someone for some reason or another. A Space Marine is in power armour and equipped with a jump-pack which means hes got a high chance of getting into close combat, where he is more effective against lots of enemies who are defending themselves with their rifle buts or improvised weapons. Your super-duper rifle is no use when a superhuman giant who moves really fast and is in full armour is in your face and beating your head in.

Also melee combat is ingrained in a lot of cultures of the xenos races, apart from the Tau. For tyranids its cheaper biomass wise to create a blade of bone then a functioning bio-rifle. Eldar have the Aspects. Dark Eldar are cruel and like to see people suffer up close. Orks are orks. Necrons I'm really not sure on however. Their melee weapons are symbols of office and status i guess.

Thats how I justify it anyway.

Anywho, in actual response to the thread I've never been a fan of 'united' galaxy in the future. I thinks its unrealistic to assume we'll just get on with everyone or join what is essentially the space EU. More than likely we'd be threatened with force and made into a protectorate state as it were of our alien overlords.
 

Thaluikhain

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mechman123 said:
Settings where humans are surrounded by aliens who have clearly superior biology (ie space elfs, space orcs,etc) that outmatch humans, YET humans are still able to go toe to toe with them because of the human spirit/unbelievable luck. Star trek is the WORST of the offenders in this regard. Humans have no stand out features in any way that gives them a leg up on anyone in any situation beyond said luck/spirit. In the marvel/DC universes that luck also includes the fact that we have more superheros than any other freaking planet.
This same issue can be leveled at fantasy setting. Humans are some how the most populous race despite being featureless.
Argh, yes. Nobody seems to want to give humanity advantages.

In the real world, hunters wear bright orange, because most mammals don't see it as bright orange...you can be camouflaged to your prey, but clearly visible to your fellow humans (at least the ones who aren't colour blind).

Likewise, for many years, daleks famously couldn't climb stairs, which would apply to lots of aliens. Nobody seems to take this into account when building their bases.
 

Saulkar

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SmallHatLogan said:
And Animorphs, while not the highest quality fiction, had some pretty interesting aliens too.
RARGH!!! I am sitting within arms reach of all but one of the books and now feel overwhelmingly compelled to reread them all for the first time in 4 years!

OT: Yeah, I have to agree with the overt prevalence of too-human'ish aliens. It was once a budget constraint then an aesthetic design choice but now with the vast array of science fiction media in circulation it feels more lazy or creatively stagnant than anything else.
 

alj

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Alcamonic said:
*One character does techno-bable with a fellow scientist/geek.
Along comes the techno-idiot in the group (like Jack from Stargate) crying out "Durr! Explain what you were talking about in English so I won't feel left out!". At least Star Trek is reasonable with it, most of the time.
Jack is not as stupid as he makes out (don't get me wrong he is no scientist but he is quite intelligent), its one of the running gags of the series at least that's what i see.

Main thing that gets on my wick is the misuse of sciency and computery sounding words, fine i can accept something like say mass effect drives or transporters but at least use words that at least partly relate to what your taking about.
 

Thaluikhain

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alj said:
Alcamonic said:
*One character does techno-bable with a fellow scientist/geek.
Along comes the techno-idiot in the group (like Jack from Stargate) crying out "Durr! Explain what you were talking about in English so I won't feel left out!". At least Star Trek is reasonable with it, most of the time.
Jack is not as stupid as he makes out (don't get me wrong he is no scientist but he is quite intelligent), its one of the running gags of the series at least that's what i see.
He wasn't original thick (he's a fairly senior officer in the US special forces), but he got flanderised from being "not a scientist" to "not veyr smart" later on, which was annoying.
 

Meight08

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I hate techno babble when it's used as magic. If you use Techno babble atleast keep it consistent and set basic rules what your magic technology can and can't do.

The stargates for example have set rules about what they can and can't do.

1: It's one way
2: A gate can have either an outgoing or an incoming wormhole not both.
3: After 36 minutes it shuts down IMMEDIATELY, unless hooked up to a sufficient power source.
4: It only transports the entire object, so if you stick your hand in it will wait untill your entire body is through the gate. Unless 36 minutes pass and whatever is in the gate's buffer gets "Deleted"
 

Patathatapon

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This is going to sound really stupid for a Sci-Fi, but here goes.

When they go beyond a reasonable suspension of disbelief. Problem with that is it's subjective. But for me, it's when they put way too much insane things in it, to a point that I just can't buy it.

The new Doctor Who is a Sci-Fi that does that for me (I'll be dead before I post this). So the doctor is basically an alien Jesus... Oookkaaayyy, fine, whatever. Also he has a time machine that goes everywhere in milliseconds.... so we're denouncing any laws of physics too? Do you have an explanation for that? No? sigh. Also theirs aliens in this galax- ok I'm gunna have to stop you there. If so, where the hell were they, and why haven't we seen them? and don't tell me they're "Hiding the Truth" from us, those aliens go in public places and mass murder people for little rhyme or reason. Also, the one time they do acknowledge it, the press says it's fake, despite the fact that ANYONE near big ben that day SAW WHAT HAPPENED! In face, how do you explain that otherwise? Why would big ben be destroyed? A kid threw a rock at it?

I'm gunna stop there because I could go on for hours. Basically, to me, a good Sci-Fi is one that at least gives a somewhat decent explanation. You need to support the suspension of disbelief, not try to see how much you can get away with until we just say fuck it.

P.S. I'm aware that some of this stuff is somewhat explained, like Big Ben getting destroyed, "They didn't want to believe the truth". That still doesn't explain a lot...
 

BiscuitTrouser

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SmallHatLogan said:
Aliens being very human in appearance. It's perhaps not as prevalent now as it was a few decades ago although even now most aliens are at least humanoid shaped. I just feel like there should be a lot more evolutionary diversity. Not mentioning any names but slapping a couple of pointy ears on someone's head makes for a pretty underwhelming alien (nothing against a particular character, just the idea in general). Mass Effect gave us a few cool ones (rachni, elcor, hanar) but there are still plenty of human shaped races. And Animorphs, while not the highest quality fiction, had some pretty interesting aliens too.
I think Mass effect actually opened the door to some interesting themes with the Drell/Hanar interaction.

Both parties are friendly and want to do good, the Hanar are the only race willing and able to accept the entire drell population into their cities and the drell seemingly are happy to integrate into Hanar society.

However their entire planet is geared against Drell biology, leading to a wasting sickness in most citizens. Its better than death but its a pretty horrible clash.

They live as a bipedal race on a planet built for gloating gas sack aliens. The culture and society must have had to change radically to accept such irregular citizens. I think thats interesting.

I mean diplomacy is hard enough to establish between humans. If two aliens cannot share the same environment without major assistance i imagine it makes any sort of integration far harder. I particularly liked what they did with the Volus. They can never leave their suits. That must be a godawful existance, it would definitely encourage isolationism. Yet volus personality focus's on trade and cooperation and diplomacy despite their biology making this rather difficult.

Theres some interesting cultural conflicts at play that i found pretty interesting. Having key biological differences isnt usually brought up in sci fi, mostly the disagreement is because one alien is just a huge asshole or we are huge assholes and thus diplomacy fails or whatver. Its rarely because interaction or co habitation is mind numblingly difficult to achieve.