Science fiction can uplift your mood, shackle your deepest comfort zones and help you escape from the mundane. When authors masterfully reinvent traditional science fiction tropes, whether it's a collapsing starship, wise aliens facing the odds of the human world, or a knight in shining armor conquering universes, we instantly feel reinvigorated.
If you’ve not yet delighted in the marvels of sci-fi or in the proficient use of storytelling devices to convey emotion, rejoice. You’re in for a magical ride! We take a look at the 5 most popular science fiction tropes to get you inspired. The writer constantly needs a healthy dose of imagination to thrive!
Cryosleep tops our list of most popular fantasy tropes as a means to account for the characters' magical ability to exist for centuries or forever even. Filmmakers and novelists often have their characters sleep or deep freeze, also drawing from the age-gold mythological folklore trope of a "king asleep in the mountains" or a sleeping hero.
Think of the century-old rest of Sleeping Beauty or Kubrick’s visionary 2001- A Space Odyssey, where Khan preserves himself for centuries before confronting Captain Kirk. To defy the physical laws of entropy, to ponder the magical and timeless, which intertwine with life, is a core characteristic of the genre. When popular sci-fi tropes are used with sufficient skill, they enrich the narrative and make our souls sing.
Another very popular sci-fi trope is a generation ship traveling through space for centuries toward a destination that usually never arrives. This sci-fi trope is rampant in novels, including Heinlein’s mesmerizing Orphans of the Sky, where characters don’t even realize they are on a starship, greatly adding to the melancholy and poetic effect. Make sure to travel in this heartfelt, thought-provoking novel which served as inspiration for hundreds of great sci-fi films.
Adopting a habit of reading great sci-fi novels can greatly relieve stress and inspire you to live a more heartfelt, fulfilling life. As a college student, chances are you spend endless hours in a library honing academic writing skills with an essays reader, which requires rigorous effort. Be sure to always make some time for rejuvenation and relaxation. For this purpose, nothing compares to watching a meaningful, enlivening sci-fi film or reading a delightful sci-fi novel.
A lot of sci-fi characters have extraordinary psychic powers, their brains have limitless possibilities, often also exemplified in miraculous physical abilities. This sci-fi trope is usually used to suggest that we also possess similar powers, only if we tried hard enough. Authors often draw on their own psychedelic experiences or heartfelt intuition when filming or writing in sci-fi genres, implying that brain super-power is just around the corner. Herbert’s Dune, for instance, suggests that psychedelic substances can open the door to infinite bliss.
That said, a no-nonsense use of tropes in art always motivates us to raise the creative bar and push out the edges of what can be. As a writer, you have to learn to direct all the strength of your imagination to work, as this is the only way to produce anything meaningful. Immersing yourself in a sci-fi world can help you nurture the right mindset and stay inspired.
Space pirates are cherished and light-hearted characters in myriad sci-fi novels and films, almost always appearing as adventurous, kind, and brave. Pirates in fiction never appear as mean mobs robbing other ships at sea; they represent timeless ideals of courage, spirit, and friendship. Think of Stevenson’s coming-of-age Treasure Island, with characters both courageous and impulsive, both heroic and feeble.
Could the taking of an age-old cultural trope and turning it into an almost-romantic, friendly ideal be a way of suggesting we should embrace the opposites, see beauty in imperfection, and never lose sight of nurturing a heroic soul? We leave that for you to decide!
Last on our list of popular science fiction tropes for writers is the caring, benevolent aliens that appear in a flood of films and novels, representing the marriage of the real with the imaginary, the inherent unity of all things, and the simple beauty of genuine friendship. In The Man Who Fell To Earth, an alien decides to appear as a human to save our planet, yet he encounters difficulties due to greed and the weakness of men.
Sci-fi can easily become a gift that keeps on giving if you, for once, allow yourself a touching getaway from the constrained feel of reality. As a writer, you need to travel to the most astonishing depths of imagination to always stay on top of your game. Make sure to check out our handpicked suggestions if you wish to revel in the best of the genre!