Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tropes Wiki

TV Tropes is a wiki site that categorizes the common plots, narrative devices and character archetypes found in storytelling. Apparently it started out as a wiki of those things as found in TV programs put expanded to include all narrative forms. The breadth and depth of this site is phenomenal.

This site is an endlessly amusing and invaluable resource for any devotee of pop culture and storytelling. I only wish the site was more elegantly designed.

An example entry from the wiki:
Applied Phlebotinum
Phlebotinum is the magical substance that may be rubbed on almost anything to cause an effect needed by a plot. Some examples: nanotechnology, magic crystal emanations, pixie dust, a sonic screwdriver. Oh, and Green Rocks. And wishes. In essence, it is the stuff that makes the plot go. Without it, the story would grind to an abrupt halt. It's science, it's magic, it's strange things unknown to science or magic - the reader does not know how Phlebotinum would work and the creators hope he doesn't care.

CSI and its spinoffs come with phlebotinum by the liter. Their favorite kind appears to be Luminol, the substance that reveals traces of blood. Luminol is real, though it's not nearly as convenient as it is on TV.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a completely ad-hoc plot device"
—David Langford, "A Gadget Too Far", as a corollary to Arthur C. Clarke's third law

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