Thursday, August 13, 2020

Tropes and Rhubarb!


Rhubarb isn’t for everyone. Neither is every trope out there. I could argue that there are so many ways to cook or bake rhubarb that eventually you’d find a version you love, just like book tropes. There’s rhubarb crumble, strawberry-rhubarb jam, cherry-rhubarb pie, rhubarb sauce both sweet and savory! You could have rhubarb for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then I suppose some would say they’re full, too much of a good thing! 

I don’t have a problem with well-worn tropes because it’s all about the characters. But we’re not talking about the used-up stories or the not-for-me kinds this week, this week we’re talking about our favorite SFF tropes! 

One of the reasons I love reading science fiction and fantasy is that the best ones do something magical…they combine tropes.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Well, when you read a mystery you get to solve something. When you read a thriller you get ever heightening tension that grows between the hero and villain, the impending doom, until you reach the big climatic clash. An adventure will, well, take you on an adventure like a historical will take you back in time. 

Now sci-fi fantasy have their own tropes. One of my faves is The Quest. I believe in life we all strive towards a purpose and those of us who don’t feel lost. Throughout our lives we all go through quests, big and small, which is why this is such a well used theme in entertainment because on some level we can all relate.

Another classic SFF trope is the hero’s journey. Yes, I hear you—not another chosen one, because really, the hero’s journey is basically the chosen one making a choice to leave the known behind, venturing into the unknown to experience trials and challenges before returning a changed champion. But I can’t be 100% anti chosen-one because there are so many ways to do this trope differently than what we had been given over the past fifty-odd years.

This is where the magic comes in. 

You can have a chosen one AND a mystery! A young woman thrust into a hero’s journey as the result of a murder and unbalanced magic system! Ahhh!! So fun! Or, a sci-fi thriller where a killer’s on the loose and they end up on an alien spaceship face to face with the one who can stop their reign of terror! *shudder*

It would be fun to go on and on about the mash-ups that are sci-fi and fantasy, but since there’s hardly any Thursday left I’d better sign off. Till next week, I hope you have a great weekend with an even better read!