Archive for the ‘Tropes and Writing’ Category

4 Tips to Protect Yourself from The Conspiracy–Friday Four

The_Truth_Is_Out_There_tagline[1]The truth is out there… but there are a lot of people who don’t want you to know it.¬†Who’s in on it? Aliens, the government, the corporations, the rich and powerful, or maybe all of the above. Whether they’re ancient or recent, they’re all the same at their core–conspiracies. You’ve found out about them, and that makes you the target now, because we both know they’re not going to risk being exposed. They’ll stop at nothing, but all’s not lost; there are still ways to keep yourself safe. I’ve got 4 tips here to help you fend off the conspiracy and maybe, just maybe, expose the truth.

Spoiler alert: tinfoil hats won’t save you this time.

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A Very Special Update

Until then, a preview to tide you over.

Until then, a preview to tide you over.

Hey, readers! I know there haven’t been many updates lately, and I thought now was a good time to explain why. As I mentioned once before, I’ve been working on getting some of my own writing out there and available, and the pieces are finally falling into place. Between working on that and working ordinarily, I haven’t had much time to dedicate to the kind of research this site usually requires.
Next month, you should see my first book showing up. The Arcology is a cyberpunk detective novel that I’ve been working on for a long time.

I’m very excited for people to read it at last, and I hope those of you who’ve enjoyed the articles here will consider giving the book a shot. Once the book is officially released, I’ll have more info on it to share here. Posting will resume soon, albeit in a “once-a-week” format. If you have any topic suggestions for future articles, feel free to post them here.

Thanks for reading–today, and in days gone by… and with any luck, into tomorrow as well.

4 Ways to Prove You’re Trapped in a Simulation–Friday Four

Star Trek Holodeck SimulationAre you sure the world around you is real? You probably said yes, but are you really sure? What if you’re just trapped in a fabricated reality, completely unaware of what’s happened to you? If you’re a high ranking official, or someone with secret knowledge, then this is a constant threat, but it could be something as stupid as pissing off the wrong guy that’s landed you in this predicament. It happens more often than you think, and the mere idea is enough to drive some to madness; but fear not, because I’m here to help. Or maybe this article was planted in the simulation by your friends on the outside, but either way, here are 4 methods to prove whether or not you’re stuck in a world of illusion.

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4 Suggestions for Prospective Cloners–Friday Four

Star Wars Clone troopers CloningThat’s a very interesting cloning machine you’ve built there. I know, I know, soon you’ll have that clone army complete, and you’ll show them–you’ll show all of them! But hey, why don’t we take a deep breath and think this through for a minute before you pull the lever? After all, you’ve put a lot of work into this thing. It’d be a shame to screw it all up now just because you were a little too impatient. And lucky you, I’ve got 4 suggestions that’ll help make sure these clones don’t come out like Bizarro.

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4 Tips For A Smooth First Contact–Friday Four

Close EncountersFirst contact with an alien species is a tricky situation to deal with. When handled well, these aliens could become humanity’s greatest allies, helping us to take our place on the galactic stage. When handled poorly, humanity might wind up looking for a new home, if we’re particularly unlucky. And of course, that all assumes these aliens have shown up with peaceful intentions–there’s always the possibility that it’s a trick to take over slowly, or there’s cultural differences that can lead to major misunderstandings.

For the sake of this list, we’ll think of this as the aliens coming to us, but a lot of these points are just as effective in a Star Trek situation where we’ve gone out seeking new life and new civilizations.

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4 Signs Your Utopia Might Secretly Be A Dystopia–Friday Four

Stratos RMThings are pretty great here in Utopia-land, aren’t they? Everyone’s got enough to eat, and they have plenty of time to relax. The weather’s always good, nothing ever breaks down, the lost Doctor Who episodes have been found and Half-Life 3 is totally coming out next week, you guys. A false utopia? Pshaw. Who could possibly have a problem with such a place?

Well, maybe you should. Utopia’s not all it’s cracked up to be; a lot of the time, if you stop to think about it, that wonderful place is actually pretty horrifying. Or even if it is, if you have any experience with the real world, you might start to ask yourself questions, like “how did things become so perfect?”–which is often the first step to learning that it’s not so perfect after all. So, if you find yourself in an apparent utopia, it might be time to dust off that deerstalker and magnifying glass and do a little investigating, and these four signs are as good a place to start as any.

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4 Ways to Prevent the Robot Revolt–Friday Four

THE TerminatorDid you know that across the multiverse, the number one reason Mankind gets destroyed before expanding into space is robotic rebellions? It’s true! Maybe… okay, fine, but it’s definitely up there on the list. People like to think we’ve got this one figured out already–Asimov’s three laws of robotics, for example. What they generally fail to remember is that Asimov’s stories are all about why the three laws approach is a flawed one. Sure, they’re a good starting point, but you’re going to need more than that if it you want to be completely sure that these AI servants don’t become AI overlords.

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4 Clues That Your Alien Predecessors Are Guilty of Abuse–Friday Four

PhoenixIf you’re a member of a relatively young race, just emerging onto the interstellar scene after discovering some means of traveling faster than light, it’s a big old galaxy out there. Odds are, you’re not the first to go into space. Heck, you might’ve been beaten to the punch by millions of years, by alien species that no longer exist (at least on this plane of reality). The lucky ones will strike out into a galaxy with adventure and hidden treasures around every corner, all set up by their thoughtful predecessors. If you aren’t so lucky, you might find yourself in a galaxy of traps and disasters lying in wait, left behind by those negligent early races… or worse, the situation you’re left with is outright malevolent!

Here’s how you can quickly survey the galaxy and decide what’s in store for you out there among the stars.

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4 Ways Your Trip Through Time Can Go Wrong–Friday Four

Doctor TARDISAre you planning on building a time machine? Or maybe you’re just trying to figure out what to do with the one you’ve already got? Well, you’ve come to the right place, my friend. I have here four of the big mistakes that new time travelers make early in their careers. If you don’t want to return home to a future of Nazi Zombies from Space, or even just get back, excited to share your invention, only to find that no one remembers who you are, then you better read over these sci-fi missteps first.

And for the love of all that exists, DON’T EVEN GO NEAR HITLER!

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Trope Teardown: Crazed A.I.

Hal9000Time for another new experiment here at RetroPhaseShift. I’m going to take a whack at disassembling some of the overly common tropes in sci-fi (or dare I say it–cliches). For our first entry, we’re going to go with the crazy robot/AI trope, looking at where it came from, how it has effected the genre in the time since, and possibly even its effects on the real world. Let’s get into the teardown, shall we?

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