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  #1  
Old 06-01-2012, 02:13 PM
well he's back well he's back is offline
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Story Memes or Themes You Just Can't Stand

-story memes or themes you absolutely hate -
Two come to mind immediately -
- Chosen child must save the world - & there is absolutely nothing special about this kid other than the author tells you he or she is special. Harry Potter & a million imitators, I'm thinking of you. Can't, I don't know, a grown adult fill this role sometimes? With actual special qualities?
- life (or human civilization) couldn't possibly have happend without outside [alien] assistance. Throws almost all of know science out with the bathwater. turned me against 2001, and possibly new Prometheus movie too.

Would someone else like to vent?
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:20 PM
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Fractured fairy tales.

"Haha... actually Rumpelstiltskin is the hero and the miller's daughter is the villain! How original am I to do THAT??"
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:24 PM
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- life (or human civilization) couldn't possibly have happend without outside [alien] assistance. Throws almost all of know science out with the bathwater. turned me against 2001, and possibly new Prometheus movie too.

Would someone else like to vent?
In fairness to 2001, I never got the sense that civilization *couldn't* develop absent outside intervention - after all, where did the monolith aliens come from? It just so happens that human civilization in the 2001-verse was kick-started by aliens. Fair 'nuff.

Personally, I can't stand "heartwarming" stories where bitter, broken atheists learn to believe in magical sky fairies and be happy. The not-really-subtext of such stories - that belief in magic is a prerequisite for happiness and decency - really grates.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:26 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Things were kids do amazing things the adults can't even do. Particularly if its not just one great moment (with it possibly being mostly luck) or a moment where the kid "thinks outside the box" and saves the day somehow but where the kid is just amazing all around the whole time. Makes for a great young kiddy movie. An adult one not so much. My examples would be some of the Star Wars Episodes.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:03 PM
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I'm a bit tired of "adults haunted by a childhood memory", especially when the memory turns out to be something fairly ordinary. Seems that there a lot of these lately.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:07 PM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Fat slob married to gorgeous hottie. The basis of about a million sitcoms.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:10 PM
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Voodoo pretty much always works, regardless of how realistic the setting usually is.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:29 PM
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Reality shows dealing with rednecks, no matter what they do for a living.

Yes, I know, not exactly a "story" or a "theme". But I still can't stand those shows.

Last edited by JohnT; 06-01-2012 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:45 PM
Deegeea Deegeea is offline
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Villains who turned evil because of childhood trauma. (Especially when it's used to imply that anyone who had a childhood trauma is suspect) Irritates me to the point of exasperation. I usually stop reading/watching and dispose of the material if possible.

Parents whose children are threatened. (Especially when they are forced to do something horrible by the threat to the child) Upsets me with anxiety and dismay. I stop watching or reading or skip past this part and continue on afterward.

A single character who every other character is in love with. (Especially when the object-of-affection character is portrayed as the most "ordinary" one) Makes me roll my eyes, but doesn't usually interfere with my overall enjoyment - I can put up with this, but think it's bringing down the overall quality of the work every time.

For the ones above, especially the religious themed of the born to be savior and finding religion and creationism ones mentioned by original post and Mr. Excellent, I actually rather enjoy those most of the time.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:57 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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Having a baby is the only way to make your life happy and fufilled. 1987 was a very bad year for movies with that theme, Three Men and a Baby, Overboard and Baby Boom.
  #11  
Old 06-01-2012, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jophiel View Post
Fractured fairy tales.

"Haha... actually Rumpelstiltskin is the hero and the miller's daughter is the villain! How original am I to do THAT??"
"Fractured" superhero stories, in which the superhero is an incompetent bumbler, or in some other way a parody of traditional superheroes. It's been done to death.
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Old 06-01-2012, 04:39 PM
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Bullies who illogically never get their comeuppance for the sake of a continuing go-to plot device.

Similarly, supernatural secrets that no one else ever believes no matter how much evidence they get, making the person holding the secret look like a fool time and time again, for the sake of a continuing plot device.
  #13  
Old 06-01-2012, 05:15 PM
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Stop using the word meme. Especially in this way. "Story meme"? Are you serious?
  #14  
Old 06-01-2012, 05:48 PM
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Dead kid.
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:01 PM
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"Don't do it! You'll be as bad as he is!" - said to heroes who have guns pointed at the villain who has just killed members of the hero's family, or dozens/hundreds/thousands of innocents, or done something that in any venue with the death penalty, would get fast-tracked to the death penalty, and in any venue without the death penalty, would ignite arguments to bring it back just for this one case.

The hero decides to arrest the villain instead of killing him. Villain immediately takes a wild swing at hero, who ducks, and villain falls over a railing to his death.
  #16  
Old 06-01-2012, 06:05 PM
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Similarly, supernatural secrets that no one else ever believes no matter how much evidence they get, making the person holding the secret look like a fool time and time again, for the sake of a continuing plot device.
Come on Mulder. We've been over this. It's swamp gas/a genetic mutation/a banal case of town-wide collective hallucination. Nothing to see here, the supernatural doesn't exist.

My own is historical conspiracy theories, you know, the ones that posit shadowy organizations that organized EVERYTHING, had an instrumental role in EVERY HISTORICAL EVENT and involved EVERY FAMOUS PERSON YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD OF, you shallow reference pool you. It was amusing in Foucault's Pendulum because it was intentionally done tongue in cheek, but since that bloody Da Vinci Code you can't swing a dead cat without hitting Leonardo da Vinci the Rosicrucian Illuminati Time Traveller from Majestic 12.
And the Templars are always in on it, too. Why ?! Why is it never the Roman mystery cults or the Tibetan lamas wot done it ?
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:18 PM
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And the Templars are always in on it, too. Why ?! Why is it never the Roman mystery cults or the Tibetan lamas wot done it ?

<begins furiously scribbling notes>
  #18  
Old 06-01-2012, 06:30 PM
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Male lead: She can never know how much I love her.
Female lead: He can never know how much I love him.
They find out.

aka every Mercedes Lackey novel ever written.
  #19  
Old 06-01-2012, 06:55 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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Murderous CEOs. Done to death.
  #20  
Old 06-01-2012, 06:56 PM
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I think just about every "meme" can work if it's done well. That said, the one I find most frustrating is the "ancient prophecy"/"ancient puissant mystical weapon" story. If the Ancients had a puissant mystical weapon, why is the evil menace it's designed to fight still in the game?"

An example of which came about in the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when she had no luck killing the Preacher dude until they dug up this ancient Barbie battle axe with mystical powers. It'd be a heckuva lot more interesting to watch the heroes do the research and development and come up with their own new and improved mystical battle axe.

(Actually, Buffy sort of did that too -- one of my favorite scenes was in season 2 when the Judge looked at the missile launcher and asked, "What does that do?")
  #21  
Old 06-01-2012, 07:16 PM
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Similarly, supernatural secrets that no one else ever believes no matter how much evidence they get, making the person holding the secret look like a fool time and time again, for the sake of a continuing plot device.
Which makes me think of two related ones; the idea that the supernatural is in plain sight but ignored because "people don't believe in that sort of thing these days", which is simply wrong. And the idea that scientists are ignoring magic or psychic powers or vampires or whatever because it's "against scientific dogma", which is the opposite of how scientists tend to act when confronted with something that overturns accepted science to that extent; in reality the supernatural person or critter would have to beat off Nobel-hungry scientists with a stick.

Last edited by Der Trihs; 06-01-2012 at 07:17 PM.
  #22  
Old 06-01-2012, 07:20 PM
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Plots involving superheroes, vampires, or zombies. Which eliminates about 80% of all movies and TV shows nowadays, I think.
  #23  
Old 06-01-2012, 07:21 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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An example of which came about in the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when she had no luck killing the Preacher dude until they dug up this ancient Barbie battle axe with mystical powers. It'd be a heckuva lot more interesting to watch the heroes do the research and development and come up with their own new and improved mystical battle axe.
Technically, she did that, too... "what happens if we turn the Slayer power up to 11 and make ALL of us slayers?
  #24  
Old 06-01-2012, 07:46 PM
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Reluctant hero leads a team of rag-tag misfits to an unlikely victory.
  #25  
Old 06-01-2012, 07:58 PM
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Any romantic comedy. Any element of a romantic comedy. Babies. Meet-cute. Attractive woman can't find a mate. Big jolly group of friends. Hero persues, is rejected, till she realizes he has been The One all along. They are all the same and they have all been done to death. In spite of being big fat lies encouraging stupid behavior and grossly failed real-life expectations among the demographic audience, there is no stopping the romantic comedy.
  #26  
Old 06-01-2012, 08:01 PM
carlotta carlotta is offline
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1)A woman loses a child. This makes her so crazy that she is a danger to other children....she kidnaps them and creepily calls them by her dead child's name, or just kills other children. Hate This.


2)Let's stop and bury the dead. We're on the run, the bad guys are after us, they actually got one of us. Even though we have no food or water and it's hot and oh yeah did I mention the bad guys are after us?.....we totally have to stop and bury our fallen comrade. Fellas, if it's me? Leave me for the wolves! I'm dead! Don't waste your precious fleeing energy digging a hole with the handy shovel somebody thought to bring.
  #27  
Old 06-01-2012, 08:18 PM
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Hero pursues, is rejected, till she realizes he has been The One all along.
Personally, I choose to lay the blame for that one entirely at Jane Austen's feet. In my spare time I'm tinkering with a rudimentary time machine, just so I can go back and make her eat the final draft of Emma one page at a time. Maybe get around to killing Hitler at some point too but - priorities.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:18 PM
well he's back well he's back is offline
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I thought of another thing ( sorry I called it a meme, offended prior poster) that galls me - the plot line where the birth mother is as good or stated than the adoptive mother. Even tho birth mom hasn't been around for at least a half dozen years . Hate that

Last edited by well he's back; 06-01-2012 at 08:19 PM.
  #29  
Old 06-01-2012, 08:22 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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Parents whose children are threatened. (Especially when they are forced to do something horrible by the threat to the child) Upsets me with anxiety and dismay. I stop watching or reading or skip past this part and continue on afterward.
Parents whose children are threatened or only perceived to be threatened and they do crazy or insane things in response. I don't know if this hysterical response is truth or is caused to be worse by media. I mean, if your child is in danger, it really isn't helpful to go crazy, not listening to the people that can help you, and hurting everyone around you in the process of trying to save your kid. Half the time the hysteria doesn't even help.

I never watch these and skip these parts.
  #30  
Old 06-01-2012, 08:27 PM
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Sandra Bullock can't get a date, and has a miserable life as a bus driver or whatever.
  #31  
Old 06-01-2012, 08:31 PM
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I like plenty of shows involving a brilliant detective who regularly beats the cops at their own game, but I don't like shows where the police department is filled with incompetent boobs who wouldn't be able to feed or dress themselves if Mr. Wonderful hadn't decided to grace them with his perfect presence.
  #32  
Old 06-01-2012, 10:00 PM
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Stories where the bad guy is pure evil. A lot of Stephen King stories (ones I have read) have this type of villain.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:01 PM
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Anything where an animal is harmed to show how evil the villain is or tug the heartstrings for the poor misunderstood child protagonist. Any kind of meant-seriously animal harm and I'm outta there. When it's played for laughs I can sometimes take it (like when the dinosaur ate the dog in Jurassic Park 2 (or was it 3)?

"Babies will make everything better!" Ugh.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:11 PM
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Anything where an animal is harmed to show how evil the villain is or tug the heartstrings for the poor misunderstood child protagonist. Any kind of meant-seriously animal harm and I'm outta there. When it's played for laughs I can sometimes take it (like when the dinosaur ate the dog in Jurassic Park 2 (or was it 3)?

"Babies will make everything better!" Ugh.
Speaking of Jurassic Park 2 (or 3), how about where the "heroes" actions lead to the deaths of several people, yet they are never criticized or questioned about it and the survivors still listen to them.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:22 PM
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Speaking of Jurassic Park 2 (or 3), how about where the "heroes" actions lead to the deaths of several people, yet they are never criticized or questioned about it and the survivors still listen to them.
So true. Ludlow was a prick, but Nick Van Owen is the true villain of that movie. Earth First bastard indeed.
  #36  
Old 06-01-2012, 11:06 PM
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The time travelling idiot. Someone from the past who is shown to be competent and intelligent in his own time is completely dumbfounded by the modern contrivances of ours. I damn nead died when i finally got around to watching the "Torchwood" episode "Out of time" it was such a relief to see people react is a sensible manner over a 50 year time jump instead of herping the derp for the whole episode for cheap laughs.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:16 PM
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Multiple personalities. Pretty much in any incarnation.

Wait, I didn't post that. Let's go find who really posted that and framed me. But what if it was me, or rather one of my hidden personalities I developed after Father Sandusky touched me in my naughty place! Or maybe... just maybe... I'm just faking those personalities to get away with murder! The bad plot twist possibilities are endless.
  #38  
Old 06-01-2012, 11:17 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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The Ugly Duckling, where a gorgeous actress is supposedly invisible to men, just because she has glasses, dresses in frumpy clothing, or wears her hair pinned up; Then suddenly, she takes off her glasses and viola, now the entire world is properly captivated by her stunning beauty....
  #39  
Old 06-01-2012, 11:20 PM
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The main character is trying to figure out a crazy mystery. But as it turns out, the protagonist is the crazy one who's hallucinating/having delusions all along!
  #40  
Old 06-02-2012, 04:28 AM
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The Ugly Duckling, where a gorgeous actress is supposedly invisible to men, just because she has glasses, dresses in frumpy clothing, or wears her hair pinned up; Then suddenly, she takes off her glasses and viola, now the entire world is properly captivated by her stunning beauty....
Yep, this. I pretty much avoid these like the plague.
  #41  
Old 06-02-2012, 04:48 AM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
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Just once, I'd like to read a book wherein the male and female protagonists politely loathe one another in the first chapter and the last and in every chapter in between.
  #42  
Old 06-02-2012, 05:17 AM
armedmonkey armedmonkey is offline
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Stories where the bad guy is pure evil. A lot of Stephen King stories (ones I have read) have this type of villain.
I disagree with that one a bit. Humanizing the big bad guy is far worse. Sometimes you need a villain that is just plain evil. The Lord of the Rings would suck if Sauron wasn't the embodiment of pure evil.

Those types of stories, if done well, work. It allows the reader, or audience, to focus on what the heroes have to overcome.
  #43  
Old 06-02-2012, 05:27 AM
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The magic-in-the-real-world stories where the various gods and spirits of myth are real, but it just happens that the Christian god is the One True God, Supreme Being & creator of the universe, while the other gods re just powerful supernaturals.

On a related note, the stories where various gods & prophets are or could have been aliens, psychics, wizards, time travelers or whatever posing as or mistaken as gods - except Jesus or the Christian God. They are the real thing, or were too noble/moral/whatever to have been fakes. Stargate SG1 being a recent example of this. This is mostly a visual media problem I've noticed; I've seen various written works where it turned out that God or Jesus was an alien or such.
  #44  
Old 06-02-2012, 05:35 AM
An Arky An Arky is offline
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Plots involving superheroes, vampires, or zombies. Which eliminates about 80% of all movies and TV shows nowadays, I think.
+ a bajillion. Fuck vampires, fuck zombies and fuck everyone who creates demand for that idiotic shite
  #45  
Old 06-02-2012, 05:45 AM
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+ a bajillion. Fuck vampires, fuck zombies and fuck everyone who creates demand for that idiotic shite
OI ! Zombies did *not* use to be idiotic shite ! I'll have you know there was a time zombie flick directors were making a point about consumerist society. You had to squint even then, but it was there !

Last edited by Kobal2; 06-02-2012 at 05:46 AM.
  #46  
Old 06-02-2012, 06:02 AM
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I'm a bit tired of "adults haunted by a childhood memory", especially when the memory turns out to be something fairly ordinary. Seems that there a lot of these lately.
Rosebud the sled is recent?
  #47  
Old 06-02-2012, 06:55 AM
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OI ! Zombies did *not* use to be idiotic shite ! I'll have you know there was a time zombie flick directors were making a point about consumerist society. You had to squint even then, but it was there !
OK; I don't mind the earlier stuff, I just hate the later bandwagon, lowest common denominator pabulum being gobbled up by airheaded slime molds and the fact that all markets are driven by same. Call me an elitist fuckhead; on this matter, I wear that label proudly.
  #48  
Old 06-02-2012, 07:01 AM
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Plots involving superheroes, vampires, or zombies. Which eliminates about 80% of all movies and TV shows nowadays, I think.
This in spades.
  #49  
Old 06-02-2012, 07:09 AM
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I have several pet peeves:

1) I'm writing a thriller, but you know it's serious and literary because hey, there's pedophilia in it. Jesus, people. This doesn't make you literary and serious, it makes you icky. Some people handle it appropriately, but most of the time, it's cheap and rotten.
2) See above, but with other sex crimes. It's the lazy mystery writer's way to creep people out.
3) Children's book authors don't do pedophilia. Instead they have the best friend, or the dog, die, thereby showing how literary and Full Of Value they are. Vomit.
4) The travails of rich Brits. If said rich Brits are fighting demons, okay, I'm interested. But if they're agonizing over their relationship with their estranged father in law, I hate them all.
5) Wes Anderson has taught me to extend this last one to the travails of self-absorbed upper-class dweebs in general. Your life doesn't have meaning? Then I don't want to watch a movie about you!
  #50  
Old 06-02-2012, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
The magic-in-the-real-world stories where the various gods and spirits of myth are real, but it just happens that the Christian god is the One True God, Supreme Being & creator of the universe, while the other gods re just powerful supernaturals.
Hijack: The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump by Harry Turtledove, turns this upside down. All deities that have ever been worshiped are real and more or less on an equal footing. Magic is real and replaces many of our technologies with a magical equivalent.
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