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TV Tropes Monday: Raygun Gothic


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Rocketships, flying saucers, Mars Needs Women and heroic two-fisted action, that’s Raygun Gothic in a few nutshells. This is the progressive, generally positive future envisioned in Saturday morning serials, 1950’s sci-fi cinema and the like. Although the actual content could be all over the place, it is a universe where smooth streamline shapes, lantern jaw heroes and ray guns dominate.

When we think retro future, this is it.

Surprisingly, most of what we call hard sci-fi stems from the same era (1930s-1960s) and many of these books, movies and TV tried their hand at the harder aspects of sci-fi. Remember this how people back then envisioned the future. Another irony is that the movies that changed the look of science fiction, like Alien and Star Wars (which introduced the concept of used future) hearkened back to that era, reviving the space horror (Alien) and space opera (SW) respectively. One could argue that the ideas have not changed, instead they have been “re-skinned” with a new look.

Writers delving into this trope (or set of tropes) can do well if they embrace the feeling of Zeerust about it. Just because it feels dated doesn’t mean it is.

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2 comments on “TV Tropes Monday: Raygun Gothic

  1. Gotta love those pulp covers! My first published book, Blue Galaxy, was very much a homage to the B-movie/pulp aesthetic. Don’t think a lot of readers got that, though. You won’t see my heroines cringing on the floor like that *grin*

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