Tweet of the Day: The Dark Underbelly of May
I’ll be honest. I’m using this trope in lieu of the trope I wanted. A deserted ship, maybe floating in the middle of the sear or beached somewhere. Might even be found in an odd place, like in the middle of the desert. It is an effective sub-trope of Abandoned Area. It is a place you expect people, even if you know those people are all dead or long gone.
Or are they?
But the trope I wanted was Ghost Spaceship (or submarine) because nothing adds to the creepiness than an abandoned vehicle in a hostile environment. Not only does it evoke the echoes of those who where supposed to be there (bonus points if you see evidence of resent occupation but no bodies) you, the explorer are trapped inside, inches away from the vacuum of space or millions of tons of crushing water (if suffocating or drowning doesn’t kill you first, it will probably kill you simultaneously, joy!). Escape would be difficult, you can not simply walk or swim away. Hence the trope fits perfectly in speculative fiction, often serving as that one episode in an otherwise series free of ghouls, ghosts and jump scares. The hostile environment outside forces you to confront the mystery, whether you want to or not. It also adds to the sense of isolation and danger.
And if the writer is specially malicious, your time to find out what happened or escape is as short as your oxygen supply.