Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling

Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling

by Monica Valentinelli, Jaym Gates

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940157230043
Publisher: Apex Publications
Publication date: 12/13/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 648 KB

About the Author

Monica Valentinelli is an editor, writer, and game developer who lurks in the dark. Her work includes stories, games, and comics for her original settings as well as media/tie-in properties such as the Firefly TV show, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Vampire: The Masquerade. Her nonfiction includes reference materials such as Firefly: The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Dictionary in the ‘Verse, and essays in books like For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher. For more about Monica, visit

Jaym Gates is an editor, author, and communications manager. She’s the editor of the Rigor Amortis, War Stories, Exalted, and Genius Loci anthologies, as well as a published author in fiction, academic nonfiction, and RPGs.

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Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Phillip M Johns More than 1 year ago
This book offers a collection of short stories where each presents a typical trope used in science fiction or fantasy such as Gendercide in “Real Women Are Dangerous”; The Villain Had a Crappy Childhood in “The Origin of Terror”; The Super Soldier in “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Paprika Place?” and The Pro’s Last Job in “No Saint”. To add to the fun, the authors inverted the accepted theme for the trope. In other words, instead of The Villain Had a Crappy Childhood this particular story was about a villain who is the child of two super heroes and had a very warm and loving childhood. With any collection of short stories, there are high and low spots. Every story in this collection, though, is by very experienced authors. When taken on the whole, this book is a high spot. A mentor of mine once suggested that I write a story that did not use any tropes. The fact is, I’m not sure that is truly possible. As this book shows, there are more tropes than one first thinks of. The other issue of writing a “trope-less” story is that that readers expect resolutions to stories that follow accepted norms. The simple fact is, heroes can’t die or the couple, regardless of all the hardship, must fall in love. Simply put, to do otherwise, does not bring readers back for more. What I gained from this book was to look at tropes in a different way: to turn them upside-down and play with them. Doing this makes for fun reading. Phillip M. Johns
Yzabel More than 1 year ago
[NOTE: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.] 3.5/4 stars; I liked quite a few of these short stories, none of them made me roll my eyes, and to be fair, the essays at the end of the book were also quite interesting. My favourites: * “Single, Singularity”: While it doesn’t really invert the trope it’s based on, I’m a sucker for AI stories, and this one was both thrilling, and chilling in its ending. * “Seeking Truth”: The ‘blind psychic’ trope, subverted in that here, the blind person is extremely skilled at reading other people, no need for special powers for that. * “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Paprika Place?”: A mix of Sesame Stree-like TV shows and jaded ex-super soldiers trying to go home. Very nostalgic, perhaps a wee bit long, but a good read nonetheless. * “Chosen”: A comic twist on ‘the Chosen’, with jabs at tropes like the gun-toting weapons maniac, the Buffy-like teenager fighting demons, and pedantic occultist scholar. This one was really fun. * “The White Dragon”: A different take on the ‘yellow peril’, in a 1920s San Francisco (also, I liked revisiting that city in such a light, now that I’ve finally been able to actually travel there). * “Her Curse, How Gently It Comes Undone”: The Witch and the Damsel In Distress, poised against each other, each with their wiles and strengths, and with the story playing on the trope of men rescuing the Damsel… only they’re not the right people to do the job. * “Burning Bright”: I really liked the main character here, just the right mix of slightly hinged and yet fairly grounded at the same time. * “Santa CIS (Episode 1: No Saint)”: This story plays well on both the Santa Claus/Christmas and ‘old soldier goes back to war’ tropes. * “The First Blood of Poppy Dupree”: At first I thought this would be about werewolves, and it turned out it was something else, which I liked. * “Until There is Only Hunger”: A strong story, with a definite end-of-the-world feeling, dwindling hope mixed with growing despair, and characters trying to find whatever comfort they can, although this rings more and more hollow. Bonus point for characters not being typical cis/hetero/white. * “Drafty as a Chain Mail Bikini”: I suspected where this one was going, but I liked it, and it made me laugh. * “The Tangled Web”: Love at first sight and romance woes… but not among humans, which lent a different dimension to this story. The essays: definitely read those. They deal with the Hero’s Journey, its limitations, the Heroine’s Journey, its limitations as well, and push further, when it comes to trans and gay/lesbian heroes, which is really needed. Because let’s be honest: it’s already difficult to find a good story where a woman is not reduced to accomplishment = family/motherhood/taking care of others, but it’s even worse when you’re non-binary.