Identify Two Science Fiction Plots
March 9, 2010 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Please help identifying a couple of science fiction plots.

Plot #1: Astronauts take off for distant planet. They go into hibernation. Ship crashes and they wake up on a jungle (or desert) planet. They fight and kill each other over the last oxygen bottle, just as the last guy dies, he realizes they crash landed back on earth.

The above was published as "Breathless" by Marv Wolfman and Berni Wrightson in Web of Horror #2 (1970).

Plot #2: Human and robot fighting in post-apocalyptic landscape. Human kills robot, robot repairs itself. Robot kills human, robot heals human. The whole time the human is trying to tell the robot the war is over and they are on the same side. Repeat.

This was published as "They Just Fade Away," story and art by Berni Wrightson in Epic Illustrated #34 (1986)

I feel like both those stories likely were written or dramatized before. I'm thinking an EC comic, or Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode. I tried searching around on TV Tropes and didn't have any luck, closest I came was "hopeless war."

With all the science fiction readers on Metafilter, I was hoping somebody would recognize these. I especially feel #1 has been done before. I'm trying to write a short article on the science fiction art of Berni Wrightson.
posted by marxchivist to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
Best answer: The first is very similar to the TX episode "I Shot An Arrow Into The Air", except they fight over dwindling water supplies. One astronaut lives to discover that they landed in Arizona.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:00 PM on March 9, 2010

The details don't exactly match, but the first story you describe mirrors the Twilight Zone episode "I Shot An Arrow Into the Air."
posted by Rangeboy at 8:00 PM on March 9, 2010

Number one sounds like a twilight zone expect I think they were in the dessert.
posted by Dick Laurent is Dead at 8:01 PM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oops...TZ, not TX. Stupid autocorrect.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:01 PM on March 9, 2010

Response by poster: I think you all nailed #1, that's what I was thinking of for that one.
posted by marxchivist at 8:25 PM on March 9, 2010

Number one sounds like a twilight zone expect I think they were in the dessert.

Well it wasn't dessert, it was the desert but yeah, that was definitely a Twilight Zone. My corroding mind tells me it's actually the first one I ever saw. Blew my tiny 7-year old mind.
posted by philip-random at 11:01 PM on March 9, 2010

#1 is also a bit like a (non-SF) plot by Leonard Sciascia, I think in his book of stories called The Wine Dark Sea. In the story some Sicilians hoping to emigrate to America pay a bunch of money to a ship's captain, who takes them on board, sails out into the Mediterranean for a day or two, and then lands them at night back in Sicily. There is no intra-group violence, but it's a very striking and tragic story. (Sciascia was a fabulous writer, particularly of sort-of Borgesesque murder mysteries.)
posted by OmieWise at 5:35 AM on March 10, 2010

Yes #1 is a Zone, one held in contempt by most fans, as what astronaut worth his salt wouldn't know they'd only gotten as far as earth orbit?
posted by Rash at 8:27 AM on March 10, 2010

Plot #2 reminds me a bit of the Philip K. Dick story Second Variety.

Plot #2 is also a version of a more general sci-fi trope featuring two combatants locked in struggle (possibly forever) long after the initial reason for that struggle has passed from memory. The original Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is one version, as is the Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode "Battle Lines"; to a lesser extent, see also the TOS episode "The Alternative Factor." See also, in case you missed it, the Forever War trope.
posted by googly at 8:47 AM on March 10, 2010

« Older Ipod battery gas woes...   |   Fly us across DFW! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.