Strange Horizons, an online magazine of sci-fi stories (alongside other genres), has an entertainingly dry list of Stories We’ve Seen Too Often in their submission guidelines.

There’s plenty of overlap with RPGs in this rundown of tired sci-fi plots — for example: “Visitor to alien planet ignores information about local rules, inadvertantly violates them, is punished.” (See: many, many Star Trek episodes.) Or the equally common “An A.I. gets loose on the Net despite the computer it was on not being connected to the Net.

There’s even a direct D&D reference (“Story is based in whole or part on a D&D game or world.“), which — although it’s not directly relevant — leads into a GMing question: Given that no plot survives contact with the PCs, and taking the nature of gaming (especially the random element) into account, is there more tolerance for clichéd plots in RPGs than in fiction?