Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned twist ending to a story? If properly executed, it can not only shock, but also force the reader or viewer to alter their understanding and evaluation of everything that’s occurred thus far. If you’re anything like me you’ll subsequently re-read or re-watch in order to scour for clues. Here are few of the most world rocking, mind blowing plot twists from the realm of science fiction.
Warning – The following absolutely contains spoilers.
Plot Twist – It wasn’t a simulation
With the film adaptation hitting screens in December, Ender’s Game is set to blow the minds of a whole new group of fans.
For the majority of the book, Little Ender Wiggins attends Battle School where he participates in intense training to prepare him for a war against the Buggers. When he’s promoted to command school, his final test is a simulation that results in him sacrificing an entire fleet to destroy the alien home world. Doing this was a violation of the simulation’s rules, so he expects immediate expulsion. Perhaps he would have been, if the ‘game’ hadn’t been real and Ender hadn’t unwittingly committed mass xenocide.
Planet of the Apes
Plot Twist – It was Earth all along
This is so entrenched within our collective conscience that it may not seem particularly unbelievable. So let’s try and put ourselves in the context of a 1968 audience. They were watching a film where an astronaut crash landed on a planet inhabited by talking apes. Absolutely nothing indicated that he could perhaps still be on Earth. Then, after escaping the aforementioned apes, he notices part of the Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand and realised he had crashed on a future post-nuclear Earth. Absolutely revolutionary.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Plot Twist – They’re the same person
Similar to Planet of the Apes, it’s common knowledge that Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are the same person. In fact, a modern observer may be more shocked at the thought of them ever being thought to be separate entities. However, in 1886 it was a shocker, and a huge one at that. Narrated by a Mr. Utterson, who is a close friend of Jekyll’s, it’s only revealed at the end of the novel that Hyde was a product of a potion that Jekyll created to split his good and evil sides.
The Empire Strikes Back
Plot Twist – Really?
Darth’s Vader’s ‘whose your daddy’ confession is perhaps one of the most shocking revelations in cinematic history.
Not only was this one of the most awkward family reunions ever, it also instantaneously complicated the future of the story. It was no longer a simple tale of good vs evil, light side vs dark side. It became a complex exploration of familial ties and the corrupting nature of power. To add literal injury to insult, Vader follows up his confession by cutting off his sons hand. I suspect this hurt less than the realisation that he’d been making out with his sister.
Plot Twist – Soylent Green is people
Based off the book Make Room! Make Room! Soylent Green forced an entire generation of movie goers to re-think the contents of their canned food.
The film is set in an impoverished futuristic society where the lower echelons are forced to live off processed food called soylent green. The story follows Charlton Heston as he investigates the murder of the director of the Soylent Corporation. It’s eventually revealed that soylent isn’t made from the oceanic plankton that its claimed to be. In reality it has a far more cannibalisitic origin. Mmm, tasty long pig.