Mundane Dogmatic

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The setting adheres to the precepts of the Mundane Manifesto, a system of self-imposed restraints similar in spirit to the constraints of Dogma '95 (see here) in film. Such settings usually fall rather high on the Mohs Scale of Sci Fi Hardness, but there are exceptions.

A quick overview: The Mundanes promise to eschew...

... while still providing other instances of Applied Phlebotinum that do not break these rules.

Examples of Mundane Dogmatic include:


  • Appleseed
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • Patlabor
  • Planetes
  • Twin Spica
  • Most of the early Astro Boy stories were surprisingly grounded in reality, since Tezuka wanted to create a future world his viewers could relate to. Later stories went a little crazy with the alien invaders, though it's interesting to note that in the entire history of the franchise there's been only one mention of a human-built spacecraft leaving the solar system (at the end of The Transparent Giant).

Comic Books


  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: The film follows the Manifesto while (ironically) the book by Arthur C. Clarke does not by (catch this) leaving the events more ambiguous. Because it's not clear that the events following David Bowman's encounter with the monolith are literally happening or are all just in his head, Kubrick's version slips by, while Clarke's (in which it's clear he's literally transported to other star systems) is more dubious (although the aliens who did it are sufficiently advanced).
    • In 3001: The Final Odyssey, Clarke retconned the first novel's FTL travel as being all in Dave Bowman's head.
      • Clarke is ambiguous about whether 2010, 2061 or 3001 retcon anything. In the author's notes for 2061, Clarke indicates that the novels may involve the same characters and the same situations, but the novels do not *necessarily* happen in the same universe. So, either everything's retcons or it's parallel universes. Or we need to talk to Mr Schrodinger about his cat.
  • Outland
  • RoboCop
  • The Matrix series was at least making an effort, at least before Executive Meddling rejected the original humans-as-distributed-processors explanation as "too complicated" and came up with one that made even less sense. And later Neo's powers working in "reality".
  • Destination Moon (no relation to the Tintin comic aside from the subject matter) and Project Moonbase. Both these movies had Robert A. Heinlein as a consultant and were very realistic.
  • Moon Zero Two, a space adventure movie Hammer made in the 70s. It's meticulously realistic, the only thing it has that is a little iffy scientifically is Artificial Gravity, which they only inserted because they didn't have enough money to do moon gravity effects for the entire movie.
  • Moon
  • WarGames
  • Blade Runner
  • I Robot
  • A Scanner Darkly
  • Eagle Eye
  • Gattaca


Live Action TV

  • Moonbase 3. (You've probably never heard of this series, have you? Well it aired on the BBC in the early '70's.)
  • Nowhere Man
  • RoboCop
  • Space Odyssey: Voyage to The Planets
  • Star Cops (This BBC series was a pretty good attempt at realistic "High Frontier" SF)
  • The Six Million Dollar Man
  • Firefly is probably the best known example on the list.
  • Defying Gravity, although there is some debate about whether or not the Antares' communication system is FTL, even though it is never explicitly stated or even implied to be so. It appears to be FTL, because characters millions of kilometers away will be carrying on a casual conversation without any time lag, but this may just be for the audience's convenience. The characters could in fact have been waiting around for minutes at a time for their friends to respond to their messages offscreen. On the other hand, it's unclear whether FTL communication is covered by the dogma in the first place (there are several well-known theoretical ways for FTL—even instantaneous—communication to occur without FTL travel, and they're generally considered to be more plausible than FTL travel).

Tabletop Games

  • Transhuman Space from GURPS. In the year 2100, there is no FTL, no aliens, no breaking physical laws. But the sheer alienness of the people inhabiting this setting is both realistic and overwhelming.
  • Phil Eklund's High Frontier, a boardgame, is about scientifically-plausible exploration and exploitation of the resources in the solar system. The expansion, High Frontier: Interstellar, focuses on the building, launch, and travel of non-FTL colony starships.

Video Games