We Live In A Petri-Dish
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Basic Information

In this speculative fiction trope, some higher dimensionality being or sufficiently advanced aliens are studying mankind from beyond our conventional reality. They may even have created us via genetic engineering. See also Fourth-Dimensional Lifeform, Alien Abduction, UFO, Conspiracy Theory, and Brotherhood of the Serpent.

Alternately, the relationship between them and us might be akin to the relationship between us and germs. We're far better off if they never develop Germ Theory, Microscopes, or Pennicilin].

There's also a chance the monsters are future humanity, using Time Travel to study the past.

If the aliens are merely mindless monsters, see We Live in A Fishbowl.


1. TV: The X-Files
2. Movie: Fire In The Sky
3. Movie: Twelve Monkeys
4. I'm sure I've seen it in reference to books on Ancient Astronauts, but off the top of my head I couldn't tell you which such books (I have mostly a Popfinition of them) assert as much. If you know, feel free to update this entry.
5. RPG: Continuum. "The Inheritors" of that setting could give such a feel to the "Spanners", even whilst the Spanners are giving the same creepy vibe to the Ignorant Levelers.

Game and Story Use

  • Use with caution and forethought. While this Trope gives a delightfully paranoid feel to the game, some players may resent being lab rats or powerless.
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