That awkward moment when you’re living your life, minding your own business, and *BAM* turns out everything you thought you knew is a lie. Okay, hopefully you’re not personally familiar with this feeling, but you know what we’re talking about.
Amy Plum, author of After the End and its sequel Until the Beginning (now available!!), certainly is familiar with writing a major plot twist. Her heroine, Juneau, grew up fearing a nuclear war that destroyed everything beyond her home. Until she realized that the war never happened, and that life very much existed outside her borders. Surprise!
This is the ultimate “living a lie” story, with the most violent reveal. Keanu naked in that vat of goo was one of the most shocking images in film, delivering the message that things aren’t as they seem with a full-body blow.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was such a reality-bender. The poignant part for me was that…for once…an alternate reality wasn’t being forced on the characters: this time they chose it.
I am still chilled by Bladerunner’s idea of creating false memories for its replicants so that they would believe that they had a childhood. Rachel, the replicant that Harrison Ford rescues at the end, is just beginning to doubt that she is a clone and her consciousness is so human that it is like if you or I suddenly found out we weren’t “real” and had a fixed time to live.
Lost was such a mess of altered reality/altered perception that the writers themselves didn’t even know what was going on. It was intriguing, but in that train-wreck kind of way. Nothing was going to save its logic, because there wasn’t any to start with. 4-8-15-16-23-42….
The Truman Show
The Truman Show fed into that all-too-human suspicion that we are being watched, and that our lives are part of a big joke…entertainment for other sentient beings.
White Cat by Holly Black
In White Cat, Holly Black layers reality in a way that the reader can’t even trust their hunches. Everything’s up for grabs. Again, I think her story—like the rest of these—feeds into our primal fear that things are not as they are…that we are living a lie…and that one day we might wake up and discover that the world is not at all how we believed it to be.
What are the biggest plot twists that stick out in your memory? Tell us in the comments below!