Friday, April 3, 2015

What is Deus Ex Machina?

My son said this phrase to me about a year ago, and I thought he was was saying 'do sex machina,' which made me wonder if it was a kinky teenage thing or something (and I REALLY didn't want any explanation whatsoever of any type of machine thing).  Seriously.  I'd never heard of it before.

Even though I had my hands over my ears, he finally explained.

Here's a great explanation, from

The term deus ex machina refers to the circumstance where an implausible concept or a divine character is introduced into a storyline for the purpose of resolving its conflict and procuring an interesting outcome.

We were watching Dodgeball for the umpteenth time, the other week (that movie's hilarious).  SPOILER ALERT:  If you haven't seen it, don't read the following.

At the very end, they wheeled out a big treasure box filled with money, because the main guy bet on his team to win, thus taking control of Average Joe's and getting the bad guy out of the way.  We had no idea that was coming, but it gave us the happy ending.  On the treasure box, it said, 'Deus Ex Machina.'  No kidding.  I'd never seen that on there before, and I've watched that movie so many times.

According to, again, the term means 'god in the machine':
The term is Latin for “god out of the machine” and has its origins in ancient Greek theatre. It denotes scenes in which a crane (machine) was used to lower actors or statues playing a god or gods (deus) onto the stage to set things right, usually near the end of the play.
Do you have any of these things in your books, or have you seen this in a book before?  Interesting concept, and not always easy to spot.  But I'm told it's a bad thing.  However, if done like Dodgeball, where it's actually part of a joke, that's hilarious.  I want to do that sometime, in one of my books, just for fun!

Have a great week!

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