Size change in fiction

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Resizing (fiction))
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Resizing (including miniaturization, growth, shrinking, and enlargement) is a recurring theme in fiction, in particular in fairy tales, fantasy, and science fiction.

In literature[edit]

  • An early example of resizing is the 16th century Chinese novel, Journey to the West.
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has repeated resizing themes, where Alice grows or shrinks as she eats foodstuffs or drinks potions. According to Rose Lovell-Smith, Alice's size-changes continually reposition her in the food chain, serving as a way to make her acutely aware of the "eat or be eaten" attitude that permeates Wonderland.[1]
  • The novel The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth by H. G. Wells describes a kind of food that can accelerate and extend the growth process, which when introduced to the world causes great upheavals. In Wells' novel, giants have great powers, and they seek to continue growing and improving; only the small people with their small minds stand in their way. This is a symbol of social groups with great potential suppressed by mainstream society, and an expectation for them to eventually change the world in a radical way. Though one of Wells' lesser-known works, many of the features of the novel have been incorporated into other works.
  • In the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Violet Beauregarde grows into a giant blueberry using magical gum and Mike Teevee uses Wonka's shrink ray to miniaturize himself.
  • Wiplala, the man with magical spell to shrink all the family to four inches in height.


  • In 1940's Dr. Cyclops, the protagonists are reduced to less than a foot in size by the titular mad scientist, and are subjugated to his whims. 1957's The Incredible Shrinking Man inspired a boom in science fiction films that made use of size-alteration in the late 1950s and the 1960s, and also inspired a comic remake in 1981's The Incredible Shrinking Woman. 1957 also saw the release of The Amazing Colossal Man.
  • In science fiction/horror B-movies, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, enlargement of people or creatures to monstrous size (often accomplished via radiation) was a common theme. Films featuring enlargement include Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Village of the Giants, The Food of the Gods, 1954's Them!, and Tarantula. Bert I. Gordon is the filmmaker most closely associated with this genre.
  • Each of the five monsters in DreamWorks 2009 science fiction film Monsters vs. Aliens can be traced to sci-fi/horror B movies from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.[2] The heroine, Susan, who grows to be 49 feet 11 inches tall, was inspired by Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.
  • Shrinking is often accomplished with a machine of some kind, as in the films Fantastic Voyage, Innerspace and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. In some works, the machine can enlarge as well; in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, a shrinking machine makes a toddler 100 feet tall. Both types of machine normally have the ability to reverse the shrinking process (though sometimes, as in Fantastic Voyage, the reversal happens automatically after a certain period).
  • In the 1999 science fiction film My Favorite Martian, Tim shrinks to tiny size.
  • In the 2010 film Tooth Fairy, the main character is given a shrinking paste which he uses to shrink to a tiny fairy size.
  • In the Japanese film Big Man Japan, the protagonist is the latest in a dynasty of heroes who can grow to enormous size to fight equally huge monsters.
  • In the 2001 animated film Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, the teacher and Jimmy Neutron shrink to ant-size.
  • In the 2010 animated film Despicable Me, Gru steals a shrink ray.
  • In the musical Babes in Toyland, a shrink gun is used to shrink items and people to tiny toy size.
  • In the 2014 animated film Penguins of Madagascar, a character is trapped in a snow globe.
  • The twist in the BAFTA-winning 2013 short Room 8 concerns a brutal miniaturisation.
  • The plot of 2017's Downsizing centers on characters voluntarily undergoing miniaturisation to improve their lives and reduce their carbon footprints.


  • In numerous Doctor Who episodes, characters have undergone a reversible shrinking process. These include: in the 1964 three-part serial Planet of Giants, the First Doctor and his companions arrive in contemporary England, but miniaturised due to an accident with their space/time-travel craft, the TARDIS; in the 1973 four-part serial Carnival of Monsters, the TARDIS is caught in the miniaturisation field of a peepshow machine, the Miniscope, reducing the Third Doctor and his companion Jo Grant in size within the confines of its various captured environments; the 1977 four-part serial The Invisible Enemy sees the Fourth Doctor use a component from the TARDIS, called a Relative Dimensional Stabiliser (RDS), to shrink clone copies of himself and his companion Leela for injection into his own brain – later, the RDS is used to increase the size of a micro-dimensional virus so that it can interact with the macrocosm; a not dissimilar trick is pulled by the Doctor and his ally Drax in the 1979 six-part serial The Armageddon Factor, to elude pursuers – and use robotic companion K9 as a 'Trojan Horse'; in the 1984 four-part serial Planet of Fire, the Fifth Doctor finds the murderous habit of his old enemy the Master – of shrinking victims to death with a Tissue Compression Eliminator (TCE) weapon – has backfired, leaving him alive but in "reduced circumstances". Into the Dalek in 2014 featured the Twelfth Doctor, his companion Clara Oswald and a group of rebel fighters are miniaturised and 'injected' into a battle-scarred, broken Dalek aboard the command ship Aristotle.
  • In 'Dr. Shrinker', a segment of the mid-1970s children's show The Krofft Supershow, the eponymous doctor uses his invention to shrink three young adults to six inches tall.
  • The Schoolhouse Rock episode "Unpack Your Adjectives" includes a scene where a girl grows into a giant size and a boy shrinks into a small size, just before the girl steps on the boy.
  • In the animated series Adventure Time, Jake the Dog, one of the series' two main characters, is able to magically stretch or shrink himself to various sizes.
  • In The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Too Tall Tails", a machine used by Dr. Robotnik causes Tails grow to enormous size.[3]
  • In the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Terratin Incident", a ray of unknown origin strikes the Enterprise and causes everyone aboard to begin gradually shrinking. Spock explains this as the gaps between molecules reducing, though only in organic material such as flesh and the crews' algae-based xenylon uniforms. When Captain Kirk beams down to the planet from which the ray emanated, the effect of the transporter restores him to normal size.
  • In the Mega Man cartoon episode "Incredible Shrinking Mega Man", stolen gems are used in a shrink ray to miniaturize cities and the protagonist.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "What's the Big Idea", Mojo Jojo uses his invention to make Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup grow to gigantic sizes. However, he is foiled when Professor Utonium uses his own machine to reverse the effects by making Townsville bigger.
  • In the television series Ally McBeal, the main character name Ally McBeal is shown shrinking to about six inches in height.
  • In the MGM cartoons Tom and Jerry shorts Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse, Tom shrinks to size of a fly.
  • In each episode of the animated show Micro Ventures, a machine is used to shrink characters and their dune buggy to miniature size for exploration.
  • In the animated series Wild Kratts, the Kratt Brothers have a shrinking machine, the miniaturizer, to shrink down to smaller size and back again.
  • In the Gravity Falls cartoon episode "Little Dipper", magical crystals are used to grow and shrink.
  • In the 1990 television musical film Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme, Gordon Goose and Bo Beep shrink and grow.
  • In the Secret World of Santa Claus episode "The Tall Little Girl", a girl named Kinshey is grown to giant size by a potion made by Santa's elves.
  • In the Power Rangers, all the villains to make all the monsters grow to used a magical powers and get ready for Megazord transformation fight in the final battle. In an episode from Power Rangers Zeo known as "Good as Gold" and with no time to call on the Megazords to battle the giant sized King Mondo and the cogs, Trey of Triforia uses his staff to grow himself and the Rangers to giant size to battle them.

Other media[edit]

  • In many Nintendo video games created by Shigeru Miyamoto – including Mario, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Donkey Kong 64, Yoshi's Story, Animal Crossing, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Fire Emblem, Pokémon, Super Smash Bros. and Yo-kai Watch franchises – characters can grow or shrink by using various power-ups.
  • Oyayubihime (Thumb Princess) is a Japanese work based on the fairy tale "Thumbelina". This story centers around the main character Saeko, who splashes a red liquid on individuals to shrink them to about three inches tall.
  • Minami-kun no Koibito is a Japanese manga which has been adapted into a television drama four times. The story centers around the main character, Chiyomi, who is shrunk by a magical curse when she and her boyfriend briefly went their separate ways. The caring boyfriend must do all he can to keep her condition a secret from inquisitive classmates and a relative who is a teacher at their school.
  • The protagonist of the magical girl manga and anime series Hime-chan's Ribbon is able to transform and resize herself by using a magic ribbon.
  • Super Monkey Ball 2, Dr. Bad Boon used the shrinking gun to shrink MeeMee, AiAi, Baby and GonGon turning into tiny size.
  • In Touhou Project, a Japanese video game series, the character Suika Ibuki has the power to grow to giant size by manipulating her density; Suika can turn into a giantess about 50-feet tall and create smaller versions of herself.
  • In the music video of Relient K's "Marilyn Manson Ate My Girlfriend", a giant Marilyn Manson eats a band member's girlfriend and the band has to go into Manson's body to save her.
  • The music video to the Bis song "Sweet Shop Avengerz" features Bis, having been miniaturized to only a few inches tall, performing next to a mouse hole. During the video, the band are nearly crushed by a man with a pen and later, are nearly eaten by a cat.
  • Similarly, the video to the Kerbdog song "Mexican Wave" portrays the band members as only one inch tall, performing the song on a woman's necklace.
  • On the opposite side of the resizing spectrum is the band Silver Sun. Several of their album and EP covers, including the cover to their self-titled debut album, include giant insects thousands of times larger than their typical size.
  • In the anime series The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, miniaturizing cloning technology known as micloning (maikuro-n ka in Japanese) plays a significant role in the coexistence of a giant alien race called Zentradi and humanity.
  • In Marvel Comics, "Pym particles" (invented by character Henry Pym, variously known by the superhero identities Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath and Yellowjacket) cause physical matter to shrink or enlarge by shunting mass into, or drawing mass from, another dimension. In addition to Pym, a number of other superheroes have used Pym particles to change their size, including the Wasp (Pym's ex-wife), the second Goliath, Black Goliath, the second Ant-Man, and the second Yellowjacket. Pym also designed a prison for supervillains that was dubbed "the Big House", in which superhuman criminals who could not be normally incarcerated were shrunk to six inches in height.
  • In DC Comics, the equivalent characters are the various individuals who go by the name The Atom. In particular of these people, Professor Ray Palmer is the foremost authority in size and molecular-density-changing technology. The DC Comics super-heroine Elasti-Girl also has the power to shrink and grow at will.
  • In the videogame Harley's Humongous Adventure, the title character is miniaturized, justifying fighting against giant rats and other such odds and relying on thumtacks as weaponry.
  • Tons of videos on YouTube discuss the improbability of resizing, including Vsauce3's What Would Happen if You Were Shrunk? and PBS's The Small Problem With Shrinking Ourselves.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lovell-Smith, R. (2004). "The Animals of Wonderland: Tenniel as Carroll's Reader". Criticism. 45 (4): 383. doi:10.1353/crt.2004.0020.
  2. ^ Barnes, Brooks (March 19, 2009). "The Monsters That Inspired 'Monsters vs. Aliens'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  3. ^ "Too Tall Tails" on IMDb

Further reading[edit]

  • Glassy, Mark C. The Biology of Science Fiction Cinema. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. 2001.

External links[edit]