History Literature / Ambergris

30th Oct '15 4:51:33 AM kikiandlala
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* CoolTank: Mentioned in passing but towards the late stages of the war, tanks have been developed with an extra turret mounted on the underbelly. The under-cannon's purpose is to blast Gray Caps that were beginning to emerge from the soil. By the time they're in service it's too little, too late.
30th Oct '15 4:36:24 AM kikiandlala
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* BadassArmy: the remaining Rebel forces have been holed up in different worlds in different eras. And in their respective safe places, they had been gathering resources and building up their troop strength with what's available locally for a very long time. So when they return to Ambergris, it's the end of the Gray Cap rule.


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* CoolGun: Finch's fungus gun is useless against Gray Caps, so he gets himself a blackmarket weapon. It's a twin-barrelled automatic pistol that fires explosive bullets, making it almost the minimum level of firepower when going up against the Gray Caps.
28th Dec '14 6:54:50 AM tricksterson
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* CrystalDragonJesus: The Truffidians
25th Dec '12 4:03:28 PM HaruAxeman
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* ComedicSociopathy: One particular anecdote about how the Ambergrisians revolted against the Kalif, detailing how a cafe owner cheerfully poisoned several enemy soldiers, and then urged his cousin to visit because the weather was so nice there.
* EldritchLocation: Something is implied to be very wrong with Ambergris, most of it caused by the Gray Caps.


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* AFeteWorseThanDeath: The Festival of the Freshwater Squid.
18th Aug '12 3:10:57 AM Telcontar
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[[quoteright:330:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Shriek_5887.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:330:[[superscript:Figure 1: Janice Shriek's typewriter. As the reader can see from this photo, the typewriter keys had been infiltrated by mushrooms. Many of the keys were brittle and fell off within weeks of taking the machine out of the room at the Spore of the Gray Cap. The typewriter disintegrated entirely within five months.]] ]]

Ambergris is a substance produced in the digestive tracts of sperm whales, then regurgitated in a solid, waxy form. It possesses a dull gray color, sometimes black. It is flammable, and while first carrying an odor reminiscent of feces acquires a more pleasant scent as it ages, a sweet and earthy fragrance that has been compared to alcohol.

Ambergris is also the name of a city which serves as the setting for a series of books penned by Jeff [=VanderMeer=] which are known, for lack of a better title, as ''The Ambergris Cycle''. The city itself possesses a dull gray color, although this is offset by the inordinate amounts of fungus which makes its home within the cracks and along the walls of the city's architecture. Mushrooms, lichens, molds and other fungi have taken over the city. Quite literally, in fact, for in addition to the city's human dwellers the underground of Ambergris houses the curious beings known only as the Gray Caps. They are ShroudedInMyth. Named for their distinctive headwear. Short of stature, origin a mystery. Rumored to control the fungus. To feed on it. To [[FungusHumongous live in it]]. To be themselves [[PlantAliens mushroom creatures.]] They lurk in places too dark and dank for humans to venture, and they grow ever more bold in their contact with the world above.

The books which take place in Ambergris, by order of publication, are --
* ''City of Saints and Madmen: The Book of Ambergris'' (2001)
** Preceded by ''The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early History of Ambergris, by Duncan Shriek'' (1999), which is collected within ''City.''
* ''Shriek: An Afterword'' (2006)
* ''Finch'' (2009)

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!Tropes present in the books of Ambergris

!!! The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early History of Ambergris, by Duncan Shriek
* FootnoteFever: According to his publisher, Duncan wrote almost half the book in footnote format-they only stayed there because they were insightful and often hilarious.
* NoodleIncident: Often within the footnotes.

!!! City of Saints and Madmen
* FantasticRacism -- The Nimblytod and the Dogghe tribes were indigenous to the Ambergris area before it was settled by Manzikert's armies.
** Also against the Graycaps by Mazinkert and his people, culminating in a genocide. This turned out to be a bad idea.
* StarfishAliens: The giant freshwater squid probably aren't from outer space, but otherwise they fit perfectly in the description. They're strongly implied to be sentient, communicate with bioluminence and when people gather together to hunt them once a year, they in turn gather together to hunt people.

!!! Shriek: An Afterword
* BodyHorror -- [[spoiler:Duncan's]] slow transformation and degredation.
* TheCassandra: Duncan destroys his career and later his relationship by insisting that the city is secretly controlled by mysterious midgets that dwell underground and like mushrooms. Though it's implied that many of his opponents know perfectly well that he is right, but try to convince themselves otherwise to protect their peace of mind.
* ConspiracyTheorist: Duncan associates closely with them later in his career, since they're the only ones who listen to his theories with a straight face. As far as the general population is concerned, he's the craziest one of them all, since he claims to back up his wild theories with personal experience.
* UnreliableNarrator -- Janice holds that she is offering a balanced yet opinionated account of her brother's life. Duncan takes issue with the first claim.

!!! Finch
* BioPunk: Fungus guns, fungus bombs, the memory bulbs...fungus ''cyborgs''!
* BodyHorror -- Wyte, more drawn-out and excrutiating than even [[spoiler:Duncan's]] was.
* FungusHumongous -- By this point, the [[MushroomMan Gray Caps]]' mushrooms have grown to the size of buildings.
* HalfHumanHybrid -- As opposed to previous characters who slowly became fungal after becoming exposed to Gray Cap weapons, the Partials willingly give up their selves to becoming living tools.
* NWordPrivileges -- Only now do we learn that the Gray Caps prefer to be known as the ''fanaarcensitii.''
* TheQuisling: The Partials, and to an extent, Finch and his colleagues.
* TheUnpronounceable -- ''Fanaarcensitii'' is among the easiest to pronounce of Gray Cap words. Finch doesn't even know what his boss's actual name is (a "series of clicks and whistles" that sound like ''hecleriticalic'').
* VichyEarth: The basic idea applies, even if the Gray Caps aren't extraterrestrial.

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