->''"Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face. Then the worms eat you. [[EatenAlive Be grateful it happens in that order]]."''
-->-- '''Solomon Short''', ''"A Matter for Men"''

''The War Against the Chtorr'' is an incomplete sci-fi series by David Gerrold about an invasion of Earth by an [[HordeOfAlienLocusts entire alien ecosystem]], set TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture. Just about everyone in TheGovernment has become an ObstructiveBureaucrat, save the odd MagnificentBastard. The rest of the world has forced the United States to accept [[HoistByHisOwnPetard crippling economic treaties]] to keep it from engaging in the odd GovernmentConspiracy. Then TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt begins. First a series of [[AlienInvasion alien]] plagues [[DepopulationBomb wipes out most of humanity]], and then aliens (much) bigger than microbes begin popping up. The invaders consist mainly of giant worms, insects, plants and other, ''extremely'' unpleasant stuff. They eat everything, resulting in massive environmental damage, but they ''really'' like to [[ToServeMan eat people]]. Then [[FromBadToWorse it gets worse]].

So far there are four books out; the fifth has been [[{{Vaporware}} coming out real soon since 1994]]; there are supposed to be seven altogether.

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!!Tropes featured include:
* AdaptationExpansion: The {{GURPS}} sourcebook was actually well-received, and even included a few things from Gerrold's notes that ''still'' haven't made it into the series yet.
* AfterTheEnd: And it just keeps happening!
* AlienInvasion
* AllBikersAreHellsAngels: By the third book, depraved biker gangs are a problem in areas where neither the US government or the Chtorrans have too much presence. Especially when they have rocket launchers on their bikes.
* ArbitrarySkepticism: Most people don't believe in the Chtorrans until the worms start moving into towns and eating people. Even then the Fourth World Alliance insists on downplaying the invasion, until a captive worm [[strike: escapes]][[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident is let loose]] and starts chomping its way through their delegates.
* ArmiesAreEvil: Averted in that the protagonist is both soldier and scientist and can therefore see both arguments (the scientists want to study the alien invaders, but that means allowing their ecology to gain enough of a foothold to understand how it works. The military want to burn the Chtorr ''before'' they can get a foothold, but this approach is inherently flawed, as without better knowledge of the Chtorr the war is hopeless anyway). He's not alone in this viewpoint, but it just tends to make the shouting matches even more confusing.
* BackFromTheDead: [[spoiler:Uncle Ira.]] Being dead is a great way to keep people from spying on you.
* BadAss: Subverted in "A Season for Slaughter", when [=McCarthy=]'s badass takedown of an [[TheNeidermeyer arrogant major]] has serious consequences both political and personal. [[ObstructiveBureaucrat Obstructive Bureaucrats]] are just as much a threat to the war effort as the man-eating worms.
* BatmanGambit: Standard Operating Procedure for both the Uncle Ira Group and the President of the United States.
* BizarreSexualDimorphism: bunnydogs/bunnymen and libbits are the male and female (respectively) of the same species.
** [[spoiler: There are clues that there are no individual species per se in the Chtorran ecosystem - just the ecosystem itself - with a vast web of what we would consider "different species" that are genetically compatible for breeding.]]
* BodyHorror: Where to start. It's easier to catalog the stuff that ''won't'' eat you from the inside out - those ones [[ToServeMan just plain eat you]].
* BodySurf: The [[PsychicPowers Telepathy Corps]], a HiveMind organisation able to share their experiences via electronic implants. Not everyone implanted with such a device [[BigBrother is aware of it, however]].
* {{Brainwashed}}: In "A Rage for Revenge" [=McCarthy=] is captured by renegades ([[LesCollaborateurs humans who worship and help the Chtorr]]) and is converted to their cause by charismatic {{cult}} leader Jason Delandro. This story is intermingled with flash-forward chapters detailing [=McCarthy=]'s participation in the Mode Training, which some critics believe to be a form of government brainwashing. Gerrold based Mode Training on est a.k.a. Landmark Education.
* BugWar: And not just ''bugs'', either.
* TheCasanova: Ted, except that he's kinda likeable. Sometimes.
* ChewToy: [=McCarthy=] ''cannot'' catch a break. So he really doesn't give anyone else much of one, either.
* ChildSoldiers: With over six million 'most urgent' jobs waiting to be filled, anyone old enough to work does so.
* ChildrenAreInnocent: A cult of renegades uses this trope to capture [=McCarthy=], by sending in a cute little girl.
* ColonelBadass: Colonel 'Lizard' Tirelli, who flies jet-assisted helicopter gunships on lone combat missions in her spare time.
* ComingOfAgeStory: As might be expected, given Robert Heinlein's influence on Gerrold.
* DeathFromAbove: Lizard dishes this out on several occasions. And in an interesting twist, a group of renegades setting up a night ambush [[spoiler:are exposed to a counter-ambush when an orbiting solar mirror is suddenly turned on the area.]]
* DeathWorld. The original planet of the invaders is assumed to be like this, and they're eager to make Earth just like it.
* DepopulationBomb: The human race is decimated (as in the pop culture version not the Roman version; reduced not ''by'' one tenth its former number, but ''to'' one tenth) by the plagues ''before'' the alien locusts show up.
* DefrostingIceQueen: Lizard. "I remember her. She bumped into the Titanic once and sank it!"
* DysfunctionJunction: Justified. Since the population crash of humanity, a common catch phrase is "Everybody's crazy"
* EarthIsABattlefield: A free-for-all one. If the worms, the renegades and the foreign spies don't kill you, your own superiors probably will just because they don't know what else to do with you.
* EatTheDog: Captured worms like them for treats.
* EmbarrassingFirstName: Theodore Andrew Nathaniel Jackson grew up in a nudist camp.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. Implicit. If the war is won, it won't be in the lifetime of any of the characters. Best case scenario? If [[{{Utopia}} everybody got a clue all at once]] ''during the first book'', the Chtorr would be beaten in fifty years. "Every day that passes without a program of unified resistance to the Chtorran invasion pushes the window of possible victory two weeks farther away." Worst case scenario? "We could all be dead in ten."
* {{Epigraph}}. Ranging from newspaper articles and quotes by Solomon Short (a newspaper columnist) in the first two books, limericks in the third book, and long quotes from ''[[EncyclopediaExposita The Red Book]]'' in the fourth.
* EternalProhibition. Averted in that drugs can be obtained legally.
* EvolutionaryLevels: It's stated that since Chtorran lifeforms have a billion-year evolutionary headstart they have a massive advantage over Earth lifeforms.
* ExpoSpeak: INFODUMP OVERLOAD! Lectures, newspaper articles, interviews, psychoanalytic sessions, even jokes and limericks ([[JustifiedTrope justified]] because every single '''''freaking''''' one is [[RuleOfFunny funny as all hell]]).
* FallingIntoTheCockpit. The protagonist is assigned to Special Forces because he has two years of college-level biology ([[ClosestThingWeGot they need a 'scientist']]), and is gradually promoted because over the course of the novels he survives long enough to gain the [[TookALevelInBadass required military skills]] while everyone around him keeps dying.
* FeatheredFiend: [[ManEatingPlant Shambler trees]] are host to an entire ecology of carnivorous tenants that swarm in their thousands when they sense the vibrations of nearby prey.
* FireBreathingWeapon: [=McCarthy's=] WeaponOfChoice despite having to burn alive the man who first taught him how to use one.
* FlechetteStorm: The AM-280 rifle with LaserSight, which only the user can see because the GogglesDoSomethingUnusual.
* FreezeRay: There's a gun that shoots [[KillItWithIce liquid nitrogen]].
* FutureFoodIsArtificial: As there are so few people who actually grow food for a living, real food is a luxury. One form of currency is actually backed by chocolate (!) since OnlyElectricSheepAreCheap.
* GeniusLoci: The Chtorran cities, possibly the entire invading ecology.
* GotVolunteered: Subverted on a number of occasions -- it's made clear that there are legal precedents involving the use of soldiers on dangerous missions. In the first novel Duke Anderson tells [=McCarthy=] he ''does'' have the option of refusing to go on a dangerous mission, but then he'll be on the first chopper out of here because a soldier who won't take risks is useless to him.
* GovernmentAgencyOfFiction: The Uncle Ira Group AKA United Intelligence. Given that the United States is treated like post-[=WW1=] Germany, the mere fact that it has an intelligence agency is top secret. Likewise with the Special Forces Warrant Agency, a black ops unit whose use of weapons such as napalm is illegal. The Teamwork Army (an unemployment program) actually serves as a [[KansasCityShuffle cover for training potential soldiers in this ostensibly demilitarized country]].
* GovernmentConspiracy: Every move by the United States government to fight the Chtorrans is viewed by the rest of the world as an attempt to reassert American supremacy. Ironically these suspicions would be all-too-accurate under different circumstances. The best example would be [[spoiler: that ''every single freaking computer chip'' the US has built since their [[PrideBeforeAFall deposition as a global superpower]] is in fact a TrojanHorse; each one has a TrackingDevice and a SelfDestructMechanism - they know where ''all the weapons on earth'' are, and can ''destroy them at any time''.]] As one character put it: "There's enough history between us to fuel a major war, and if it weren't for the convenient intervention of the worms, that's probably what we'd be doing right now."
** Okay, the Uncle Ira conspiracy must be stated in full to be believed. It begins when a [[spoiler:periodic UsefulNotes/GulfWar escalates into a reverse CubanMissileCrisis. The Third World then gets its act together for five seconds and demands that the US stand down or get [[NukeEm nuked]]. [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent The President]] at the time submits rather than start WorldWarThree, and the US is forced to disband its military and make multibillion-dollar reparations. This is when the conspiracy is hatched; pretend to obey, and in ways that benefit the US secretly. Instead of sending money, they send food and machines, forcing US industries to be redesigned to meet those demands. The US suffers a short depression, but loads of super-technology is developed in the process, causing an economic boom despite the treaties, and making the world even more dependent on US technology (complete with the aforementioned TrojanHorse chips). Space technology is developed, to supply the Third World with energy from solar-power satellites - requiring US expertise to maintain, and enabling them to develop space; thanks to a lunar colony, they have [[ColonyDrop mass drivers]]. And half a million teachers are sent into the Third World to bring them up to speed; and teach them American values.]]
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: Narrowly averted. (Early printings of the books contained references to the Soviet Union still existing in the future. Later ones, not so much.)
* GunshipRescue: At one stage [=McCarthy=] decides to drive into a Chtorran-infested zone [[DeathSeeker until something eats him]], only to have Lizard turn up in a [[DeathFromAbove massively-armed jetcopter]] and blow up the road in front of his vehicle.
* HalfHumanHybrid: [[spoiler:The short story ''Enterprise Fish'' implies that [=McCarthy=] had become this after falling into a Chtorran mandala.]]
* HeroesWantRedHeads: "Lizard" Tirelli is certainly the apple of [=McCarthy's=] eye.
** Probably a {{homage}} to Creator/RobertAHeinlein, whose heroines were all redheads.
* [[HideYourLesbians Hide Your Gays]]. Very much averted. [=McCarthy=] is bisexual, and there are several other gay characters (although homophobia is also present). The author even subverts his own work through [[CampGay Randy Dannenfelser]] who is the personification of every negative gay stereotype in existence.
* HiveMind: The Telepathy Corps, and probably the Chtorran ecology itself.
* HollywoodScience. Averted as the Chtorran ecology was designed in large part by British reproductive biologist Jack Cohen.
* HopelessWar: Things are not going well, everybody knows it and acts accordingly.
* HordeOfAlienLocusts: ''Everything!''
* HostileTerraforming: The series features this prominently.
* HumansAreBastards: If you want to see an AlienInvasion scenario with mankind at its most noble... this isn't the series for you.
* HumansAreSpecial: Then again, the books make it clear that Earth's native ecosystem is all but helpless against the Chtorran invaders, leaving human sentience as the only thing that could possibly overcome them.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: Each novel has a name of the form "A [X] for [Y]" where the words X and Y are alliterative. "A Matter for Men", "A Day for Damnation", "A Season for Slaughter" and "A Rage for Revenge." [[{{Vaporware}} Forthcoming books]] will be named "A Method for Madness", "A Time for Treason" and "A Case for Courage", according to WordOfGod.
* InThatOrder: One particular quote- "Life is short. Then you die. Then the worms eat you. Be grateful it happens in that order."
* ItCanThink: Inverted, as all the evidence of the AlienInvasion is that there must be an intelligence behind it, yet there's no sign of spaceships or any other means of crossing intersteller distances. The Chtorran gastropedes are assumed to be behind things, yet their intelligence is that of the idiot savant -- they're very good at opening locks and can somehow communicate over distances, yet little else. [[spoiler:The series appears to be implying that the entire Chtorran ecology is some form of group mind.]]
* JerkAss: [=McCarthy=] according to everyone he meets. IRL, most asocial geeks [[MisaimedFandom really like him]], however. Also his friend Ted, and Randy Dannenfelser, aide-de-[[CampGay camp]] to General Wainright.
** Though some would judge [=McCarthy=] a JerkWithAHeartOfGold. As abrasive as he is to others, he is incredibly self-destructive because he hates seeing ''anyone'' get hurt. Then again, he also [[spoiler:executes a renegade who is pregnant with his child because she fed his adoptive children to worms]]. ([=McCarthy=] is a complicated man.)
** Justified in that after the initial plagues and population crash, everyone on Earth has a screw or two loose and may exhibit ... unpredictable behaviour. See above re: DysfunctionJunction.
** In the short story ''Enterprise Fish'', someone accuses [=McCarthy=] of being NotHimself, but changes his mind when he delivers a BondOneLiner after watching another JerkAss get swallowed whole.
* KarmicDeath: The first novel begins with a newspaper article on how a sheriff had fired two volunteers searching for a missing girl, because they [[ArbitrarySkepticism claimed to have seen 'Chtorrans']]. The novel ends with an article stating the same sheriff had gone missing during the evacuation of her town due to the Chtorran threat.
* KillerRabbit: Bunnydogs and meeps.
** Technically everything. No matter how harmless, or relatively harmless, it looks, it can probably kill you. Early in the first book, [[{{Jerkass}} one]] [[{{Redshirt}} of]] [[{{Mook}} the soldiers]] gets his finger bitten off by a Chtorran millipede. Losing the finger didn't kill him, it was the multiple infections caused by the alien microorganisms that were transferred by the bite that did. Cotton Candy plants look like ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. It's not until they go through a massive "bloom" and throw clouds of pink, sticky filamentous goo all over everything that the problems start: massive destruction of neighboring ecosystems, gooping up machinery (rain just makes it stickier), oh and incidentally causing humans who inhale the dust clouds to cough their lungs out in bloody chunks.
* KillerRobot. Four-meter high robot spiders ([[AIIsACrapshoot not always reliable]]). Replaced by AI-controlled cyber-beasts in the fourth book.
* KillItWithFire: Flamethrowers are the only reliable way of stopping a charging worm, as their alien physiology makes them ImmuneToBullets. The protagonist has also used [[KillItWithIce cold-gas]] weapons when necessary, but doesn't prefer them.
* KrakenAndLeviathan: The Enterprise fish, which dwarfs aircraft carriers.
* LampreyMouth: The teeth of Chtorran worms encircle their mouth, curving inwards to draw the prey into their body. Once they've taken a bite, they can't stop or they'll choke to death.
* LesCollaborateurs: 'Renegades' worship and help the Chtorran invaders. Their numbers increase as the infestation grows in strength -- it's not known whether this is the result of an unknown form of [[BrainWashed brainwashing]] or simply a [[VichyEarth psychological/practical response]] to the [[HopelessWar overwhelming]] AlienInvasion.
* LikesOlderWomen: [=McCarthy=]'s [[HeroesWantRedHeads relationship with Lizard]] leads to quite a few "Mommy's boy" snipes from her military colleagues.
* ManIFeelLikeAWoman: The Telepathy Corps do this to all their agents, and it not only allows them to masquerade as women, but pull off a BeautifulAllAlong by sheer force of personality.
* TheMasochismTango: By the fourth book, [=McCarthy's=] relationship with Lizard approaches this level of dysfunction. [[spoiler: They get better, though.]]
* {{Mentors}}: Whitlaw, the Global Ethics teacher. [[ZenSurvivor Doctor Foreman]]. [[SergeantRock Duke Anderson]]. [[EvilMentor Jason Delandro]].
* MoreDakka: The aforementioned AM-280 rifle.
* MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily. Chtorran worms and millipedes. Rows upon rows of sharp, nasty, pointy teeth. This series should win some kind of an award for "most teeth anywhere, ever".
* MysteriousPast: Most people don't really like to even think about what the invasion has cost them, let alone talk about it.
* NoOneGetsLeftBehind: Averted. Though [=McCarthy=] goes to incredible extents to do it anyway and often gets even ''more'' people killed.
* NoBiochemicalBarriers: The fact that Chtorrans are so well adapted to Earth conditions is one sign that this is a deliberate invasion.
* NukeEm. For historical and political reasons the government is reluctant to use nuclear weapons, and can only do so after the Uncle Ira Group pulls another BatmanGambit.
* NoKillLikeOverkill: Averted; scorched earth tactics only end up helping the Chtorran ecology spread, as it's more aggressive than the terrestrial ecology.
* OneWorldOrder. Inverted, as efforts to [[RightHandVersusLeftHand co-ordinate a worldwide struggle]] against the Chtorrans are hampered by politics.
* PedestrianCrushesCar: Don't expect you or your car to survive [[CarFu ramming]] a Chtorran gastropede.
* PleaseIWillDoAnything: Jim [=McCarthy=] does this when begging Randy Dannenfelser for access to a prowler robot so he can look for "Lizard" Tirelli.
* PrettyBoy: Lizard and Ted regard the teenage protagonist Jim [=McCarthy=] this way, though he [[BeautifulAllAlong doesn't believe them]]. But definitely the case with Shaun -- a [[FanserviceWithASmile sixteen year-old, bisexual attendant]] on the luxury airship ''Hieronymus Bosch''.
* PunnyName: '''T'''heodore '''A'''ndrew '''N'''athaniel '''J'''ackson. A shout out to Larry Niven's commonly-used phrase "There Ain't No Justice," often abbreviated "[=TANJ=]" used as a curse word.
* PutDownYourGunAndStepAway: Robots not programmed to kill on sight command this. Whether they work properly or not.
* ReassignedToAntarctica. [=McCarthy=] begins "A Rage for Revenge" working on a plague reclamation unit, thanks to the disastrous end of the previous novel.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: When Jason Delandro's cult [[spoiler:kills [=McCarthy's=] adopted children during an attack, he raises a scratch force from a unit of rear echelon personnel, tracks down their hideout and wipes them out except for a few prisoners whom he tries before a KangarooCourt and then personally executes. One of the women turns out to be bearing his unborn child. [=McCarthy=] shoots her anyway. "My kids are dead; why should I give a fuck about yours?"]]
* ResignationsNotAccepted: [=McCarthy=] ends up in the Uncle Ira Group by accident, and after surviving their initial attempt to [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident dispose of this potential liability]] is offered a position instead. After [=McCarthy=] reluctantly agrees he's warned: "[[PoisonedChaliceSwitcheroo Don't drink your orange juice]]".
* RockBeatsLaser. The invading ecology uses no weapons (though the Chtorr-worshipping renegades do) but even its most innocuous forms can be deadly, as seen when the 'cotton candy plant' creates huge duststorms that knock helicopters out of the sky, explode like grain silos, and cause thousands of deaths by clogging up people's lungs.
* SelfFulfillingProphecy: Shorty instructs [=McCarthy=] in the use of a flamethrower and tells him to burn a Chtorran worm even if someone else is in the way. Guess what happens to Shorty on the next mission...
* SheIsNotMyGirlfriend: Or is that He Is Not My Boyfriend? Yes, Ted's a jerk.
* ShootTheDog: The very first chapter has Duke Anderson shoot dead a little girl so she won't be eaten alive by Chtorrans. Things go downhill from there. In fact the entire war consists of Shoot The Dog moments, considering that the survival of the human race is at stake.
* ShortRangeLongRangeWeapon: An important part of [=McCarthy's=] training is to learn that a flamethrower jet can easily cross a football field.
* ShoutOut: Solomon Short's name is a reference to Robert A. Heinlein's Lazarus Long.
** As mentioned above, Jack Cohen helped design the Chtorran aliens, and "Cohen models" are mentioned off-handedly in one passage.
* ShowerOfAngst: [=McCarthy=] gets a short one in "A Rage For Revenge", right after the renegades have captured him and it becomes clear they're going to try to brainwash him.
* SocietyMarchesOn: The author sets out to avert this by having social mores changed as well.
* SpiderTank: Great for jungles and mountains.
* TheSquad: Siegal's team in "A Season for Slaughter".
* TheSquadette. Averted by the second book; due to universal conscription, unisex combat teams are completely normal.
* StarfishAliens: The main point is that the aliens are ''very'' alien and one ongoing plot point is trying to discover whether or not there is a guiding intelligence behind the invasion at all. So far the jury is out.
* StockShticks: What does a Chtorran call a liberal? Politically Correct lunch. What does a Chtorran call a conservative? Gunpowder-seasoned lunch. Create your own Chtorran Joke: What does a Chtorran call _______? Lunch!
* SuperPoweredRobotMeterMaids: Cyberbeasts.
* TheSwarm: Again, where. To. Start. They all rush you!
* TheSymbiote: Just about every Chtorran critter is actually a composite of several Chtorran critters. Many can [[BodyHorror infest humans]].
** [[spoiler: There are hints throughout the books that the entire Chtorran ecosystem may be nothing but one huge symbiote of all the different Chtorran life forms.]]
* TankGoodness: In ''A Matter For Men'' a "Patton charger" is mentioned as being a laser-equipped tank.
* {{Terraform}}. Inverted in that it's Earth being converted into a Chtorran world.
* ThereAreNoTherapists. More like There Are No''t Enough'' Therapists. Mental illness is a major problem [[SurvivorGuilt after the death of 60% of the world population]]. Both individual therapy and the Mode Training is used, though with debatable effectiveness on the protagonist. And lots of people think of the Mode Training as an OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: Subverted in that whatever overwhelming force is used against the Chtorran ecology only helps it bounce back stronger because the local Earth ecology has now been sterilized.
* ToServeMan: What does a Chtorran call Earth? Lunch!
* TrilogyCreep: Gerrold specifically calls it "The longest trilogy I've ever written."
* TheNeidermeyer: Major Bellus. Averted in [=McCarthy=]'s case -- as a [[EnsignNewbie newly-minted officer]] he starts throwing his weight around, only to have it pointed out that his job is to inspire people, not act like a jerk.
* UriahGambit: After humiliating an idiot officer assigned to him, Captain [=McCarthy=] goes on a mission to investigate some {{Man Eating Plant}}s, only to find [[spoiler:he's being denied technical support, his security team has been ordered to withdraw without telling him, and there's a massive duststorm coming up that no-one's warned them about. He's finally extracted by a mysterious benefactor, but loses several members of his team in the process.]]
* UltimateJobSecurity: The Uncle Ira Group protects [=McCarthy=] despite him committing several [[WhatTheHellHero acts liable for court martial]]; partly because he's good at his job, but also because [=McCarthy=]'s habit of causing disruption can be turned to their political advantage. He still has to deal with the occasional ObstructiveBureaucrat attempting to kill him - to the point that they really don't care if they kill other soldiers in the process.
* {{Vaporware}}: Book 5, so far. A particularly tragic example of vaporware, as the last book ended on a cliffhanger.
** The entire fandom is dreading the possibility of AuthorExistenceFailure; Gerrold just turned 66.
* VichyEarth: Opinions differ (in the case of renegades, often violently) over whether humanity should follow a policy of resistance or co-existence with the Chtorr.
** The official GURPS campaign setting suggests that the bunnymen and libbits may be what's left of a previously invaded race that opted for the latter. Given that they're essentially at the bottom of the "natural" Chtorran food chain and absolutely ''thrilled'' about it, it isn't considered to bode well for the fate of humanity if it also takes this route.
* WalkThisWay: [=McCarthy=] is saddled with [[TheNeidermeyer Major Bellus]] who accidentally walks near a grove of shambler trees: {{Man Eating Plant}}s hosting [[TheSwarm an entire ecology of carnivorous symbiotes that swarm]] when they sense the vibrations of nearby prey. [=McCarthy=] points out that these vibrations are relayed by the creeper vines lying all around them, and the only way ''not'' to trigger them is to walk out of range at five meters per hour. Cue a SillyWalk that (as [=McCarthy=] enjoys pointing out to Bellus) is being relayed via cameras to an extensive internet audience hoping they'll die in an interesting and horrible fashion. [[spoiler:Eventually Bellus breaks down under the strain and begs for his life, so to conclude this HumiliationConga [=McCarthy=] walks out normally, saying they were never in any danger as the shambler grove was uninhabited. This stunt destroys Bellus career; unfortunately it also earns [=McCarthy=] the ire of his superiors who try to get rid of him with an UriahGambit.]]
* WhenTreesAttack: ...the only way to survive is somehow walk out of range at five meters an hour.
* YanksWithTanks: Subverted in that the United States was made to decommission much of its military after losing a war in Pakistan. Ironically this now makes the USA the most powerful nation on Earth, as its armed forces were not mobilized to deal with the plagues and so survived mostly intact.
* {{Zeerust}}: Averted mainly because the author shows not only technological changes but social changes as well. There is a noticable emphasis on internet/cyber-related technology in "A Season for Slaughter" (1993), but as similar devices were used in previous books it doesn't seem unusual.
* ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld: Blimps are used for military and rescue operations, but nothing beats the ''[[CoolAirship Hieronymus Bosch]]'', a giant luxury airship converted for the scientific expedition in "A Season for Slaughter".
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