Awesome / Literature

What do you mean, "books aren't awesome?" Reading these parts just might change your mind.

Don't forget to mind the spoilers, Tropers!
Examples:

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2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Leopards routinely attacked, mauled, and devoured the highly primitive cave people at the beginning of the Book. However, the trusty Monolith showed up, and gave a few lessons in various things, including how to wield weapons. A few nights later, the leopard attacks a cave full of people thinking it will kill them all. Not this time...
    • Snarling and lashing its tail in arrogant confidence, the leopard advanced in search of the tender food that it craved. Had it met its prey in the open, it would have had no problems; but now that the man-apes were trapped, desperation had given them the courage to attempt the impossible. And for the first time they had the means to achieve it.
  • If you thought Dave Bowman owned in the movie, you should see how he survived HAL's attack in the book.

Arcadia Snips and the Steamwork Consortium
  • Nigel Arcanum gets one when an assassin comes to kill him. For context, this is a heavily bandaged crippled burn victim in a room alone with an assassin sent to kill him, and he talks the assassin out of it with nothing more than showmanship, a dimmer switch, and a badass speech that likens trying to kill him to a Greek tragedy.

Bernard Samson Series
  • A number of moments for Bernard Samson throughout the novels.
    • In Mexico Set, he is brought into a tribunal to be accused of being a Russian traitor and involved in two murders (one of which he has already tried to cover up). Thanks to an expert frame-up job by the Russians, all the evidence is stacked against him. Though sheer force of personality, he is able to turn the tribunal round so by the end they are having to sing his praises.
    "Now you put me here in the hot seat and rig this kangaroo court up to intimidate me. But I've been over there where intimidation is done by experts. So you don't frighten me, Bret. You don't frighten me at all.
    • In London Match, he calmly shoots down two Russian mooks in a laundrette.....and laughs about it afterwards to his boss.

The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Any of the scenes where Dantes reveals himself to his enemies after destroying them.
    • "One!"
    • Similarly, the reveal scenes in Stephen Fry's Darker and Edgier modern retelling of it The Star's Tennis Balls (Revenge in America.). Although, these were somewhat more bittersweet, and frankly, kind of scary. But still, the computer screen flashing the phrase 'Ned Maddstone sends you to Hell' was just brilliant.
  • Prettyboy turned villain Benedetto's death sentencing hasn't been mentioned. Essentially, he reveals, in court, that he is the son the judge (Villefort) attempted to bury alive at birth. This is struck down by the other members of court, who even excuse Villefort's stupefied reaction, however, it does nothing to stop the villain's descent into what can only be described as insanity.
  • "Madame, where do you keep the poison that you habitually use?"
  • Monsieur Noirtier. Just sort of generally. Highlights include saving his granddaughter from an unhappy marriage by informing the groom who killed his royalist father years ago; him, of course, in an epic duel, figuring out not only that the household was being poisoned, but also the method by which he could ensure that Valentine would be immune and other such feats of badassery. All while being paralysed from the nose down.

The Dale Brown novels
  • The entirety of Flight of the Old Dog.
  • The climax of Sky Masters, where a satellite is crashed into a Chinese destroyer just as it is about to launch a nuclear missile.
  • Shadow Command, where a Black Stallion Space Plane takes out a pair of MiG-29s without firing a shot by tricking their missiles into hitting them.

Charles Dickens
  • Despite being known better for writing Funny Moments rather than Moments of Awesome, there is a notable example in Nicholas Nickleby. After weeks of observing and enduring countless abuses, our titular character finally loses his temper and intervenes when a crippled, possibly mentally stunted and horribly abused runaway is about to be flogged. He then promptly gives Headmaster Squeers the most well-deserved beating of his life, stopping only after his arm gets tired.

Dome.
  • This little-known (and highly underrated) disaster novel features an out-of-control nuclear reactor which, for various reasons, is creating a super-powerful magnetic field around itself. Cars, aircraft, ships - all are powerless to rescue the personnel from the island on which the reactor rests. Out of the blue comes their salvation, Dunkirk-fashion - the Baton Rouge Yacht Squadron, sailing to the rescue.

Dragonriders of Pern
  • "Admiral Benden, sir. May I present the Dragonriders of Pern?" (End of Dragonsdawn)
  • "All the Weyrs of Pern hovered in the sky..." (Robinton's funeral)
  • Lessa proving that yes, in fact, queens can fly whenever they damn well please. Wouldn't you say?
  • Masterharper Robinton haranguing the assembled Holders at the Council called after the first threads fall after the long interval.
  • Basically anything Robinton does on behalf of the Dragonriders.
  • Lytol's speech to the Lords after Jaxom Impresses Ruth.

Duncton Wood
  • Mandrake's arrival. He barely enters the woods and he's already put three moles down with a single talon slash. He then makes his way into Barrow Vale and the elder's meeting by killing anyone in his path. He tops all that by coercing himself in the council with an ominous and almost impossible to understand speech(it's spoken in Siabodnote ). From there he gets worse, until the great battle by the Duncton Stone, where he repeats the same feat (and apparently coming back from the dead), before he's killed by Stonecrop.
  • Bracken's run at the Duncton Stone on the Longest Night. He's so good at running and it's so dark that even his pursuers start confusing him for one of them. He then gets another one as he finishes Hulver's prayer with, paraphrasing Horwood's description, the most awesome voice any mole has ever heard.

The Enemy
  • In the first book, when Achilleus fights Just John, after beating the crap out of him, the former says, "And this is for you" and kisses the latter.
    • There's the moment at the end when Maxie walks out on David. David begins to threaten her with a load of bullets, but Ollie shoots him with a sling shot. Remember, this is just the first book!

His Dark Materials
  • In The Amber Spyglass, where Mrs. Coulter lies to Metatron. She convinces him she's turned against Lord Asriel and leads him to the edge of the great Abyss. When Asriel and Stelmaria ambush Metatron, Coulter and the Golden Monkey exchange glances and join forces with Asriel to wrestle Metatron into the Abyss, making it a suicide mission and taking him down with them.
  • And this comes well after Iorek's battle with Iofur in the first book.
  • A bit more subtle: Pan - a Shapeshifter - assuring Lyra that "we're only safe as long as we pretend". Lyra's application of his advice? Introducing herself to the mad bear king Iofur as the incarnation of his rival Iorek's soul. Silvertongue indeed.
  • Pantalaimon gets a crowning moment of his own - at one point in The Amber Spyglass, Mrs. Coulter's monkey daemon has pretty much a death grip on him, which Pan gloriously turns against the damn thing by changing into a porcupine. The little guy might not have cast iron balls like some other characters, but he sure has wits aplenty.
  • Lee Scoresby single-handedly holding off a regiment of Tartars and blowing up their zeppelin by himself.
    • Heck the prequel novella, "Once Upon a Time in the North", is just one long, long Moment of Awesome for Lee and Hester!
  • "My name is Balthamos." Makes me punch the air every time.
  • In The Amber Spyglass when Will fights Iorek and wins by slicing his helmet up with the subtle knife.

John Keats
  • He died young at the age of 26 and knew he was dying for at least a year. This fragment of poetry was found in the middle of the manuscript of an exceedingly whimsical poem (itself intended to be published under a female pseudonym) and is probably his last crowning achievement.
    This living hand, now warm and capable
    Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
    And in the icy silence of the tomb,
    So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
    That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
    So in my veins red life might stream again,
    And thou be conscience-calm’d–see here it is–
    I hold it towards you.
    • Well, Mr Keats. I would accept the challenge!

J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth
  • Túrin Turambar in Unfinished Tales, visiting his aunt in occupied Hithlum.

L.A. Quartet
  • The Big Nowhere: Buzz Meeks busting into a meeting between two crime lords and the Big Bad, and walking away with two suitcases full of money and heroin.
    • And with the girl. At least for a while.
  • L.A. Confidential has a few of these:
    • Jack Vincennes showing up drunk to D.A. Ellis Loew's party for his Senate candidacy, asking Loew who he wants him to shake down, admitting to all the Republican bigwigs that he and Sid Hudgens set up MacPherson to lose the race, and tosses a drink in Loew's face.
    • Ed Exley's virtuoso interrogation of the three Night Owl suspects - right up to and including Bud White bursting in on them and playing Russian Roulette to find out where they'd stashed Inez Soto.
    • Inez Soto's confession to Ed Exley: "The negritos who hurt me couldn't have killed the people at the Nite Owl, because they were with me the whole night. They never left my sight. I lied because I didn't want you to feel bad that you'd killed four men for me. And you want to know what the big lie is? You and your precious absolute justice."
    • Exley, Vincennes and White putting together the truth - the connections between the hooker killings, Fleur De Lis, the smut books, Mickey Cohen's mob goons, Sid Hudgens' murder, the involvement of Dieterling and Preston Exley, and the kicker, "Captain Dudley Liam Smith for the Nite Owl" - and Exley's promise to White that if he keeps quiet about Preston Exley's involvement, he'll let White kill Dudley. Scary Captain Ed, indeed.
    • Bud White tarnishing Exley's reputation by leaking new leads in the Nite Owl case to a scandal rag.
  • Oh, come on. How can you forget the very first chapter? Buzz Meeks Back for the Dead last fight AND Dudley walking through the fire in a fireman coat were pure awesome.
  • White Jazz is basically one big one for its main character Dave Klein, who despite having everyone in the world and their mothers after him manages to not only survive, but save the lives of all his loved ones as well, quite a rarity in Ellroy's work. And then at the very end of the book he casually murders the remaining villains almost as an afterthought.

The Old Man and the Sea
  • The scene at the end of the book when the protagonist finally manages to return to his village with the skeleton of the giant fish, proving that he actually did catch it, which means much more for his status in the village than the fish meat itself would have.

Origami Yoda
  • At the end of the 5th book, Tommy explains to Harvey via case file comment who stole the case file, attached an origami Princess Leia to it, and attached labels to it. He asks questions to get Harvey thinking, like "Who could make an origami Princess Leia that good? With hair buns and everything?" He answers these questions by saying, "That's right... Dwight!". And then, there's a label below Tommy's comment, implied to be placed by Dwight: "That's Captain Dwight!"

The Scarlet Letter
  • Just after Roger Chillingworth's Ignored Epiphany, Hester says, "Be it sin or no, I hate the man!" After a moment of trying to convince herself otherwise, either repressing or ignoring the sentiment, she says, more strongly,
    Yes, I hate him! He betrayed me! He has done me worse wrong than I did him!

Tour of the Merrimack
  • T.O. Steele is practically a walking Moment of Awesome. Just to cite a few examples:
    • Steele is with a group of marines on a planet that is about to fall into a black hole, and they have one fewer ships than people. One of the marines volunteers to stay behind, and the rest of the squad departs without her. Then, upon reaching the Merrimack, Steele immediately gets into a larger shuttle, turns right back around, and flies back into the gravity well to rescue her. No One Gets Left Behind, indeed.
    • Steele manually opens an airlock on an enemy ship from the inside without a space suit in a Heroic Sacrifice... minus the sacrifice, because he then manages to close the door again before suffocating. Then, because that wasn't nearly awesome enough, he proceeds to fight his way towards the ship's bridge armed with nothing but a crowbar.
    • Captured by the enemy, Steele is forced to participate in Gladiator Games. After winning a few rounds against extreme odds, Steele realizes there's no way to escape from the stadium and that they're just going keep throwing opponents at him until he finally dies. In the next round, he intentionally throws himself on his opponent's sword, guessing that the infirmary will be less well guarded. Luck is with him: the Romans decide to patch him back up for an encore, and Steele fights his way free the instant his insides are back on the inside.
  • Augustus gets one when he fires a single shot from his Strix which passes straight as an arrow through kilometers of rock, into the Emperor's secure bunker, and directly through the back of his throne at precisely head height. And that was just the warning shot.
  • Swordsmaster Jose Maria is a Technical Pacifist, sworn never to harm any human. But that only applies to humans, so when he gets cornered by the Gorgon swarm which killed his wife, he demonstrates exactly how deserving he is of the title of master.

Warhammer Novels
  • There is of course the incident when Reiner Hetzau, when confronted with the traitorous knight Eric, convinces him to dismount and put down the banner giving him super strength so that they can have a chivalrous and fair duel. Reiner immediately shoots him in the head, and when walking off comments about how Eric should have known he wouldn't play fair.
  • Besides Sigmar himself, Volkmar the Grim is probably the most badass motherfucker to ever grace the Empire. After being slain in battle, Volkmar was resurrected by a daemon and chained to his battle standard in order to demoralize the enemy. However, Volkmar, unhappy with this turn of events, breaks free of his chains and uses them to kill his daemonic captors. After being rescued, Volkmar confronts a Vampire Count and his undead horde. All he does is stare in the Count's eyes, which unnerves the vampire enough to turn his army around and head home without a fight.
  • When Detlef Sierck is facing down Constant Drachenfels at the climax of The Vampire Genevieve:
    "Back," he said, summoning all his acting skills to put the heroic ring into his voice. "In the name of Sigmar, back!"
    "Sigmar!" Spittle flew from the mouthslit of the mask. "He's dead and gone, little man. But I'm here!"
    "Then in my name, back!"
    "Your name? Who are you to defy Constant Drachenfels, the Great Enchanter, the Eternal Champion of Evil, the Darkness Who Would Not Be Defied?"
    "Detlef Sierck," he snapped. "Genius!"

John C. Wright
  • In The Golden Oecumene:
    • The culmination of Phaethon's massive plan, in which he sucessfully outmaneuvers every single person, character, and institution that opposed him, usually without knowing what he was doing.
    • The Solar Array (a supercollider built around the equator of the sun).
    • The Phoenix Exultant
    • Atkins' defeat of Xenophon, and earlier, firing a weapon through the planet to kill a man standing on the other side of the world.
    • Helios Prime's Heroic Sacrifice: staying behind on the Array when even AIs fled and being burnt to death, but defeating a monster solar storm singlehandedly and saving his son's life in the process.
    • Daphne Tercius getting over her own trauma and inferority complexes, and rebooting Phaethon from his Heroic B.S.O.D.. Also a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • From Last Guardian Of Everness we have this quote:
    Pendrake: "Maybe these supernatural beings are pretty tough. Let's see how the magic of modern science stands up to them. I have the Presidential emergency launch device in my car and can code in new targets. The bad guys foolishly disabled their own ability to override the launch signal. I can hit any spot on the planet. Let's nuke Acheron.
    • Merlin revoking the powers of a Physical God insisting that, contrary to all evidence, Humans Are Bastards—and telling him to sit down and shut up until they're ready to deal with him.

Other
  • In Steve Alten's Meg series, in the first book, the protagonist Jonas Taylor is swallowed by a megalodon in a bathyspere. While in the meg's stomach, he uses a fossilized megalodon tooth that he keeps as a souvenir to cut through the meg's innards and then CUT ITS HEART OUT.
  • In Ran Prieur's "Apocalypsopolis" (just go to www.ranprieur.com and check the sidebar), the Author Avatar character decides to bring down the American government using a disease he has an immunity to. He gets caught by security forces, interrogated, "forcibly questioned", and then passes out, upon which he is visited by a gang of extremly symbolic Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. And then pwns them.
  • Philip Marlowe taking out Canino in The Big Sleep.
  • In Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's Lucifer's Hammer:
    • The Hot Fudge Sundae, which comes on Tuesday. How the Hammer got this nickname is both awesome and mildly silly.
    • "But we used to control the lightning!"
  • In Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's Footfall, the Orion drive human spaceship. Pansy anti-nuclear activists, take that! The lift-off of the warship Michael (named for the archangel) itself is made of awesome. If you haven't read the book and don't understand what the big deal is, take a moment to learn what an Orion Drive is. Now picture one of these, big enough to carry space shuttles as fighters, lifting off and going to Earth orbit using just its main drive. The narration describes what it was like inside the ship: "God was knocking, and he wanted in bad."
  • Pretty much everything Kissur White falcon ever says or does in Yulia Latynina's Wizards and Ministers and Insider. Literally: a few contemplative or romantic moments aside, he can't seem to be able to appear in a scene without doing something utterly awesome. But the finest has to be the culmination of "Wizards and Ministers", where, after failing to persuade the agents of the Federation of the Twelve to use their technology to bring about a quick end to the current civil war in the Empire of Veya (where the novels are set; at the moment he also happens to be the Prime Minister of Veya) he stole one of their super-modern planes with the help of a countryman with very minor flying experience, waited for them to extract the Emperor of Veya from captivity as part of their plan, proclaimed that from now on, as a soldier in the Veyan army, he only followed the orders of Kissur and bombed the hell out of the rebel camp, destroying the main rebel army and the entire rebel leadership. Then he crash-landed the plane and moved as fast as he could to the capital, where he immediately gave everyone in the palace a Breaking Speech. And then he committed suicide because he felt insulted by the Emperor's earlier mistrust, by throwing a knife in his chest with maximum precision after scaring everyone by seeming to threaten the Emperor. And then, thanks to advanced Federation technology, he got better in time for the epilogue, during which he reaffirmed his bonds of friendship with the resident Magnificent Bastard, to the explicit sheer horror of everyone else. Breathtaking.
    • There is also Counsellor Arfarra. An outlaw from the Empire who plots to bring a kingdom conquered by a proud warrior race back to the said Empire (a militarily weak state without its own regular army). Using just his brain and some technology, that everyone else in this land sees as magic. That includes drugging and hypnotizing the royal court, so they see him walk in heaven and talk to gods; killing enemy soldiers with "demons" which happen to be poison gas; building a dam stuffed with dynamite and blowing it up at the right moment, to flood a rebellious city and demonstrate the "wrath of the Golden Emperor."
  • The first public appearance of the Spartans in Halo: The Fall of Reach. "We're going to kill every single alien on this planet."
  • Eye of the Needle: Lucy, after a grueling night holding off the assault from German spy Heinrich, is about to throw in the towel when it seems he's finally gotten to use the house's radio and can hold her at gunpoint if she enters the room. Then she sees the U-boat he's transmitting to and realizes just how big the stakes are (before, she thought he was "just" a serial killer) and blows out the house's power by unscrewing a light bulb and jamming her fingers in the socket. In front of her three-year-old son. Numerous characters remark on this badassery afterwards.
  • In Against the Odds the final book in a series, one of the characters shuts up a room full of arguing politicians. What makes this awesome is that she was considered a fluffhead for most of the series.
  • Magnificent Bastard Grendel in John Gardner's Grendel seems to be at his best during the sequence when he starts pelting Unferth in the face with apples, breaking his nose while mocking his concept of being a hero. Then when Unferth drags himself through the nightmarish swamp to get to Grendel's lair, and proceeds to give a lengthy speech about dying as a hero before passing out, Grendel almost kills him...before realizing that leaving Unferth alive is far greater punishment than anything else he could do to him. He then carries him back, unharmed, to the humans' castle and deposits him gently on the doorstep...and then kills two of the guards, "Just so as not to be misunderstood." I mean...just wow.
  • In Jo Graham's novel Black Ships, the protagonist is the priestess of the goddess of death. One morning, spurred on by a vision, she runs towards her city, only to discover that it's being invaded. When she arrives — dressed in ceremonial attire that makes her look like the goddess in question — she screams at the men to stop, yelling, "On your knees to Death!" And it works. Every combatant sinks to his knees.
  • In The Rosetta Key By William Dietrich, Ethan Gage, after being shot at with his own gun by his nemesis Najac, fights his way through an entire Napoleonic French Platoon with nothing but a metal bar in less then 60 seconds, and then surving as Najac fires on him at point blank range - with the ramrod still in the barrel. Gage survives and proceeds to use the ramrod in his chest to pierce the other mans heart - Of course, the only reason he survived the ramrod was because it had hit a gold cylinder he had kept in his shirt..
  • Roughly speaking, Vernor Vinge's novel A Deepness in the Sky ends in two massive Crowning Moments of Awesome - first for Pham Nuwen, then for the Spiders
  • Paradise Lost has a few:
    • Action Jesus during the revolt of the angels. (Jesus on a chariot with a bow and arrow. .) His rebuff of Satan in Paradise Regained is pretty impressive too.
    • Satan actually getting into the Garden of Eden by impersonating a minor angel. He even got past Uriel!
    • Abdiel standing up to Satan's pressure and keeping true to God.
  • Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion, during the third book Oath of Gold.
    • Two of Paksenarrion's scenes in that novel. The first comes after she's spent five days at the mercy of the priests of the god of torture and torment in exchange for their releasing the true heir to the throne of a nearby country along with his squires. She's had pretty much everything done to her that it's possible to do to someone at a medieval tech level, in front of a crowd of hundreds of worshippers of said god. At the very end of it the priests haul her up and force her onto her (broken, burnt, bound) knees in front of the crowd, the following exchange takes place:
      Priest of Liart: And now, paladin? Where is your lord's protection now?''
      Paks: The High Lord has dominion. Gird has upheld me here; I have not failed. * passes out from the pain*
    • The second occurs a chapter or two later in a town that the followers of Liart have been terrorizing:
      Village elder: Paladin, are you? You come here and tell us to fight, and then you'll go away, and it will start again. What do you know about that, eh? Fancy armor, fancy horse, fancy sword. You never lay bound on Liart's altar! It's easy for you!
      Paks: * takes off helmet, revealing her shaved, scarred, generally horribly maltreated head* You're wrong. And this is the proof of it.
      Village elder: * opens mouth, shuts mouth, says nothing*
  • There is a moment in the sixth book, Raiders of Gor. Most of the book is set in the city of Port Kar, wretched hive of scum and villainy by the sea. In the swords-and-no-sorcery world of Gor, each city has a Home Stone, a small rock which is to the city what a flag is to a nation on Earth, multiplied by a thousand. Except Port Kar, which has never had one. Late in the book, word arrives that an enemy city has sent a massive invasion fleet, which will arrive in a few days. Reaction in Port Kar is virtually unanimous: everybody decides to run away. Then amidst all of the chaos one of the strongmen in the city tells a slave-boy to bring him a rock. He takes out his knife and crudely carves "PK" on it and then holds it up and declares it to be the Home Stone of the city. And people stop. And the word spreads. And people on their way out of the city stop, and start to come back. And in about one hour, the situation has changed from panicked every-man-for-himself flight to "Hey you, invaders — bring your sorry asses over here so we can kick them all over the place." And they do. Awesome.
  • In the Tom Swift IV novel "Mind Games", Tom and company are playtesting a new computer-assisted Tabletop RPG, "Galaxy Masters"; unfortunately, the DM playing the villain Dedstorm is a Munchkin supreme, and he has the tactics to back up his blowhard demeanor. In the grand finale, Tom hits upon two GameBreakers that turn the entire game around (and expose some nasty problems with the game mechanics): he destroys one of the game's MacGuffins, both of which are needed for the villain to win (but only one is required for the heroes), and when the heroes are backed into a corner by Dedstorm's legion of Energy Wraiths, with Tom's lone weapon short on power, he comes up with an unorthodox combination of function cylinders (that basically involves duct-taping them together in order to circumvent the fact that they're not supposed to be turned backwards) that turns the weapon into an energy vacuum, sucking up the Wraiths and recharging his gun. When the DM realizes Tom has him beat, he leaves the table, whining "it's just a stupid game".
  • The SotS novel The Deacon's Tale has several.
    • Twice Born Prince Chezokin, a member of the breeding caste of a insectile race with an overdeveloped sense of family and for whom reincarnation is a very real possibility for the worthy, when told that he may not participate in the coming battle because he is too important to be sacrificed and because his mother forbade him to join the battle, rips off his own wings, effectively emasculating himself, and declares himself "a person of little consequence." Horrifyingly, the left wing is harder to tear off than the right.
    • When leading the battle against the psychotic psychic space weasel-badgers who regard mindrape as normal social interaction, his warrior children, armed with flamethrowers, are mind controlled to attack him. He walks through the resulting fireball like it was a summer breeze, emerging incandescent with heat on the other side, stabs the psychotic psychic space weasel-badger that was controlling them, and says "I am the father of the blazing sun. My sons cannot hurt me, massaaku. But I? I can hurt you." shaking the psychotic psychic space weasel-badger for emphasis.
    • Ezz'in, a young worker of the same insectile race, realizing that the only way that the battle can be won is for him to execute a kamikaze attack against the enemy, reflects that death in service to the Queen wasn't as glorious as those who had already died in her service had led him to believe.
    • When Cai Rui, the main character, is offered a place of power in the Consortia, declines because "I can't resist being a man in black."
  • Robert Harris's Imperium chronicles the rise to power of Cicero, perhaps the greatest orator of Roman times. Naturally, the book is full of Awesome. The greatest moment comes when Cicero takes on his rival Hortensius in court, with the jury stacked against him and little time to make his case. He responds by changing the rules, pulling the rug out from under Hortensius, leaving him all but speechless before the parade of damning evidence that follows.
  • Similar to the last one, Colleen McCullough Masters of Rome series is a massive chronicle of the last decades of the Roman Republic, in which Marius, Sulla, Caesar, Cicero, and Octavian (among many others) get each plenty of C.M.O.A. For example, in the second novel, The Grass Crown, Marius is sent to parley with barbarian king Mithridates, and convinces him that his much vaster army is useless against Marius's legions, that will kick his ass in battle just because they are Romans. Mithridates retreats. Later in the book, Mithridates gains enough courage to become a nuisance again, and Sulla is sent with a similar mission: the scene is more or less repeated with even more awesomeness on Sulla's side (foreshadowing Sulla's eventual defeat of Marius in a future civil war) and Mithridates retreats once more, scared shitless of facing the Romans in open battle.
  • In Lost in a Good Book, Thursday is put on trial for changing the ending of Jane Eyre in the previous book... in the courtroom from Kafka's The Trial, a place whose bureaucratic ridiculousness is specifically designed to not allow the defendant a chance in hell to go free. However, Thursday puts everyone off guard by not fighting the court's incompetence as she is meant to, but conceding every single point the prosecution makes, starting from when it gets her name wrong. This causes so much confusion that eventually the prosecuting attorney is arrested, and with no one to prosecute Thursday's trial is delayed and sent to another court. Given that this turns out to be the court of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland this doesn't do her much good, but that one moment is beautiful.
    • Later in the novel, after she brings Acheron out of his prison in "The Raven" in order to rescue her husband, Thursday gets locked in a room without any writing whatsoever, so that she can't escape into the BookWorld. Miss Haversham comes into the real world looking for her, and gets her out by reading the washing directions on the label of Thursday's pants.
    • The battle between Yorrick Kaine and The Cat involved bringing fictional characters into the real world to battle each other. Yorrick Kaine "cheats" and brings out the Kraken, which should win him the battle automatically. However, The Cat counters by bringing out The Blue Fairy, who turns him into "a real boy". This leaves Yorrick Kaine without any BookWorld]-based powers, sending the Kraken back into fiction and leaving him stranded in the real world: he lost the battle and his power in both the BookWorld and, by the end of the book, Britain.
  • The (currently mostly obscure) novels of WWI-era Scottish writer John Buchan have these in spades. Apart from his most famous novel and its sequels,
    • In Salute to Adventurers, the pirate Red Ringan demolishes a band of thugs...while disguised as a Quaker.
      • And Scottish grocer Andrew Garvald gets caught, tortured, and nearly killed by Indians, but doesn't let that stop him going off to confront and talk sense into the crazy religious fanatic villain.
  • In Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Lady Una gets one of these when Redcrosse is on the verge of committing suicide for his sins. She's been in immense danger because of him deserting her to follow The Vamp around as a bodyguard/boytoy, then had to hire King Arthur to rescue him from said villainess, acting supportive and forgiving throughout. But when a bad guy talks Redcrosse into wiping his dishonour out with blood, Una puts her foot down and delivers a concise, well-reasoned series of verbal bitchslaps.
  • In Sir Walter Scott's novel Rob Roy, Rob Roy's wife Helen Macgregor appears as a blood-curdlingly awesome brigand queen. Her appearance is one long Moment of Awesome, especially when she's having prisoners thrown into Loch Lomond.
  • In Anthony Hope's novel The Prisoner of Zenda, The Dragon is Rupert of Hentzau, who is one long villainous Moment of Awesome. Let's see: he stabs the hero in public; makes eyes at the hero's Love Interest when they meet shortly thereafter; does his best to kill the king; attempts to rape his master's mistress; and then kills said master when discovered. That is not counting the sequel.
    • Rupert's only real Moment of Awesome comes in Chapter 19 of TPoZ, where he's standing on the battlements above the moat between the woman he has just tried to rape, who has a loaded gun, and the hero, who has a sword. The hero assumes Rupert has a choice between rushing the woman, risking that she'll succeed in shooting him, or backing off - in the hero's direction. Rupert does neither: he bows to the woman, says "I can't kill where I've kissed" and jumps from the battlements into the moat - the only villain to escape and survive into the sequel.
  • Dragons in Our Midst: Billy searing Olga's arm to get her to let Bonnie go.
    • Bonnie bailing him out a few minutes later.
  • Earth Logic: The nigh-omnipotent G'deon Karis takes down a fortress singlehandedly, with a ball-pen hammer, with one strike. As one character puts it, after seeing the result (the stones continuing to fall and roll away from each other until not a single one is touching another) "Did you have to do that? Now this wall will never finish falling."
  • After many Crowning Moments throughout his career, Bruce Willis even managed to get one in a non-fiction novel. In My Boring Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith, Kevin Smith tells the story of his being in Live Free or Die Hard with Bruce. During which, he managed to talk down a group of Studio Executives simply by asking them who their second choice to play John McClane was. Now, if only he could have used this magical power to get LFDH that R-Rating...
  • In Mercedes Lackey's novel The Chrome Circle, the hero's kitsune friend Foxtrot Xray (no joke) launches himself at one of the novel's Big Bads in an (ultimately futile) attempt to let the guy go. Noted in that his fellow fox spirits recognized just how badass it was, and promoted him up from three tails to four five. Yes, he was so badass that he was double-promoted.
    • In the same book, Tannim escaped from The Fair Folk by driving his guards insane - with They Might Be Giants lyrics.
    • In Born to Run Tannim took out the big bad, who was a very powerful elf warrior/mage (and producer of child snuff pornography) by bitch-slapping him with a cold iron Ford Mustang.
    • Also in Born to Run, Foxtrot X-Ray single-handedly routs an entire host of the Unseleighe, any single one of which could have disemboweled him with their toenails, by shapeshifting into the likeness of High King Oberon and bluffing out the entire mob.
  • Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book: Silas is arguing with Bod about Bod being allowed to go into the outside world. Silas presents the argument that if Bod goes, he will have no one to protect him from the man Jack. Bod's response? "It's not a question of who will protect me from him... but who will protect him from me
  • One Thousand and One Nights is perhaps the only time a Moment of Awesome appears in the Framing Device. Sheherazade single-handedly averts the murderous rage of the King by telling him a story which ends on a cliffhanger so enticing that he has to keep her alive so he can hear the ending. Then she does it a thousand more times until he is cured of his hatred of women.
  • Trisha McFarland has exactly one Crowning Moment of Awesome in The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. She stares down and then throws a Walkman in the face of the God of the Lost.
  • In Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, despite there being any number of people both motivated and capable, the one who ends up killing the wife-beating, kidnapping rapist Bennett is the sweet, unassuming grandmother Sipsey. With a five-pound skillet to the head, without even a hint of remorse. And then she cuts off his head and buries it in the garden. Her son gets one shortly thereafter when he butchers Bennett and feeds him to the inspectors investigating Bennett's disappearance as barbecue sandwiches.
    • Reverend Scroggins gets one after years of being the butt of Idgie's pranks when he organizes all the hobos she helped to pose as his congregation to testify to that she and Big George were at a revival meeting the night Frank went missing.
  • In the final book of the The Saga of Seven Suns a species that lives in stars, called the Faeros, blow up THE MOON. Heck, practically everyone gets a Moment of Awesome.
  • In Flanders Fields is a poem so moving, so tear jerking that it deserves to be printed in full:
    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.
  • The Heritage/Legacy/Inheritance trilogies (no, not THAT Inheritance Trilogy) by Ian Douglas are pretty much ever-escalating Crowning Moments for humanity and the Xul. First, the Xul manage to rule the galaxy for ten million years after obliterating the rulers before them. Humanity goes to war against them and manages to avoid being completely wiped out of existence. Then humanity discovers that the Xul have a Dyson Cloud around the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Humanity's response is to hit it with a star.
  • Father Brown in his first appearance. At the beginning of the story he is seemingly kidnapped by Flambeau, the biggest criminal in Europe who is after a blue jewelled cross that Father Brown is transporting. At the end of the story, Father Brown reveals that not only is he not carrying the cross (he switched parcels so it is now winging its way in safety to Rome) and not only did he purposely orchestrate events of the story in order to allow the police to follow them but also that Father Brown knows every villainous trick that Flambeau knows and then some from just listening to criminals in confession. The story ends with a pre-Wayne's World moment of 'we are not worthy' from not only Flambeau but also France's leading detective
  • A surprisingly placed Moment of Awesome shows up near the end of Philip K. Dick's first novel, Solar Lottery. Newly appointed world leader Leon Cartwright has a choice to make: hand world rulership over to classic President Evil Reese Verrick, or Verrick will take advantage of the fact that anyone, any time, is allowed to kill the ruler without fear of death or imprisonment for the low, low price of never being able to become ruler himself. Cartwright's decision? Give Verrick rulership, then immediately shoots him dead before turning to ask the nearby Judge: "Is this legal?" It is.
  • John Grisham's The Runaway Jury is a Moment of Awesome "Marlee" and "Nicholas" have been planning for years. They basically destroy the tobacco industry's stock value in one fell swoop.
  • James Patterson's Cat and Mouse: "Look at this can of Coke. Ordinary can of Coke. Your Coke, Simon."
  • Frank Herbert's The Dosadi Experiment features one long one for hero Jorj X. Mc Kie in it's last two chapters. The aliens known as Gowachin have an absurdly complex and Kafka-esque legal system, and despite Mc Kie's extensive training in their practices, he's barely able to survive a meeting with a Gowachin attorney early in the book. By the end, his experiences have made him far more hardened and pragmatic, and upon entering a Gowachin courtroom he's able to play the whole system like a violin to see that the guilty are all punished, and set in motion some pretty big changes to come (unfortunately, Author Existence Failure means we don't get to see those plans come to fruition).
  • The climax of The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce. Aeriel refuses to kill the darkangel and chooses instead to redeem him - by cutting out her own heart and placing it in his chest to replace the one that was coated in lead by the witch. The duarough gets one that follows up her romantic sacrifice with a Crowning Moment of Logical Thought. He holds the lead heart over a lamp and melts the lead off it, then puts that in her chest to bring her back to life.
  • Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant novels are chock full of Crowning Moments of Awesome. It'll take a while to list them all.
  • The citizens of Marianstat get a huge one at the end of Lloyd Alexander's Westmark trilogy. After months of hardship under a usurping tyrant, the common people get pushed too far and start an uprising so fast that both the royalist resistance and the revolutionaries can barely keep up. The reinstated queen acknowledges their awesome by abdicating in their favor right after she gets her throne back.
  • Kidah in the Caretaker Trilogy shows us all why he is the big hero of the future in the climactic battle of the second book. The Big Bad points some sort of tower-mounted laser at him, and his response? He throws his torch into the air, somehow converts it into an EMP burst, and then directs lightning, with what is described as an "apocalyptic peal of thunder", into striking the tower, which pretty much vaporizes it. All this while telepathically directing such things as colonies of army ants to attack enemy soldiers and immense swarms of gnats to take down helicopters.
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora: where to start? Locke escaping from the Duke's spymaster while ten stories up a tower filled with secret police who know who he is? The brutal To the Pain he deals out to the Falconer? The final duel with the Gray King? Or hey, let's talk about how he pulled off a con by telling the mark exactly what was going on. And to give someone besides Locke credit, there's Jean killing the Berangias twins, two women who make their living fighting sharks.
    • I'm gonna go with punching an old lady in the teeth. He had reasons, but really, the action just sorta stands on its own.
  • No love for Gore's fight with the Starflyer Assassin in Judas Unchained from the Commonwealth Saga? Brainwashed assassin plus angry papa/grandpapa-wolf, plus all the implanted high tech technology money can buy = one awesome fight sequence.
  • God's Debris. Every. Single. Sentence.
  • In the second book of R.A. Salvatore's "The Cleric Quintet", we've spent a book and a half without seeing magic from the supposed cleric hero. As he's holding in the guts of a friend that just saved his life along with the life of the prince, he attempts to heal for the first time. Nothing happens and he yells to his god "Damn you Denir if you don't help me now!"
  • In Flinx Transcendent, Alan Dean Foster's final novel in the Flinx and Pip series, the titular hero singlehandedly convinces the AAnn, centuries-long enemies of mankind, to suspend all hostile activity in the face of the oncoming Ultimate Evil, by brazenly walking into their seat of government in disguise and sending the Emperor and his entire council on an astral projection without their consent.
  • In Sean Mcmullan's clockpunk post-apocalypse novel Souls In The Great Machine, there are quite a few:
    • The first use of the Battle Calculor and then, much later, the defeat of the Alspring knock-off
    • Zarvora Cybeline's real plan - First, she becomes Highliber. Next, she uses the calculor's abilities to take control of Rochester, and then more or less the entire south of Australia, so she has the resources to put together some working rockets. With them (and the Calculor), she tricks the ancient orbital battlestations that EMP any electronics they detect on the ground into firing on the sunshade being assembled around the planet by ancient Nano Machines, cutting it to pieces.
      • and then Mirrorsun gets a Crowning Moment of its own when it repairs itself over the next few weeks, plays around with lenses, and then melts, pulverises or blows up each and every one of those battlestations. Which allows the librarians to reinvent radio, call it up and politely ask it to please stop freezing the planet. And send some toys from its lunar nanofactories.
  • Dan Simmons's Illium: Hector and Achilles decide that they've had enough of being playthings of the gods and team up. In one of the last scenes, the armies of gods and humans are lined up against each other, ready for battle, and Achilles walks forth to meet Zeus...
    Zeus: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY BEFORE YOU AND YOUR SPECIES DIE?
    Achilles: Surrender now, and we'll spare your goddesses's lives so that they can be our slaves and courtesans.
  • Unto the Breach, in the Paladin of Shadows series has several.
    • Arguably, the whole battle against the Chechens and others is one big Crowning Moment of Awesome for all the Keldara.
    • Captain Kacey Bathlick is doing supply/ambulance duty via helo for the embattled Keldara troops when she gets her new keldara crew chief blasted in two by a 12.7mm bullet flying over a high pass guarded by three bunkers occupied by hostiles. In response she gets in the other helo, which has been rigged with a full weapons system, goes back to the pass and utterly annihilates the bunkers and the men manning them to the point where all that is left is three smoking craters. While playing metal on the external speakers.
      • Heh, and Chief D'Aillard gets one for making the busted up helo flightworthy again (the men in the bunkers did shoot back after all; every damage indicator on that wasn't red was yellow) in just a bit over two hours with only two trained techs and some willing but untrained volunteers to help him.
    • Oleg, one of the Keldara team leaders, gets one leg badly mauled below the knee by mortar shrapnel. Since they are in fixed positions he doesn't have to move, but he needs to be able to lead/direct his men and the pain from the injured leg prevents him from doing that.
      His solution? Have a fellow Keldara cut of the injured leg just above the knee and put a tourniquet on it.
      Aer Keldar! indeed.
    • The charge of the Kildar. Even for Ghost, that was awesome.
    • Lasko, the Keldara designated hunter and sniper of nigh supernatural skill makes a truly stupendous shot, killing a target at 2782 meters, live on international television. However, he himself acknowledge that it was as much luck as skill at that range. His real Crowning Moment of Awesome comes in the next book, A Deeper Blue.
      He takes out four targets in four seconds but because they want them alive he shoots them in the knee, on pure skill. He is in a helicopter, they are in a powerful speedboat dancing over the waves.
      Think about that for a moment. Four knees, four bullets, four seconds, with target and shooter moving in multiple dimensions simultaneously.
    • Father Kulcyanov gets one in the backstory, where it is revealed that among other things, during WWII, he took out four german tanks with a captured german rocket launcher, by himself, on foot. This sort of thing isn't even uncommon among the Keldara.
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has one in pretty much every zombie attack, but perhaps the biggest doesn't involve them at all: Elizabeth, her Chinese combat training having been disparaged by Lady Catherine, faces off against three of the Lady's Japanese ninjas. She blindfolds herself before the match and promptly kills all three of them, including strangling one with his own intestines and ripping out another one's heart and taking a bite.
  • Ashe from Elizabeth Hayden's Rhapsody has a good one. Ashe is a generally mild-mannered, pushover character who fights constantly to keep the greedy, self-centered, destructively-oriented "dragon" side of his nature under control. He lets it off the leash only once during the series, to exact vengeance on a traitor. He then sets fire to a forest (with his mind), walks through the flames untouched, corners the traitor, and turns him inside out in an attempt to get information about his master's whereabouts, all the while coolly ignoring the traitor's pleas for mercy. This is made all the more awesome by the fact that the traitor believes he can use his nature staff to banish Ashe from the forest. Ashe (the one who truly controls the power supposedly inherent in the staff), responds by setting the staff on fire.
  • Tad Williams's Tailchaser's Song - Tailchaser almost single-pawedly takes on one of feline kind's three gods in his quest to merely be reunited with his mate Hushpad.
  • Edwin Windsor, protagonist(/antagonist, depending on your viewpoint) of How to Succeed in Evil is nearly a walking Crowning Moment. The conclusion of the story is perhaps his defining moment of character, however, as he calmly speaks to the fallen Superhero Excelsior, showing him through words and pictures that his entire life as a Hero has been a sham and that he has caused far more death in the world than he has prevented and convinces him the only way to salvage his reputation would be to be buried alive under a million tons of concrete.
  • Towards the end of Stephen King's The Stand, Glen Bateman—an old, cynical sociology professor—laughs at Randall Flagg. In his face. His line is basically, "THIS is what we've been afraid of all this time?!" Later, Glen is shot by Flagg's right-hand man, and his last words are, "That's okay, son. You don't know any better." And this contributes to Flagg's utter meltdown in the end of the book.
  • Dionys McCannock tries to taunt Edmund Talbot, in the climactic battle of There Will Be Dragons, but it's brushed aside by Talbot, who then replies with an epic verbal smackdown, quite Shakespearean in nature, all the while dancing around the attempted blows by an increasingly infuriated Dionys.
  • Have Courage, Hazel Green! has a brilliant Moment of Awesome in the courtyard scene.
  • Since no one's mentioned anything by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., in Darknesses, Alucius, after beating two ifrits and wrecking their Tables, and after being discharged from the military, has twenty assassins sent after him. He realizes they're there, rides right into the trap, and kills them all.
  • The Red Mars Trilogy has Arkady Bogdanov and his team building enormous rocket engines into Phobos just on the off chance that it might be used as a weapons platform someday. After Arkady and other members of the First Hundred are killed by strikes from Phobos during the revolution of 2061, Nadia activates the system and decelerates Phobos enough that it crashes down to Mars.
    • Sax Russell reaches similar levels of preparation for the second revolution. He sets up engines on Deimos and silos full of surface-to-space missiles to ensure that within hours of the revolution starting the Martians are in full control of Mars orbital space.
  • A Good Clean Fight by Derek Robinson: The German army has sent a force out into the desert to intercept the SAS patrols that have been raiding their airfields. They do eventually manage to find the SAS, but it doesn't quite work out as planned. The Germans have superior numbers, plus mortars and heavy machine guns. The SAS have two commandos with knives and pistols. Obviously the Germans never stand a chance.
  • The first section of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" catalogs death, drugs, madhouses, and just about every physical and mental torture the beats experienced, yet in the last few lines we learn that all of this is utterly worth it, because it has inspired POETRY that "blew the suffering of America's naked mind for love". Now that is some powerful verse.
  • In Frank E. Peretti's This Present Darkness, the angel Guilo gets one at the end when his captain allows him to sound the victory in his place.
    • Marshall has a few good ones, but toward the end, he runs into Shawn, the guy who had led his daughter into a cult and had been helping the others try to force her to ceremonially kill herself. Marshall doesn't say a word, just punches the little bastard's lights out then and there.
  • Phillip Reeve's steampunk fantasy Larklight. Readers might have half expected Grindle to shout "I AM A SEXY, SHOELESS GOD OF WAR!"
  • In Guy Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan the fanatical expy-Muslim Muwardi desert warriors have attacked an expy-Christian encampment. Their leader's first move is to bash in the skull of a thirteen year old boy. Then, for the next handful of pages, you think this is going to be a Crowning Moment of Heartbreak where we see the boy die because no-one has the skills to save him. Then - the expy-Jewish refugee doctor steps up to the plate and performs their world's first trepannation to relieve the pressure on the boy's brain. It's an operation no-one had believed possible, or dared to perform before this but this man knows he has the skills to pull it off. And he does and the boy lives. What makes this even more awesome is that he blind and dumb and performs the operation by momory, instinct and feel with his wife translating his instructions since she is the only one who can understand him. It is a scene to make you cry with joy and exultation.
  • In Night Watcher: Grey is a dog whose master was killed by vampires. He runs away in fear, then figures out how vampire mental powers work (and how to counter them by making vampires think he's scarier than them)... and goes on awesome vampire-hunting rampage. In a city that's crawling with them. In the middle of a brutal stray dog-shooting campaign. He's actually quite disappointed with how easily the small fry go down, until he runs into a vampire pack leader, who is to vampires what vampires are to humans. Cue another Crowning Moment of Awesome as Grey is rescued - after holding his ground on his own quite well, mind you! - by Igor Dolinsky, who then becomes his new master.
  • The second Empire from the Ashes book has several, such as Colin's Big Damn Heroes scene, where he saves the Earth from the brink of destruction at the hands of alien invaders with an awesomely brief Curb-Stomp Battle, which he follows up with not long afterward by blowing up a sun. Dahak gets his own at the end of that book, when he disobeys Colin's direct order to save himself (revealing his ability to disregard his core programming), turns down the enemy AI commander's We Can Rule Together offer, and hacks it into total system failure, sacrificing himself (sort of) to stop the invasion for good.
  • Peter Pan in Scarlet has one near the end: Right after a Crowning Momentof Heartwarming between Wendy and Captain Hook, Peter Pan tries to banish Wendy to Nowhereland for helping his enemy.
'A french window for me, if you please!' said Wendy defiantly, and Peter, taken aback, made the door into a pair of french windows instead.
'Wendy Darling, I banish you to Nowhereland for giving succour to the enemy! Go now!'
'The door jambs are not straight,' said Wendy, and folded her arms. ... Wendy did not look very punished. She did not even look very banished, standing there on the far side of the door with her arms crossed. 'Stand away, please,' she said sharply, and the boys stepped smartly backwards—Even Peter Pan. Then Wendy bent down, picked up an imaginary boulder, and hurled it through the imaginary french windows. There was the most tremendous smash of breaking glass. 'Bosh and tosh!' she said, stepping through the wreckage of glazing bars and locks and bolts, being careful not to tear her pirate-flag dress on the jagged glass. 'Sometimes, Peter, you are such a ninny!'
  • The Kitty Norville series is relatively restrained when it comes to Crowning Moments, but still earns a few.
    • In Kitty Goes to Washington, Kitty, radio talk show host and werewolf, is kidnapped by a military scientist and a fundementalist Senator to finally capture proof of the supernatural on tape. She calls in a favor and makes a deal with some of the people filming it, and she turns it into an interview, which gets broadcast on her show, humanizing people like herself, incriminating her kidnappers and incidentally getting a lot of publicity for her show. She later compares the experience to being raped, but in the end she points out that her kidnappers are on the run or at least discredited while she's gone public, so it's definitely a victory.
    • In Kitty's House of Horrors, Odysseus Grant gets one. The fight with the hunters has come down to the final survivors, and Grant takes a stake meant for a vampire, and survives it by slowing his heartbeat by meditation. This guy, a necromancer responsible for putting Sealed Evil in a Can, is equally capable of solving problems with stage magic and real magic, and we never know which he'll choose, and it is awesome.
  • The short story "The Man At the Table" by C.B. Gilford features a wonderful Awesome Moment. Byron Duquay is sitting at a card table, preparing for guests, when an escaped killer, Rick Masden, enters his home. Duquay convices Masden to sit at the opposite end of the table for a drink. Masden demands money and the keys to Duquay's car. Duquay says he will give Masden neither, and then proceeds to tell him that if Masden attempts to get up with his knife, Duquay will upend the table on him and grab his own, larger knife. Masden is a clearly less muscular than Duquay, and at a disadvantage in a physical fight. Masden quickly realizes that Duquay was expecting company, and that Duquay is trying to delay him until help can arrive, which Duquay admits calmly. They reach an arrangement where Masden will leave his knife behind and leave empty-handed. It is just then that the other guests arrive, and Masden is apprehended. we learn that delaying Masden wasn't Duquay's real gambit. Bluffing him into thinking that he could and would fight Masden was. Duquay was paralyzed from the waist down, unable to stand. His wife had placed him in the chair earlier so he would feel like less of an invalid when playing cards with his friends.
  • In the David Brin novella Thor versus Captain America, the protagonist taunts Odin to the point of intolerable rage, grabs Gugnir out of the air and SNAPS IT OVER HIS KNEE (it broke his leg, but they were executing him in a minute anywat) when it is thrown at him.
  • In an obscure novel from the 1970s, possibly titled something like Portrait of a Summer Virgin, the stepmother for some reason switches the 12yo sister — something that has happened rather often. The 14yo brother tries to get their neighbor to do something, but the neighbor brushes him off. The next day after school, as a result of something that happened at school related to the switching, the stepmother grabs the 12yo sister and is about to switch her again. This time the 14yo runs straight up to the stepmother and orders her to stop. To his surprise, the stepmother complies and turns away crying. "If you ever touch her again, I'll kill you!" he follows up.
  • The poem "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley. Full text:
    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.
    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.
    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.
  • In Pilgrimage: The Book of the People, Valancy vs. the fire. "Get under the tarp!"
  • The "World of Cardboard" Speech from Jennifer Cruise and Bob Mayer's Agnes and the Hitman, which deserves to be reprinted in full:
    "You listen to me. On Saturday at noon, the cake will be beautiful, the flowers will be magnificent, the photographer who is taking pictures of the sand right now will be taking pictures of the bride, the catering will be amazing and legal, and the bridge will not only be back, it will be so strong that twenty trucks could cross it. And the house will be the house you have always dreamed of having, and, as God is my witness, will never have because I will defeat you utterly and completely, I will grind your face in the dust, I will make you nothing before the world, Brenda Dupres, and my kitchen will not be a crime scene because I will have proved that you picked up that goddamned frying pan in that goddamned bomb shelter and whacked your goddamned husband with it twenty-five years ago, and you will spend the rest of your life in an orange jumpsuit in prison where there is no moisturizer and your face will look like old luggage and the only man you'll be able to seduce is a guard named Bubba with no teeth, so go back to your boat and pray, Brenda, get down on your knees and pray to whatever obscene and vicious god that made you that you do not cross me again because I will destroy you."
  • In Henry and Ribsy, Henry lands a 29-pound salmon with his bare hands.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Star Beast, Under Secretary Kiku's negotiations with the Hroshii.
  • In About Average, by Andrew Clements, Jordan Johnston saves the lives of two dozen people, including herself, when a tornado strikes.
  • The Last Question:
    "Let there be light!" And there was light.
  • Swedish writer Simona Ahrnstedt gives both her protagonists in her debut novel Överenskommelser some moments of awesome.
    • Beatrice competes with men in ice-skating and horse-riding, assists in a surgery and speaks against her oppressors.
    • Seth saves Beatrice twice from said oppressors. And when she fell off a horse and lost her conscience, Seth went looking for her, during a thunderstorm!

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Awesome/Literature