Jerry CorneliusOur main character, though sometimes he takes a background role in his own stories.
- Action Fashionista/Agent Peacock
- Bi the Way
- Brother-Sister Incest: Jerry loves his sister Catherine (his brother Frank is the other leg in a Sibling Triangle).
- Parental Incest: He describes himself as "the last of the truly innocent mother-fuckers" in "The Swastika Set-Up". And means it.
- The Casanova
- Crossdresser: Sometimes by choice, sometimes not. Attractive Bent-Gender in either case.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: From time to time.
- I Let My Sister Die
- Musical Assassin: Usually he favors guns of some sort, but Norman Spinrad's "The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde" arms Jerry with an electric violin with built-in amps which make the high notes ultrasonic, the low notes infrasonic, and the audible frequencies suppressed. When Jerry pops in his earplugs and plays various songs (ranging from "Wipeout" to "God Save the Queen") weird things happen to the minds of his audience.Seven hundred chanting kindergarten children achieved satori and began to eat a huge American flag drenched in soy sauce.
- Significant Monogram
- Trickster Archetype: Jerry starts out as Harlequin, but over the course of the first four novels finds that he may be The Fool and finally settles into the role of Pierrot.
Catherine CorneliusJerry's beloved sister, and something of a tragic figure.
- Bi the Way
- Closer to Earth: Catherine functions as Columbine. It's more obvious in the "real-world" portions of The Condition of Muzak.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold when she doesn't have black hair like her brother (though she's no less sweet as a brunette).
- The Lost Lenore/Dead Little Sister: She gets better sometimes.
- Satellite Love Interest, especially in the first two novels.
Frank CorneliusJerry's brother, out for what he can get.
- Ambition Is Evil and Frank is Power Hungry
- Cain and Abel: Frank is definitely Cain to Jerry's Abel, though he's more likely to die than kill.
- Honest John: An exceptionally sleazy example.
- The Resenter
- Smug Snake
Honoria CorneliusThe domineering mother of the Cornelius clan. Survives just about everything life throws at her.
- Apron Matron
- Big Eater
- Dirty Old Woman
- Funetik Aksent: Mrs. C is Cockney an' just fine wiv that, luv.
- Gold Digger: Well, she might just luck into it.
- Kavorka Woman: One of the very few. Despite the fact that she is never described as less than hugely fat and slatternly, she does all right for herself."I've never gone short o' beaux," she said. "Whatever else 'as 'appened ter me."
- My Beloved Smother: One of the few people Jerry is genuinely scared of— and not without reason (image NSFW for female nudity in two panels).
- Still Gets Around
Una PerssonFirst appearing in A Cure For Cancer, she is a heroic revolutionary and supporter of Jerry.
- Action Girl
- Ascended Extra: She becomes more prominent in The Adventures of Una Persson and Catherine Cornelius in the Twentieth Century (1976) and is the central figure in The Entropy Tango (1981)
- Bi the Way
- The Chanteuse
- Distaff Counterpart: To Jerry. They both share Catherine as a lover, and she eventually becomes Harlequin when he becomes Pierrot.
Miss BrunnerJerry's opposite number, big on order and authoritarianism (especially in the later stories).
- Bi the Way
- Evil Redhead
- Foe Romantic Subtext
- Manipulative Bitch
- Vampiric Draining: She's capable of bodily absorbing her sex partners in The Final Programme.
Bishop BeesleyAnother of Jerry's enemies, though more greedy and less formidable.
- Fat Bastard
- Sinister Minister
- Sweet Tooth: He'll even snort sugar like it was cocaine.
- Villainous Glutton
Other Persons of Interest
Most of these characters show up in works after The Final Programme. They're listed in alphabetical order rather than order of appearance.
Sebastian AuchinekA theatrical agent/music producer and sometimes antagonist to Jerry.
- You Have to Have Jews
- Jive Turkey: Comes off this way in the "real-world" parts of The Condition of Muzak.
Mitzi BeesleyBishop Beesley's amazingly unpleasant daughter.
"Shaky" Mo(ses) CollierA drinking (snorting, shooting, smoking) buddy of Jerry's. Also a demolitions expert and sometimes roadie.
- Bomb Throwing Anarchist
- Canon Immigrant: Mo was actually a creation of author M. John Harrison.
- War for Fun and Profit
"Flash" Gordon Gavin
- Mysterious Informant
- Significant Nickname: Gordon's got a bit of a exposure habit. (And shows up as Lady Godiva (!!) at a Christmas costume ball.)
Professor Hythloday Hira
Doctor Karen von Krupp
- Aristocrats Are Evil, or at least unreliable.