Christopher Pike is an American author of, primarily, teen thriller and horror titles. He was most popular in the 1980s and 1990s, moving on to publishing adult works in the 2000s.See Witch and The Last Vampire for his works.Not to be confused with the Star Trek character, although that's actually where he got the pseudonym; the author's real name is Kevin McFadden, born November 12, 1954.
Tropes in his works:
Accidental Murder: Roxanne accidentally pushed Pepper onto a pitchfork in Whisper of Death. Subverted near the end though.
Alone with the Psycho: In the novel Falling, FBI agent Kelly Feinman thinks she has tracked down the Acid Man serial killer, Michael Grander. She goes to interview Michael's university professor, Gene Banks, to get background info to support her case on Michael. All the while she has kept her insights secret from the rest of the FBI. Professor Banks invites her to his apartment to supply information on Michael. While there, Kelly deduces Banks is the Acid Man and had all along planned to frame Michael. Banks holds her hostage and pours acid on her, with the FBI none the wiser.
Ambiguous Innocence: Young Betty Sue in Whisper of Death liked to put butterflies in jars. She poked holes in the lids, but the butterflies would die anyway because of the sun heating up the air in the jars. Betty Sue states that the butterflies have no idea they are in jars because they can still see everything, and just fly around in circles until they die.
Antivillain: Mary Blanc in Monster. She murders three people with a shotgun and intended to kill more at a party. Mary does this because she knew that the three in question were transforming into inhuman monsters that devour human flesh, and had already killed a small group of people before the book began. Crosses into Idiot Ball territory when you realize Mary could've just waited until they were alone instead of killing them in front of dozens of witnesses.
Arc Words: The term starlight crystal is the title of one of Pike's novels (but it isn't used anywhere in story), the title of a story in the last Remember Me book, and is a term Sati uses to describe herself as in Sati.
Author Appeal: Red hair and 'emerald' green eyes. Just try to count every example of an attractive character with those traits.
Badass: Sita, protagonist of The Last Vampire series, routinely slaughters small armies single-handedly, with anything from her personal collection of assault weapons to her bare hands.
However, as the series goes on Sita's Badass-ness gets a tad silly. What use is a character who can take on anything and brags about it endlessly? Especially with how ineffectual most of the villains are.
Balance Between Good and Evil: The Last Vampire series explains that God created evil, because without it people were complacent and couldn't become truly good.
Batman Gambit: Fall Into Darkness. Ann figured that, even if Sharon wasn't convicted of her supposed murder, the shame of having been arrested and tried for murder would be enough to ruin Sharon's life.
Big Damn Heroes: Bert in Weekend, after everyone thinks he was killed in the garage explosion. He just got caught in a riptide and, once he made his way back to shore, got lost.
Bittersweet Ending: Monster. Angela Warner has fully become one of the monsters, but has retained enough sense to know that "people are not for eating", and manages to destroy the lake which is the cause of the transformations by causing an oil spill that becomes a fire.
This is actually a reoccurring trend in Pike's books. Usually, the heroine will wind up dying or suffering A Fate Worse Than Death to achieve some greater good.
Bring My Red Jacket: Occurs in Witch. Julia has a vision of Jim dying in a gas station, and his red jacket is very prominant in the vision. Unable to deter him from going into the gas station, Julia makes him change into a white jacket. How that will help is questionable, but hey, it's a Pike book. Anyway, Jim is shot, and his bleeding turns the white jacket red, fulfilling both points of the vision. Doesn't fate suck?
Brother-Sister Incest: Shari's adopted brother and the villain in Remember Me. In Amanda's defense, the fact she and her brother did not grow up together would have overridden the aversion to incest which would normally have developed. Even so, she still knew him, was close to him, and pursued the relationship even after she learned of the incest, not to mention the whole disturbing If I Can't Have You, Together in Death plot she pursues, so the Squick remains. Also an example of Surprise Incest on the part of Shari's brother.
Chivalrous Pervert: A favourite of Pike's in his novels: the Final Friends series (Bubba); Monster (Kevin); Witch (Randy); The Eternal Enemy (Ed).
Clingy MacGuffin: In the Chain Letter books, the titular chain letter. Once the letter is sent to you and you are on the list, the only way to free yourself from eternally being commanded to perform tasks (each task progressively becoming more malicious and difficult) is death.
Covers Always Lie: The Starlight Crystal features the cover image of a giant silver hourglass, decorated with jewels in a rainbow pattern, containing skulls and bones that turn into stars in its bottom half. No such hourglass appears anywhere in the story. In fact, the term "starlight crystal" isn't used anywhere at all in the book.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Julia's aunt in Witch is presented as a very cold and stern woman, very unlike Julia's mother. By the end of the novel, she's softened considerably.
Doomed Protagonist: The Midnight Club. That's sort of the point, as the main characters are all teenagers with incurable diseases living in a hospice. Well, one of them turns out to have been misdiagnosed, but it's not the main character.
Dream Land: Seen multiple times in Remember Me when Shari attempts to invade the dreams of her friends so as to find out which one of them killed her. Also, the moment when she saves her brother's life, which she had dreamed about beforehand.
Faking the Dead: Falling, Chain Letter (Neal), Slumber Party (Nicole/Celeste), Weekend (Bert), Gimme a Kiss (Jane), Scavenger Hunt (Joe/Tom), Fall Into Darkness (Ann).
Fetus Terrible: The Grave was about a young woman who is impregnated by one of The Undead and killed by being dumped in a freezer. She becomes one of the undead herself and it is revealed that the fetus she is carrying was specifically bred by a Mad Scientist to become the antichrist. But by the end it's revealed the Mad Scientist has failed, the Fetus Terrible being more a balance between good and evil who destroys the Mad Scientist and goes on his merry way. Oh, and this book was aimed at teenagers. Really.
See also The Cold One.
Subverted in The Last Vampire series. Kalika is, like her namesake goddess Kali, a True Neutral who is woefully misunderstood by everyone, including Sita.
In as much as it was meant for anyone. IIRC, if someone hadn't walked in to take the drink while she was still staring at it, she probably wouldn't have given it to anyone. A moment's mad impulse gone horribly wrong.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Used in Slumber Party. Nell's scars are only on her face, and aren't as severe as Nicole's. Nicole's face is bare of any scars, but the damage is more prevalent on her torso and lower body. She doesn't even have nipples or a belly button anymore, and alludes that the damage is much worse below the belt. Nell is the truly bloodthirsty one, whereas Nicole does a Heel-Face Turn because Nell had been lying to her about the accident.
Shena in The Star Group is introduced with a badly scarred face after getting sprayed with battery acid which was not immediately wiped off. Gale did this on purpose to set up Shena as a scapegoat when she finally made her move.
Grand Theft Me: The Immortal and The Blind Mirror use this trope as a twist - without the transferred soul initially remembering their true identity.
In Spellbound, how Josies' soul came to be infused with that of a vulture.
Hannibal Lecture: in Falling the Acid Killer, Gene Banks, has a way of turning the tables on FBI agent Kelly Feinman. Even after Kelly has caught and made him a quadriplegic, she finds herself drawn to him and the revelations he provides her about her character. Pike has stated he owes a debt to Silence of the Lambs, and a character in Falling name-checks Hannibal Lecter.
Hope Spot: The Eternal Enemy. This would actually be a subversion, given that Christopher, as an old man, remembered Rela in the future, which could've meant the book was a Stable Time Loop. However, when Rela views the recording of her death when Christopher is at her house, the footage temporarily changed to feature Christopher's death. Which means that Christopher's vow to never become like Rela's grandfather isn't so futile.
Ill Girl: Robin in Weekend, most of the female characters in The Midnight Club. Robin gets better, two of the girls from The Midnight Club don't.
It's All About Me: Gale in The Star Group is revealed to be one of the negative beings mentioned by Mentor as only being interested in their hungers and desires at the expense of others.
Jerk Jock: Averted with Randy in Witch and Jimmy in The Star Group. Randy has jerkish moments but he's an okay guy, and Jimmy's pretty nice too, but he has issues with Gale over her scarring.
Kill It with Fire: The end of Monster and The Star Group. Angela Warner kills her turned classmates by blowing up her house, then after she fully loses her human appearance, retains enough sense of self to cause an oil spill into the lake responsible for the transformations and sets it on fire. Shena in The Star Group used her pryokinesis to destroy Daniel's house after Gale had forced Daniel to kill himself. Shena savored hearing Gale scream from inside.
Laser-Guided Karma: Discussed in The Midnight Club. Anya seems to believe the cancer which is slowly killing her and has already claimed her right leg is punishment for destroying her relationship with her boyfriend Bill by sleeping with another guy when Bill did nothing to deserve it. What adds to this belief is the fact that the clay statute of two lovers Anya had made for Bill was broken by him when he found Anya and the other guy in bed. Only the right leg was broken.
Mama Bear: Mrs. Trasker in Die Softly. When she sees photographs of Alexa killing her son Herb, she punches Alexa in the face and then spits on her before Alexa is arrested.
Mercy Kill: Whisper of Death. Roxanne has to shoot Helter to put him out of his misery after he accidentally shoots himself in the groin and slowly starts to die from blood loss.
The Mole: In The Star Group one of the teenagers is actually planning to kill the rest. It's Gale.
The Movie: Fall Into Darkness was adapted into a made-for-TV movie.
Mythology Gag: In The Star Group, main character Daniel mentions he's writing a story where the protagonist has just set a giant fire in Los Angeles. He's essentially writing Magic Fire.
Roxanne and Pepper see The Season of Passage at the movies, Shari begins writing The Starlight Crysta, and The Listeners is mentioned in the second part of the "Collect Call" short story.
Near Death Clairvoyance: Killed at a party, Shari Cooper spends the remainder of Remember Me as a ghost, watching over friends/family and trying to figure out who murdered her.
New Age: A lot of Pike's science fiction and fantasy novels have very New Age feels toward them in terms of their discussions of spirituality and religion.
Oh Crap! There Are Fanfics of Us...: Used in Master of Murder. An author names his characters after his friends, and then the fanfics become canon (i.e., they happen in Real Life). Hilarity doesn't exactly ensue, being a Pike novel.
Used again in Whisper of Death, when the main characters discover that a dead classmate had written stories about them using different names, and each one dies as the characters in the story.
Our Vampires Are Different: In The Last Vampire series, old vampires (5000 years or so) can walk about in sunlight; they don't have fangs and must manually cut open a vein in order to drink blood; and Alisa/Sita in particular can survive a stake in the heart; and is a close personal friend of Krishna, as the vampires of this series have a connection with Hinduism.
In The Season of Passage and Monster the vampires originate from Mars, people on Earth being infected by a virus from that planet.
Out-Gambitted: Used in Weekend. Lena purposefully gave the wrong date on the invitations but made sure those who were at the party where her sister drank insect poison came, with the intent to discover who actually gave Robin the poison. She drugs them, locks them in a room filled with venom-less rattlesnakes (herself included), and uses a recording of her dubbed voice to interrogate them. She hadn't expected on A: Bert turning up alive and B: them bringing Flynn, who reveals himself to be Robin's biological brother Michael. He planned to figure out who poisoned Robin himself, but at the same time whether or not Robin actually deserved one of his kidneys for a transplant, as he wasn't about to give one without learning if she was a good or bad person.
Parody Sue: The character of Melissa in the Final Chance play from Last Act. She's basically Susan Trels' perfected memory of herself.
Playing with Fire: Lara in Slumber Party starts to believe that someone in their group is either a pyrokinetic, or it's the case of spontaneous combustion, in order to explain how these fires keep occurring. It turns out she's wrong, and Nell was secretly goading her beliefs just to screw with her.
Magic Fire, obviously.
Shena in The Star Group develops pyrokinetic abilities as the group begin to gain new abilities from their collective awakening.
Really 700 Years Old: The crews of The Traveler and The Pandora in The Starlight Crystal, by means of traveling at the speed of light and cryogenic freezing respectively, live so long into the future that the Earth is rendered a lifeless, radioactive wasteland, and by the time they return the radiation has since abated. Paige Christian, however, lives so long that she witnesses all life in the universe die out, then its rebirth. She then returns to Earth under a different identity, right at the same time her previous self was planning on leaving Earth to become a member of The Traveler.
This is a subversion, though, as the reason the crew of The Traveler remains so young isn't because of extended immortality, but because of how fast the ship is travelling, they don't age inside at the same rate as the universe outside is. A week to those in the ship is really two hundred years outside.
Recycled Script: Weekend and Slumber Party are both about a group of friends spending the weekend in some isolated location, and both groups share a dark secret from their past involving a former friend who was badly injured. The villain of the book is revealed to be someone out for revenge.
Gimme a Kiss and Fall into Darkness both feature a girl who decides to set up someone else for her murder, and then things go horribly wrong and people start dying for real. Partially justified by the implication that Ann, the girl in Fall into Darkness, has read Gimme a Kiss and got the idea from there.
Red Pill, Blue Pill: In Magic Fire there is a drug that takes you into a Matrix-esque reality that is extremely addictive. Despite Jessa (main character) being informed she is living in a fantasy world, she refuses to wake from her coma (and stop her addiction).
The Scapegoat: Gale set Shena up as this by deliberately scarring her and feigning innocence. She then set Sal up as Jimmy's murderer by saying so to the police, leading to Sal getting shot in the back.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Not prophecy per say, but the events that occur in The Starlight Crystal are revealed to have been set up by none other than Paige Christian herself, who lives past the death of the universe and well into its rebirth. She discovers upon experience that she was really the woman who convinced her to visit a nearby park, where she would meet the love of her life, and was also responsible for creating the alien race that would wipe out all life on Earth, on purpose.
Self-Serving Memory: In Last Act. Final Chance was nothing more than Susan Trels warped memory of what her friendship with Rindy and Clyde was like. Clyde himself calls Susan out on it by saying her play was nothing but garbage compared to how things actually happened. This contributes to Susan's Villainous Breakdown.
Shadow Archetype: Literally, with Shari and the Shadow in Remember Me. Also a rare example where, despite the initial fear and horror, it turns out to be a positive thing and there is a merger.
Significant Anagram: Last Act features a play written by the murderer, Susan Trels, solely to set up the murder; the pseudonym she uses as playwright, Stan Russel, (deliberately, as dramatic flair and a challenge) is an anagram of her name.
Soft Water: Subverted in The Last Vampire series. When someone gets thrown off a 10-story(ish) building into a deep swimming pool, they die. Effectively being pulpified in fact. The thrower, apparently finding this amusing, proceeds to get rid of all her opposition in the same way. The main character only survives because she's a vampire, though she's still very badly injured.
Spiritual Sequel: Sati and The Starlight Crystal. The connections lie in the use of mankind interacting with God or a higher force which talks about the path to enlightenment and the struggles of daily life. Both books use the term "Alosha", and while the phrase "starlight crystal" is never used in the novel, Sati refers to herself as such.
Story Within a Story: Used numerous times in some of Pike's novels. Weekend, Last Act, The Midnight Club, Whisper of Death, Remember Me 3, Master of Murder, and Road to Nowhere.
The Vamp: A few of Pike's female characters are written as having an impressive sensuality while not being total knockouts in terms of physical appearance. Notable examples include Jessa in Magic Fire and Gale in The Star Group.
Vegetarian Vampire: In The Last Vampire series Alisa/Sita will drink the blood of people she has to kill because, well, why let it go to waste? But, she has the power to control people and wipe their memories, and will avoid killing them if possible - drinking only some of their blood, then wiping their memory. In Monster most of the vampires kill for blood. However Angela Warner, by the end of the novel, learns to avoid humans and will only kill animals.
What the Hell, Hero?: While she never gets called on it, Ilonka in The Midnight Club breaks up Kevin and his girlfriend Kathy by making it clear to her that Kevin is in a hospice, not a hospital, and is not going to get better. The girl leaves the hospice in tears without seeing Kevin. In all honesty, this was out of wanting Kevin for herself.
Actually, this may be a subversion, as Ilonka feels conflicting emotions of guilt towards her cruelty towards Kathy and her love towards Kevin. Everyone who knows about what happened felt Kathy deserved to be set straight sooner than later.
Whodunnit to Me: In Remember Me, Shari begins the novel already dead. She was killed at a party, and being a ghost she must figure out which one of her friends killed her.
Yandere: Jessa in Magic Fire. She's consistently trying to make sure it is only Mark and herself with no one else getting in the way. It turns out the entire novel up until the epilogue has been Jessa's prolonged dream thanks to a Lotus-Eater Machine. Mark was trying to get her to come back to the waking world but along the way he completely forgot his purpose. It was only after he realized how simplistic Jessa's dreamworld was and the subsequent pattern of it being just the two of them that he remembered his true purpose. Only Jessa wouldn't go with him.
Your Vampires Suck: In The Last Vampire Sita possesses few of the traditional weaknesses. She sometimes has the "what about crosses, garlic, running water, coffin?" conversation with humans she reveals herself to. She can even stand the sunlight, though she explains she couldn't really do this until she'd aged a few THOUSAND years. Vampires in this series were first created when a demon (a yakshini) was summoned and possessed the corpse of a baby who was still inside its dead mother's womb.