Critical Existence Failure / Literature

  • Because of his condition, Arhys in Paladin of Souls is able to charge the enemy encampment and kill a number of sorcerers, taking major wounds to no apparent effect, until abruptly falling over dead. He died several months earlier, and is kept upright and moving through a magical link with his half-brother and wife; any blows to his body become wounds shared between the two of them. He "dies" when the link is severed to prevent further injuries from killing his half-brother and wife.
  • Life, the Universe and Everything has a passage about the Starship Titanic which undergoes a "gratuitous total existence failure" almost immediately after being launched. An unusual case in that it didn't take any damage; it was apparently built with 0 hp.
  • The Deacon's Masterpiece aka the wonderful one-horse shay. Possibly the ur-example. The poem is about a one-horse shay built with absolutely no weak points - so when it finally did break down, it suffered this trope.
  • In the end of the last novella of The Stranger by Max Frei, the car that brought the heroes home falls apart. Max has just learned that magical cars have no inherent speed limit and drives it far faster than the chassis or the roads were designed for. For hundreds of kilometres. The scene may have been a nod to The Blues Brothers, which gave the trope image.
  • From The Dresden Files, you have ghouls, who are man-eating cheap muscle for the supernatural world. The novel White Night had a pack of "Ice Age" ghouls who were bigger and stronger, fiercer and more bloodthirsty. They even looked a lot meaner. And they could stand up to gunshots and evisceration with no problem, and they even reassembled themselves after being dismembered. The solution? Disintegrating them worked out pretty well, though it was hard enough to do it to one, so killing them en masse needed high explosives. Lots of high explosives.

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