Literature / ALiCE
aka: Alice

For the book series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, see Alice Series

Christopher Robinson didn’t deserve what happened to him. Then again, almost no one does…

Christopher was a simple man with a simple goal: to make sure all his charges at Woodrow Children’s Asylum were as healthy and happy as possible. Not an easy task, and having to drive to town to pick up medicine on the stormiest night of the year didn’t make it any easier. The car accident made it impossible.

Now stranded on a nearly-deserted island with no clue as to how or why he and one of his patients were brought there, Christopher’s goal has changed: get the child and himself out of Wonderland. In a race against time, the criminally insane inhabitants of the island, and his own dwindling sanity, Christopher must either find a way to escape or become one of the island’s many lunatics.

ALiCE is a psychological horror/parody made by Roselin Productions and contains heavy themes of abuse and psychological torment... but also occasionally takes a comedic jab at or references other horror works, particularly the slasher films of the 70s and 80s.


Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Tons of it, given that Christopher's primary objective is trying to find a lost child in an unfamiliar and dangerous place.
  • Alice Allusion: Everywhere, some more subtle than others:
    • The island/town's name is Wonderland and the he streets that Christopher has to go through to get to Joseph and Mary's house are Oyster Way and Walrus Avenue; they live on Carpenter Street.
    • The Jabberwock and Vorpal Blade, the latter as a baseball bat, but it still shows up.
    • The plot itself: Christopher is Alice, Mickey is the White Rabbit, and the other characters occasionally reference other Wonderland characters.
    • Christopher is shown in flashbacks reading Alice in Wonderland to the children.
    • The All Just a Dream ending, even though it's played with.
    • A portion of "Jabberwocky" and other poems from Alice in Wonderland are quoted in a flashbacks. There are also poems written in the same style as some of the ones in Alice in Wonderland
    • Matthew's cat is named Cheshire and has a malformed jaw so it always looks like it's smiling
  • All Men Are Rapists: Subverted. It's heavily implied that Christopher was abused by his female boss as a child and fears her doing the same to the children at the asylum when he isn't around.
  • All There in the Manual: What happened to the real Christopher and the reason why Michael is trapped in his own mind are revealed in other works. There is also a lot of extra information and drawings on the author's deviantart account, as well as the author's tumblr.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Pretty massively after Christopher is poisoned by the Jabberwock but justified since it’s Michael’s dream and he might not know how those things work. The poison seems to be intravenous, which means it would have to be drawn out of Christopher’s veins or a cure would have to be injected. However the problem is fixed by Prima forcing him to drink alcohol. It doesn’t make much sense that that would cure him, since all it does is make him vomit.
  • Author Appeal: Played straight and deconstructed; mental instability, Alice in Wonderland references, and rape appear in other works by the author, as well as the fact that she is a huge fan of horror, but the way that the story is now came to be out of the author writing down a list of all her major phobias and then writing a book that includes all of them.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: The abuse and experimentation that Michael was put through made him go insane and start doing terrible things, though he tries to justify it as his victims deserving it. There's also some hints that despite the Laser-Guided Amnesia he inflicts on everyone, the other characters are gradually remembering some of what happens and are becoming more vicious because of it.
  • Big Damn Hero:
    • Michael of all people has a moment when he saves Christopher from being raped by Morgan. It is then promptly subverted.
    • Prima slaying the Jabberwock. Again subverted almost immediately after.
  • Driven to Villainy:
    • Morgan is forced to drug Matthew to keep him from killing himself and tries to rape Christopher, though it's implied that he didn't have control over his own actions.
    • This could apply to Prima and Terceira because despite the fact that they were both serial killers, Christopher wasn't their typical target and hey were trying to kill him to stop the cycle from repeating, even though it would have been ineffective anyway.
  • Dull Surprise: By the end of the book hardly anything fazes Christopher anymore. The townspeople don’t react to his being there without any explanation, except Matthew excitedly asking him questions about the outside world.
  • Evil Orphan: Subverted, Michael was much happier when he lived at Woodrow Children's Asylum; being adopted by Joseph and Mary and the abuse he suffered at their hands was his Start of Darkness.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Matthew and Morgan are identical twins but have different colored eyes, apparently because Mad Scientist doctors decided to remove one eye from each of them and transplant it into the other twin, ‘correcting’ their heterochromal eyes. The transplant didn’t go well so the transplanted eye in each of them is sightless.
    • When Michael demonstrates how he killed himself, his eye turns bloodshot and cracks appear on his face.
  • The Faceless: Terceira’s face is covered by a veil. Could also apply to Abel, who is never seen. Some of the monsters have no faces either.
  • Fake Memories: Seems like a possibility given the nature of the characters’ existence, as they wouldn’t be able to know anything about themselves other than what Michael knows or made up, but Christopher DOES seem to have at least some of the real Christopher’s memories since his entry into Wonderland mimics the way the real Christopher died, which Michael has no way of knowing about.
  • Fate Worse Than Death:
    • Since they're all figments of Michael's imagination with just enough autonomy to feel pain and fear, all of the characters are doomed to repeat the horrors they've suffered from again and again. Michael himself is trapped in his own deranged mind with no way to cure himself, and as a coping mechanism set up a 'game' in which everyone kills themselves or each other and the only person who ever loved him either can't be allowed to recognize him or will go insane immediately.
    • It's even worse for Christopher, who is specifically targeted as the 'hero', since he will always fail to rescue Mickey because it is not possible to restore Michael's sanity. He also has to live with the fact that Michael has become what he is. Christopher is heartbroken when he finds out what Michael has done, and is repeatedly subjected to this kind of torment, which is specifically designed to drive him insane and hurt him in any way possible.
  • Fission Mailed: May be one of the harshest subversions of this trope. Although Christopher falling over the cliff trying to get supplies is how he gets to Wonderland, it comes with drastically negative consequences and the whole point is pretty much to punish him for something he wasn't responsible for.
  • Follow the White Rabbit: Christopher spends the first half of the novel trying to find Mickey and essentially following his tracks, or at least going to places he thinks Mickey might be. It's later revealed that Mickey is actually wearing a sweater that has a white rabbit on it.
  • Hazardous Water: Christopher inquires early on if there are any boats to use to get off the island. He is strongly cautioned against trying to swim or sail across the lake.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Surprising given the Sanity Slippage, but Christopher. Even after Morgan attempted to rape him, he still feels bad when he kills himself and for the suffering he went through, and still very much loves Michael/Mickey even though he admits to doing horrible things on purpose and that pretty much the goal of his dream world is torturing Christopher.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "The Sandman," which Christopher sang to the children at the asylum, pops up a few times. It's also the name of a gothic horror story.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Used at the end of every game to wipe the town residents’ memories of what happened, thereby keeping them from getting too smart and making sure the frights stay fresh. It seems to be losing its effectiveness though, since Prima and Matthew appear to be becoming self-aware or at least more aware of the truth than others.
  • Many Spirits Inside of One: The only 'real' person is Michael, who may or may not still be alive, with Mickey representing a small part of himself that is still sane/pure, but the other characters are implied to be mostly autonomous and in some cases even actively working against Michael.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Christopher Robinson’s name is meant to bring to mind Christopher Robin, which relates to innocence and joy, and makes what happens to him even more unsettling.
    • Christ-opher, befitting his status as a Messianic Archetype.
    • Mickey’s name, as well, is meant to be a cute diminutive and bring to mind Disney (MICKEY WALTers).
  • Mind Manipulation: It’s implied that Michael, at least in the dream world, has some form of this ability due to all the human characters being figments/extensions of his mind. He uses it for Laser-Guided Amnesia, manipulating perceptions (like Christopher not being able to realize he’s a fully-grown Mickey until he wants him to realize it), and possibly making Morgan sexually assault Christopher and getting Christopher to sleep with him (combined with alcohol, which may help this power work since Morgan was drunk too).
  • Multiple Endings: Not really since it’s a book, but the way the plot is structured means that there have been several different ‘endings’ in the past and Michael comments on this.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The book becomes scarier if the reader takes into consideration some of the things that aren't shown, like exactly what the doctors did to Michael, particularly since some of these things are not part of Michael's dream world and actually happened in 'real life' at some point in the story.
  • Orphanage of Fear: The way Madam Margot ignores the children and feeds them the bare minimum to stay alive, it certainly seems like Woodrow Children’s Asylum could easily be this if not for Christopher taking care of the children and making sure they’re as happy as possible.
  • Peek-A-Boo Corpse: Stanley, the corpse in the hospital that falls out of the cabinet.
  • Personal Horror: Christopher is horrified by the idea that his sexual orientation may be apparent to everyone on the island.
  • Post-Rape Taunt: Prima mocks Christopher about being raped.
  • Primal Fear: The book was built around them. Losing a child, the dark, being isolated, being raped/date-raped, spiders, clowns, and being buried alive are just a few.
  • Psychic Powers: Michael, and Matthew is implied to be clairvoyant
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Christopher calling Michael ‘Mickey’ sets him on quite a rant.
  • Rape as Backstory: If one pays close attention to some of Christopher's mental comments and his fears, it becomes apparent that he was sexually abused in the past.
  • Rape as Drama: First when Morgan attempts to rape Christopher and then when Michael actually does.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: We don’t actually see Michael rape Christopher, just incriminating flashbacks. It is confirmed but not shown.
  • Red Herring: A lot of clues seem to just kind of fizzle out into irrelevancy after they are discovered, or, once their meaning is known (like the Sandman poem), are fairly irrelevant anyway. Even if one takes them as trying to lead Christopher to realize that Michael IS Mickey, his memories have been altered so that he can’t remember or figure it out no matter how plainly it’s spelled out for him, and there’s no way for the readers to put it together because they don’t have the prior knowledge that Michael does.
  • Sanity Slippage: Christopher, given that the story is told in third-person limited from his point of view and thus making him the most noticeable. In the beginning he reacts to things the way a normal person would, by freaking out and/or questioning how certain things are even possible. The more he loses his grip on reality, the less he questions how the world around him works.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Christopher and Mickey's names (Christopher Robinson and Mickey Walters) are references to Disney. Made even more clear when Madam Margot mistakenly introduces Mickey as Donald in one of the flash backs.
    • The use of the Sandman poem to American McGee's Alice, specifically Madness Returns. The poem isn't exactly the same, though; the one used here is the actual nursery rhyme.
    • The part with the children in the school building is a reference to the Vocaloid song "Circle You".
    • Several to the Silent Hill series.
    • One to The Grudge and other such Japanese horror films in the school chapter when a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl crawls down the stairs.
    • Prima wields a bat with a symbolic word written on it, similarly to Yuko from XXX Holic.
    • The giant clown-spider is a reference to It.
  • Troubling Un Child Like Behavior: Mickey is unusually mature for his age, and some of the drawings and notes Christopher finds in the school are so disturbing that they aren't described
  • Unreliable Narrator: As Christopher begins to lose his mind, it becomes less clear if certain events are actually happening or if he's just hallucinating them. There's also The Reveal, which shows that Christopher was just made up of what Michael remembers about his caretaker and everything that's happened is a dream that's on a "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Christopher's crawl through the tunnel to get out of the hospital seems fairly mild, but gets worse if one considers his severe phobia of bugs.

Sleep well.

Alternative Title(s): Alice

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/Alice2014?from=Literature.Alice