Literature: Count to the Eschaton
The Count to the Eschaton
trilogy is a Hard Science Fiction
series in progress by John C. Wright
Menelaus Ilation "Meany" Montrose, a Texas-born gunslinger, lawyer, mathematician, and astronaut, goes insane after injecting himself with an IQ-increasing Super Serum
, and is cryosuspended during the voyage to the Monument. He wakes to a Bad Future
. In little more than 8,000 years, the alien beings who set up the Monument as bait to test younger civilizations' starfaring progress, will arrive and enslave the Earth's population. Resisted by the remaining members of the crew—particularly his former best friend, Ximen "Blackie" Del Azarchel—Menelaus decides to spend the intervening milennia preparing humankind to resist.
Books thus far.
- Count to a Trillion
- The Hermetic Millennia
- The Judge of Ages
- Abdicate the Throne: A theoretical solution to their problems, at one point.
- Above Good and Evil: We don't have to teach post humans to be good while we make them.
- Abusive Precursors: The aliens have yet to show up, but have made their intentions clear.
- Ancestral Weapon: Some of the Chimera's weapons have to become this, because they have lost the art of changing the bloodlocks on them.
- Arc Words: "Count to a trillion" is one, the length of time it will take for Rania's starship to return to earth as is, possibly "asymptote."
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Menelaus watches this trope in action. He doesn't approve.
- Broad Strokes: Some cultures' versions of past history are...strange. The Witches, for example, believe that C. S. Lewis and Arthur C. Clarke explored the Louisiana Territory in 1492...
- Buxom Is Better: The Nymphs hold to this. And bio-engineer themselves accordingly.
- The Captain: Princess Rania also commands the world's only (functioning) starship.
- The Chains of Commanding: The princess is deeply involved in her people's welfare.
- Christianity is Catholic: Justified. Blackie del Azarchel suppressed all religions other than Catholicism because he himself was culturally Catholic; and Menelaus later makes use of the institution because it is The Constant.
- Cold Sleep, Cold Future: It gets colder each time Menelaus wakes up.
- Cliff Hanger: The ending of Count to a Trillion, and The Hermetic Millennia
- Commonality Connection: Illiance calls on this with Menelaus, as scholars.
- Corrupt Church: One thing that happened while he slept.
- Crapsaccharine World
- Cry into Chest: Rania possibly invokes this with Menelaus.
- Culture Clash: competing cultures from different eras, all woken at once result in much of this. Most amusingly done when the relatively-prudish Blue Men interview Oenoe.
- Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: Coming out of a cryogenic chamber.
- Defector from Decadence: The Nymph Shieldmaidens; Oenoe in particular.
- Dirty Business: Dealing with blighters.
- Doctor's Orders: Menelaus can talk casually with the effective ruler of Earth. When he must be examined by a doctor, he finds it much harder to assert himself.
- Dreaming The Truth: Menelaus. Also Mickey.
- Driven to Suicide: Captain Grimaldi At least according to Blackie
- Duel to the Death: Menelaus's occupation, as junior member of a law firm.
- Due to the Dead: Menelaus's only objection to the absence of religion.
- Easy Amnesia: the Nymphs' Nepenthe.
- Empathic Weapon: Some last from the days of the Sylphs, though people don't understand them.
- Endless Winter: In Count To A Trillion, Menelaus's first spring is when he is six. The younger characters regard it as this. The older ones hush them: the Japanese created it deliberately, in order to fight a disease, and if they hadn't, mankind might have gone extinct.
- Ermine Cape Effect: The clothes of the Hermetists use symbolic references to underscore their power.
- Evolutionary Levels: Used to soothe the conscience, by some characters.
- Extreme Omnisexual: Nymphs, throughout their culture; those who do not like it are given a chance to cryogenic sleep to a more pleasing time to them.
- Parental Incest: A nymph casually mentions that they expect a man's first sexual partner to have been his mother. The term for "father" also implies a sexual relationship.
- Brother-Sister Incest: In their language, the word "brother" also means "homosexual incestous partner."
- First Name Basis: Menelaus insists on it
- Fish Out of Temporal Water: Menelaus
- Forced to Watch: For really illegal stuff.
- Friend to All Living Things: Prince Ranier
- Genre Savvy: Menelaus has read SF. He notices certain lacks.
- Government Drug Enforcement: Nymph culture made heavy use of drugs, widely accepted, but the Nymph Queens enforced it when necessary.
- Grey Goo: Golden goo, to inaugurate a Golden Age.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Blackie
- The Gunslinger
- Honor Before Reason: There are Nymphs who do not like a life of total, if heavily drugged, hedonism.
- How Many Fingers?: The Medic tries this.
- Human Popsicle: Everyone in the tombs.
- Hypocritical Humor: Lady Ivinia talks of her silence, her obedience, and her gentleness while ordering men about in a long speech, commanding them to fight war and win or commit suicide.
- I Gave My Word: Why Menelaus survived.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Oenoe agreed to something to please her beloved, which is why she is in the Tombs
- I Will Wait for You: Menelaus's motive in the second book.
- King in the Mountain: These legends congregate about the Tomb.
- Knight in Shining Armor: The defenders of the Tombs.
- Living Lie Detector: Soorm claims to be this.
- Long Hair Is Feminine: Nymphs wear it at least waist long.
- Love at First Sight: Nymphs can induce this, biochemically.
- Love Triangle: Blackie, Rania, and Menelaus.
- Mad Scientist: Menelaus tries a very hypothetical experiment out on himself. See Gone Horribly Right.
- Magic from Technology: The Witches solemnly scorn the mere material husk as not being the essential, let alone the only, part.
- Meaningful Echo
- The Medic: Menelaus can argue with the Master of the World, but not the doctor
- Men Don't Cry: His mother insists on this.
- The Mentor: Among the Blue Men, a formal relationship
- The Mutiny: Occurs when Menelaus does not remember it, but is crucial to the plot
- Murder by Cremation: What really happened to Prince Ranier.
- Named Weapons: The Chimarae practice this.
- Nice to the Waiter: Larz claims Menelaus is not this
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Menelaus's Super Serum. He gets called on this by Blackie.
- Not a Game: Menelaus rebukes himself at one point for forgetting this.
- One Head Taller: Mentally invoked by Menelaus after Princess Rania's growth spurt: "He hated the fact that the top of her head no longer fit nicely under his chin when they hugged...It seemed obscurely unnatural, as if someone had made a mistake when putting the universe together."
- Parental Substitute: Soorm finds one in his story.
- People of Hair Color: Blondies
- Pet the Dog: Menelaus at one point concludes that another character can like dogs and still be all bad.
- Princess Classic
- Private Eye Monologue: Kine Larz' story.
- The Promise: Menelaus makes one very young.
- Properly Paranoid: the Tombs' defenses.
- Proud Warrior Race: The Chimera. Lampshaded by one of them, who, hearing of the "battle for Antarctica," asks exactly who was fighting for what down there.
- Psychic Powers: Menelaus at one point reflects on how superhuman intellects get these in stories.
- Rags to Royalty: A Genre Savvy character comments on the usage in cheap fiction
- Raised by Wolves: Menelaus uses this as an analogy
- Red-Headed Hero: Menelaus.
- Requisite Royal Regalia
- Rescue Romance: A Genre Savvy character comments on the usage in cheap fiction
- Reverse Psychology: One character argues with Menelaus as if he wants him to do the opposite.
- Royal Blood
- Servant Race: to be genetically engineered.
- Shout-Out: Too many to list. (What? Never heard of Sir Edward Marlinson??)
- Single Tear: Oenoe's story induces this.
- Slave Race: The aliens' plans for us.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Menelaus swings between "aw shucks" Texanisms and ultrafluent Lawyerese or Antiquated Linguistics.
- Spring Is Late: Years late.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Lady Ivinia explains that this is her place, not councils of war, so she merely "reminds" the men they have a duty to overcome the foe they face or commit suicide for failure.
- Superpowered Evil Side
- Super Serum / Psycho Serum
- Swans A Swimming: Rania is repeatedly refered to as a Swan Princess.
- Tap on the Head: Takes Menelaus out, old style.
- They Have the Scent: The dog things invert it — by howling with frustration, they show they don't have the scent.
- Time Abyss: To quote the author, the story will be followed to "the year Oh-My-Gosh-That's-A-Lot-Of-Zeroes".
- Title Drop: "Counting to a trillion" is a metaphor in the first two books for something true but outside your ability to handle; also how long it will take Rania to return.
- Too Dumb to Fool: Sometimes you're victorious when you can't be smart enough, but can be stupid enough.
- Truly Single Parent: The princess has only a father, though he was not the one to make her.
- Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: Menelaus' description is distinctly ungainly; Blackie del Azarchel, on the other hand, is a Dashing Hispanic.
- Uh-Oh Eyes
- Unreliable Narrator: In The Hermetic Millennia, large sections are first-person accounts by people who are not to be trusted.
- Visual Novel: Asymptote seems to be this.
- Wake Up Fighting: Menelaus coldsleeps with loaded pistols in his hands for this purpose. It doesn't help him much in Hermetic Millenia.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: And, indeed, your own electronic copy.
- White Stallion: Cryogenically frozen for the knights.
- With Due Respect: Menelaus to the Chimerae — he's posing as a subordinate one.
- A Year and a Day: How long Soorm had to serve to sleep in the Tombs.
- You Are Number Six: Crewman Fifty-one.