Literature / Enter The Farside

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Enter the Farside by Saramoff, is a Web Serial Novel following the story of Shaun Larson, on the cusp of adulthood who isnít sure what to do with his life. After starting the first year of sixth form, Shaun is put into a position where he has to choose, making decisions that may affect him for the rest of his life. The choices that you donít want to make are sometimes the most important ones you come across.

If it was just a tale about growing up, things might not be so difficult. The earth he steps upon is not natural; every fibre of existence as we know it is tainted by the Farside, only a veil separating the world between it and another one of raw, incomprehensible madness.

So far, the story follows Shaun as he meets up with agents of the NFU; the National Farside Unit, a police force that deals with people with extraordinary powers granted by the Farside. It's based in Manchester, England.

Enter the Farside launched in October 2015 and is relatively young, updating on wednesday and saturday. It can be found on Web Fiction Guide

Not to be confused with The Far Side

Tropes:

  • Aerith and Bob: All NFU Agents have names to mask their identity and to represent themselves and the NFU. Shaun hates the idea of having a 'cape name'. Their team so far is called Visionary, Tether, and Shaun.
  • After-Action Patch-Up: Visionary and Grandmaster are treated to this after an encounter with the Technomads. Grandmaster is much more sour about seeing the good doctor, though.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The aliens are actually Eldritch Abominations and they're not set in Cardiff, they're located in Manchester and Staffordshire in the north of England.
  • Appeal to Force: In Entrance 1-8, Alex questioned Shaun about whether he'd been in many fights or not. Shaun explained what he did when some guys tried to start a fight with him outside of a pub one night.
    Shaun: "Yeah. He and his mates ran away after I let him go and told him to go away. I wasn't going to do anything to him, christ no. But, it taught me a few things. Word spread fast, and everyone knew quickly. People had heard about it and didn't want to try anything else, and that intimidating people is the easiest way to stop people. I don't want to fight people, but telling them I will, gets people off my case."
  • Bare Your Midriff: Katrina wears crop tops that show off her stomach.
  • Barrier Warrior: Giles, known as Impetus, can make a shell of kinetic energy around himself that inverts all the colours it covers. Impetus has trained to use his powers in a variety of ways, including; moving distances quickly, covering individual body parts and enlarging the barrier to use as a shield, launching the barrier at people like a projectile, and launching the barrier as a projectile mid-punch to hit enemies with a huge amount of force.
  • Bi the Way: Grandmaster in Beginnings 2-7 has dated men and women. He has little social life and works a lot, so regardless of which gender it is, it never quite works out for him.
    Because of this, he had little time to date or seek out a partner. There was often complaints from their end; one woman heíd seen before, a work colleague said she felt he spent too much time trying to fit her into his lifestyle. A man heíd met once told him he didnít talk often enough, and spoke too much about work when he did, and heíd grown bored and called it off.
  • Blessed with Suck: Farborn and Fartouched don't get to choose what powers they have. Some Fagraced do have mutations or obvious powers. Jolly's crew is specifically made up of people with obvious physical Farside abilities.
  • Boring, but Practical: Shaun's abilities aren't flashy or obvious but he doesn't need to be flashy with them. Most NFU agents that don't use their abilities tend to have regular weaponry, like Visionary and her Bar Maces or tazers.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Grandmaster makes a point of highlighting this, as well as why everyone is made to train so often. All NFU agents do regular patrols. Even Shaun is working on his aim.
  • Cape Busters: NFU Containment Squads are unpowered humans who fight and capture Eldritch, sometimes with the assistance of Fargraced Agents.
  • Chest Insignia: The Designer showed Shaun one of her designs, with one of them having a shield on his chest. He predictably said no.
  • Coordinated Clothes: NFU agents tend to wear similar styles of body armour, and Containment Teams are all identical.
  • Counterpart Comparison: Grandmaster mentions that Fargraced in America act more like superheroes and capes, as opposed to the English who tend to act more like a police force. American Fargraced are looked at like celebrities, even the villains.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Everytime Sage opens her mouth. She does it on purpose, possibly because she finds it fun. Mostly it's to keep her image as somebody mystical.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: From the fight Shaun had against Jolly in1-8, when Visionary told him to get Jolly out of the building. Up until that point, Shaun was just keeping him at bay and trying to talk him out of it whilst tanking everything he threw at him.
  • David vs. Goliath: Shaun goes for the bigger, stronger enemies due to his powers. It often looks like this, initially. Afterwards, not so much.
  • Differently Powered Individual: Superpowered people come in two catagories: "Farborn" and "Fartouched". Both are collectively known as "Fargraced". People who work for the NFU are called "Agents." Those that fight criminals who aren't a part of the NFU are considered "Independant Operatives".
  • The Drag-Along: Shaun with the NFU, initially. He didn't trust them due to his dad's influence but is slowly learning to understand what's going on.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Eldritch are creatures born of the Farside that nobody quite knows how they get here, are a prime example of this trope. We've seen one so far, which was almost as large as a horse, with its body constituting of tentacles holding its shape together.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Jolly will take in anybody that looks inhuman in anyway for the Manc Freakshow, regardless of how horrifying you might look.
  • Extranormal Prison: The Unit, not much else has been said about it so far.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness: Malachi dabbles with these ideas in Interlude 2 when discussing Eldritch with Abrumar. The idea that the Farside simply existed was enough to make people question their faith and eventually start a war.
    Malachi: "I read, about great wars. Wars of religion in the middle east, when I was young, at the end of the nineties. They taught me them in school. People asked, why would God allow the Farside to exist? Why would god make Farborn, Fartouched? In what vision of His do these creatures, the Eldritch, walk about freely? All faiths felt the same." "They killed each other. Especially in the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands slaughtered. They thought it was hell on earth. The apocalypse. Revelations, the end times. All at once. Anybody touched by the Farside, any Eldritch, were demons that needed to be sent back to hell. It all ended. We used technology, made from the Farside. They calmed everyone with new guns, they settled everyone. The world was at peace again."
  • Forgot About His Powers: Averted and justified with Shaun. Shaun has never had an opportunity to use his powers in his day to day life, because he simply has never needed to be that strong; the only time he's had to use his strength was lifting a car. When Giles takes a night to help him work on his powers, Shaun begins to realise he can do a lot more than just hitting things.
  • Flying Brick: Shaun, minus the flying.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Artifex. Slightly averted; he can't actually invent anything, but he can take any existing piece of technology and simplify it to the point of being leagues ahead of what it was before.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The NFU. The National Farside Unit is a territorial police force that focus on matters regarding Farborn, Fartouched and all things Eldritch. Their Agents are specialist operatives that are all Fargraced to some extent.
  • Heroes "R" Us: NFU Agents generally go out in small groups of superpowered individuals. Likewise, gangs such as the Ten Granders and the Manc Freakshow are entirely made of Fargraced.
  • Holy Halo: Malachi's costume has a halo on it, to give off the impression of an angel.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Averted with Farborn, who grow up with their powers since birth. Played straight with Fartouched, who get their powers at random after taking a trip to the Farside, and don't instantly know how to use them effectively.
  • Hyper Awareness: Visionary seems to have some form of this.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Despite being gifted with immense strength and physical durability, Shaun just wants to be a normal person who goes through school and has a regular life.
    Shaun: ďOkay, let me put it this way. These, look like super heroes. Iím not a super hero. Iím just a regular kid. Why canít I be a bit more... humble, thatís it. Down to earth?Ē
    Beginnings 2-1, when discussing costume ideas.
  • Kinetic Clicking: Tether's ability activates with a distinct clicking noise. It happens whenever he either links the objects together, or sends one flying into the other.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Tether can link two objects and bring them together. He uses this to throw things and return them back to him, and also throw people about by their clothes, amongst other things. Katrina can generate a white, vapour-like substance that she can superheat to cause serious scalds and burns.
  • Lie Detector: Grandmaster's helmet can be modified to incorporate one of these, as well as something that picks up on visual cues on whether something said causes a reaction of any kind on who it targets.
  • Mutants: Some Fargraced have physical deformities. Jolly's gang, the Manc Freakshow, are entirely made up of Mutants. Jolly is a 9 foot tall hulk with green skin and mossy hair. Triclops has three large, black eyes that can operate independantly. Ooze's body liquids are replaced by an inky substance. Squeeks looks like a man/rat hybrid, and Aberrant is neckless with four arms that join at his elbows.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: Visionary's specialty. She's seen doing the first type quite a lot, in training and on the field.
  • Oop North: With the NFU Headquarters set in Manchester and Shaun's home being in Staffordshire, the majority of events take place Oop North. Not everyone has an accent, as they originate from other parts of England or other countries, but Shaun is from Staffordshire and most likely has a Stoke accent. It's never specified where exactly he comes from in the county though.
  • Powered Armor: Artifex's pet project that he's working on at the same time as he's working in an NFU workshop. It's his own personal project, and he even explains some of the pitfalls associated with having a suit of Power Armour, as well as why he can't mass produce them for the NFU.
  • Power Levels: Averted. Grandmaster states that using numbers is too convoluted and the NFU have opted for a two-word, short blurb, style of classification. Eldritch are classified by whether they're on land, air or sea and by size and aggression.
  • Power Trio:
    • Shaun, Tether and Visionary.
    • Jolly, Triclops and Aberrant.
    • Flare, Candour and Alpha.
  • Punny Name: Jolly. The Manc Freakshow follow in his footsteps, especially with Triclops.
  • Randomly Gifted: It doesn't matter if both your parents are Fargraced, being Farborn is entirely a random chance. Same with being Fartouched.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted. Artifex, introduced in 2-3 and mentioned prior to this, is a Fartouched with the ability to simplify technology. As Jason explains, he can take an existing piece of technology and make it "half as big, twice as quick and three times as energy efficient." He uses his powers to make his factories just as efficient this way, so he can market his improved devices for the same price, for less materials and time required to make them. The National Farside Unit have him under contract to make armour, weapons and technology.
    Artifex: ďIt is easier to say I know how to make technology less complicated. Everything else is side effect of the process.Ē
  • Required Secondary Powers: Shaun plays this straight with super strength and super toughness. A lot of Fargraced tend to have individual powers, without any secondary abilities. The Farside Effect is an explanation for why powers can't be used directly on other people, making things like a Portal Cut extremely difficult to do.
  • The Insomniac: Due to Giles/Impetus's powers, he finds it incredibly hard to go to sleep. He uses this a little to his advantage by running double shifts at work and staying awake all night to get more done, as well as develop his powers into a useful arsenal of tools.
  • The Reveal: Shaun's powers are revealed in Entrance 1-3.
    • Shaun's name and costume were revealed in Discoveries 3-5
    • Michael Burnham revealed the identity of the person behind hiring all the gangs and mercenaries to rob and steal all the equipment and Fartouched animals: Anthony Barnes, a politician who has only been mentioned in the background several times up until this point.
  • Seers: Sage has carefully crafted her image to give off this impression.
  • Shout-Out: Shaun's surname, Larson, is a reference to Gary Larson, the artist of the Farside comic.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Averted. Powers are randomly gained at birth or by entering the Farside, regardless of gender.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Averted. Shaun thinks they're stupid and The Designer says they're hard to pull off, as well as posing risks in combat.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Averted. Being Farborn doesn't require Fargraced parents.
  • Super Power Lottery: Played straight. It comes to bite Visionary's team in the ass in Entrance 1-6 when Sage forces their team to take on a potentially dangerous incident because of how powerful Shaun is
  • Supervillain Lair: The Manc Freakshow have a base of operations in an old mill somewhere in Manchester.
  • Super Weight: Most Fargraced, including NFU Agents, would rank at Type 2. Shaun's upper limits have yet to be seen, though so far he's either going to be Type 3 or 4. Jolly is a Type 3.
  • Take Five: In Entrance 1-4, Visionary invokes this and asks Tether to speak to Shaun whilst she gets in touch with Sage.
  • Temporary Blindness: Flare's main tactic to avoid confrontations is to blind everyone and escape whilst nobody can see. Even using visors to protect your eyes won't work. She just makes them blindingly bright instead. It makes her very annoying to capture.
  • The Beastmaster: Alpha has the ability to assume the 'alpha' status of any animal near her, which means they form a pack with her as the head. She can also issue verbal commands to them that they understand, and can perform to the best of their abilities.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Played with. To be Fartouched, you have to go through the Farside, purely by chance. When you return, your mind can't remember any details because it's so vastly incomprehensible that your brain can't process the information. People still tend to return screaming and crying, and the experience is extremely uncomfortable and mentally damaging at the time.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Shaun is currently going to Sixth Form whilst being inducted into the NFU.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Sage in Interlude 1 seems to be using her powers to achieve this.
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