Literature / Galatea in 2-D

Galatea in 2-D is a fantasy novel by Aaron Allston in which the hero discovers that his drawings can be brought to life. Unfortunately, he lets this slip to The Rival who sets out to eliminate him.


Tropes included

  • Achilles' Heel: Red comes from a painting of Achilles and has the heel.
  • Action Dad: C. J. gets into the fight because his son is in danger.
  • Action Girl: Penny. When Roger struggles all out with her, she's still able to overpower him.
  • Alpha Bitch: Roger falls into some paintings he made as a teenager and find his hopeless crush in high school, crazy about him but as shallow as she had ever been. (He notes that the real her had grown up when he met her at the school reunion.)
  • Art Initiates Life: The central power of both the hero, Roger, and the villain, Kevin.
  • Battle Couple: Red and Penny, who are animated paintings of Achilles and the amazon queen Penthesilea.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Roger proves to Donna that she's not going insane, but this entails proving that her ex-husband is trying to drive her insane. She is angry about the news.
  • Bluff the Impostor: When Roger suspects the false Donna, he asks if Elsie's at David's, rather than Dylan's.
  • The Cape: Captain Steele, a full blown superhero. Roger drew him in order to have a really powerful ally but discovered it took too much to get him out of the painting. Uses him in the end, though, whereupon Kevin kills him with an Evil Weapon. Roger reveals that he didn't bring him out, he brought Kevin into his painting.
  • The Casanova: Paris makes a move on Elsie as soon as he is drawn from the painting.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Medea. Roger takes advantage of this, coupled with the threat to never let her go back to Jason, to get her to work for him.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: After Kevin sends magically animated paintings after him to kill him, Roger tracks them down and tortures one in the front of the other in an attempt to get information. Produces ghastly guilt; after defeating Kevin, Roger tells them they can leave safely if they don't bother him again.
  • Cool Old Guy: Roger's father C. J. teaches them all how to use guns. He also does all the cooking.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Roger is not burned by nearby lava. Justified. If the artist didn't think of it, it didn't happen.
  • Deadly Doctor: Medea was designed for this. She both designs the poison to use on Red, and its antidote. And it is Roger, not Medea, who has scruples about it.
  • Divided We Fall: Donna and Roger quarrel bitterly, insulting each other, while in hiding in the hotel. Donna stalks off.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: One painting come to life pleads with Kevin to save another one; although Kevin eventually does it, first he taunts him with the possibility of a new version, and the chance to fall in love all over again.
  • Evil Weapon: The short sword with the wavy black blade. Kevin designed it to be the sort of sword a devil would use, and it's capable of killing The Cape.
  • Fiery Redhead: Red. Not only does Penny play Women Are Wiser in their Battle Couple, when Penny is dying and only their boss can save her, Red clearly has to fight to keep begging him to do so instead of attacking him.
  • Flaw Exploitation: They know that Kevin will attend a con in person, for the adoring fans.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: Penny and Achilles do not follow their own legend. Fortunately.
  • French Maid: Kevin's paintings include one of an extremely clichéd French Maid.
  • A Friend in Need: When Roger escapes the attack on his life, he deduces that Donna has also been targeted. He goes to her, finds the paintings brought to life haunting her, and when this triggers an attack, gets her away safely.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The reason why Kevin turned on Roger and Donna with such vindicativeness.
  • Haunted House: Donna thinks she's going mad because she can barely sleep, the house feels like it's haunted by stuff out of Edgar Allan Poe. It is.
  • I Gave My Word: Roger thinks, even while threatening's Red's life, that he can't really kill him, because he gave his word.
  • It's All About Me: Kevin. Out to ruin Donna and Roger's lives out of envy. Laughs at the way his first discovery of Art Initiates Life killed a bunch of painted men. Taunts Red with the possibility of letting his beloved Penny die and makes him beg, repeatedly, before he saves her. Instead of just killing his opponents, locks them up somewhere with monsters that will kill them if they close their eyes — preventing Roger from using his powers but ensuring they will die of sleep deprivation. Takes advantage of a truce flag to try to kill Roger. Sees a random piece of good art, checks the name so that he knows who to ruin. And when the heroes have attacked him all out, he demands that Roger explain something he did, saying Roger owes him it, for this attack.
  • Just Between You and Me: Kevin — after numerous attempts to kill Roger and his friends — demands that Roger explain something he did in his counterattack, saying Roger owes him after all the damage he did to him.
  • Magical Girlfriend: Roger had painted pictures of his hopeless crush when he was a teenager. When Art Initiates Life, he finds, much to his horror, that he has made a woman who is madly in love with him.
  • Magic Land: Going into a painting (instead of drawing a character out) lands you in a world with the rules that the painter thought of. Lava? Convection Schmonvection! The painter was not thinking about how the heat would kill.
  • Magic-Powered Pseudoscience: Any advanced gadgets produced out of paintings are this; the artists find that they're no more able to reverse-engineer a science fictional raygun than they are a fantastical magic wand. One artist mentions that trying to go a step removed doesn't work either: painting a super-genius to invent a real-world cure for cancer would result in him producing magical elixirs that were merely dressed up in the trappings of science.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Roger tortures one of Kevin's mooks to try to get information from another. He slackens off without getting everything he wanted, realizing that she didn't know anything and that he was invoking What Measure Is a Mook?. That thought horrifies him — just because they were two paintings who came to life, and whom the villain had sent to kill him, didn't mean torturing them was all right.
  • No Name Given: The animated drawing of a nymph doesn't have a name at first; Roger dubs her Elsie after some discussion.
  • Papa Wolf: C. J. gets into the fight because his son is in danger.
  • Pygmalion Plot: Roger thinks this at first, since the nymph was drawn as his ideal of an ideal woman.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Roger's father C. J. does all the cooking — recruiting Dylan, the only other competent cook, as backup.
  • The Rival: Kevin's attitude toward Roger and Donna.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Kevin had divorced Donna because she was not this, and painted Julia this way. In the end, after he killed Kevin, Roger paints Julia a new Kevin, who will treat her better — it wasn't after all her fault.
  • Servant Race: Kevin terms his animated paintings as slaves. He can compel their obedience, though they can show some independence and one even gives information as long as she was not explicitly forbidden.
  • Squick: In universe, on discovering the actual legend of Achilles and Penthesilea, which fortunately, the painted characters do not follow. Achilles killed Penthesilea. And raped her corpse.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Roger tortures one of Kevin's mooks to try to get information from another. He slackens off without getting everything he wanted, realizing that she didn't know anything and that he was invoking this trope. That thought horrifies him — just because they were two paintings who came to life, and whom the villain had sent to kill him, didn't mean torturing them was all right.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Roger tortures one of Kevin's mooks to try to get information from another. He slackens off without getting everything he wanted, realizing that she didn't know anything and that he was invoking this trope. That thought horrifies him — just because they were two paintings who came to life, and whom the villain had sent to kill him, didn't mean torturing them was all right. At the end, having dealt with Kevin, he offers to leave these two mooks alone if they do the same for him.
  • Women Are Wiser: In the Battle Couple of Red and Penny, Penny does the prudent thing: argue they should contact their boss when the heroes show up unexpectedly, persuade Red not to fight after their boss dies, etc.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The last attack Roger unleashes on Kevin.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/GalateaIn2D