Literature: Mediochre Q Seth Series
aka: The Good The Bad And The Mediochre
The Mediochre Q Seth
series, otherwise "The Mediochreverse" or just "The Mediochre Series" - although that last sounds unfortunate
– is an in-progress five-part Urban Fantasy
series by Calum P Cameron. He started writing it while in high school, primarily out of boredom, but also out of a desire to see if he could write a story about a unique and powerful Doctor-like
individual while having them remain realistically human and fallible
Also, he really likes dragons
Charlotte Johnson is an Ordinary High-School Student
from the USA
whose parents have forced her to move to Edinburgh, Scotland – with predictably resentful results on her part. So far, so normal. Then, one day, she is almost run over by a lorry.
The driver of this lorry is one Professor Doctor Laird Sir Mediochre Quirinius Seth, PhD MusD MSc CBE OBE MIMC VC-Bar
– although he prefers just 'Mediochre' or 'Dr Seth' – an eccentric 'dracologist' from the parallel society that has existed for generations hidden from Charlotte’s own world by a government-enforced Masquerade
. A society very much like her own, but with a few important differences – most obviously: magic.
The world turns out to be a lot more dangerous and interesting than Charlotte had initially assumed, full of giant dragons, emotionless half-vampires, powerful magic-users (or 'mancers', to use the correct term
) and, of course, Mediochre himself, who's never been the same since an accident in his past
left him immortal
, trapped in a fifteen-year-old body
and able to calculate probabilities exactly at the drop of a hat
. And those are the people on her
side. Or at least, she's pretty sure they are. It's hard to tell, sometimes...
For more information, visit the series's website
When complete, the series will consist of:
- The Good, the Bad and the Mediochre (Available now) – in which Charlotte pretty-much forces her way into Mediochre’s ongoing adventure in returning a rare dragon egg to its mother and thwarting the dragon-slaying attempts of an international smuggling ring. But things are never that simple around Mediochre, and it starts to look like there may be a grander conspiracy at work here...
- Black, White and Shades of Mediochre (Ditto) - in which a mancy-related murder practically on Charlotte's doorstep gives her a way back into the Mantically Aware world and Mediochre's life, just in time for them to get uncomfortably caught up in the increasingly-murky issue of Undead-human relations. Naturally, it soon turns out that something even worse than murder is going down here, and if someone doesn't stop it then the consequences will be world-changing...
- Caught Mediochre-Handed - (Also ditto) - in which Maccabeus Fervour's inability to run the country and a risky Batman Gambit by Queen MAB to get rid of him before he starts a war leads to a mass prison escape at the Stygian Secure Unit, leaving Charlotte and Mediochre with a quarantined country and a whole bunch of Unsealed Evils Previously In A Can to deal with while Joseph and Dhampinella become Sealed Good in a Can through the actions of an increasingly paranoid Fervour...
- Sent into Mediochre-drive
In addition, it has become customary for the author to write a "Christmas Special
" short story every December - seemingly working his way through the main party of characters and focusing one story on each. Thus far, these include:
For Christmas 2012, the author also wrote a Christmas Special
short story featuring Joseph Carrion
which functions as a sort of prequel to the main series. It was initially posted to his Facebook page
, but eventually uploaded to the website here
A second Christmas Episode
followed for Christmas 2013, this time featuring Mediochre himself, and can be viewed here
, along with its "ambiguously canon
" companion piece here
For those wondering, the name 'Mediochre' is an intentional pun on 'mediocre
' – although in-universe, Mediochre insists it’s a shade of red between pale ochre and dark ochre
The author is literally One of Us
, so expect a lot of tropes
The main series provides examples of:
Series as a Whole
The Good, the Bad and the Mediochre
- Absent-Minded Professor: Dean Kiwi Mashuga. Subverted
- Added Alliterative Appeal: The Sapphire Smuggling Syndicate.
- And Your Little Dog Too: The SSS thugs threatening Charlotte.
- Arch-Enemy: Mediochre and Maelstrom go way back...
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The list of charges against Mediochre ends on 'disturbing the peace'.
- Badass Grandpa: Forthan Forth.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Antler, until he suffers Clothing Damage.
- Barbarian Hero: Maelstrom is a deconstruction.
- BFG: Missile-Bee Launchers.
- Big Bad Friend: Sapphire.
- Big Damn Heroes: Joseph vs Isobel; Mediochre vs Maelstrom.
- Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Charlotte looking into classrooms.
Empty, empty, empty, empty except for a teacher who clearly didn't get enough of her classroom when she was actually teaching or something...
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Kiwi Mashuga.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Antler.
- The Cavalry: Subverted. The timely arrival of the MIPF at the end wasn't quite timely enough to help much.
- Check and Mate: Subverted for laughs. Mediochre, being a smug git, sets things up to let him pull one of these on the Big Bad - but forgets to factor in the fact that he has the body of a scrawny teenager and the Big Bad is capable of cutting off his airway before he can finish.
Mediochre: The CCTV’s still on.
- Clothing Damage: "Dhampinella’s biggest injury seemed to have been to her coat." Antler's suit also gets ruined by the explosion.
- The Coats Are Off: Dhampinella, before taking on the entire SSS army at once.
- CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): Averted.
Joseph: " I can’t do CPR on someone who doesn't have a chest!"
- Cutting the Knot: Mediochre once brought down a whole load of criminals in a single blow by punching the fire alarm. Joseph gets into an SSS store room by breaking the lock.
- Da Chief: The St Merlin's Security Chief.
- Damsel in Distress: Hélène.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Sapphire.
- Domino Revelation: Charlotte struggles to cope with the fact the world won't stop defying what she believes it to be like.
- Doomed Hometown: Maelstrom's Freudian Excuse.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Maelstrom and the tempomancer.
- Dramatic Pause: Mediochre.
Mediochre: "I have... a plan."
- Egg Mcguffin: Glint.
- Empathic Environment: "Charlotte would have sworn that the temperature in the room had just dropped."
- Et Tu, Brute?: Mediochre is really displeased when Kiwi turns out to be evil.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Hélène.
- Evil Counterpart: Maelstrom to Mediochre.
- Evil Inc.: The Sapphire Storage Facility, a front for the Sapphire Smuggling Syndicate.
- Evil Matriarch: Kiwi puts her own daughter in danger to further her scheme.
- Evil Teacher: Dean Kiwi Mashuga (OK, technically a Dean is not a teacher).
- Exact Words: How Isobel beats the lie detector.
- Exit Villain Stage Left: Danny and the tempomancer.
- Exposition of Immortality: Melinda's paintings show that Mediochre is even older than he had previously implied.
- Eye Scream: Deep Ocean gets a stun dart in the eye.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Both the dragon in the painting and Maelstrom.
- Femme Fatale: Beth Diamond is an arguable inversion.
- Five-Bad Band:
- Freudian Excuse: Maelstrom's hatred of dragons stems from the destruction of his home village.
- Friendly Enemy: Mediochre and Queen MAB. Lampshaded via Sam and Ralph reference.
- Friend or Idol Decision: Given to Mediochre and Joseph by the tempomancer.
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Combined with Megaton Punch by Joseph to snap Mediochre out of it when he goes psycho.
- Guns Akimbo: One of the SSS thugs.
- Heel-Face Turn: Oscar and Stephanie.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted by Danny.
- I Have Your Wife: We have your many-times-great aunt.
- I Know You Know I Know: Alluded to a couple of times.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Kiwi Mashuga, for lulz.
- Infinity+1 Sword: Maelstrom's Blood Iron sword.
- Ironic Echo: "You have something of mine", and later, " It is all in the wrist!".
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Charlotte is less affronted by Mediochre's leaving than by his inability to use a door like a normal person.
- It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Dhampinella's name is pronounced "Vamp-in-ella".
Joseph: "Spelt with a D-H, pronounced with a V. Don't ask me why; her parents were weird."
- Kansas City Shuffle: How they get both in and out of the Sapphire Storage Facility.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: Complete with Scooby-Doo reference.
- Made of Explodium: Fire glands.
- Mauve Shirt: Oscar, Stephanie and Kurt.
Mediochre: "This whole scene could have stepped out of a cheesy fantasy adventure were it not for the fact that scenes are incapable of stepping anywhere due to severe deficiency in the foot department."
- Milkman Conspiracy: Sapphire is actually Kiwi Mashuga.
- The Mole: Danny is TOWIR's mole, and Kiwi is the SSS's... sort of.
- Mook-Face Turn: Oscar and Stephanie.
- Motive Rant: Maelstrom gives one to Charlotte.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: In the acknowledgements.
- My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours:
Mediochre: "When it comes to freaky powers, I do beat you."
- Name's the Same: "Not that Queen" and "Different Merlin."
- Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Sort-of inverted. Danny brings one to a gunfight and, naturally, wins.
- Never Mess with Granny: Melinda takes out several thugs from her wheelchair.
- Nobody Touches the Hair: Mediochre.
- No, Except Yes: Charlotte's "I wasn’t drooling; I was admiring" and Joseph's "It’s not hypocrisy; it's Mediochrisy."
- Noodle Implements: Prometheus Modern has seemingly done surgery with a kitchen knife, some slightly rusted tweezers, a bottle of Schnapps and a length of wool.
- Noodle Incident: Several, most notably Mediochre fighting off a horde of Undead with his teeth.
- On a Scale from One to Ten: Mediochre gives the non-sequitur answer "Tuesday".
- Only One Name: Maelstrom.
- Ordinary High-School Student: Charlotte.
- Out-Gambitted: The SSS and then Maelstrom, both by Mediochre.
- Out of the Inferno: Justified by Isobel, who’s a pyromancer.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "I... liked... that... hair."
- Red Shirt Army: The MIPF and the SSS.
- Refuge in Audacity: Sapphire uses it to hide herself and her syndicate.
- The Reveal: Mediochre's 'accident'; Sapphire's identity.
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: Beowulf.
- Self Stitching: Joseph doesn't actually stitch himself, but he does cut a bullet out of his own hand and bind it up.
- Shaped Like Itself: "Unexpected unexpectedness."
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: An SSS thug describes Charlotte as Mediochre's girlfriend when they've only just met. Mediochre gets sarcastic at him.
- Sherlock Scan: Mediochre does it at the dragon's cave.
- Smug Snake: Antler.
- So You Want to Live Forever: Maelstrom.
- The Starscream: The tempomancer, sort of.
- Stealth Pun: Kitty Pride is a real person – the character was named after a living artist.
- Stupid Sexy Friend: Mediochre suffers from this in regards to Charlotte.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Subverted – Mediochre is determined not to let it get that far.
- This Means War!: Mediochre has his own equivalent phrase.
- The End... Or Is It?: The last line in the book:
" Almost certainly."
- Those Two Bad Guys: The Bomb Brothers.
- Treasure Room: Deep Ocean has several.
- Unfazed Everyman: Charlotte.
- Universal Driver's Licence: Double-subverted – Mediochre can't fly the helicopter initially, but he learns pretty quickly.
- The Unreveal: Rowan almost reveals Mediochre's backstory to Charlotte.
Mediochre: "If she does, she's not permitted to tell you."
- Unwitting Pawn: Maelstrom. To several people.
- The Vamp: Danny seduces Charlotte as part of TOWIR's plan.
- Virgin Power: Both unicorns and dragons are apparently drawn to virgins.
- Visual Pun: The cover is a shade of red almost slap in the middle of the ochre spectrum. It is literally medi-ochre.
- The Voice: Most of the members of TOWIR.
- We Can Rule Together: The tempomancer offers Joseph the chance to switch sides.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Joseph to Hélène.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Bizarrely inverted – Joseph reassures Mediochre that what he did was justifiable. Joseph seems to be more loyal to Mediochre than he is to morality.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Charlotte asks Mediochre something similar concerning his own name.
- With My Hands Tied: Mediochre reputedly once fought off a horde of Undead with his hands full ( apparently of Joseph's unconscious form) and one foot stuck.
- You Killed My Father: Mentioned as how Dhampinella met Joseph.
- You Shall Not Pass: Dhampinella against the SSS. Also Danny, but his was part of the tempomancer's scheme.
Black, White and Shades of Mediochre
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Partially justified. The older parts of Edinburgh's sewage system are pretty absurdly spacious. And it's mentioned that they've been widened in secret.
- Action Mom: Ms Du Barry. To ridiculous extremes.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The attack on the Dusk, symbolic home of the Undead.
- Arrow Catch: Almost comically done with a paper aeroplane.
- Badass Boast: The necromancer gives a couple.
- Badass in Distress: Mediochre, if you count him as a Badass.
- Bad Powers, Bad People: You don’t appear to get good necromancers. Ever.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: This book has even more lampshades being hung than the first one - mostly from Gambit and Joseph.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Irena – naturally, her being a Pontianak.
- BFG: Joseph’s flame-charm launcher.
- Big Bad: The necromancer... ostensibly...
- Big Damn Gunship: A fantasy-specific variant with Leeroy.
- Big Damn Heroes: Archie and the religious leaders. Twice.
- Big "WHAT?!": Noteworthy, because one of them came from Dhampinella. Also done in three-part harmony at one point.
- Blondes Are Evil: Guinevere Spencer certainly qualifies.
- Blood Magic: It can rejuvenate you if you’re a Vampire.
- Born in the Wrong Century: Millacra, fortunately for Rowan.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "Stake, Bowie knife, splintered end of your own arm..."
- Call Back: Several, notably to Dhampinella’s family history.
- Captain Ersatz: Subverted – it’s implied Millacra is Le Fanu’s Carmilla.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The necromancer.
- Catch and Return: Irena does it with a firebomb.
- The Champion: Quicksilver is a villainous example, with her devotion to Guinevere Spencer.
- Chess Motifs: All over the place, though some of it is Faux Symbolism.
- Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Fervour. He thinks it looks wise.
- Clothing Damage: So many instances that it becomes noteworthy when Quila Russet fails to suffer any.
- The Coats Are Off: Inverted – Joseph very deliberately dons his coat before he gets dangerous.
- The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Sort of – the ambulance driver failed to get his friend to a medic.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Scourge Worms.
- Creepy Child: The necromancer, although not exactly a child.
- Critical Existence Failure: The necromancer literally explodes all over his own island.
- Cutting the Knot: Joseph gets into the Humanist Movement HQ with threats.
- Cut Your Heart Out With A Spoon: Subverted. Joseph threatens to shove a gun down Gambit’s throat so far that it gives him constipation. He then does so. And fires the gun.
- Deader Than Dead: The necromancer must be killed in body, soul and mind.
- Demonic Possession: The necromancer used this to survive.
- Determinator: Sable rivals Mediochre himself in this regard.
- Deus ex Machina: Lampshaded by Rowan.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu??: No. I shot him.
- Distressed Dude: Mediochre.
- Does This Remind You of Anything??: Abrahams and Fervour are a little bit fascist, bordering on BNP. Millacra's obsession with Rowan, meanwhile, plays out like a stalking and attempted rape.
- Double Entendre: "Until they could sterilise her" wasn't meant to be one...
- Dracolich: Leeroy.
- The Dragon: Gambit to the necromancer. Tiffany Quicksilver to Guinevere Spencer.
- Dramatic Wind: Because the only thing cooler than Joseph Carrion is Joseph Carrion with air conditioning.
- Elaborate Underground Base: Lampshaded severely.
- Enemy Mine: Joseph and Charlotte have to team up with Sable.
- Enfant Terrible: The necromancer... sort of...
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: One of the few types of Undead that aren't important in-book at all – the author just put them in because, in a book about The Undead, you can't not.
- Evil Is Hammy: The necromancer and Guinevere Spencer have their moments, but Gambit blows them out of the park.
- Evil Redhead: Gambit. It's a Strigoi thing.
- Face-Heel Turn: Dr Modern.
- Fantastic Nuke: The Reaper.
- Fantastic Racism: The Humanist Movement are a Human Supremacy group.
- Five Rounds Rapid: Referenced by name by Joseph.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Leeroy? LEEROY?
- Foe-Tossing Charge: Millacra against the Humanists.
- Foetus Terrible: The necromancer possessed his current body when it was an embryo.
- Forced to Watch: Obsidian threatens Joseph with this regarding Dhampinella to keep him in line.
- For the Evulz: Spencer has no interest in the cause beyond it's ability to serve as an excuse to kill things.
- From a Certain Point of View: Mediochre is the oldest man alive, "depending on what you count as a man".
- Gallows Humour: Mediochre remembers Pigeon for this.
- Genocide Dilemma: Oddly, barely brought up.
- A Glass of Chianti: Subverted. Archie the Vampire is drinking wine when Charlotte first meets him, but he turns out to be perhaps the only unambiguously-good Vampire in the series.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Jack Abrahams has an evil one running from his mouth to his eye.
- Goshdang It To Heck: Tanner, until Fervour breaks him.
- Guns Akimbo: Joseph does this when escaping some Vampires.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: The Humanist Movement towards Dhampir.
- Hannibal Lecture: Dante on Joseph; Mediochre on Gambit.
- Heat Wave: And it’s a plot point.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Millacra and Melinoe have both seemingly spent decades doing this.
- Heel-Face Turn: Leeroy. Sable sort-of did one before the story began.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Leeroy. Millacra.
- He's Back: Mediochre, naturally.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The necromancer, by binding himself to a body, ensures his eventual death.
- Humans Are Bastards: Joseph thinks so.
Humanist (after getting punched): "Resorting to the Neanderthal now, are we?"
Joseph: "No. That was pure Homo Sapiens."
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Vampires can regenerate their bodies after drinking enough blood. Drinking Mediochre's blood makes it happen all the faster.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Joseph's "World of necessity".
- I Have Many Names: Sable and Millacra.
- I Have Your Wife: Obsidian accurately identifies Joseph's weak spot as being Dhampinella's heart.
- Implacable Man: Gambit's description of Mediochre.
- Infant Immortality: Averted. Poor little Noddy.
- Ironic Echo Cut: "I daresay he can get them out alive" cuts to "What d’ya mean we can’t let them out alive?"
- Karmic Death: The necromancer.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Pigeon.
- Kiss of the Vampire: Subverted by Millacra, who literally kisses Rowan – and then goes to bite her throat out.
- Large Ham: Gambit. Lampshaded.
- Lesbian Vampire: Millacra and possibly Guinevere.
- Mad Doctor: Prometheus Modern.
- Mad Scientist: Prometheus Modern.
- The Man Behind the Man: Jasper is behind the necromancer, with The Organisation Which I Represent behind him.
- Mathematician's Answer: Mediochre, Tanner, Obsidian and Melinoe all give them at different points while being uncooperative.
- Medium Awareness: Maybe?
Mediochre: "You’ve got me speaking in italics woman!"
- Monster Mash: The Dusk.
- Motive Misidentification: Sable hasn't been paid to take out Melinoe – she’s investigating a world domination plan which Melinoe is part of.
- My Rule-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Mediochre to Chrome.
- Name's the Same: Causes some confusion, since Jacqueline Sable is given the media nickname 'Jack Black'.
Joseph: "Jack Black is back... Yep. That one."
- Night of the Living Mooks: The various Undead under the necromancer’s control.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Undead germs, and later an undead dragon.
- Noodle Incident: Who's Samantha Travis?
- Not Hyperbole: Joseph to Gambit.
Joseph: "Don’t say I didn't warn you."
- Not So Stoic: Dhampinella finally shows some human emotions - when her sister gets involved.
- Nuke 'em: Fervour's proposed solution to the Big Bad. Or rather, Reaper 'Em.
- Obi-Wan Moment: Leeroy gets a very dignified death scene.
- Oh, Crap: Everyone gives one when Dhampinella produces the following result for nearby Undead:
Dhampinella: "I lose count after seventeen trillion."
- Oh, No... Not Again!:
- Only One Name: Dante.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Dhampinella loses her cool and even swears mildly.
- Our Liches Are Different: Some of them, anyway. It's even noted that the word is pronounced differently here.
- Painting the Fourth Wall: The necromancer’s thoughts are in a separate font in an attempt to simulate Voice of the Legion.
- Plot Coupon: The phylacteries.
- Precision F-Strike: Dhampinella gives a Precision D Strike. It works because it's literally the only time she has ever been anything but tersely polite.
- Previously On: The plot of Book I is summarised at the start.
- Prophetic Name: The fate of Prometheus Modern.
- Psycho Lesbian: Guinevere, probably. She could equally be a Depraved Bisexual or just a Camp Straight Sissy Villain with a love of Gay Bravado.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
Joseph:"Where. Is. She?"
- Parenthetical Swearing: Tanner very carefully measures the way he says "sir" to Fervour.
- Puppet King: Mediochre believes Fervour may be this.
- Pursued Protagonist: Quill in the opening. He doesn't get very far.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Because a Vampire is about to eat you. (Also lampshaded with Leeroy.)
- The Reveal: Two big ones – the identity of Purity/Hyde and the true nature of the necromancer.
- Room Full of Crazy: In a variation, Dante has a Room Full Of Impatient.
- Rule of Cool: The main reason given for Joseph's Guns Akimbo moment. Also mentioned in the zontanecrological note.
- Sarcasm Failure: Charlotte, in the Edinburgh Kiss's hideout.
- Save the Villain: Mediochre saves Doctor Modern.
- Shades of Conflict: Referenced by the title. For the most part, the denizens of the Dusk are White, while the Humanist Movement and the Edinburgh Kiss are two opposing types of Black. Maccabeus Fervour is Grey bordering on Black, with Queen MAB and the main party as A Lighter Shade of Grey. The necromancer is a whole new level of Black, but we still don't really know what shade The Organisation Which I Represent is.
- Shirtless Scene: Mediochre, Melinoe and Joseph each get one. Mediochre's is completely non-Fanservicey because he's physically fifteen and being eaten by a worm at the time; Melinoe's would be Fanservicey if she wasn't covered in her own blood at the time (mind you, some people like that...); and Joseph's... well, [[Fanservice the fans deserved something]]...
- Shmuck Bait: The 'Call MIPF' button.
- Shoot the Dog: As Joseph explains, that's what he's for.
- Slouch of Villainy: Dante – although he might just be tired.
- Smug Snake: Gambit and Fervour both.
- Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: Fittingly takes place just after All Your Base Are Belong to Us.
- Soul Jar: The necromancer has both his phylacteries.
- Stealth Pun: Jacqueline Sable is Purity Hyde. Jacqueline/Hyde. Jekyll & Hyde.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Shelly.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Danny.
- Swiss Cheese Security: Mediochre gets in and out of Fervour’s office undetected... somehow.
- Take a Third Option: It’s mentioned that both Joseph and Mediochre found third options to an old teacher’s personality test.
- Talking to Themself: Played for laughs with Joseph's internal dialogue.
- Thanatos Gambit: Possibly from Obsidian.
- Thicker Than Water: Dhampinella and Melinoe (and, implicitly, their papa.)
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Subverted – Joseph prevents Mediochre killing the necromancer, but only so he can do it.
- Throwaway Guns: Joseph when fighting the Vampires – he has no time to re-holster them.
- Title Drop: Almost. Joseph talks about black, white and shades of grey.
- To the Pain: Gambit tries it.
- Touch of Death: The necromancer can do this.
- Transformation Is a Free Action: Averted. Millacra's jaw is dislocated because it isn't.
- Try Not to Die: Joseph says this to Mediochre.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Maccabeus Fervour overthrows the MABGov.
- Unusual Euphemism: Mediochre uses "Mother-of-pearl!" as a curse at one point.
- Unstoppable Rage: Being nailed to a wall can't stop an angry Mediochre.
- Up to Eleven: The freezing charm.
- Vampire Bites Suck: Sure do.
- Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Rather appropriately committed by Zac Abrahams.
- Waking The Sleeping Giant: Millacra did so want to remain neutral...
- Whatever Happened To The Mouse: Chrome just kinda disappears part-way through.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Charlotte struggles to decide whether Skeletons are people.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Melz calls Joseph "a damn fool".
- What You Are in the Dark: If you're Joseph Carrion, the answer is "kinda scary"...
- With All Due Respect: Tanner to Fervour.
- Xanatos Gambit: An impressive one from Zac Abrahams.
- You Have Failed Me: The necromancer to Gambit; Obsidian to Danny.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Obsidian to Gambit.
- Your Vampires Suck: Several lines could function as a Take That to Twilight.
- You Shall Not Pass: Millacra holds off Tiffany for Joseph and Charlotte.
- Abusive Parents: Aoife's parents.
- Adult Fear: The Pied Piper and the Scissorman's targeting of children.
- Affably Evil Simultaneous Velocity Carnage is just as likely to have a casual conversation with you as she is to kill you. Plus, she actually manages to out-snark Mediochre.
- Angrish: Carnage descends into it when Mediochre tricks her.
- Arch-Enemy: Only a year after he finally offed Maelstrom, Mediochre gains another one in Carnage.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Springheel's rapsheet - thirty-three counts of theft, twenty-two of arson, twenty-five of GBH, at least twenty-nine of rape and eleven of murder. And one hundred and seventy-seven counts of property damage, mostly to roofs.
- Axe Crazy: Carnage, certainly. Also Springheel.
- Bald of Evil: Shaven-headed version with Vanadium Steel.
- Batman Gambit: Queen MAB's plan to turn Mediochre against Fervour by getting him to go Papa Wolf over Aoife - whom he barely even knew beforehand - is pretty impressive, especially considering she wasn't in the country at the time.
- Be My Valentine: Sort-of inverted. Valentine is sorta romantic on the surface but the real Valentine underneath it all is an asshole.
- Big Damn Kiss: Between Mediochre and Joseph. No, it's not what you think. Probably.
- Big Damn Villains: Mabel Hart saves Mediochre from Vanadium Steel and Springheel Jack saves Rowan, Charlotte and Sam from Thunderbolt Charlie, both by means of murdering the threat.
- Blatant Lies: Mediochre claims his greatest fear is "lecturers" when asked. Not long after, Carnage is asked where Dhampinella is and decides to answer "Munich."
- Blond Guys Are Evil: The Scruffs – although an argument could perhaps be made that Valentine is more Blond Guys Are Not Evil, Just Misunderstood (and Really Bad at Thinking About Things).
- Blue and Orange Morality: Much of Floor Theta, but especially the Scissorman and the Pied Piper.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The Piper's children.
- Break the Haughty: The fate of the Choromancer.
- Broken Masquerade: Throughout Britain, as the Floor Theta escapees rampage.
- Brought Down to Normal: The fate of the Choromancer.
- The Brute: The Choromancer is the biggest and most (physically and mantically) powerful of the villains in the book.
- Bullying a Dragon: Fervour. Even Rising understands that taking a Dhampir hostage practically counts as assisted suicide.
- Cain and Abel: Valentine and Jonathan Scruff.
- The Caligula: Fervour turns into this post-breakdown.
- Captain Ersatz: Jonathan Scruff seems to have deliberately modelled himself off Jonathan Crane AKA Scarecrow from Batman.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Pretty-much by name.
Rowan gave [Charlotte] a grin more befitting of a feline. From Cheshire.
- Chrome Champion: Vanadium Steel, eventually. Deconstructed in that it takes extraordinary conscious effort to hold himself together while moving.
- Colony Drop: The Choromancer wants to destabilise the orbit of the moon.
- Confusion Fu: Simultaneous Velocity Carnage's main shtick.
- Critical Existence Failure: Thunderbolt Charlie and Springheel Jack obliterate each other from existence.
- Cruel to Be Kind: Mediochre has to trick Valentine into threatening Charlotte to break his spell. A sort of third-person version of Break Her Heart To Save Her.
- Curse Cut Short: A mild version from Aoife's mother.
Mrs Silk: Yes I'm Mrs blo-
- Damsel in Distress: Aoife, thanks to the Scissorman, and later Charlotte and Edith Bartley, courtesy of the Choromancer.
- Dance Battler: The Scruffs.
- Disney Villain Death: Jonathan Scruff.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The Scissorman's MO. This is the case in the original as well.
- Dope Slap: Combined with Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! to snap Charlotte out of her fear-induced hallucination.
- Emotion Bomb: Mediochre's main defence against psychomancers turns out to be a mental shell of guilt about everyone he's ever watched die.
- Enemy Civil War: The escapees. More of them are killed or defeated by each other than are defeated by the heroes.
- Enemy Mine: Mediochre and Darrel against the Choromancer, considering it is Mediochre's ultimate goal that all the escapees go back to prison. Also Mediochre and Valentine against Jonathan, briefly.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Pied Piper, the Scissorman and the Choromancer don't even have names on their prison records.
- Exit Villain Stage Left: Carnelian, with a little help from everyone's favourite tempomancer.
- Famous Last Words: Averted with Fervour, who asked for his last words to go on his memorial. He wanted them to be "Dulce et Decorum est pro Patrium Mori". They end up being much less heroic.
Fervour: I'll... I'll kill her... don't think I won't... I... aargh!
- Fate Worse Than Death: Mediochre threatens the Scissorman with one if he doesn't give in.
- Femme Fatalons: Lark. Pontianak are pretty-much this by default.
- Flashback: Mediochre goes through multiple, throughout this book.
- For Happiness: Why Queen MAB goes along with so many cover-ups, apparently. Ignorance Is Bliss, after all.
- From a Certain Point of View: Weirdly combined with Blatant Lies, above. Mediochre claims his fear-induced hallucination was of "a lecturer". As Charlotte points out, he is a lecturer – and he did indeed see himself.
- From the Mouths of Babes/Wise Beyond Their Years: Aoife gets the odd insightful line.
- Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Mediochre does it in the final conference with Chrome et al.
- Golem: Darrel Snake can make them.
- Good Powers, Bad People: Valentine is a philiamancer. He literally has the power to spread love and friendship throughout the world. He uses it mostly to enforce his own Stalking Is Love point of view.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Subverted with Jenny Kirk who, while a bit cold, is a good person, but has a very evil scar.
- Gratuitous French: Lampshaded by Mediochre, in regards to himself.
- Heart Beatdown: Valentine.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Not so much 'awesome' as 'terrifying' in Valentine's case.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Does the Pied Piper count?
- Humiliation Conga: Given to the Choromancer.
- I Have Your Wife: The Choromancer summons Mediochre by kidnapping Charlotte.
We have your apprentice. Follow the golem.
- I Know What You Fear: Jonathan Scruff can force people to see their greatest fear via reverse placebo. We don't know whether he is aware of what they see or not.
- In a Single Bound: Springheel Jack, obviously.
- Ironic Echo Cut: "Hopefully we’ll find something" cuts immediately to, "So, in short, we've found nothing." Also a Gilligan Cut.
- Kid Sidekick: What Pigeon used to be.
- Knife Nut: The Scissorman is obsessed with blades of any form.
- Last-Second Chance: Mediochre to the Scissorman.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Archie goes from polite old man to literally lightning-fast badass when threatened by Thunderbolt Charlie.
- Magical Flutist: The Pied Piper, of course.
- Manipulative Bastard: Carnelian rivals the tempomancer himself.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Fillip Stephano.
- May-December Romance: Mediochre and Melinda used to be in one of these.
- Meaningful Name: Wattford. Springheel. Valentine. Bogle. Vanadium Steel verges on self-parody.
- A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Mediochre's certainly is. It also appears that using psychomancy on an insane person drives you insane, which is why nobody's tried it on most of the Floor Theta in-mates.
- Mind Rape: Mediochre manages to basically Mind Rape an attempted Mind Rapist. Also, the Pied Piper's actual criminal charge was "psychological violation".
- Monster Sob Story: Unlike the rest of Floor Theta, Valentine Scruff seems to genuinely not know how much damage he causes and can't work out why all his girlfriends die. Although he does still keep trying to make new ones, so he's either evil or really not very bright.
- Musical Assassin: The Pied Piper.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Charlotte tells Stephano who she is in a Badass Boast just before she wallops him.
- The Needs of the Many: Mediochre's initial decision when given a Sadistic Choice – he changes it to Thou Shalt Not Kill at the last moment.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Springheel Jack, not that we see him get hit much anyway.
- No Delays for the Wicked: Inverted – Fervour is less efficient in everything he tries than Queen MAB was.
- No, Mister Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Sort-of. Carnage insists on going for coffee with Mediochre.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Neither Fervour nor Carnelian actually fight anyone, but they are responsible for the Stig Unit incident and Floor Theta's escape.
- Noodle Incident: Tanner gave Kirk a nasty scar for some unknown reason. And Samantha Travis is mentioned again.
- Not so Fast, Bucko!: Repeatedly. Eventually Joseph gets frustrated waiting for the adventure to be finally over, basically making this an in-universe example of Ending Fatigue.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with the arrival of Charlotte ‘Thunderbolt Charlie’ Watford.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Tanner is frightened when Fervour manages a whole speech without any Latin.
- Out-Gambitted: In a notable instance, Mediochre even managed to out-gambit Carnage, whose sole gambit is 'not having a gambit'.
- Post-Climax Confrontation: Hard to tell which confrontation is the climax, but there is almost definitely at least one other confrontation after it, whatever.
- Precision F-Strike: Charlotte calls Valentine a prick; the first time she's described another person by a vulgar term in the series.
- Psycho Lesbian: Thunderbolt Charlie and her girlfriend Carmen are actually pretty level-headed as fictional lesbian criminals go - but when Carmen dies, Charlie snaps big-time.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Springheel Jack sets things on fire because he thinks flames are pretty.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Several.
Mediochre: Where. Did. She. Go?
Mediochre: You’re going... to move... the moon.
Barbarossa McCullock: Very. Well.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech/What the Hell, Hero?: Queen MAB gives a nice one to Mediochre.
- Remember When You Blew Up a Sun??: Joseph and Dhampinella list Joseph's accomplishments, some of which we've seen, after Rising attempts to show off.
- Reverse Polarity: Possibly a deliberate reference by Mediochre.
- Roof Hopping: Springheel Jack. Also the Scruffs, although theirs is less 'hopping' more 'skipping and leaping'.
- Sadistic Choice: Given to Mediochre accidentally by Fervour - he can save the Stig Unit or he can prevent the prisoners escaping, but he can't do both.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Floor Theta.
- Stalker with a Crush: Valentine.
- Starter Villain: Fillip Stephano is dealt with easily before Fervour and Floor Theta get involved.
- Stealth Pun: The code to activate Queen MAB's Broken Masquerade, if typed on a standard several-letters-per-number mobile phone keypad, can produce the word ‘elflocks’ – something that, according to William Shakespeare, the original Queen Mab was famous for.
- Swiss Cheese Security: Parodied. Mediochre gets in and out of Fervour's building without setting off a single alarm – and then sets them all off. In alphabetical order.
- Take a Third Option: Maisie realises this is what Joseph would do if made to choose between her and Mediochre.
- Talking to Themself: Mediochre is forced to confront his biggest fear, which turns out to be himself.
- Those Who Fight Monsters: Lampshaded – sort of – by Aoife.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Mediochre's eventual decision on the Sadistic Choice. Also one of the points the MABGov refuse to bend unless forced to.
- Title Drop: The very last line of the story is almost a Title Drop.
- Trapped by Mountain Lions: Joseph and Dhampinella get temporarily removed from the main action due to being stuck outside normal space in Fervour's building. However, they do put their time isolated to good use in deducing the true identity of Carnelian.
- Turns Red: Thunderbolt Charlie suddenly becomes a lot more of a threat when Carmen dies.
- Two-Headed Coin: How Mediochre tricks Simultaneous Velocity Carnage.
- The Unmasqued World: Well, almost.
- Verbal Tic: Tanner theorises Fervour's use of Latin might be one of these.
- Villainous Breakdown: Fervour, after the Stig Unit incident. Carnage when she loses. Thunderbolt Charlie when Carmen dies.
- Villainous BSOD: Subverted. Jonathan Scruff expects this to happen to Carnage, but it doesn't.
- Villainous Rescue: Valentine Scruff saves the entire Five-Man Band from his brother by injecting a little narcissistic self-love into Mediochre's private nightmare.
- Western Terrorists: Vanadium Steel is a terrorist-for-hire and (apparently) western.
- "What Do They Fear?" Episode: For most of the core cast, thanks to Jonathan Scruff.
- Where It All Began: The eventual confrontation with the Choromancer takes place back at the ruins of the Stygian Secure Unit.
- Wolverine Claws: Springheel has blood iron ones.
- Would Hurt a Child: The Scissorman.
The Christmas specials provide examples of:
Born to Raise the Sons of Earth (Short Story)
- Abnormal Ammo: Up to Eleven. The Depleted Phlebotinum Shells in Joseph's pistol are said to be abnormal even for him.
- A Day in the Limelight: It focuses on Joseph, rather than Charlotte or Mediochre.
- Ascended Extra: Mad Lex Gunpowder was mentioned exactly once in The Good, the Bad and the Mediochre. Here, he's much more prominent.
- An Ass-Kicking Christmas: Joseph and Mad Lex Gunpowder spend Christmas Eve and the start of Christmas Day fighting Undead. What's not to love?
- Awesome Aussie: Mad Lex Gunpowder, Joseph's Mentor, turns out to have been Australian.
- Bash Brothers: Joseph and Lex.
- Big Bad: Stormhold Elect, Dreadlord Servant of the Thousand Voices.
- Bigger Bad: Quite possibly Stormhold's schizophrenia. After all, who else do we know with necromancer powers and a thousand different 'voices' inside them?
- Chekhov's Gun: Literally, with Joseph's pistol. Zig-zagged, however, in that it's not the gun that finally kills Stormhold. Also, of the six bullets, only three are useful and one doesn't even get fired.
- Chekhov's Gunman: On reflection, Stormhold Elect - or rather, his schizophrenia - quite possibly counts as one given the nature of the necromancer in Black, White and Shades of Mediochre.
- Christmas Episode
- Eccentric Mentor: Holy crap, LEX.
- Elite Mooks: Draugar. Jiang-Shi are more rank-and-file.
- Eye Scream: Bullets don't kill Draugar. But they can blind them...
- Future Shadowing: Lex advises Joseph to wear more black. When we first meet him in the series, he's wearing black from head to toe.
- Mad Scientist: Mad Lex Gunpowder.
- The Magnificent: Stormhold Elect, Dreadlord Servant of the Thousand Voices.
- Nice Hat: Mad Lex wears a Tyrolean.
- Prequel: It's set when Joseph is eighteen. He's late 20s in the first book.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Ho ho ho, ya third-grade wombat."
- Saved by the Awesome: It's stated that Mad Lex's genius is the only reason he hasn't been physically incarcerated.
- Squishy Wizard: Stormhold Elect is a pretty good necromancer, but he goes down immediately when Joseph throws a piece of coal at him.
- Seldom Seen Species: The fantasy equivalent. How many other stories contain Draugar and Jiang-Shi?
- Talkative Loon: Stormhold Elect.
- Teen Genius: Joseph turns out to have been one, which makes sense since he is a Professor by the time of the main series. Also, Mad Lex Gunpowder earned a doctorate at seventeen. Yeah.
- Titled After the Song: The title is a line from 'Hark, the Herald Angels Sing'. In the song, it refers to Jesus bringing eternal life to human souls. Here, it refers to necromancy.
- Trigger Happy: Mad Lex Gunpowder, although we knew that already. It implies he struggles to think clearly unless he's shooting at something.
- Wooden Katanas Are Even Better: Justified here in that it's peachwood, which Jiang-Shi are said to be repulsed by.
Please to Put a Penny in the Old Man's Hat (Short Story)
- Christmas Episode: The second in a row.
- Evil Redhead: Lark is, at least, a pretty scary and unpleasant one.
- Five-Finger Discount: Pigeon promises in his letter than Mediochre's gift wasn't stolen - although it may have been bought with money that was "a bit" stolen in the first place.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Exploited by Mediochre. He allows Lark to eat bits of him, to prevent her from hunting down innocent humans for food.
- Horror Hunger: Whatever Lark is, she seems to be compelled to eat human meat.
- Hurting Hero: Mediochre's damaged mental state is on full display. He even describes himself as "too introspective" here.
- Memento Macguffin: Turns out that the cross Mediochre wears around his neck was a gift from Pigeon.
- Public Domain Character: Mediochre is in London to find Springheel Jack, the famous Urban Legend.
- Small Steps Hero: This story shows Mediochre to be one.
- Titled After the Song: Specifically, after a line from "Christmas is Coming", a traditional British Christmas carol.
- Tragic Keepsake: This is probably why Mediochre is still wearing that cross, many years after Pigeon's death.
- Victorian London: The entire story is a flashback to the Victorian era. So, naturally, it has to take place in London!
A Visit from the Yule Goat (Poem)
To You And Your Kin (Short Story)
- Big Guy, Little Guy: Orcus and Vitus, respectively.
- Christmas Episode: The third official Mediochreverse "Christmas special".
- Cool Car: Kind-of subverted. Demetrius owns a classic 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith - but it's almost certainly just for the name.
- Creepy Child: Dhampinella, aged ten.
- Dumb Muscle: Orcus. According to Melinoe, he's "dumb as a sack of concrete".
- Emotionless Girl: Dhampinella, even moreso than usual.
- Evil Versus Evil: Demetrius vs the Chlodoveches.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: As a child, Dhampinella has long hair and a demure Emotionless Girl personality, in contrast to her adult self's Boyish Short Hair and stoic Badass personality.
- Flashback to Catchphrase: The story ends with Dhampinella and Melinoe referring to each other as 'outcast' and 'link' for the first time.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: The Chlodoveches like the half-human Dhampinella even less that they like her father.
- Last Name Basis: Demtrius prefers to use his last name (which is all the main book series ever calls him). Turns out, he does have a first name, and it's Albin.
- Meaningful Name: Melinoe's Viscountess mother is named Erzsébet - also the real name of the historical Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a notoriously blood-obsessed serial killer.
- Nouveau Riche: Demetrius, in contrast to the more traditional but less smarmy Old Money Chlodovech family.
- Older Than They Look: Dhampinella was ten years old in 1983, making her somewhat older than Joseph. In fairness, she's not human.
- Old Money: The Chlodovech family.
- Opposites Attract/Odd Friendship: Melinoe and Dhampinella, due to being raised by an Old Money crime family and a Nouveau Riche "modern" gangster, respectively.
- Parental Neglect: Dhampinella and Melinoe bond over their shared experiences of crappy parenting.
- The Quiet One: Dhampinella was this anyway, but it turns out she was worse as a child. She has exactly one spoken line in the entire story. Oddly, Melinoe is apparently good enough at reading whatever signals Dhampinella does give off to continue the conversation, leading to something like a Newhart Phonecall between two people who are both in the same room.
- Spirited Young Lady/Rebellious Princess: Melinoe may enjoy being a Vampire, but what she enjoys more is breaking tradition to annoy her mother.
- Sunglasses at Night: Demetrius keeps his sunglasses on inside. It's because he intends to set off a light charm if things don't go his way.
- Teleport Spam: Vitus is so twitchy he can't help doing this. He uses it to his advantage when he fights.
- Titled After the Song: Named for a line in 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas'. The full phrase is "Good tidings we bring/To you and your kin", making this an ironic Complete The Quote Title, since the tidings brought between the two families are far from good.
- Those Two Bad Guys: The Viscountess uses her brother Vitus and her broodchild Orcus as henchmen.
- Woman Scorned: The Viscountess really does not like her ex-husband.