Literature: Monster Hunter International aka: Monster Hunter Vendetta
You know what the difference between me and you really is? You look out there and see a horde of evil, brain eating zombies. I look out there and see a target rich environment.
—Dillis D. Freeman Jr., as quoted in foreword
Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer.It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business.And now Owen is their newest recruit. It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves.Business is good…Welcome to Monster Hunter International.MHI is a contemporary fantasy/horror/Gun Porn novel written by Larry Correia about a group of professional monster hunters. Correia's stated goal was to combine B-Movie monster tropes, but have the characters not be complete idiots. Consequently, in order to still present a threat, the monsters are much more powerful than in most B-movies, and the Hunters respond in kind. Grenade launchers? Check. Fully-automatic shotgun? Check. Claymore mines? Check.MHI was originally self-published in 2008, but high sales through word-of-mouth advertising, especially on gun-related forums, attracted the attention of Baen Books, which picked up the series.The sequel, Monster Hunter Vendetta, focuses on the aftermath of the climax of the first book. Owen is now at the top of the Old Ones' Most Wanted list, and they have promised great power to whoever can bring him to them. Now the Sanctified Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition, a necromantic cult with a mysterious leader, is hell-bent on catching him. The Monster Control Bureau has been tracking them for years, and thinks that using Owen as bait is just the break they need. But the Hunters have otherideas...The third book in the series, Monster Hunter Alpha, picks up some time after Vendetta, with a change of protagonist. Earl Harbinger heads to a remote town in Michigan, to settle some old scores with one of his oldest foes, a vicious werewolf who served the KGB, and take him down for good. But there's another force waiting in the darkness, working to bring about a new breed of werewolves, and the only thing in their way are a handful of locals and a Determinator Earl Harbinger who won't die.Monster Hunter Legion, the next book, brings MHI to Las Vegas, where they and other hunter teams from around the world, invited by a mysterious host for a hunter convention, run into a buried supernatural super weapon from the tail end of World War II.Monster Hunter Nemesis takes the story inside the Monster Control Bureau, leaving most of the regular cast in the background. It covers Agent Franks's backstory and perspective, and fills in some of the cosmology.Larry Correia has some other series in the works: The Grimnoir Chronicles, an Urban Fantasy set in an Alternate History1930s; Dead Six, a military thriller; and an untitled project co-written with John Ringo. Sample chapters of his work can be found here.If you're looking for a completely different Monster Hunter, which is a video game, click here.
The first novel uses the following tropes:
Ace Pilot: Skippy, who can make helicopters do things beyond what they'd normally be capable of doing, physics be damned.
All of Them: Milo's answer when asked how many gun laws Abomination breaks.
Always Save the Girl: Played with. At the big climactic showdown of the first book, Koriniha cuts Julie's throat to encourage Owen to use the artifact's power. Owen realizes this would fubar the whole world by letting in the Old Ones, so he doesn't. As he's carrying Julie past what's left of Captain Thrall, Thrall uses the last of his appropriated artifact juice to heal her.
Anyone Can Die: Oddly subverted. All the major characters except for Harbinger experience a violent on-screen death at the trap in Mississippi (and Harbinger is slowly succumbing to his wounds), when Owen uses the Artifact's power to revise the timeline. They all remember dying, it just doesn't stick.
Author Appeal. From the "About the Author" page: "Larry Correia is hopelessly addicted to two things: guns and B-horror movies." Specifically, he likes .45 automatics (Especially 1911s) and .308s. Guess what weapons the main characters use?
BFG: Abomination is a fully automatic shotgun with attached grenade launcher, which gets a more detailed description than most of the human (or otherwise) characters.
Covers Always Lie: Owen is shown on the cover wearing black armor. In the book, his armor is brown, and he derides Grant's black suit.
Crazy-Prepared: Most Hunters become this in the course of their work. The combat suit Hunters use is designed to be prepared for as many situations as possible.
Dark Is Not Evil: The orcs wear mostly black, have warty green-grey skin, yellow eyes and tusks but are definitely good guys
Darkest Hour: The trap in Mississippi. The entire team dies violently. By comparison, only 15 hunters die in the final battle, none of them major characters.
Defector from Decadence: Grant Jefferson is a rare unsympathetic example. Already coming from a rich family, Grant fights monsters not for the money, but because he feels that someone needs to stand up to them. In the second book, he even serves as The Mole for the Feds because he believes that MHI has become too fixated on money and the Monster Control Bureau are doing the real good work.
Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Holy symbols in general and warding stones which specifically work against anything that's actually unnatural/eldritch in nature to the point of being an effective Fantastic Nuke.
Fantastic Nuke: The warding stones function this way activated in a reality with differing physics.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: A few fantastic races appear with real-world subcultures attached to them, often unflattering. The first book features the Enchanted Forest Trailer Park, home to a colony of trailer trash elves, and the second book has a group of gnomes that act like Gang Bangers (complete with a rival group of gnomes who wear blue hats.).
Guilt-Free Extermination War: The vast majority of the undead fall into this as they fall under the "humans are tasty" clause. Many other creatures do as well, like fishmen which like to lay eggs in live human beings. While the government takes this stand in general against most non-humans, they're aware that not every supernatural being are inherently incapable of getting along with people, they just use it for black mail.
I Call It Vera: Abomination, which is a modified shotgun of the same model as the Trope Namer. For those who are not familiar, picture an AK-47 shooting shotgun shells. That's exactly what it is (Saiga is a product line for Izhmash, the company that originally manufactured AK-47's in Russia, consisting of sporting weapons that are based on the design of the famous military rifle, the most popular product in the Saiga line is the Saiga-12 shotgun). In this case, it has been remilitarized with a bayonet, a Grenade Launcher, and the capability for automatic fire, as well as having a short enough barrel that it would need to be registered under the National Firearms Act even if it didn't have automatic fire and a grenade launcher (see the above entry for All of Them).
Lovecraft Lite: There are some things that can boil one's mind and end his sanity, but if you meet one, just pump it with dakka.
A Man Is Not a Virgin: Subversion with Trip. He is twenty-seven. Holly likes to playfully needle him about this.
Mayincatec: The unnamed South American civilization which Lord Machado conquered five hundred years ago fits the mold. Mordecai says it is for the best they have been forgotten; considering their patrons are Eldritch Abominations, there is something to that.
Meganekko: Julie, specifically lampshaded early on as our hero has a hard time resisting a woman in corrective eyeware.
Men In Black: The Monster Control Bureau, whose agents are usually wearing suits, use intimidation and various kinds of underhanded acts to maintain the masquerade by silencing witnesses to supernatural creatures, often acting as if they're from other federal agencies to hide the existence of the MCB from the general public.
Muggles Do It Better: Five of the seven master vampires (super-powerful vampires that are more dangerous than even normal ones) aiding Lord Machado at the De Sota Caverns are contemptuously dismissive of the titular team they face in spite of warnings from the other two more recent conversions to master vampire, one of them a former MHI member who's very familiar with the ability of human devices thanks to regularly using them when part of the company, and the other a Nazi SS soldier from WW2. The five pay for their arrogance and ignorance with their (undead) lives.
Multi Tasked Conversation: Courtesy of Mordecai, Owen is given a view of the Big Bad's memories of his meeting, centuries ago, with the priestess that tells Machado of the prophecy. It's later revealed that she was speaking for Owen's benefit, knowing that in the future Owen would be listening in on the exchange with Machado, who mistakes the prophecy as talking about him.
Noodle Incident One team is unavailable when Earl calls all Hunter Teams to Alabama to deal with the threat, due to hunting a luska in the Bahamas. Owen is told he's better off not knowing what it is; the very name of the thing makes Sam Haven shudder.
Nuke 'em: The MCB's backup plan for taking care of Lord Machado. It misses him and instead annoys an Old One.
Older than They Look: Werewolves in human form in general can, if they avoid being killed, maintain their looks for a long, long time. Harbinger is actually over one hundred but looks middle aged.
Our Orcs Are Different: They work for MHI as healers and as the pilot for their Mi-24 Hind; each has a special skill that makes them the best at what they do (Gretchen = Ultimate Healer; Skippy = Ultimate Hind Pilot). In Vendetta, Owen's brother speculates that this is the true origin of The Stig.
Proud Warrior Race: The Orcs, most of whom have unique talents afforded to them by their god(s).
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: MHI is not allowed to recruit openly, so most of their new hunters are the survivors of monster attacks. They come from all sorts of backgrounds; the Amazing Newbie Squad, for example, has a stripper, a teacher, a librarian, and an accountant.
Real Men Love Jesus: Milo Anderson, who shares the author's Mormon beliefs, and Trip, who is a devout Baptist.
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Subverted. Most of the important characters end up being killed in a battle with demons in chapter 22, but Owen finds a way to rewind time by five minutes and bring them all back. They all remember dying, and are grateful for the second chance at life.
Shotguns Are Just Better: Zig-zagged; Owen's personal shotgun is better, but most Hunters prefer rifles or carbines, with an occasional submachinegun.
Silver Bullet: Julie explains them to Owen in their first meeting. Silver is too light and hard to engage barrel rifling properly, resulting is a fast, light bullet with low damage and poor accuracy. Instead MHI uses a modified Corbon Pow'r Ball design: a hollowpoint round with a silver ball inside the cavity. As it's also expensive, it's only available in .45 ACP and .308 Winchester. The MCB uses a different design that relies on powdered silver in a polymer matrix, available in 9mm Parabellum, 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO.
Those Two Bad Guys: Agents Myers & Franks. Myers is the polite, educated one, and Franks is the quiet, brutal one who's quite capable of curb-stomping the hero, Owen Pitt.
Until Vendetta they weren't actually married, but Julie is described as much more attractive than Owen. Correia claims this is autobiographical, but hasn't provided any sexy pictures of his wife to confirm.
Also, Milo and his wife, who is much prettier than he is.
Continuity Nod: Milo built Leviathan as a dedicated anti-luska weapon, a callback to book 1.
Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Owen earned the ire of the Old Ones because they blame him for the thermonuclear warhead that was launched through the inter-dimensional portal (and slightly injured one of them) at the end of the first book.
Frankenstein's Monster: Many of the zombie creatures that attack MHI headquarters are amalgams of various animals. Also Agent Franks.
Groupie Brigade: When Owen Pitt's brother Mosh, a Heavy Metal guitarist of some renown, is brought to MHI headquarters, he's followed by a gaggle of adoring Orcs, who refer to him as "Great War Chief."
Knuckle Tattoos: A truck driver that's an innocent victim of a monster rampage has "LOVE" and "HATE" tattooed on his knuckles. Later, Agent Franks is seen with "HATE" on the knuckles of his left hand. The arm and its attached hand was taken from the dead trucker, Franks replacing a limb lost earlier in the chapter.
Living on Borrowed Time/The Last Dance: After Owen is bitten by a zombie, he uses his last couple of hours to trade himself for his brother, and lead a one-man assault on the Condition's inner sanctum.
The Mole: Much of the first two-thirds of the book is spent trying to root out a mole at MHI headquarters.
Monster Protection Racket: It's revealed that Hood used to work for MHI, and was secretly using necromancy to cause zombie outbreaks for his team to put down during slow periods.
Mugging the Monster: The Condition sends a trio of human Mooks to kidnap Owen's father. Said father is an ex-Green Beret who earned the Medal of Honor in Vietnam and earned the nickname "The Destroyer". Cue offscreen Curb-Stomp Battle.
My Suit Is Also Super: Earl Harbinger reveals that he survived an assassination attempt because his leather jacket is made of "100% Minotaur hide" and is therefore bulletproof; also counts as a Chekhov's Gun as it'd been mentioned earlier.
Named Weapons: What do you use to take down an armored zombie elephant? Leviathan, a Kraken-sized harpoon gun!
Necromancer: That's what serving the Old Ones will get you.
Necronomicon: A book written by a "mad Arab" in which Shoggoths are described, what else could it be?
Our Gnomes Are Weirder: They live in the Projects, and will bust a cap in yo' ass if you call them lawn ornaments.
The Chessmaster: The Big BadMartin Hood, leader of the Condition. He is always thinking a few steeps ahead the heroes, for example when the heroes found out that he had an spy on MHI he had an entire large scale attack to the compound planned. Also in the past he avoided being caught by faking his own death by swapping bodies with someone else. He was also the one that indirectly caused the temporary shutdown of MHI on 1995 by tricking Ray Shackleford into opening the rift to the Old Ones' dimension.
The Quisling: The leader of the Condition reveals (or at least claims) that he's only working with the Old Ones so that they won't be as angry when they inevitably take over.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Invoked literally. The heroes have to defeat a pair of rampaging oni, one stronger and the other more devious, who attack a heavy metal concert.
And Now for Someone Completely Different: After following Owen's 1st person perspective for 2 books, Alpha shifts primarily to Earl (though Nikolai, Heather, the Alpha, Stark, and Horst also get regular PO Vs, and other minor characters get the odd one), with a 3rd person perspective for events in the present, and 1st person for Earl's diary.
Badass Boast: Stark foolishly picks a fight with Earl, demanding "who you do think you are?" This earns him a Neck Lift and the following response:
Earl: "Who do I think I am? I've been kicking monster ass longer than you've been alive. I've eaten men that would make you look like a pussy on your best day. I'm Earl Harbinger, motherfucker. And you damn well better not forget it."
Be Careful What You Wish For: Earl's diary reveals that he's been trying to return human after being turned into a werewolf. Unfortunately, after it happens... things get worse, and being a werewolf would really have been useful. Being a Badass, he just grits his teeth and keeps on fighting... though hypocritically mentioning things he misses about being a werewolf.
Berserk Button: Earl can deal with someone trying to kill him, but a government official ignoring his PUFF exemption is absolutely unacceptable.
Bling Bling Bang: Horst's sidearm is a gold-plated Desert Eagle, a pistol notorious for being ridiculously heavy in its unmodified form. This disgusts Earl, so he tosses it on a snow-covered roof to make it harder to find again.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Earl doesn't recall having killed Nikolai's wife Lila, asking that Nikolai be a little more specific, Earl having killed "a mess of folks". It turns out that Earl hadn't killed her. Another had, and planted evidence to pin the blame on him.
Cerebus Retcon: Earl's bulletproof minatour hide jacket, which was assumed by readers to be the spoils of a hunt. It turns out that the minotaur - or bullman, as he preferred to be called - was a New Meat in the black ops team Earl served with in Nam. When he was killed, his last request was that his hide be turned into a coat for Earl.
Create Your Own Villain: During his time in Vietnam, Harbinger accidentally bites one of his special squad's members in a frenzied attack on their base, whose child goes on to cause problems for him during the book.
Cursed with Awesome: Heather doesn't like many of the implications of becoming a werewolf, but is delighted to learn that the accelerated metabolism means that she will never have to diet ever again.
Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The special Babba Yaga magic rounds for a Mosin-Nagant that Earl finds. One round causes normal werewolves to explode.
Dirty Coward: MCB Agent Stark was The Neidermeyer in the One-Man Army entry for Sam Haven and, in the not-flashback sections, he tries to use his MCB authority to get a nice hiding spot after things get bad.
Enemy Mine: Earl, Stark, and Nikolai team up to take out the Alpha.
Gorn: Taken Up to Eleven when Earl and a local drive a snow cutter (think a combine-sized snowblower) through a mass of undead werewolves. Earl, who's no stranger to carnage himself, pronounces the resulting slurry of werewolf as the most disgusting thing he ever seen.
Heroes Want Redheads: Heather, who ends up retaining most of her humanity despite being a new werewolf, and Earl's new love interest.
Kill It with Fire: Earl uses a hospital's oxygen tank to set a fire to kill a newly turned werewolf who is immune to the effects of silver, quoting the trope name when setting it up.
Laser-Guided Karma: Ryan Horst leaves a woman (his girlfriend Jo Ann Schneider) to die while he escapes undead werewolves chasing him. The decision winds up biting him in the face a little later. Literally. The undead werewolves were ordered to just kill humans, not devour them completely.
Mundane Utility: Heather, a junk-food addict whose mother had diabetes, is thrilled to learn that werewolves burn enough calories that she can eat anything she wants without gaining weight.
Several werewolves were employed by their national governments as this. Sam Haven is also shown to have been this, single-handedly clearing a cruise liner of monsters after his SEAL team got killed and his Neidermeyer CO hid.
It's also subverted: Earl quickly realizes that the situation is too big for him to handle and tries to call in his team, but the phones are down. He ends up rallying the locals and gaining a few allies along the way.
Real Men Love Jesus: Earl isn't especially religious, but he does pray multiple times throughout the novel, and part of the process of learning to control his werewolf side involved reading the Bible seven times all the way through and meditating over it.
Shout-Out: The luska is finally revealed, and it's a Sharktopus.
The Southpaw: Earl is right-handed, but shoots a sniper rifle left-handed so he can maintain his sight picture and work the bolt faster.
Tastes Like Chicken: Averted with the luska. Earl doesn't care for the taste, but he was ravenously hungry on a full moon. He specifically states that it tasted like ahi tuna.
The Triple: According to Earl Harbinger, badass Russians only have three emotions: revenge, depression and vodka.
Monster Hunter Legion adds the following tropes:
BFG: One of Milo's free samples shows up at the end of the book. It's an Anzio Ironworks 20mm rifle (20mm is considered to be the smallest cannon round), so massive that it's transported in a couple of giant cases.
Fun with Acronyms: Special Task Force Unicorn, whose initialism is also a statement to its members on how they are supposed to act.
Info Dump: When Owen gets a whole mess of memories dumped on him by Sam Haven in the other world the hotel was moved to, the narrative describes it as "quite literally an infodump".
Odd Couple: Edward (Orc ninja) and Tanya (Elven wizard). Notable due to the fact that Orc and Elves hate each other normally. The two of them teamed up in a sidestory, explaining how they manage to get along.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Management, who is extremely materialistic, but good-natured and eager to help with the crisis in any way he can despite the fact that he's a dragon.
Shoot Out the Lock: Owen uses Abomination to shoot out the lock on a fire exit that blocking his path into a building. The ricochet issue is addressed by the narrative, as is the fact that there would normally be a special breacher round to be used for the task, but it's unfortunately unavailable at that moment.
Supernatural Gold Eyes: Earl Shackleford, the effective head of MHI, normally has blue eyes, but the emergence of his werewolf form changes them to gold.
Owen: We think there's a dangerous supernatural entity loose in your casino. Owen: Yeah. Sorry to break it to you. It killed several people in northern Nevada yesterday and murdered one of your guests this morning in room 1613. Mitch: That's nuts. Owen: You know what? Go ahead and roll with that. We're crazy, so just humor us until we're done.
Took a Level in Badass: Heather was tough before, but here her chief complaint about fighting a literal army of the scariest monsters in existence is that she's really hungry and can't eat any of them. Then at the end she joins Franks and Owen in tackling a dragon head-on.
Monster Hunter Nemesis adds the following tropes:
And Show It to You: A security guard's heart is ripped out of his chest by Kurst, and briefly stares in disbelief at the still-beating organ before he dies.
Grievous Harm with a Body: When veteran MCB agents are informing a newbie agent about Special Agent Franks, one of the stories they relate about Franks is that he once ripped the arm off a werewolf, and beat the were to death with it.
Harbinger vs Franks: the King of the Werewolves against an unstoppable abomination upon whom Frankenstein was loosely based.
And in a flashback, George Washington vs. Frankenstein's Monster: America's "Father of our country", and reputed to be unkillable by his enemies when fighting the various Native American tribes working for the British, against the same unstoppable abomination mentioned above.