Literature: River of Dancing Gods
A troperiffic fantasy series written by Jack Chalker. As with all Chalker products, expect copious amounts of Author Appeal between the heaping servings of high parody. What can you say about any series where most popular fantasy tropes have been literally written into the physical laws of the universe by powerful magicians?
Contains examples of:
- Anti-Climax: Chalker either ended the series one book too soon or pushed the concept one book too far.
- Author Appeal: Among Jack Chalker's trademarks:
- Baleful Polymorph: Played with. Once they've escaped the Circe-esque witch that transformed them, Joe and his companions exploit the Mundane Utility of their animal transformations to sneak through a dragnet. Inverted completely with Posti, who turned out to have been a very poor specimen of manhood before his transformation. Given the choice he decided he'd much rather remain a pretty stallion than a dimwitted and ugly human.
- Blessed with Suck: Joe's heroic sacrifice gave him immortality and near godlike powers but only at the cost of being stuck as a girl and a fairy, both fates worse than death as far as the macho male barbarian is concerned. Especially since he believes it cost him both his one true love and his last chance to be a proper father to his son.
- Continuity Cameo: In Book 4, the villain, who has been banished from both heaven and hell wonders where his soul will end up. It turns out he goes to a limbo where all the great defeated villains go. There he meets Baal, Sauron, and even great Cthulhu.
- Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday: Discussed in the last book (as a sign of the general level of Genre Savviness) but ultimately discarded as the character in question has been in hiding her whole life and probably has no idea when her real birthday is.
- Five-Man Band: "All companies shall consist of at least nine people, one of whom is not to be trusted"
- Genre Savvy: the equivalent of Street Smarts in a world that explicitly runs on fantasy tropes
- High Fantasy: Ruthlessly parodied.
- I Call It "Vera": A magical sword named Irving.
- Kitsch Collection: Throckmorton P. Ruddygore has one.
- Lampshade Hanging: in spades
- Magical Land:
- MacGuffin Girl: who actually turns out to be a Red Herring
- Most Writers Are Male: Lampshaded: "Weather permitting, all beautiful women will be scantily clad."
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Literally enforced by the rules. Change bodies (which is Chalker's thing) and you're subject to the rules affecting the new body. Possess someone and you have to live by the rules affecting their body.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: The were (not werewolf, just were) transforms into whatever animal is nearest when the full moon takes effect. And since humans count as animals, many find it convenient to marry other were, combining a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Power Perversion Potential.
- Red Herring: Alvi, the Author Appeal laden purported MacGuffin Girl of Horrors of the Dancing Gods actually turned out to be a Sequel Hook for a following book which was never written.
- Trapped in Another World:
- You Can't Fight Fate: "All epics must be at least trilogies."