Literature: Superhero Black Hole
The short of it is, I’m from the past but also the future, and I have an ex who makes that guy you told me about look like Ricky from Superhero Black Hole
I Love Lucy, and I’m on a mission to stop her from ever starting this chain of events.
is a flash-fiction series that was started by J. A. Keane on the Web site Ficly and which has since taken multiple contributors. It centers around the (extremely long) life of an otherwise ordinary man who discovers that he can travel through time. However, it seems he's not the only one who can do so…
The series begins here
This series contains examples of the following tropes:
- Alternate Self: Both played straight and averted, depending upon how far back and using what method one travels in time. The vanilla form of this power simply involves ending up in one's body at an earlier point, avoiding this trope, but the use of the In-Between, or a sufficiently-far jump backwards, can create an alternate.
- Alternate Timeline: Make a big enough change to the past, and you can't return to the future.
- Alternate Universe: What the protagonist has been hidden away in to keep him from Latrodecta. It doesn't quite work…
- Ax-Crazy: Latrodecta. She doesn't give a moment's pause to emotionally torturing her ex-boyfriend for effectively forever, and she actively attempts to destroy the universe.
- Been There, Shaped History: At one point the protagonist ends up in Precambrian-Era Earth; his shoeprints become fossilized and are later uncovered in Australia. He attempts to avoid this when he's first given the briefcase with the antidote and escapes into the past in order to escape from Latrodecta, though he worked with Michaelangelo on the Sistine Chapel and mentions that he's "shot at a few Redcoats" and helped runaway slaves.
- Brick Joke: The above-mentioned fossilized footprints.
- Cassandra Truth: Zoe thinks she's telling one when she informs our hero of her time-travel abilities…
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Al, as he preps his nuclear grenade.
- Crazy-Prepared: Justified – Being able to go back in time a bit and prepare beforehand, and the necessity of the goals of the plot.
- Deadpan Snarker: Zoe, when she's not raging. The protagonist also gets a few in.
- Deus ex Machina: When one of the altnerate protagonists grabs him and saves him from Latrodecta, taking him into the In-Between.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The protagonist refuses to get back together with Latrodecta after she cheated on him. She therefore forces him to live in a reality where every time he tries to use his powers to stop a car accident, she'll turn around and make it worse.
- The Ditz: Our hero is a mild case, despite (or perhaps partially because of) having lived for literally millennia.
- Drowning My Sorrows: The protagonist, on occasion. This is not recommended for time-travelers, as they can drunkenly travel back in time and then change history and be unable to return to the present—as happens to our hero.
Protagonist: Because drunken time-jumping is a lot like trying to slam on a car’s brakes, but your foot keeps slipping and you hit the accelerator instead. It’s terrifying. Eventually, I stopped myself, and wound up in a few years ago. Which is where I accidentally punched a poilceman, obliterated all chance of me going back to Letrodacta’s birth, and eventually wound up here.
- Fate Worse than Death: The protagonist thinks Latrodecta will simply kill him. Nope—instead, she'll force him to be unable to stave off a horrific car accident, and the more he tries to avert it, the worse she'll make it.
Latrodecta: You will try to jump back, but I will follow you. You will try to act, but I will prevent you. You will try to elude me, but I will outfox you. And every time you do, I will make this accident even worse. You will live with the full knowledge that you’re incapable of preventing this destruction. You will live in your own personal hell. Every waking moment of your immortal life will be your death.
- Fiery Redhead: Zoe.
- Freak Lab Accident: The meltdown of the future power plant that causes time-traveling abilities to crop up in the first place.
- Heroic Albino: Zoe calls him "Al".
- I Lied: Al informs Zoe and our hero that much of the earlier exposition in the In-Between was a lie, albeit for the benefit and safety of the latter.
- Irony: The law-school student pays his tuition by selling drugs and setting up false identities.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: The protagonist is actually a really, really old time traveler. Latrodecta decided to use this as an opportunity to inject some new life into their relationship. Unfortunately it goes too slowly for her liking and she cheats with the protagonist's brother, kicking off the plot.
- Love Transcends Spacetime: For Latrodecta, the protagonist's sociopathic ex-girlfriend, it seems.
- Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Latrodecta basically uses time travelers to destroy the universe For the Evulz.
- Mind Screw: Just try making sense of the plot…
- Meaningful Name: "Latrodecta" is a feminine form of the scientific name of the black widow.
“What kind of a name is Latrodecta?” Me₂ asked.
- Mr. Exposition:
- One of the hero's alternate selves in the In-Between. Notably, he does not merely rehash things the protagonist and audience already know. A lot of what he said was a lie.
- Al also serves this function.
- My Future Self and Me: More like "two of my alternate selves and me".
- The Nameless: When asked who he is, Al replies that he has no name. Zoe nicknames him "Al".
- No Name Given: The protagonist. Al starts out this way but is given a name out of convenience.
- Ontological Inertia: Present. Used to the protagonists' advantage with respect to winning the lottery.
- OOC Is Serious Business: When Zoe kisses the protagonist. It's actually an Alternate Universe version of Zoe. Aside from their personalities the main difference between them is the side on which they part their hair.
- Place Beyond Time: The In-Between.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Latrodecta.
- The Promise: Al gives one to the protagonist. In the future. When the protagonist dies.
- Punny Name: Zoe gives the unnamed albino character the nickname "Al".
- Really 700 Years Old: The protagonist. Al. Latrodecta.
- Sadistic Choice: Kill Latrodecta as a baby, or let her ruin your life and destroy the universe.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The idea seems to be to kill Latrodecta or, at the very least, remove her time-traveling abilities.
- The series is named as a Shout-Out to Muse (who did a song called "Supermassive Black Hole").
- In the protagonist's apartment are a bunch of movies—the named ones, naturally enough, all involve time travel in some way.
My apartment was, as it had been for so long a time, perpetually a mess. My desk was a case in point, littered with various 5D-DVDs: Primer
, the Terminator
movies (except the third
), the Back to the Future
trilogy, Twelve Monkeys
, The Time Changer
, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
, Donnie Darko
, et multa cetera
- Stalker with a Crush: Latrodecta is a sort-of example in the early parts of the series, to the point that she changes her appearance and follows her mark back in time.
- Time Travel Tense Trouble: But of course. There's even a chapter named after the trope, although the main plot point isn't exactly an example of it.
- Trapped in the Past: What happens if you change something significantly enough.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: An important bit of the plot happens in the 2030s–2040s.
- The War on Terror: Zoe finds out she can travel through time while running for her life on 9/11.
- Wham Episode: The series is rife with them, though sometimes they play out over the course of several installments.
- Which Me?:
- When the protagonist finds three of himself in the In-Between. This even extends into the narration. Eventually the narrator ends up using subscripts.
“Yeah, we have an ex worthy of Maury Povich
,” Me₂ retorted. “What are you
doing here? And why did you stop me?” Me₂ glared at me—that is, the Real Me. “And don’t get me started on you
- When the second Zoe shows up. Eventually the protagonist realizes their hair is parted on the opposite sides of their heads and refers to the alternate as Other!Zoe.
- You Are Not Alone: When the protagonist meets Zoe.