Canadian author of High School
comedies, as well as adventure/thriller kid novels. His comedic novels include the Bruno & Boots/ Macdonald Hall
series, No More Dead Dogs
, and The Toilet Paper Tigers
. His adventure novel series include Everest
and On the Run
. His first novel, This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall
. was written and published when he was twelve years old
Works by Gordon Korman with their own trope pages include:
Other works by Gordon Korman provide examples of:
- Accidental Athlete: In The Chicken Doesn't Skate, the school's resident loser Zachary, constantly picked on by the Jerk Jocks of the hockey team, turns out to be a brilliant goalie because he has so much practice catching all the toys his toddler brother throws at his beloved computer.
- Anti-Climax: In The D- Poems of Jeremy Bloom: A Collection of Poems About School, Homework, and Life (Sort Of), the poem "A Perfect Afternoon" has the narrator talk about how he's feeling very creative today and all the wonderful things he could do. For example, he could hollow out a tree to build a kayak, carve a nearby rock into a famous sculpture, write an opera, or create a blown-glass masterpiece. Then in the last line, he reveals that he won't actually be doing any of these things because his father is making him mow the lawn instead.
- Book Dumb: Many of Korman's protagonists are skilled tacticians, or intuitive people who nonetheless do poorly at school.
- Bully Hunter: Commando, in The Twinkie Squad, is quick to intervene when he sees any of his nastier teammates picking on people.
- Crazy Enough to Work: Happens multiple times per book in his comedy stories.
- Crying Wolf: In The D- Poems of Jeremy Bloom, the narrator of the poem "Why I Was Late" comes to school late every day for a week, always giving a ridiculous excuse (an asteroid enveloped Earth in a time-distortion field which means he's actually on time, he had to tiptoe around an unexploded atomic bomb in his front yard, etc.). On Friday, his excuse is actually plausible: he missed the bus because he had to rescue the family cat from a tree, and he couldn't ride his bike to school because he left it in the driveway and his father accidentally backed the car over it. He insists that he was telling the truth this time — honest — but his enraged teacher refuses to listen.
- High School A.U.: Jake Reinvented is a retelling of The Great Gatsby with the characters as high school students and Jake, a version of Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby, determined to reinvent himself to win the affections of Didi - the updated Daisy - through elaborate and destructive house parties.
- Ignored Confession: In The Twinkie Squad, Douglas tries to tell the principal that it was his own fault that he got hit in the face with a basketball. The principal doesn't believe him, preferring to believe that Commando hurt Douglas on purpose and threatened Douglas into lying to get Commando out of trouble.
- Jerk Jock: After being almost completely averted in his earlier works The Zucchini Warriors and The Toilet Paper Tigers, this trope comes into play in The Twinkie Squad (Kahill, although Commando is about as much of a subversion as you can get), Jake, Reinvented (most of the football team), The Chicken Doesn't Skate (the hockey team, to Zachary), and especially in Restart (Aaron and Bear; also Chase before Amnesiacs are Innocent kicked in).
- Murder by Inaction: A sympathetic version occurs in the final book of the Dive trilogy. Privateer James Blade and his cabin boy Samuel are the only survivors of their ship. Samuel is clinging to the ship's floating figurehead and Blade is injured and barely able to stay above water. Blade's actions are responsible for the deaths of their shipmates, he murdered the entire crew of the Spanish galleon they just overtook and killed Samuel's best friend in the first book over a breach of discipline. Samuel turns the figurehead away from Blade and paddles towards the shore, leaving his captain to drown.
- Only Sane Man: See under Same Story, Different Names, below.
- Redeeming Replacement: In Notorious, ZeeBee's dog Barney was a somewhat dangerous dog that stole food from shoppers, chased bicyclists, destroyed fences and gardens and was genuinely mean to everyone but his owner, to the point where people tend to be happy that be died. Her new dog, Barney Two is obedient, starved for affection, sweet to just about anyone (even cats) and defends his owner when she's is in danger, with everyone loving him except for ZeeBee, who is still mourning her old dog and views Barney Two with bored disdain until the end.
- Same Story, Different Names: In addition to the Bruno and Boots books, Korman wrote several other "Crazy Is Cool Guy and his Only Sane Man best friend get up to Crazy Enough to Work schemes" novels before eventually branching out, such as:
- I Want to Go Home! = summer camp version.
- Who Is Bugs Potter? and its sequel = this time they're musicians.
- Our Man Weston = with twins.
- Don't Care High = A Bruno and Boots-esque team at the world's most apathetic high school.
- A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag = this time, the Bruno Expy has the world's worst luck and is trying to finagle a trip to the world's luckiest island.
- Save Our Team: The plot of The Toilet Paper Tigers, which follows a summer baseball team for middle-school-aged kids. Though in this case, the coach is completely clueless about the game; it's his granddaughter who actually whips the team into shape. And she has to blackmail the team to do it.
- Scaling the Summit: The Everest series focuses on a team of climbers training for an ascent of Mount Everest.
- Second Place Is for Losers: The D- Poems of Jeremy Bloom: A Collection of Poems About School, Homework, and Life (Sort Of) has the poem "The Olympian", in which Jeremy claims he's in training to become the greatest athlete of all time (though also admitting he stinks at every sport). Subverted in that while stating that he'll come in first in nearly everything, he freely admits that he'll gladly accept a bronze medal in boxing, having been knocked out by a three-year-old during practice.
- Taxman Takes the Winnings: During the Road Trip Plot No Coins Please, Artie Geller spends his road trip across the country engaging in half-a-dozen get rich schemes. One scheme involves bribing the employees closing a bankrupt factory to turn it into a disco for a night. Another is renting several cows and charging tourists a dollar a minute to milk them while egging them into competitions due to how little milk it's possible to get in a minute. The book ends with the FBI catching up to Artie and reciting a Long List of about forty things he's done wrong (not paying any taxes, not getting a license or health inspection for his milking business, using the factory without permission of its owners, selling liquor without a license, failing to pay utility bills etc.). They agree to drop the charges if Artie makes restitution, leaving him with a profit of just $2.96 from his combined hustles.
- This Is My Side: In The Toilet Paper Tigers, the bratty older brother has laid tape down the middle of the room, and penalizes any (real or imagined) affront with moving the tape to shrink the younger brother's side.