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Creator / Tais Teng

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Tais Teng is a Dutch author of children's and young adult novels, primarily in the horror, science-fiction, and fantasy genres. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, he was also a part of a loose group of various Dutch and Flemish children's horror writers who released yearly anthologies.

This author's works provide examples of:

  • All-Ghouls School: Teng wrote a series of books (De Griezelklas, aka "Class of Horrors") about a witch girl who attends a special monster class within an otherwise normal elementary school. It has vampires, a mummy, a plant creature and a werewolf, just to name a few of the students. The teacher of said class however is an ordinary human. More hilariously, the rest of the school is suffering from a massive Weirdness Censor and think they're just special needs kids. Their teacher goes along with the pretense while going through truly herculean efforts to keep them under control.
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  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The two primary villains of Dead Eyes are an immortal Evil Sorcerer and an evil Chinese Emperor whose lifespan has been extended for centuries by having the sorcerer transfer his soul into new host bodies. In the end, the protagonist manages to make them turn on each other and destroy each other.
  • Cast from Lifespan: In Voorbij de Zerken (Beyond the Grave), the Eye of Tiamat functions as a Crystal Ball, giving its user the ability to look anywhere in the universe, but at the cost of their lifespan. The villain forces one of the main character's teachers to use it until she drops dead, and later has her use it as well, causing her to age overnight from a teenager into a young adult.
  • Creator Provincialism: In Voorbij de Zerken (Beyond the Grave), an ancient conspiracy has been guarding three MacGuffins belonging to the cult of the Sumerian goddess Tiamat (a flute that hypnotizes everyone but its user, an eyeball that can see anywhere in the universe at the cost of the user's lifespan, and a book that can turn anything that is written in it into reality). All three divine objects, and the secret groups that protect them, are conveniently located in the Netherlands.
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  • Cruel Twist Ending: Beyond the grave had a particularly jarring example. After the teenage heroine has spent the entire novel trying to collect the three Artifacts of Doom on the orders of the villain (even visiting the underworld in the process), she is captured by him after she befriends and falls in love with the bearer of the last one, a teenage boy. He goes to collect the Reality-Writing Book to get her back in a Hostage for MacGuffin exchange when he discovers that his younger brother (who's just learned how to write) used one of the pages to spell out "THE SUN GOES OUT". Nothing gets resolved, all life on Earth is just going to expire in an endless ice age. The end.
  • Cyberpunk: Negative consequences of technological progress are a common theme in his works. The most intense example of cyberpunk is his short story Silicium Snelwegen ("Silicon Highways"), in which broken computer chips are repaired by nanomachines imprinted with the personalities of specialists. The story becomes horrific when the main characters, personalized nanomachines busy repairing a chip, discover that their originals have been erased and they now exist only as data.
  • Deadly Prank: In one of the books in the Griezelklas series, Meral summons the Norse god Loki, whose idea of fun are things like siccing flesh-eating gremlins on her. He causes havoc in class before teleporting everyone to another dimension to undergo a Death Course or watch their teacher get blown up. After nearly dying several times, it turns out that the bomb was a dud. They also manage to beat him at his own game, by playing pranks on Loki before he gets so annoyed that he acts contrary to his nature ("this isn't funny!") and is forced to return to Asgard.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Voorbij de Zerken (Beyond the Grave) spontaneously ends without resolving the Hostage for MacGuffin situation when the male lead's little brother is revealed to have used a page from the Reality-Writing Book his family was guarding to write "The Sun Goes Out". Forget about the evil sorcerer plotting to Take Over the World or saving his girlfriend from said sorcerer, all life is simply extinguished as the earth is about to be covered in perpetual cold and darkness.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Glass Spears anthology features Nesquaam, the Elemental Darkness. He is that - pure darkness and absolute cold, but sentient and hateful. His presence will break any mind as long as it is exposed to him long enough.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: In Klauwen van IJs (Icy Claws), three teenage girls interested in wiccan material who gain access to actual magic books unwisely summon the evil ice spirit Teinashu, who wants to cloak the entire world in Endless Winter.
  • Grand Theft Me: The plot of Dead Eyes revolves around an ancient Chinese Emperor who made a pact with an immortal Evil Sorcerer for eternal life, which he granted him by periodically casting the Emperor into new host bodies. However, during the most recent transference, something messed up the ritual, and the Emperor becomes trapped inside the mind of the main character. The sorcerer then tracks him down while intending to use him as the new host.
  • Griping About Gremlins: Gremlins appear in one of the Griezelklas books. They're small, cuddly mammals who turn into vicious reptiles if water is sprayed on them. Contrary to how they're portrayed in the Gremlins films, the transformation can be reversed by getting them dry again—Meral scares them away with a blowdryer. They're also much more intelligent, being capable of articulated speech.
  • Hellish Horse: One of the students in the Griezelklas books is a Kelpie, a girl who can transform into a horse with the ability to lure in unsuspecting humans, then riding them into the water to drown and eat them. She's got shark-like teeth in her horse form, by the way.
  • Horny Devils: In one of his novels, the main character curses her teacher to be visited by a demon known as the Lady with the Long Tongue. When this demon appears to him that night, she is described as the distilled essence of all his lustful fantasies, the perfect sexual being he has dreamt of and desired since his teenage years - until she opens her mouth.
    "He stayed away from school for several months. When he finally returned, he was marked with sudden age, a grey shape that hunched and shuffled and left too many lights on at night."
  • Leprechaun: One of the students in the Griezelklas is a leprechaun. He's normal-sized, and basically one of The Fair Folk—he possesses some magic abilities, and lives with his family inside a hillside. He's not particularly malevolent unless you get on his bad side, and is also best friends with the dwarf student.
  • Living Aphrodisiac: Dode Ogen (Dead Eyes) features an Evil Sorcerer with an entourage of supernatural servants. One of these is a stunningly beautiful girl who embodies lust, to the point where the sorcerer himself is almost tempted to give up his immortality to lie with her. He notes that she was once a Mongolian prostitute who died of AIDS before he performed a ritual that turned her into a succubus-like being.
  • Mouth of Sauron: The guardian of the forest from The Roots of the Forest is charged with ensuring that none of its inhabitants escape, but is likened to a "lap dog" whose only reward will be "scraps from his master's table". The Powers That Be that control him are never seen.
  • Melting-Pot Nomenclature: He likes to do this in futuristic settings or stories taking place in particularly large cities. The worst example is his charlatan Sherlock Holmes Captain Ersatz, one of the last pure-blooded human beings in the universe; his full name is Percy d'Arezzo y Mac Shimonoseki.
  • Mercurial Base: 400 Graden In De Schaduw (400 degrees in the shade) features multiple 'walking cities' on an Industrialized Mercury, used to house vat-grown miners.
  • Mighty Whitey: Averted to an almost shocking degree in a short story published in an anthology. The main character is a loser hunter who grew up in a Viking settlement in Greenland, and both he and the rest of his Norse neighbors are perfectly cognizant that the native tribes are far more ferocious and knowledgeable of the land than they can ever appreciate. He's driven to go on a suicidal hunt for a frickin' polar bear to win the favor of the prettiest girl in town, only to be tricked by an indigenous shaman into killing one of his rivals (who had transformed himself into a polar bear) after being given an enchanted spear. The ghost of the dead shaman returns and orders the inuit to exterminate the entire norse settlement in retribution.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Most of the students in the Griezelklas books are not really malevolent even if they're monsters (werewolves, witches, leprechauns, etc.). Even the ones who eat the occasional human are just following their nature. However, get on their bad side, and you're in for a world of hurt.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: In De Wortels van het Woud (The Roots of the Forest), the brother gains the ability to transform into various animals during battles, usually as a werewolf. He attempts to transform into a Tyrannosaurus rex at one point, but the spell is such that it doesn't work with extinct creatures.
  • Orion Drive: The 1981 anthology Cepheide describes a ship with Orion propulsion as one of the most primitive and wasteful methods of interstellar flight, still only achieved by a tiny minority of all intelligent races in the universe. The ship is said to be the last relic of an unknown race exterminated by the dominant YiYiki (descendants of the humpback whales).
  • Parasitic Immortality: "Dead Eyes". An ancient Chinese emperor made a deal with a demonic Evil Sorcerer for eternal life. However, ordinary humans cannot be made immortal except by stealing the lifeforce of others, so the sorcerer arranged for the emperor's soul to be placed into a new body whenever the current one died of old age. The plot is started when the most recent transference goes wrong and causes the emperor to be trapped in a conscious host.
  • Plant Person:
    • De Wortels van het Woud (The Roots of the Forest) is about a brother and sister who find out that their parents are actually trees who escaped from a divine forest so that they could become human. The brother discovers this when he sticks his feet in open ground in the moonlight, which suddenly sprout branches. However, they are pursued by the guardian of the forest, who himself is also a plant person (as the brother realizes that the man in the overcoat approaching their front door doesn't have bending knees, as if his legs were simply trunks).
    • One of the female students of the Griezelklas is a nature spirit with a Green Thumb. When one of the villains curses her to turn back into her "true form", she becomes a tree.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: In one of the Griezelklas books, Meral summons the trickster god Loki who proceeds to make her life a living hell. He shows up in her class one day to wreck havoc, having changed everyone's memory to think he has been a student from day one. Meral is the only person who actually knows the truth about Loki's true nature, but isn't able to prove it until he overplays his hand.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: Given a twist in his SF short story "Gekleed in Twijfelachtig Vlees" ("Dressed in Doubtful Flesh"). Problem solver Percy d'Arezzo (y Mac Shimonoseki) is hired by a shapeshifter who has forgotten his true form. Percy proceeds to take litmus tests for a baffling gallery of shapeshifter species in an attempt to solve the problem by elimination.
  • Starfish Aliens: His aliens tend to fall squarely within this category. Examples of note include various species of organic spaceship, the Wessyn Engineers (something like bus-sized beetles, but with technology that allows them to build on a stellar scale and slip into a two-dimensional state), a species thriving on planets where the surface temperature approaches zero K, and the giant Lespadin who are used by another alien species as walking cities. It is implied that the few species really worth meeting have already achieved Enlightenment, becoming superior beings that mere humans cannot communicate with. What remains of the universe is "just another ghetto".
  • The Stars Are Going Out: There are two examples of this in his works — eerily enough, both of them occur in books meant for children. One book involves the battles of a sacred order against creatures pouring into our world through gateways to a planet wrapped in perpetual darkness; it turns out the gateways simply lead to the future, in which the Earth is wrapped in a cosmic dust cloud. Another book cynically ends with an oblivious child getting its hands on a book that fulfills any wish you write in it, and writing, just for fun, "The Sun goes out."
  • Starter Villain: In the first book in the Griezelklas series, the two vampire girls in the class want to make Meral the witch girl into another vampire and stalk her throughout the book. After their defeat, they're nothing more than an occasional nuisance for Meral throughout the rest of the series (or allies when circumstances force them to), as she faces off against bigger threats such as soul merchants working for the devil or Jerkass Gods.
  • Street Samurai: Sri Death from the Memoirs of a Matriarchy and Neon Moon anthologies. Though he is practically invulnerable and possibly immortal by the end of his arc, he still suffers from Badass Decay to make the point that the universe is ruled by forces greater than any single person can control.
  • To Hell and Back: In Voorbij de Zerken (Beyond the Grave), the heroine visits the gates to the afterlife by hitching a ride with the soul of a dying friend of hers.
  • Unstuck in Time: The duology The Wolves of Rome and The Pharaoh's Gold centers on a man who has been traveling through time randomly, and is accidentally followed by a brother and sister who become his companions. Somehow, people from different periods also react with hostility towards any time travelers since they're foreign to that time.
  • Wishplosion: De Ring van Ardek features an Artifact of Death in the form of a ring that grants its bearer wishes, but at the cost of a demon named Ardek approaching closer every time it is used until he reaps your soul. At the end, the main character's shamanistic grandmother solves the problem by wishing for Ardek to become her protector—at which point Ardek's bony left arm grapples his right to prevent him from taking her soul, trapping him in a one-person Sealed Evil in a Duel.