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Fanfic / Anomaly (Series)

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The Anomaly series is an Undertale fanfiction which consists of, so far, a set of novels posted on Fan Fiction Dot Net, located at the following three links, by VolcanicPizza There is also a Tumblr here. The author also claims to be working on an animated version of the first installment, but so far it is not forthcoming.

Anomaly: Book One: Beyond Forgiveness

Anomaly: Book Two: In At the Death

Anomaly: Book Three: The Hand That Mocked Them


"Beyond Forgiveness" postulates that Frisk somehow manages to take Sans's soul after defeating the latter in a Genocide run, then somehow manages to retain it, along with Sans's powers, after a reset. She then goes on to get through the Underground in record time with her newfound powers and even manages to save Asriel along the way, although this is at the cost of Chara's soul. Once she arrives on the surface, however, the monsters are trapped in a prison camp for nearly a year and a half, which is elaborated on in the ongoing one-shot collection "Reset 927." After they are released, they try to settle into a normal life, despite the deaths of Asgore and Sans, the former's an assassination and the latter's an accident. "In At the Death" is set between four and six months after monsters are freed from the camp, set against the backdrop of a presidential election which includes the Patriot party, a group of anti-monster racists with Nazistic tendencies. Frisk and Asriel's new friend, an OC named Caleb Conrad, is introduced as a stark contrast to his largely-anti-monster peers and a deconstruction of typical Self-Insert protagonists.


Following In At the Death's Downer Ending, the third story in the series, The Hand That Mocked Them, was released. With everyone except Asriel dead and half of North America destroyed, the survivors attempt to salvage what they can from the ruins.

The series is not complete yet, and it has been implied that there will be more installments in it to come.

The Anomaly Series provides examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Canon: Some critics of Beyond Forgiveness in its early days stated that it's canonically impossible for Frisk to take Sans' soul, seeing as he isn't a boss monster and his soul wouldn't persist after death as such. Explained later when the Anomaly outright states that they were the only reason Sans' soul could be taken because of their hacking of the code.
    • This makes one wonder why they didn't just hack higher stats instead of going to all that trouble, but, you know, we need a story premise here.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Before his death, Caleb had at most been a major supporting character.
  • Affably Evil: John A. Pence.
  • Alternate History: The author states that the Anomaly cycle is set in an alternate universe where the barrier was broken on October 20th, 2014. This means that "In At the Death" is set against the backdrop of the 2016 election, made all the more crazy by John A. Pence and the Patriot party.
    • And then John A. Pence and the Patriots actually win the election.
    • There are signs that there are other divergences from our world's history, such as California seeming to be more conservative, and it's implied that the Patriot party has been around since before monsters came out from the mountain.
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  • Anti-Villain: John A. Pence after it's revealed that the Anomaly was using him as a puppet, and in reality he had far less extreme goals before being hacked by the Anomaly to replace Frisk as the player character.
  • Anyone Can Die: Yes. During or even before In At the Death, Sans, Asgore, Papyrus, Napstablook, Mettaton, Toriel, and, it's implied, Undyne and Alphys all die.
    • Even Caleb got killed off, and you know this rule is in full effect when the author kills off a protagonist OC.
    • Every main or supporting character except maybe Asriel and Frisk dies.
      • Even the villains get this, as Pence and Morrell die after DC is nuked.
  • Arc Words: The simple word "silence" serves as a motif throughout In At the Death.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: In At the Death ends with everyone but Asriel dead and half of North America destroyed by a rage-induced magical blast. It's easy to see why not many readers came back for The Hand That Mocked Them.
  • Berserk Button: Whatever you do, don't remind John A. Pence about New Mexico and Hawaii giving monsters voting rights. He won't take it well.
    • Caleb is not a fan of discrimination or bullying, especially against his friends.
  • Big Bad: The Anomaly.
  • Big Good: The Seraph.
  • Bi the Way: Caleb is casually bisexual, to the point where it required an in-character Word of God statement on the Tumblr to confirm this.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Beyond Forgiveness. Sure, Asriel got saved, but the cost was Chara erasing themself from existence to bring back his soul.
    • Made even worse by the author portraying them as a kind, helpful kid with some issues, unlike how the rest of the fandom interprets them as a homicidal megalomaniac.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Frisk, in order to save Asriel. And this time it's permanent.
  • The Bus Came Back: After Caleb gets Put on a Bus for several chapters, he suddenly comes back from Mount Ebbot and requests asylum with Frisk's family.
  • Call-Back: After Frisk has a nightmare, Asriel gives her a hug to comfort her. Remember something similar happening towards the end of canon Undertale?
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Everyone was constantly saying that it would be impossible for the Patriots to win... and then they did.
    • Frisk constantly laments her loss of her power to reset, but the gun hasn't been fired yet.
    • In a literal way, the revolver that Caleb finds in the Underground that once belonged to the soul of Justice... whom he shares a trait with.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Caleb. At first, he was just portrayed as a goofball whose sole notable characteristic was being a friend of Frisk and Asriel and one of the few monster supporters in the country, but then his character arc finally kicked in.
  • The Chessmaster: The Anomaly.
  • Colon Cancer: "Anomaly: Book One: Beyond Forgiveness" and "Anomaly: Book Two: In At the Death." "Anomaly: Reset 927" seems to have, sort of, escaped this disease.
  • Crapsack World: "In At the Death," even at the beginning. Asgore and Sans are dead, anti-monster sentiment is running high (and that's after the year and a half the monsters spent in a prison camp), and there's a bunch of neo-Nazis calling themselves Patriots running around stirring up hate against monsters.
    • Worst of all, Frisk can't reset it since she gave up her power to save Asriel.
  • Dark Fic: In At the Death. It's more dark than the actual game at points, and considering that pretty much all the main monsters are dead, the Patriots won the election AND held power despite Washington, DC being nuked and both Pence and his VP Morrell dying, and Frisk gave up her power to RESET in order to save Asriel, it doesn't look like Frisk and Asriel will get a happy ending.
    • This kind of thing was sorta implied given Beyond Forgiveness's... unconventional beginning and the fact that Chara basically erased themself from existence to bring Asriel back.
    • Therefore, Beyond Forgiveness may also qualify as this, which means that, chronologically, Reset 927 is a break from the darkness. A pretty long one, too, or at least it was going to be.
      • Don't get me wrong, Reset 927 has some dark points, but come on, it's mainly just Friskriel fluff at this point. What's not to like?
      • It's been discontinued.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Caleb was set up like a typical Self-Insert fanfiction character, and as such he was expected to become the main character... but Caleb died trying to kill Pence, leaving the floor to Frisk and Asriel.
  • Demoted to Extra: Zigzagged with Caleb as the story progresses. Initially, he's just hanging, until he kills a Patriot supporter and goes into self-exile under Mount Ebbot, effectively getting Put on a Bus for several chapters until inexplicably coming back with some light physical and psychological damage, leading to The Bus Came Back, but then he's killed during his failed assassination. Now he's officially dead and can't really do much since Asriel absorbed his soul, aside from talk to Asriel occasionally.
  • Deus Angst Machina: Implied to be the case with Caleb's backstory.
    Caleb: You guys know how my mom got after my dad died. Help a pal out and don't ask questions, okay?
  • Deus ex Machina: Asriel's power to suddenly freeze time for a few minutes is never explained and only used twice, once to help Caleb escape from being shot on sight by the police and once immediately after Caleb is shot so he can live long enough to exchange some last words with his friends. It may come off as an Ass Pull to some readers.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Everything seems to have one of these.
    • "Beyond Forgiveness" can refer to Frisk being beyond forgiveness for committing genocide out of frustration from 925 failed attempts to save Asriel or for taking Sans's soul (or both), or it can refer to the fact that nobody is beyond forgiveness in this world.
    • "Reset 927" would be this if Frisk had done 927 resets instead of 925, but maybe this will be addressed later on. It may be a veiled reference to Fahrenheit 451.
    • "In At the Death" could refer to Sans's death, Asgore's death, Papyrus's death, basically any of the deaths, all of the above. or a combination of some of them, or possibly the death of monster liberty from the formation of the Patriot party.
  • Downer Ending: In At the Death's ending. Just... damn.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Frisk definitely does this in "Beyond Forgiveness," but it doesn't seem to be worth it as soon as the surface is reached, considering that monsters are imprisoned for one and a half years. And that's before main characters start dying off...
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Asriel after absorbing Caleb's soul, though beforehand he was still a subverted Badass Normal.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: In At the Death.
  • Expy: John A. Pence is outright stated by the author to be a blatant Adolf Hitler expy, with a bit of Strom Thurmond mixed in, though given later events, it leads one to wonder if he's a Nazi apologist.
    • The Secretary of State, during the scene in which Asgore, Toriel, Asriel, and Frisk meet with him, is implied to be either John Kerry or an expy of him.
  • Fantastic Racism: Has to be a thing for John A. Pence to carry California, by God.
  • Final Solution: It's been implied that John A. Pence of the Patriots is working up to this for the monsters.
    • He didn't get the chance, but President Alvar O'Brien, his successor, did, and he succeeded.
  • Flat "What": Papyrus to Sans during the now noncanon Reset 927, when the latter fails to get him some oatmeal with dinosaur eggs and claims that he collapsed after taking a few steps.
  • Foil: Edwin Morrel seems to be this to John A. Pence during his possession, as Morrel is milder and calmer, and seems to be less hell-bent on shoving monsters back "into their proper place."
    • Alvar O'Brien seems to be one to Asgore during his revanchist phase, as both wish (or wished, in Asgore's place) to enact genocide on the other as revenge for perceived slights, but Asgore turned away from this action where O'Brien did not.
  • Fusion Dance: Frisk does this with Sans after killing him and taking his soul, and it's the catalyst for the series.
    • In In At the Death, Caleb does this with Asriel after he's killed, giving the latter his soul by process of elimination since Frisk wouldn't be able to absorb it. So far, he hasn't been very helpful.
  • Good-Guy Bar: Grillby's serves as this for Frisk, Asriel, and Caleb during In At the Death, or at least it did before Caleb was killed.
  • Gorn: How Caleb kills the Patriot.
  • Happy Ending Override: The whole premise of In At the Death.
  • Hidden Depths: Caleb.
  • Insult Backfire: A Patriot calls Caleb a monster after the latter knocks the former down.
    Patriot supporter: You're... a monster... I... will kill you for this...
    Caleb: (with a feral grin) I'm a monster, huh? I'll take that as a compliment. Much better than being a bigoted, worthless human like YOU!
  • It's Going Down: The Washington Monument, or at least half of it, on January 20th, thanks to Papyrus during his brief terrorist phase.
  • Killed Off for Real: Sans, Asgore, basically everyone who dies.
  • Last Request: Just before he dies after being shot by one of the president's bodyguards, Caleb begs Asriel to take his soul in a last-ditch attempt to keep himself alive and make Asriel more powerful.
  • Monumental Damage: During Pence's inauguration, a terrorist who's revealed to be Papyrus blows the top half off the Washington Monument.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Frisk after killing Sans, once she comes to her senses. Sadly, it's too late for the skeleton, although Frisk does take his soul before resetting.
    • Caleb after killing the Patriot.
    Caleb: Oh, shit. Please tell me I didn't do this... Oh, shit. Oh, shit... What the hell did I do?
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Patriot party and their anti-monster attitude in spades.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • You'd think that the Patriot party would be the kind of people who promote equality, freedom, liberty and justice for all, and the American Way, right? Dead wrong. The Patriots are a bunch of half-mad fascistic anti-monster racists led by a blatant Hitler expy.
    • Far from what its title might suggest, Beyond Forgiveness is actually about Frisk seeking forgiveness for her actions and trying to set things right one last time.
    • Inverted with In At the Death, as it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Nuke 'em: To appease the audience, The Writer decides to send a terrorist by the name of Robert Bloom into DC to nuke half the city, killing both Pence and his VP Morrell and leaving the even more hardline Alvar O'Brien to come to power.
  • The Omniscient: The Anomaly. The Seraph also appeared this way on their initial introduction.
  • Precision F-Strike: Caleb, right before he beats the hell out of a Patriot.
    Caleb: 'Monster' is an ethnicity, not an insult. You really can't think of another way to resolve your personal issues than making racist comments? Or are you just too drunk on the bullshit you've been fed by the Patriots to see the truth?
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Frisk, when a bunch of human bigots attempt to beat up Asriel.
    Frisk: Don't. Touch. My. Brother!
  • Purple Is Powerful: The Writer seems to identify heavily with the color purple, and he does control literally everything that happens.
  • Put on a Bus: Both Caleb and Papyrus, the former for several chapters while he goes into hiding and the latter for much longer after faking his suicide to become a terrorist, but he comes back to try to save everyone.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: John A. Pence winning the presidential election. Apparently this was all calculated in full by the author.
  • Recycled INSPACE: Nazis that hate monsters in America!
  • The Reveal: Used twice in Chapter 21: Sociopathy.
    • Chara was John A. Pence's stepsister, and his persecution of monsterkind has all been because he's trying to avenge her.
    • Caleb is a sociopath, and Frisk may be one too.
    • Later, when it's revealed that not only is Papyrus still alive, but he temporarily resorted to terrorism out of anger at his brother's death.
  • Revenge: The whole reason John A. Pence is pursuing the presidency at the head of a Nazi By Any Other Name party is to get revenge for Chara, who was his sister.
  • Sanity Slippage: Implied to be happening with Caleb during In At the Death, depending on whether you think he's just acting weird because he can or if he's going crazy and whether you believe the voice he heard during his chapter was actually someone or if he's crazy.
    • Although it's unclear why exactly Caleb would have gone this way.
      • He's a sociopath.
    • In the "King Caleb" alternate ending, it's been all but confirmed that Caleb is completely insane and Asriel was just trying to humor him.
  • Satire: In At the Death seems to be a satire on racism, terrorism, and the Holocaust.
  • Self-Insert: The Anomaly is meant to be this for the reader, assuming that they've played through Undertale.
    • Systematically deconstructed with Caleb, as he's set up like a typical self-insert and then his character is developed far past that in the opposite direction. And if there was any doubt still left in your mind, the fact that he's both a minor sociopath and was killed should tip you off.
    • On the other hand, the Writer is a self-insert for the author. No, correct that. He just is the author, no questions asked.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Caleb's death.
  • Ship Tease: There are multiple FriskxAsriel ship teases throughout the series, although they reach their height in "Reset 927" instead of "In At the Death" for some reason.
    • This could be because their feelings for each other dim as they start to think the other doesn't care for them the same way, although it's more likely that the author just wanted an excuse to write some cute fluff scenes. Considering how dark In At the Death is, this can be excused.
    • Some of the in-character parts on the Tumblr imply that Caleb used to have something for Asriel.
  • Shout-Out: Here are a few examples:
    • Multiple characters have names which are references to Timeline-191, including Vice-President Edwin Morrell (Irving Morrell), Senator Jake Featherston (named for the genocidal Confederate dictator), Senator Gordon Mc Sweeney, named for the US soldier whom fanon believes would have become the dictator of the US had the North lost the First Great War... and that's just the beginning. Even the title of In At the Death is a reference to this series and its final book.
    • The new president, Alvar O'Brien, is a direct reference to Decades of Darkness.
  • Shown Their Work: The author says that he'll be doing the hard math to calculate the alternate 2016 election, and has offered to tell anyone through PM how he calculated individual results by state.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Toby Fox, creator of Undertale, outright stated that we should take what we see at the end of Undertale for granted and that monsters would be accepted, albeit there being some Fantastic Racism. The author, VolcanicPizza, doesn't seem to think this is quite accurate and has since done just about everything possible to deconstruct Fox's statement.
  • Smash the Symbol: Probably the reasoning behind the destruction of the Washington Monument and later, Washington DC.
  • The Sociopath: Implied with Caleb up to the point where this is revealed, but seems to be both downplayed and subverted.
  • Spiritual Successor: To VolcanicPizza's earlier two-shot "Choices."
    • One can infer that the only reason "Choices" isn't canon to the Anomalyverse of Undertale is that the two-shot contains a male Frisk.
      • But didn't VolcanicPizza explicitly state that the two Frisks have different genders to emphasize the differences between the parallel Undertale alternate universes?
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Rule of Cool seems to have been the main reasoning behind the author destroying the Washington Monument, although symbolism played a very small part.
  • Taking the Bullet: Frisk leaps into a soldier's bullet that was intended to execute Asriel.
  • Thanatos Gambit: After he's killed, Caleb gives Asriel his soul so he can live on and become far more of a threat to the government.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Frisk's manifesto, although she sets it aside temporarily to aid Caleb in his assassination attempt.
  • Title Drop: In "Beyond Forgiveness," during her fight with Sans, Frisk states that she knows what she's done is beyond forgiveness.
    • Later, during "In At the Death," during Frisk and Asriel's fight with the Anomaly, they state that they are "the Anomaly."
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Caleb after his father died many years ago.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Caleb's shark tooth necklace is implied to have been something his father gave him (or belonged to his father) before he died.
    • After Caleb's death, his hoodie and necklace become this for Frisk and Asriel.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The first chapter of In At the Death, where Sans is unambiguously dead.
    • Chapter 36 of In At the Death, where O'Brien's holocaust is carried out and literally everyone except Asriel (and even that's uncertain) and Frisk is killed.
    • Chapter 37 even manages to top that when Asriel goes berserk and destroys half of North America.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Deconstructed with Caleb. At the beginning of "In At the Death," he seems to be a happy-go-lucky goofball, but as more of his past is revealed, he's shown to have a lot of self-resentment and general pent-up anger which he masks behind his cheerful facade, and it's implied that he was suicidal before meeting Frisk and Asriel.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Although Caleb threatens Frisk after revealing himself as a sociopath, he never actually lands a hit on her.
  • Xanatos Gambit: On closer examination, Caleb's plan to kill Pence is this. If he succeeds, Pence is dead, and if he fails, he gives his soul to Asriel to allow himself to live on and for Asriel to become far more powerful.
    • Except it's not.


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