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Fanfic / The World of the Creatures

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The World of the Creatures is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover fiction written by Patrick Murphy at Archive of Our Own. It is a Crossover fic, Real-Person Fic, Meta Fic, and Self-Insert Fic combining a number of fandoms as well as actual people. Among the many franchises that feature in the story are Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman, The Lord of the Rings, and Jurassic Park. Some of the real people who appear include Carl Sagan, Jon Stewart, Lady Gaga, and Peter Jackson.


The story is a battle in the center of the author's mind. Murphy is attacked by a creature known as a Conceptivore - an entity that devours human minds by taking everything inside a person's head: thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc. and then turning it into a physical universe so that the Conceptivore can consume it. This premise is what allows the various franchises, as well as other fantastic elements, to come together.

The story mainly focuses on Brendan Anderson - an English major at the University of Vermont - who goes to sleep one night in his dorm only to wake up the next morning in a gigantic tropical jungle filled with dinosaurs and other extinct animals, various alien creatures from many different planets, and a weird assortment of people including a Manhattan-based Art Major, three high school teachers, paleontologist Darren Naish, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Peter Jackson, Steven Moffat, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Joss Whedon, Batman, Buffy Summers, the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Doctors and companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams, and sci-fi artist Wayne Barlowe. Brendan soon realizes a connection - everyone and everything in this world has a connection to his good friend, Patrick Murphy. They all either know him, he knows of them through their work, or they come from works of fiction he enjoys. The connection is strengthened by the fact that Patrick is an avid lover of biology, speculative zoology, and - most of all - paleontology, accounting for the multitudes of extinct animals and fictional creatures running around all over the place. Working together, they manage to track down Patrick, only for him to be kidnapped by the Conceptivore and its allies. Knowing that the only way to get out of this world is to destroy the Conceptivore, they embark on a mission to raise an army of creatures that can defeat the forces of the Conceptivore; forces that include Daleks, Cybermen, orcs, trolls, and many others.


There are currently 9 chapters available to read, though the fic is unfinished at the moment. Unlike many self Insert fics, the World of the Creatures actually features the author's friend as the main character, and Murphy is mostly absent from the story, appearing only briefly toward the beginning before being taken by the Conceptivore.

The World of the Creatures contains examples of

  • Action Girl: Buffy Summers. With seven years of experience, plus supernatural slayer strength, Buffy isn't afraid to go after a troop of cybermen with nothing but her bare hands.
  • Anachronism Stew: Modern day animals coexist with extinct ones. Justified as this all takes place in someone's mind.
  • Angry Fist-Shake: Jon Stewart note  does this when Stephen Colbert makes a bad joke.
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  • Ancient Artifact: The Biolangra.
  • Artifact of Doom: Again, the Biolangra, at least in the wrong hands.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: played with. Old, innaccurate depictions of dinosaurs, such as the featherless raptors of Jurassic Park appear side-by-side with more accurate, up-to-date versions. Murphy will often go into detail to highlight the accuracy of these portrayals.
  • Badass Crew: The company. Becomes more pronounced as the story goes on.
  • Badass Normal: The non-famous, nonfictional characters. Brendan is the most "normal" of the bunch, but over the course of the story, he's leading armies into battle astride a six-legged alien predator.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The main plot. It's Brendan, the rest of the company, and the creatures vs. the Conceptivore and its army of mooks.
  • Big Bad: The Conceptivore, a "creature of the abstract" that feeds on human minds, leaving them devoid of any sense of self or personality.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Giant spiders appear in Chapter 8. There is a strong possibility that many more exist elsewhere.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The Tardis. Even Brendan, who isn't a big fan of Doctor Who, can't help but say this word for word.
  • Blatant Lies: The Doctors imply that the only way out of the world of the creatures is to defeat the Conceptivore. While defeating the Conceptivore would get them back home, it isn't the only way. In fact, all they need to do to get home is die there. Even if the Conceptivore won, they'd still just end up back where they came from
  • Buffy Speak: Buffy herself, not surprisingly. At one point she berates her Diplodocus as a, "stupid dinosaur, with its...dinosaur-ness."
  • Call-Forward: From the point of view of the Doctor, this story takes place before "The Name of the Doctor.'" When Darren asks the Tenth Doctor about his expertise, Ten mentions not being well versed in either watercolors or bee keeping.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Discussed. Many characters appear as their fictional portrayals rather than the actors who play them. The only exception is Stephen Colbert, who appears as the real Colbert, not the character.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Buffy and Rory have a short moment of bonding over their shared habit of coming back from the dead. Buffy died twice, once in "Prophecy Girl" and again in "The Gift". However, even she is impressed when Rory mentions "dying" five times. The instances he mentions are from "Amy's Choice", "Cold Blood", "The Curse of the Black Spot", and "The Pandorica Opens".
    • When talking with the Eleventh Doctor, one of the Silurians mentions an ark built before they went into hibernation, to which the Eleventh Doctor responds, "Oh you mean the one with all the dinosaurs?" This is a reference to the Silurian Ark seen in "Dinosaurs on a Spacehship".
    • While venting to her Diplodocus, Buffy makes reference to "that whole musical fiasco." This is a reference to the Buffy Musical Episode "Once More With Feeling".
    • Amy, as a throwaway mention during a conversation, mentions that she and Rory, to their irritation, still sleep in bunk beds. The idea that the Ponds sleep in bunk beds aboard the TARDIS is first mentioned in "The Doctor's Wife". Also from that episode, the Doctor refers to the TARDIS as "Sexy".
  • Cool Pet: The company members and their spirit creatures. Brendan's is a thanator, Amanda's is a Xenomorph Queen, and Buffy's is a Diplodocus.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Batman qualifies, as always. Brendan also applies. He dresses in all black clothes all the time. He explains this as an attempt to define himself in an uncontrollable external world.
  • Death World: The world of the creatures is filled with all kinds of creatures that seek nothing else in life than to destroy you, your family, your friends, and all else you hold dear on this good earth in the most horrible ways imaginable.
  • Dragon Hoard: The group in Chapter 9 stumbles across one by complete accident. Luckily, the dragon in question is asleep...for the moment...
  • Eldritch Location: Patrick's mind comes off as this sometimes. It's mostly covered in dense jungle and home to - more or less - every living thing from any variation of time, space, or imagination.
  • Establishing Character Moment: For Brendan, when he first wakes up and is attacked by the thanator, the scene let's us know that Brendan is smart, resourceful, and keeps cool in dangerous situations.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Given that Murphy is an avid fan of paleontology, it only figures that the company encounters many dinosaurs and other extinct creatures in their journeys through his mind.
  • Evil-Detecting Creature: The giant apes and the xenomorph queen can sense that Olivia and her friends are vampires. Tobey even voices his frustration with this trope.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Na'vi, apes, and Silurians are all immediately distrustful of humans, thought not exactly without cause.
  • Fish out of Water: Out of all the members of the company, Lady Gaga probably sticks out as the least likely to find herself in a story about dinosaurs and aliens.
  • Flat "What": Brendan has several of these in the first chapter. But then, wouldn't you given the situation?
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The first creature Brendan meets in the story is a thanator. This eventually turns out to be his spirit creature.
    • When Darren asks Buffy what creatures she's seen so far, Buffy mentions seeing really big footprints. Darren speculates that these are probably sauropod tracks. Later, Buffy discovers her spirit creature is a Diplodocus - I.E. a sauropod.
    • The author uses the word truthiness at one point early in Chapter 2. Shortly afterwards, Stephen Colbert shows up.
  • Giant Spider: A whole colony of them. And they talk. These spiders may or may not be from either Harry Potter or The Hobbit
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: Averted a fair few times. Sometimes they're nice, and sometimes they're nasty. For example, Amanda, Pete, Neil, and Nine encounter an Indricothere that proceeds to act very aggressively toward them for seemingly no reason.
  • The Hero: Brendan Anderson: Murphy's real-life friend who leads the others in their campaign against the Conceptivore.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Brendan has a sword. Brendan owns a sword specifically because it symbolizes heroism. In other words, he invokes this trope in real life.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Applies to all the spirit creatures that have riders, such as Brendan's thanator. Also applies to the Na'vi and their direhorses, which the author describes as being, "horses of more than just a different color."
  • Human Aliens: the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Doctors.
  • Humanoid Aliens: The Na'vi and Predators count.
  • Hungry Jungle: This is not the sort of place you'd want to unexpectedly find yourself all alone in...
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: The dragon encountered in Chapter 9 doesn't seem to really affect the plot in any way, but it nonetheless has quite a presence.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: A less abstract version than usual. Murphy's mind is a very straightforward world populated by thoughts that physically manifest themselves as the people/places/things from Murphy's life. The Conceptivore — whose powers the Doctors are careful to not clearly explain — is responsible for the formation of the setting.
  • Land of Faerie: Brendan's first guess about where he is is this, and not without reason.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: There's a part where the characters are discussing their situation, and they stop just short of proclaiming "hey, we're in a fan fic!"
  • Lizard Folk: The Silurians of Doctor Who.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are 22 main characters. That's not even counting supporting characters or antagonists. To keep people from losing track of the characters, Murphy splits them up into five smaller groups midway through the story.
  • MacGuffin: The Grand Unifying Theme — the central idea binding the World of the Creatures. If the Conceptivore acquires it, it would be able to destroy the world in one fell swoop.
  • The Master: Both the Cybermen and the orcs refer to the Conceptivore as "The Master." Accordingly, Steven Moffat thinks they're talking about The Master, while Buffy thinks they're talking about The Master.
  • Measuring the Marigolds: With Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Carl Sagan as characters, you can bet this is averted.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Many creatures that don't live in a rain forest biome show up in the jungle. One particularly jarring example is Meghan's Colombian Mammoth, an animal that lived in North American prairies during the last Ice Age.
  • The Nameless: The Conceptivore is never given a name, and is referred simply by its species' name. The leaders of the Na'vi tribe are also not given names.
  • Nature Lover: Applies to many, but Darren especially. When the other members of his group are taking a break, Darren goes out to look for frogs and salamanders.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: It's impossible to count just how many times the characters nearly get eaten, gored, stepped on, or envenomed.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Brendan notices that he and the thanator can both breathe the air, even though Pandora and Earth have radically different atmospheres to the point where humans can't breathe on Pandora without some sort of breathing apparatus.
  • Not So Different: The Eleventh Doctor tries this with Batman. Batman doesn't buy it.
  • The Nth Doctor: Not surprising considering who's in it. This story features the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh incarnations of the Doctor. It is unknown whether or not the other eight are out somewhere in the world of the creatures.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Stephen Colbert, meet Steven Moffat!
  • Place Beyond Time: The eponymous world. The Doctor explains that this trope is the reason the Tardis initially can't travel through it.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The various creature allies tend to fall under this category, but it's particularly noticeable in the Yautja and the Na'vi.
  • Ptero Soarer: Averted. A fair few pterosaurs pop up, and they're far from the toothy, leathery-winged, bird-footed, scaly-skinned monsters found more often in fiction.
  • The Quiet One: Maggie. She doesn't say much, even when talking to other characters. This is why the characters are surprised when she runs away, leaving a note explaining how the stress of the situation has been slowly building up insider her, and she can't take it anymore
  • Rage Against the Author: Buffy meets Joss Whedon and she is not happy.
  • Raptor Attack: Averted with Dawkins' Utahraptor which is described has being fat with feathers.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Inverted — the Silurian Chancellor says he finds mammals to be very unsettling.
  • Rhino Rampage: There's a stampeding herd of brontotheres that shows up toward the beginning of Chapter 8
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Chapter 9 features the old, decaying temples built by the peoples of Skull Island. Not only do they not serve the plot, they actually facilitate a tangent that disrupts the flow of the greater story.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: There are many more obscure taxa included in the story. A few examples include Einiosaurus, Ambelodon, and Inostrancevia
  • Shout-Out: At one point, Brendan and Patrick quote Blackadder at each other.
  • Shown Their Work: One of the characters is Dr. Darren Naish, author of the extremely well-researched Tetrapod Zoology. Murphy makes it painfully apparent how well-informed he is on the subject of Paleontology.
  • Spider Swarm: One so nasty that even the Eleventh Doctor and Batman nearly end up being eaten.
  • Starfish Aliens: There are a few references to creatures from the planet Darwin IV; very fitting considering Wayne Barlowe is one of the characters. As such, many of Darwin IV's more bizarre creatures make an appearance. Most prominently, a daggerwrist is Barlowe's spirit creature.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The thanator. Darren's description of the thanator actually provides the page quote. Averted with other creatures. Darren and the Tenth Doctor encounter a gorgonopsian, and they observe that it doesn't attack them because it's just not interested at the moment (they're still cautious around it, though).
  • Techno Babble: Nearly all of it from the Doctors.
  • Title Drop: In a very Richard Attenborough-esque sounding way, Patrick brings the company to a creature-filled plain and proclaims "welcome to the World of the Creatures!"
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: When Joss, Heather, Meghan, and Brendan are attacked by two carnivorous dinosaurs, Brendan throws his sword at one of the creatures' legs. Lampshaded in that Brendan doesn't actually expect it to work.
  • Toothy Bird: Early on, Brendan and Lady Gaga encounter an extinct toothed bird.
  • Translator Microbes: Courtesy of the Tardis. Even the apes' sign language is translated.
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: The Pandoran fauna, with their characteristic two hind limbs and four forelimbs.
  • Vine Swing: subverted. Brendan tries this to swing across a gorge and away from an attacking thanator. While he does succeed in avoiding the thanator, the vine doesn't swing to the other side, and leaves Brendan dangling over the gorge.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Carl Sagan's reaction to the Eleventh Doctor when he learns that the Doctor lied, and they don't actually need to save Patrick to return home.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: There is no shortage of descriptions of vast, natural landscapes teaming with a variety of weird and wonderful creatures. Even amid all of the fantastical imagery, Darren stresses the fact that it is all inspired by the real beauty of the real world.
  • Write Who You Know: Murphy uses himself, as well as several people he knows in real life as characters in the story.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: At first, Brendan thinks they're in Faerie, the world of fantasy talked about by J.R.R. Tolkien in his book, On Faerie Stories
  • You Wake Up in a Room: Or in this case, in the middle of a gigantic, steaming, tropical jungle with an inexplicable change in wardrobe and your sword.