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Literature / Bigtime

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The Bigtime novels by Jennifer Estep take place in Bigtime, New York, a town which is overrun by superheroes and about every superhero trope out there.

Everyone is totally Genre Blind, especially with figuring out that having an Alliterative Name more than likely indicates that person is a Super Hero with a name that starts with that letter. Some characters are dedicated to finding out the identities of superheroes, and have to resort to other means of deduction. This leads to the interesting experience of the reader knowing long before the characters do who is who.

The novels are:

  • Karma Girl: The narrator found out her fiancé and best friend are a superhero and supervillain, respectively, who boink; dedicates herself to outing all supers.
  • Hot Mama: The narrator is a superhero.
  • Jinx: The narrator is not a superhero, but is from a family of superheroes, and has a power that she can't make useful.
  • Nightingale: The narrator is not a superhero, but has super senses. The story revolves around her encounter with superhero and the love affair and danger that follows.

The short stories are:

  • Karma Girl Christmas: Karma Girl has to protect a large donation of charity toys from the ubervillians of Bigtime
  • Fandemic: The narrator is a non-powered hardcore superhero fan.

These novels provide examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Bandit's revolver fires special bullets
  • Alliterative Name: 90% of the cast have first and last names alliterating because it is a common (in-universe) indication of being a superhero
  • Badass Biker: Johnny Angel (also a Badass Normal in his first two incarnations).
  • Badass Bookworm: Piper Perez goes up against an ubervillain who had been stealing the superpowers of various retired supers and wins by using her encyclopedic knowledge of supers to know exactly what powers and weaknesses had been stolen and equipping herself with various items to exploit said weaknesses.
  • Black and Nerdy: The Hermit, a computer expert, who wears garish sweater vests, glasses, and polka dot bow ties as his alter ego.
  • Blessed with Suck: Bella, whose Winds of Destiny, Change! power comes with tons of Power Incontinence, and she has very little control over it. Somewhat with Abby and Bandit whose super senses make bright lights, strong smells, and even the dropping of car keys headache inducing.
  • Destructive Savior: Piper Perez once worked out how much property damage had been done to Bigtime over its history as a superhero/ubervillain hotspot. Her result? Five hundred billion dollars and counting.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Many phlebotium items have descriptive names, such as ultra-durable metal Solidium, explosives Explodium and Obliteron, sedative Relaxidon and narcotic Euphoridon.
  • Genre Blind: Everybody is completely ignorant of superhero conventions, and this is where the story's comedy comes from.
  • Harmless Villain: The Mintilator, an ubervillan whose shtick is forcing people to practice proper hygiene. He gets less silly when he actually uses his superpower, which is to produce and throw acid.
  • Heel Realization: A good part of the first book is Carmen coming to realize exactly how much harm her quest to publicly unmask all supers because of the sins of her ex-fiance had done.
  • Invisible Subtle Difference: Abby lampshades this trope while shopping for makeup, saying that somewhere in the various cosmetics factories is somebody whose sole job is to think up different names for what is essentially the same shade of red, and the really disturbing thing is that said person probably makes more than she does. Also, there are fifty-one distinct shades of ice-blue recognized by Bigtime's fashion industry, and Fiona can tell them apart from a single glance at a scrap of cloth - and know what supers in the area wear that shade.
  • Invisibility: Invisible Ingenues is so called because turning invisible is their power.
  • Joker Immunity: This gets mentioned in-universe, with superheroes noting that ubervillains frequently return after ending up in No One Could Survive That! situations. Despite this, in four novels and two short stories, there has only been one case of an ubervillain who wasn't confirmed dead at the end of the story who manages to show up again - Frost.
  • Legacy Character: The Johnny Angel identity has been passed down from father to son for three generations.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Kyle Quicke thought this about Piper when she learned he was Swifte, leading to him breaking up with her.
  • Made of Explodium: Is sometimes literally true, as Explodium is an actual material in this universe.
  • One Degree of Separation: Carmen used this trope to find the identities of supers from the identities of those supers she already unmasked. In addition to every member of the Fearless Five being closely associated with at least one other member while unmasked, there are also numerous other examples, including: Fiera dating Johnny Angel 3, Johnny Angel's sister dating Debonair, Johnny Angel's grandfather dating Granny Cane, who was Debonair's former guardian, and Granny's grandson, who is also Debonair's foster brother, the ex-boyfriend of Fiera's CFO, and the owner of everybody's favorite restaurant, is Swifte.
  • Old Superhero: Grandpa Belluci (Johnny Angel #1 and later Grandpa Pain, Granny Cane a.k.a. Grace Caleb.
  • Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Captain Freebeard and his Saucy Wenches, who sail around the harbor raiding passing cruise ships for food and liquor, which they use to hold wild parties. Since the passengers are invited to join in said parties, the cruise lines consider them to be a tourist attraction rather than a threat.
  • Plain Jane: Abby Appleby views herself as plain and unremarkable compared to pin up models like Fiona Fine.
  • Portmanteau: Piper's nickname Fandemic. Opinions are divided as to whether the term is a combination of the words 'Fangirl' and 'Academic' or 'Fanatic' and 'Epidemic'.
  • Required Secondary Powers: For example, Fiera doesn't burn herself.
  • Rescue Sex: The fan group Slaves for Superhero Sex, or SSS, tend to place themselves in mortal peril so that they can get rescued by superheros and then offer them this. Most non-members (Including the superheros) find their behavior rather disturbing.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Piper Perez's super-fandom gave her enough information to work out who most of Bigtime's supers were. She just didn't feel the need to actually talk about it until the moment she actually needed the assistance of a superhero to help her confront an ubervillain in his lair, at which point she started calling their personal phone numbers and confronting them at their day jobs.
  • Shout-Out: All three of Estep's fantasy series, Bigtime, Elemental Assassin, and Mythos Academy, contain occasional references to the other two. Despite this, they are not in the same universe.
  • Super-Strength: Striker, Fiera, Prism, and Hangman. Johnny Angel III has some enhanced strength. All heroes get a stat boost in strength compare to a non-super human of the same size.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Karma Girl, sorta, but she's more of a promoted Sixth Ranger.
  • Technopath: Hermit
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Lulu covers from lower body paralysis with the help of a mega-watt lightening ball. Though it isn't an instant cure, it just takes her from permanently crippled to being able to learn to walk again. As of book four she was still undergoing physical therapy and required the use of a cane to walk.