Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Jason Wood

Go To

A series of short stories by Ryk E. Spoor in which everyday hero Jason Wood battles mythological monsters with modern technical know-how. The first six stories originally appeared in Digital Knight, published by Baen Books in 2003, which is now available on the Baen Free Library. Three more are available free online. Paradigms Lost, released in December 2014, incorporates greatly expanded and revised versions of the first eight stories.

The Jason Wood stories make up part of a multiverse that includes The Balanced Sword.

  1. Gone in a Flash (vampires)
  2. Lawyers, Ghouls, and Mummies (exactly what it says on the tin)
  3. Photo Finish (werewolves)
  4. Viewed in a Harsh Light
  5. Live and Let Spy
  6. Mirror Image (basilisks)
  7. Shadow of Fear (things that go bump in the night)
  8. Trial Run
  9. Bait and Switch

Tropes in the Jason Wood series:

  • Big Bad: Virigar, the Werewolf King
  • Big Red Button: In "Bait and Switch", the emergency button that triggers the anti-werewolf measures is described as being bright red and twice as large as any other button on the control panel.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Jason has one in "Bait and Switch".
  • Character Name Alias: The werewolf in "Bait and Switch" introduces himself as Cheney Lugosi, in homage to The Wolf Man (in which Lon Chaney Jr. stars as a man who becomes a werewolf after being bitten by another werewolf played by Bela Lugosi).
  • Courtroom Episode: "Trial Run" has Jason defending a werewolf in court, mainly because he wants to establish the precedent that non-humans have rights. After successfully proving that his client's killing a would-be rapist armed with a silver-alloy knife qualified as legitimate self-defense, he has her re-arrested for some unjustifiable killings she had committed.
  • Friendly Neighbourhood Vampire: Verne Domingo in "Gone in a Flash" and Father Jonathan Turner in "Live and Let Spy".
  • Horrifying the Horror: Even other monsters are terrified of Virigar.
  • I Gave My Word: Werewolves take oaths made in the king's name very seriously... because anyone who breaks any such oath without Virigar's explicit permission will have to answer to him.
  • Immune to Bullets: Pretty much every kind of supernatural menace. Lampshaded in "Mirror Image":
    "I should have known, I should have known, you can never kill a monster with bullets, never, it's in the friggin' Monster Union Rules!"
  • Inhumanable Alien Rights: "Trial Run" establishes the legal precedent that non-humans have the same legal right to self-defense as humans - and the same right to be prosecuted for acts of violence which do not fall under the legal definition of self-defense.
  • Just Toying with Them: In "Trial Run", Virigar explicitly says he could kill Jason any time he likes, but that would be "unamusing".
  • Magical Database: Jason Wood is told that he can't find out stuff about vampires from a nice cross-indexed database somewhere, so he sets out to create one himself.
  • The Multiverse: the Jason Wood stories are set in an Earth similar to ours, but there is a severed connection to Zarathan, the world of The Balanced Sword.
  • Never Heard That One Before: "Wanda Beers, and don't make any jokes about her name unless you can figure out one she won't have heard a thousand times before."
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Virigar, of Jason Wood. There are occasions when the only thing keeping Jason alive is the fact that Virigar is the monster that other monsters have nightmares about.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: A standard of the series, including basilisks, vampires, and werewolves.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Curse of vampirism was created in a long-ago time as a twisted mockery of the powers and weaknesses of the priests of an Earth goddess (for instance, they drank blood freely given by volunteers as a symbol of the interconnectedness of living things, were harmed by wood because it was once-but-no-longer living, and by sunlight because being so closely aligned with the Earth strained their connection to other powers). Jason learns all this when his Friendly Neighborhood Vampire is revealed to be not a Curseborn vampire but the actual last priest of the goddess.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Werewolves are voluntary shapeshifters capable of perfectly imitating other human forms, and have several other non-standard abilities. They're powerful enough that even "the Great Demons" wouldn't lightly defy the will of the Werewolf King Virigar. Also, they devour souls. The narrator's Friendly Neighborhood Vampire friend tells him:
    "Their strength is immense, their cunning formidable, and their ability to shift shape, though confined to a wolflike predator on the one hand, is unlimited in the human range; they can be anyone at all. They do not fear night or day, nor does the phase of the moon have any effect on them. They also have a talent similar to my own to charm and cloud other minds... There is nothing I have seen ... that I fear more than the Werewolf King."
    • Consider the last sentence of that quote in light of the fact that the speaker is five hundred thousand years old and has seen the Great Demons reshape the continents of Earth.
    • On the other hand, they do have a weakness against silver.
  • Patchwork Story: Digital Knight
  • Playful Hacker: "The Jammer"
  • Post-Modern Magik: The series is all about this.
  • Silver Bullet: Jason Wood makes some silver bullets first to fight a vampire (which didn't work) and then a werewolf (which did). He ran out of silver bullets while fighting the werewolf king, and was forced to improvise.
  • Spot the Impostor: Jason finds himself having to distinguish between his Friendly Neighborhood Vampire and a werewolf doppelganger. Having discovered by this point that silver bullets work on werewolves but not vampires, he just shoots both of them.
  • Summation Gathering: Used in "Bait and Switch".
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: In "Shadow of Fear"
  • The Time of Myths: In the backstory of the series; most of the supernatural stuff Jason encounters is connected to it one way or another, and some of the creatures are old enough to have personally been part of it.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Jason Wood.
  • The Unmasqued World: After the 'Morgantown Incident' in "Photo Finish", everybody knows about the werewolves. Other parts of the Masquerade also pass into public knowledge as the series progresses.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Werewolves, in this series, can take a variety of forms, and can imitate other people, down to their fingerprints and their DNA.