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Literature / Mediochre Q Seth Series

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The Mediochre Q Seth series, otherwise "The Mediochreverse" or just "The Mediochre Series" - although that last sounds unfortunate – is an in-progress five-part Urban Fantasy series by Calum P Cameron. He started writing it while in high school, primarily out of boredom, but also out of a desire to see if he could write a story about a unique and powerful Doctor-like individual while having them remain realistically human and fallible.

Also, he really likes dragons.

Charlotte Johnson is an Ordinary High-School Student from the USA whose parents have forced her to move to Edinburgh, Scotland – with predictably resentful results on her part. So far, so normal. Then, one day, she is almost run over by a lorry.

The driver of this lorry is one Professor Doctor Laird Sir Mediochre Quirinius Seth, PhD MusD MSc CBE OBE MIMC VC-Bar – although he prefers just 'Mediochre' or 'Dr Seth' – an eccentric 'dracologist' from the parallel society that has existed for generations hidden from Charlotte’s own world by a government-enforced Masquerade. A society very much like her own, but with a few important differences – most obviously: magic.

The world turns out to be a lot more dangerous and interesting than Charlotte had initially assumed, full of giant dragons, emotionless half-vampires, powerful magic-users (or 'mancers', to use the correct term) and, of course, Mediochre himself, who's never been the same since an accident in his past left him immortal, trapped in a fifteen-year-old body and able to calculate probabilities exactly at the drop of a hat. And those are the people on her side. Or at least, she's pretty sure they are. It's hard to tell, sometimes...

For more information, visit the series's website.

When complete, the series will consist of:

  • The Good, the Bad and the Mediochre (Available now) – in which Charlotte pretty-much forces her way into Mediochre’s ongoing adventure in returning a rare dragon egg to its mother and thwarting the dragon-slaying attempts of an international smuggling ring. But things are never that simple around Mediochre, and it starts to look like there may be a grander conspiracy at work here...
  • Black, White and Shades of Mediochre (Ditto) - in which a mancy-related murder practically on Charlotte's doorstep gives her a way back into the Mantically Aware world and Mediochre's life, just in time for them to get uncomfortably caught up in the increasingly-murky issue of Undead-human relations. Naturally, it soon turns out that something even worse than murder is going down here, and if someone doesn't stop it then the consequences will be world-changing...
  • Caught Mediochre-Handed - (Also ditto) - in which Maccabeus Fervour's inability to run the country and a risky Batman Gambit by Queen MAB to get rid of him before he starts a war leads to a mass prison escape at the Stygian Secure Unit, leaving Charlotte and Mediochre with a quarantined country and a whole bunch of Unsealed Evils Previously In A Can to deal with while Joseph and Dhampinella become Sealed Good in a Can through the actions of an increasingly paranoid Fervour...
  • Sent into Mediochre-drive
  • Mediochrity

In addition, it has become customary for the author to write a "Christmas Special" short story every December - seemingly working his way through the main party of characters and focusing one story on each. Thus far, these include:

For Christmas 2012, the author also wrote a Christmas Special short story featuring Joseph Carrion which functions as a sort of prequel to the main series. It was initially posted to his Facebook page, but eventually uploaded to the website here.

A second Christmas Episode followed for Christmas 2013, this time featuring Mediochre himself, and can be viewed here, along with its "ambiguously canon" companion piece here.

For those wondering, the name 'Mediochre' is an intentional pun on 'mediocre' – although in-universe, Mediochre insists it’s a shade of red between pale ochre and dark ochre.

The author is literally One of Us, so expect a lot of tropes.

The main series provides examples of:

     Series as a Whole 
  • Action Girl: Dhampinella and, to a lesser extent, Charlotte and Rowan.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Mediochre.
  • Aerith and Bob: Mediochre and Charlotte. Joseph and Dhampinella. The list goes on.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: All sorts of magic-related nasties seem to turn up in Scotland these days...
  • Anti-Hero: Mediochre and Joseph both, in different ways. Mediochre aims to be an Ideal Hero but his impatience, hot-bloodedness and frightening capacity for cruelty when you push his Berserk Button cause him to fall short. Joseph, meanwhile, is a Pragmatic Hero more than willing to commit morally reprehensible deeds out of loyalty to Mediochre and his plans.
  • The Apprentice: A standard method of education among the Mantically Aware. Dhampinella is Joseph's.
  • Author Avatar: Mediochre looks much like the author did aged fifteen. The author has also noted that, personality-wise, Mediochre is similar to what he would be if he was an idealist. And more badass.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Most Mantically Aware. Justified – they choose their own.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Mediochre's gift with probability.
  • Badass Bookworm: Joseph and, to a lesser extent, Mediochre.
  • Badass Normal: Joseph. In a world full of magic-users, The Undead and Half-Human Hybrids, this guy comes across as particularly badass despite having, at best, Charles Atlas Improbable Aiming Skills.
  • Badass Longcoat: Joseph and Dhampinella.
  • Badass Teacher: Mediochre and Joseph are both university professors. Joseph actually has an apprentice with him during most of his adventures – although the apprentice is also a badass and doesn't really need protecting.
  • Bat Deduction: Justified with Mediochre.
  • Berserk Button: While within range of Mediochre, it is never a good idea to harm a child or a dragon. Harming a child dragon will earn you instant death.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several, including Chips, at least one sword and a few actual guns.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Mediochre's training as a street magician and escapologist becomes relevant.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: One of Mediochre's default expressions.
  • The Chessmaster: Whoever leads The Organisation Which I Represent...
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Mediochre seems to have a bit of this going on.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Mediochre, Joseph and Dhampinella all have unique and notable costumes.
  • Clueless Mystery: Mediochre has a habit of revealing clues that suddenly make everything obvious just as we get to The Reveal. In fairness, though, there are usually other, less obvious clues scattered around beforehand.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Queen MAB to Mediochre.
  • Cool Teacher: Mediochre and Joseph. Don't say you don't wish your tutor took you out Undead-hunting.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Mediochre. He trained his mouse to provide a distraction if they got captured.
  • Creator Provincialism: Most of the action takes place in Scotland, the author’s home country, and the majority of the characters live in Edinburgh, the city of his birth.
  • Cultured Badass: Mediochre.
  • Cute Bruiser: For a twisted definition of 'cute', Dhampinella.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Mostly subverted – Dhampinella is only cute in a Stoic Woobie sort of a way.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons are the lowest form of Undead, and are mentioned periodically.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The Organisation Which I Represent – TOWIR.
    • Mantically Aware Britain - MAB.
    • Intrusively Mantic Phone - IMP.
  • The Gunslinger: Joseph.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Dhampinella is half-Vampire.
  • Hanging Separately: Mediochre and the MABGov, especially Chrome.
  • Healing Factor: Mediochre, because of his dragon's blood.
  • Healing Hands: Medimancy.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: Mediochre tends to go into this rather than BSODing.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Mediochre and Joseph.
  • Hot-Blooded: Mediochre and Joseph.
  • Immortal Immaturity: Mediochre zig-zags this.
  • Immortality: Mediochre and Melz have Type III (Regenerative). Maelstrom has a cross between Type III and Type VII (External). Undead obviously have Type V (Undead).
  • Immortality Immorality: A major theme of the series. Maelstrom in the first book, the necromancer in the second and Stormhold Elect in Born to Raise the Sons of Earth are all major Heavy villains who can cheat death and are at least partially motivated by a desire to continue cheating death. Melz somehow manages to be an aversion, remaining a kindly old lady. Mediochre himself... is trying to avert it, but he's pretty bad at it.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Mediochre is technically a laird (among other things) but seemingly requires multiple jobs to get the money needed to justify not selling his house.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Joseph.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Mediochre is fond of them.
  • Indy Ploy: Mediochre and Joseph’s default Plan B seems to be "wing it".
  • Insistent Terminology: Magic is called 'mancy'. Mediochre and Joseph are Doctors – although they only insist on that one with people they dislike.
  • The Insomniac: Mediochre doesn't ever seem to sleep until he actually has to.
  • Occult Detective: Mediochre and Joseph are private slayer-catchers, which largely amounts to the same thing.

     The Good, the Bad and the Mediochre 
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Charlotte looking into classrooms.
    Empty, empty, empty, empty except for a teacher who clearly didn't get enough of her classroom when she was actually teaching or something...
  • The Cavalry: Subverted. The timely arrival of the MIPF at the end wasn't quite timely enough to help much.
  • Check and Mate: Subverted for laughs. Mediochre, being a smug git, sets things up to let him pull one of these on the Big Bad - but forgets to factor in the fact that he has the body of a scrawny teenager and the Big Bad is capable of cutting off his airway before he can finish.
    Mediochre: You made me ruin it, you moron. It was gonna be so good, like one of those smug moments in a film. You were gonna say 'what?' and I was gonna... look, let’s try that again: Kiwi?
    Kiwi: What?!
    Mediochre: The CCTV’s still on.
    Kiwi: WHAT?
  • Clothing Damage: "Dhampinella’s biggest injury seemed to have been to her coat." Antler's suit also gets ruined by the explosion.
  • The Coats Are Off: Dhampinella, before taking on the entire SSS army at once.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Averted.
    Joseph: I can’t do CPR on someone who doesn't have a chest!
  • Cutting the Knot: Mediochre once brought down a whole load of criminals in a single blow by punching the fire alarm. Joseph gets into an SSS store room by breaking the lock.
  • Da Chief: The St Merlin's Security Chief.
  • Damsel in Distress: Hélène.
  • Made of Explodium: Fire glands.
  • Mauve Shirt: Oscar, Stephanie and Kurt.
  • Metaphorgotten:
    Mediochre: This whole scene could have stepped out of a cheesy fantasy adventure were it not for the fact that scenes are incapable of stepping anywhere due to severe deficiency in the foot department.
  • Milkman Conspiracy: Sapphire is actually Kiwi Mashuga.
  • The Mole: Danny is TOWIR's mole, and Kiwi is the SSS's... sort of.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Dhampinella against the SSS. Also Danny, but his was part of the tempomancer's scheme.

     Black, White and Shades of Mediochre 
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The necromancer, by binding himself to a body, ensures his eventual death.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Joseph thinks so.
    Humanist: (after getting punched) Resorting to the Neanderthal now, are we?
    Joseph: No. That was pure Homo Sapiens.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Vampires can regenerate their bodies after drinking enough blood. Drinking Mediochre's blood makes it happen all the faster.

     Caught Mediochre-Handed 
  • Adult Fear: The Pied Piper and the Scissorman's targeting of children.
  • Affably Evil Simultaneous Velocity Carnage is just as likely to have a casual conversation with you as she is to kill you. Plus, she actually manages to out-snark Mediochre.
  • Angrish: Carnage descends into it when Mediochre tricks her.
  • Arch-Enemy: Only a year after he finally offed Maelstrom, Mediochre gains another one in Carnage.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Springheel's rapsheet - thirty-three counts of theft, twenty-two of arson, twenty-five of GBH, at least twenty-nine of rape and eleven of murder. And one hundred and seventy-seven counts of property damage, mostly to roofs.
  • Axe-Crazy:
    • Carnage.
    • Springheel.
  • Bald of Evil: Shaven-headed version with Vanadium Steel.
  • Batman Gambit: Queen MAB's plan to turn Mediochre against Fervour by getting him to go Papa Wolf over Aoife - whom he barely even knew beforehand - is pretty impressive, especially considering she wasn't in the country at the time.
  • Be My Valentine: Sort-of inverted. Valentine is sorta romantic on the surface but the real Valentine underneath it all is an asshole.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Between Mediochre and Joseph. No, it's not what you think. Probably.
  • Big Damn Villains: Mabel Hart saves Mediochre from Vanadium Steel and Springheel Jack saves Rowan, Charlotte and Sam from Thunderbolt Charlie, both by means of murdering the threat.
  • Blatant Lies: Mediochre claims his greatest fear is "lecturers" when asked. Not long after, Carnage is asked where Dhampinella is and decides to answer "Munich."
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Much of Floor Theta, but especially the Scissorman and the Pied Piper.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Piper's children.
  • Break the Haughty: The fate of the Choromancer.
  • Broken Masquerade: Throughout Britain, as the Floor Theta escapees rampage.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The fate of the Choromancer.
  • The Brute: The Choromancer is the biggest and most (physically and mantically) powerful of the villains in the book.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Fervour. Even Rising understands that taking a Dhampir hostage practically counts as assisted suicide.
  • The Caligula: Fervour turns into this post-breakdown.
  • Captain Ersatz: Jonathan Scruff seems to have deliberately modelled himself off Jonathan Crane AKA Scarecrow from Batman.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Pretty-much by name.
    Rowan gave [Charlotte] a grin more befitting of a feline. From Cheshire.
  • Chrome Champion: Vanadium Steel, eventually. Deconstructed in that it takes extraordinary conscious effort to hold himself together while moving.
  • Colony Drop: The Choromancer wants to destabilise the orbit of the moon.
  • Confusion Fu: Simultaneous Velocity Carnage's main shtick.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Thunderbolt Charlie and Springheel Jack obliterate each other from existence.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Mediochre has to trick Valentine into threatening Charlotte to break his spell. A sort of third-person version of Break Her Heart to Save Her.
  • Curse Cut Short: A mild version from Aoife's mother.
    Mrs Silk: Yes I'm Mrs blo-
  • Damsel in Distress: Aoife, thanks to the Scissorman, and later Charlotte and Edith Bartley, courtesy of the Choromancer.
  • Dance Battler: The Scruffs.

The Christmas specials provide examples of:

     Born to Raise the Sons of Earth (Short Story) 
  • Abnormal Ammo: Up to Eleven. The Depleted Phlebotinum Shells in Joseph's pistol are said to be abnormal even for him.
  • A Day in the Limelight: It focuses on Joseph, rather than Charlotte or Mediochre.
  • Ascended Extra: Mad Lex Gunpowder was mentioned exactly once in The Good, the Bad and the Mediochre. Here, he's much more prominent.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: Joseph and Mad Lex Gunpowder spend Christmas Eve and the start of Christmas Day fighting Undead. What's not to love?
  • Awesome Aussie: Mad Lex Gunpowder, Joseph's Mentor, turns out to have been Australian.
  • Bash Brothers: Joseph and Lex.
  • Big Bad: Stormhold Elect, Dreadlord Servant of the Thousand Voices.
  • Bigger Bad: Quite possibly Stormhold's schizophrenia. After all, who else do we know with necromancer powers and a thousand different 'voices' inside them?
  • Chekhov's Gun: Literally, with Joseph's pistol. Zig-zagged, however, in that it's not the gun that finally kills Stormhold. Also, of the six bullets, only three are useful and one doesn't even get fired.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: On reflection, Stormhold Elect - or rather, his schizophrenia - quite possibly counts as one given the nature of the necromancer in Black, White and Shades of Mediochre.

     Please to Put a Penny in the Old Man's Hat (Short Story) 
  • Christmas Episode: The second in a row.
  • Evil Redhead: Lark is, at least, a pretty scary and unpleasant one.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Pigeon promises in his letter than Mediochre's gift wasn't stolen - although it may have been bought with money that was "a bit" stolen in the first place.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Exploited by Mediochre. He allows Lark to eat bits of him, to prevent her from hunting down innocent humans for food.
  • Horror Hunger: Whatever Lark is, she seems to be compelled to eat human meat.
  • Hurting Hero: Mediochre's damaged mental state is on full display. He even describes himself as "too introspective" here.
  • Memento Macguffin: Turns out that the cross Mediochre wears around his neck was a gift from Pigeon.
  • Public-Domain Character: Mediochre is in London to find Springheel Jack, the famous Urban Legend.
  • Small Steps Hero: This story shows Mediochre to be one.
  • Titled After the Song: Specifically, after a line from "Christmas is Coming", a traditional British Christmas carol.
  • Tragic Keepsake: This is probably why Mediochre is still wearing that cross, many years after Pigeon's death.
  • Victorian London: The entire story is a flashback to the Victorian era. So, naturally, it has to take place in London!

     A Visit from the Yule Goat (Poem) 
  • Bad Santa: The "Saint Nick" turns out to be a goat-like monster using a disguise to sneak into people's houses and plant eggs which will eventually hatch into murderous babies.
  • Enfant Terrible: The Yule goat's species doesn't appear to be sapient enough for true evil, but it does have a life cycle that involves the babies taking the form of the first creature they see and then, uh, disposing of the original.
  • Kill and Replace: Part of the natural life cycle of the titular "Yule goat".

     To You And Your Kin (Short Story) 
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Orcus and Vitus, respectively.
  • Christmas Episode: The third official Mediochreverse "Christmas special".
  • Cool Car: Kind-of subverted. Demetrius owns a classic 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith - but it's almost certainly just for the name.
  • Creepy Child: Dhampinella, aged ten.
  • Dumb Muscle: Orcus. According to Melinoe, he's "dumb as a sack of concrete".
  • Emotionless Girl: Dhampinella, even moreso than usual.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Demetrius vs the Chlodoveches.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: As a child, Dhampinella has long hair and a demure Emotionless Girl personality, in contrast to her adult self's Boyish Short Hair and stoic badass personality.
  • Flashback to Catchphrase: The story ends with Dhampinella and Melinoe referring to each other as 'outcast' and 'link' for the first time.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: The Chlodoveches like the half-human Dhampinella even less that they like her father.
  • Last-Name Basis: Demtrius prefers to use his last name (which is all the main book series ever calls him). Turns out, he does have a first name, and it's Albin.
  • Meaningful Name: Melinoe's Viscountess mother is named Erzsébet - also the real name of the historical Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a notoriously blood-obsessed serial killer.
  • Nouveau Riche: Demetrius, in contrast to the more traditional but less smarmy Old Money Chlodovech family.
  • Older Than They Look: Dhampinella was ten years old in 1983, making her somewhat older than Joseph. In fairness, she's not human.
  • Old Money: The Chlodovech family.
  • Opposites Attract/Odd Friendship: Melinoe and Dhampinella, due to being raised by an Old Money crime family and a Nouveau Riche "modern" gangster, respectively.
  • Parental Neglect: Dhampinella and Melinoe bond over their shared experiences of crappy parenting.
  • The Quiet One: Dhampinella was this anyway, but it turns out she was worse as a child. She has exactly one spoken line in the entire story. Oddly, Melinoe is apparently good enough at reading whatever signals Dhampinella does give off to continue the conversation, leading to something like a Newhart Phonecall between two people who are both in the same room.
  • Spirited Young Lady/Rebellious Princess: Melinoe may enjoy being a Vampire, but what she enjoys more is breaking tradition to annoy her mother.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Demetrius keeps his sunglasses on inside. It's because he intends to set off a light charm if things don't go his way.
  • Teleport Spam: Vitus is so twitchy he can't help doing this. He uses it to his advantage when he fights.
  • Titled After the Song: Named for a line in 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas'. The full phrase is "Good tidings we bring/To you and your kin", making this an ironic Complete-the-Quote Title, since the tidings brought between the two families are far from good.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: The Viscountess uses her brother Vitus and her broodchild Orcus as henchmen.
  • Woman Scorned: The Viscountess really does not like her ex-husband.

Alternative Title(s): The Good The Bad And The Mediochre, The Mediochreverse, Mediochre Series, Black White And Shades Of Mediochre