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Literature / STuCK

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Being over-the-top isn't the exception here, dude, it's the rule!

"And so it begins..."

Tre Listman is a generally normal teenager with a tendency to daydream and a hidden sense of wit laid under an awkward exterior. Or at least, he was generally normal. But then after an accident involving root beer and a shopping cart, he gets trapped inside the Westland Galleria Mall amidst the chaos between a rowdy group of other kids and a team of rent-a-cops that take their jobs a bit too seriously. What follows is a night full of strange inner monologues, awkward teen romances, giant robots, mobsters and people in duck costumes. And that's just Episode One of this strange tale from Greyson City.

Stuck is a novel series by Lyle Terry that focuses on Tre's (mis)adventures over the couse of three "episodes", which is just the fancy term Tre uses for books. Shout outs are aplenty, and generally there's a high amount of postmodernism involved. Two notable trademarks of the series include the changing perspective over each "act", as well as the extremely self-referential nature of the characters, Nora in particular.


The series and its spinoffs:

  • Stuck at the Galleria (currently being published on, readable here) is about Tre and the Crew as they go up against the security guards at the mall, amongst other things like deadly laser tag. Has its own page.
  • Stuck at the Threshold (upcoming) is, to put it simply, The Crew vs. Zombies. Companies with shady business practices and mad scientists are also part of the episode's equation.
  • Stuck at the Wheel focuses on the Crew after they get framed for a million-dollar bank heist. Plastic swords of death and eldritch abominations fed by negative emotions also show up.
  • Sparks: An alternate universe story set after Wheel. While Tre's on vacation the Crew goes into a rift in reality and come out with superpowers. Then the rift starts making stuff go awry in Greyson once Tre comes back, so it's up to them all to fix out before their time runs out.

After numerous delays, Terry has finally declared the books' official releases will be "whenever I get around to it", but until then, the series is being published on

Aside from sharing a few passing references to the same work, has nothing to do with the webcomic STuCK.

Tropes, START!

  • Action Girl: Most, if not all, of the girls, Nora and Allison in particular.
  • Action Survivor: Tre.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The switching point of view leads to a few of these for the other members of The Crew.
  • Arc Number: 3.
  • Arc Words: "I'm sorry, Nora."
  • Afraid of Blood: Tre, though he overall gets pretty lucky on that front.
  • Author Avatar: Terry's admitted that Tre is one, though he eventually became different enough to be his own character.
    • Tre finds out Lyle used him as a self-insert in the third episode. He was displeased.
  • Battle Couple: Nora and Tre, though the former does most of the battling. At first, anyway.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Played straight in Episode One, where most of the violence is either performed with Nerf guns or is against robots/holograms. Subverted, however, in Episode Three, where things get a bit messier, but not overly so.
  • Buffy Speak: There's quite a bit, even from the usually eloquent Cale.
  • Bookends: The trilogy begins and ends with the words "And so it begins."
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: It happens within the books themselves as well, but in general Episode 1 is funny and ridiculous, while Episode 2 is a bit less focused on the humor (though, with the whole zombie antics, not too much). Episode 3 is a blend of both styles, making it a frenetic dramedy.
  • City of Adventure: Greyson
  • Classical Antihero: Tre.
  • Cock Fight: Tre and Todd butt heads over Nora in episodes 2 and 3.
  • Cool Loser: The entire Crew, and Cale and Allie too.
  • Ditzy Genius: Tre.
  • Dramedy
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Come on, who would want to deal with the name Cow?
  • Evil Is Petty: Carl, who more often than not is rude, interrupts people while they talk, and overall is just a dick.
    • Todd isn't as much of this at first, but he definitely adopts this approach in Episode Three.
  • Extremely Short Timespan:Episodes 1, 2 and 3 take place (nonconsecutively) over one day, two weeks, and eight days, respectively.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Of the whole cast, Nora shows the most medium awareness; however, it's implied that everyone knows except Tre (and even so, he eventually deduces it, and his Author Avatar status).
  • Call-Back:
    • The last fight Tre has against Todd in the final episode is a Three Round Deathmatch, similar in vein to the ones he had in his fighting games with Jake half a year before. The main difference is that in the last round he wins.)
    • In Galleria, Tre takes the giant pinkbot's tractor beam for Nora before she can get out of the way, and gets a bruise on his lower chest because of it. A year later, in Wheel, the same thing happens but he doesn't live through it at first.
    • In another reference to Galleria, Tre lands on top of Nora after the Whatever implodes in the same way she landed on top of him in Galleria.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: There are two: the more hardware-centric Grassy and his software counterpart, Cale.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Carl, of all people, has a change of heart after Todd berates him for being incompetent at being bad. He isn't by any means fully redeemed, but he manages to get the Crew's charges cleared before he's arrested.
  • Jerkass: Todd is one for the record books.
    • Damon and Q are also pretty jerkish, but even they pale in comparison.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Max is very much one, and Nora has shades of it.
  • Make Up or Break Up: Two cases, Allison and Cale, and Tre and Nora.
    • Both of them end up breaking up, but Nora and Tre get back together in the next book, and Allie and Cale decide they're better as best friends.
  • Mood-Swinger: It's subtle, but Nora shows traits of it sometimes.
  • Oddball in the Series: Episode 2. It's slightly darker and less fun than the rest of the series, but not to a point of feeling forced.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: Has a few elements of it, though it's subtle.
  • Rage Against the Author: When Tre finds out he's an Author Avatar and that the whole fugitive brouhaha and Nora's breakup with him happened because Lyle Terry made it happen, he doesn't take it well.
  • Romantic False Lead: Todd.
  • Salt and Pepper: Tre and Nora, sort of.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Cale falls prone to it quite a bit.
  • Sequel Escalation: The books progressively get more ambitious in tone (and more drama-focused, in the case of Episodes 1 and 2) with each one.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Tre.
  • Stepford Snarker: Nora, to a T. She's much snarkier when pissed or sad.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: When Todd tries to come up with a snappy nickname for Tre, he ends up going with "Trevor Whatevs".
    • Interestingly enough, Tre actually refers to himself as the more rhyme-y "Trevor Whatever" multiple times before that.
  • Switching P.O.V.: The books are divided into "acts", each narrated by the protagonist of the act. Tre does the most, though he never tells the entire story.
  • Time Skip: About five months pass in between Episodes 1 and 2. Not much changes.
  • There Is Only One Bed: During Episode Three, Tre, Nora, Grassy and Max have to figure out their bedding situation with two mattresses and a couch. Despite just being friends after their tough breakup in episode 2, Tre and Nora end up sharing a bed.
  • They Do: Tre and Nora, after dealing with stalkers with crushes, their big misunderstanding and breakup, and their Will They or Won't They? stage during Episode 3, finally reunite at the end of the book.
    • A smaller one with Grassy and Allie. When Grassy finally musters up the courage to ask her out, she just replies with the three words we all were waiting for:
    It's about time!
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tre takes quite a few over the books.
  • Tomboyish Name: Allen Silverburgh, Jr. She ends up turning her name from "Allen's son" into "Allison", but Allen is still her legal name.
  • True Companions: The Crew.
  • Where da White Women At?: Tre gets a bit of disapproval from his peers because of his relationship with Nora.
  • Where the Frak's Greyson City?: Somewhere in the USA, as far as we know.

We're done here.

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