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Literature / Them or Us

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Them or Us is a novel by David Moody, which follows Dog Blood in the Hater series.

After the End, when the last of the Unchanged have been hunted down, Haters begin to turn on each other to establish dominance. Since most areas are an uninhabitable, polluted wasteland due to nuclear catastrophe, the story focuses on a town called Lowestoft, where Haters have gathered from miles around. The leaders battle for power, and everyone else fights for scraps.


This work contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Area - Everywhere.
  • After the End and many of the subtropes, but especially Scavenger World. The few thousand people in Lowestoft make up half the population for the whole country, and the other half spread here and there across the land. 1/3 are not expected to survive the winter. And the battle between Ankin and Hinchcliffe nearly wipes out everyone in Lowestoft.
  • Atomic Hate - The bombs have stopped dropping, but the effects are still being felt by the survivors.
  • Awesome, but Impractical / Blessed with Suck - Danny's ability to "hold the Hate" - the ability to NOT kill the Unchanged -seems pretty useless in a world with no Unchanged, and he constantly fears You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. Danny has managed to get on the good side of one of the new leaders, Hinchcliffe, who sees other qualities in Danny, and continues to send him out to spy on other Haters. As Hinchcliffe puts it, his other talent is the ability to blend in, "You're forgettable. No one notices you. No one even gives you a second glance."
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  • Ax-Crazy: Hinchcliffe, like you wouldn't believe.
  • Back-Alley Doctor - What anyone with any medical credentials has been reduced to.
  • "Begone" Bribe - Among other types of bribery.
  • Betrayal Tropes - Everyone is looking out for #1, so there is plenty of betrayal going on. Most notably... Double Agent, The Mole, The Mutiny, etcetera. And various instances of Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal to help motivate Danny into deciding which team he wants to help.
  • Camp Unsafe Isn't Safe Anymore - Lowestoft.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You - Hinchcliffe to Danny
  • Chase Scene - A car chase.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Danny's weapon stash, consisting of a pistol, some ammo and a grenade. Hinchcliffe uses the grenade in a last ditch attempt to kill the unchanged.
  • Coitus Ensues - A session between Danny and the woman is described in flat, dry, technical terms, and has no real effect on the plot in the long run.
    • The Oldest Profession - The woman is a prostitute, who has sex for food, and she gets double rations if she gets pregnant.
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    • Baby Factory - The scene takes place in a whorehouse, and the reason for the whorehouse is to repopulate society.
    • Lie Back and Think of England - What the prostitute is doing.
    • You Need to Get Laid - The reason Danny goes to a prostitute is because Hinchcliffe tells him to.
    • Questionable Consent / Rape by Proxy - Danny has had no sex drive up until this point. Danny is afraid to say no to Hinchcliffe, and the sex carries all of the emotional turmoil for Danny that comes along with rape... and also motivates him to try to leave Lowestoft for the first of many times, almost averting the Coitus Ensues trope by having some purpose.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination - How Hinchcliffe is introduced, by publicly killing the former leader and hanging his body up for all to see.
  • Deadly Doctor - Rona Scott, who has killed people, being a Hater and all... She also recommends suicide for a guy with cancer. "Take one bullet before bedtime. May cause headaches and drowsiness."
  • Deadpan Snarker - Rona Scott. Also, Danny tries to be this.
  • Death by Irony - A certain person with Incurable Cough of Death refuses cigarettes, proclaiming, "Those things will kill you." He's already showing symptoms of The Big C.
  • Death of a Child- Danny imagines a far-flung future where Haters have rebuilt society proper, and there is a hospital with a delivery room for women to have their babies. The room is divided down the middle with tape, with medical supplies on one side and weapons on the other. If the newborn is a Hater, it is nurtured and allowed to survive. If the newborn is Unchanged, it is killed. However, he shouldn't worry too much as no children ever seem to be killed directly by a Hater, but rather turned into Child Soldiers. Near the end, some children are chased, but no kids are killed "onscreen". Though Danny has the rare ability to "hold the hate" (control his Hate to the point of not killing Unchanged) all Haters seem to have the ability to hold the hate when it comes to Unchanged children, especially since the Hater leader has demanded that none of the children be killed, so they can be brought to the Hater's lair to be experimented on by the local doctor so that Hater children won't be feral and Unchanged children won't be so cowardly. Danny finds their corpses later. They died of Parental Neglect thanks to their new Mad Doctor mommy Rona Scott, but not savagely attacked like the adults. At one point, Rona Scott throws a glass jar at a child, but purposefully misses and smashes it against the wall near the child.
  • Dénouement - Averted. Mysteries are not unraveled, fates are not determined and explanations are not made.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means - The mindset of the leaders.
  • Determinator - Most of the Haters, especially the Brutes and children.
  • Disposable Vagrant - The "underclass".
  • Drowning My Sorrows - Danny after the prostitute.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means - Hinchcliffe's mentality, among others, including Danny.
  • Eat the Dog - A delicacy in a nuclear wasteland without food.
  • The Emperor - Hinchcliffe, a Genius Bruiser / Jerkass / Smug Snake. He's fairly ruthless, which earns him the Embarrassing Nickname K.C. which is short for "King Cunt". Hinchcliffe will do anything to secure his status as leader of The Empire.
  • The End... Or Is It? - The last of the Unchanged are sailing away to live in peace, and Danny dies. The last thing that he sees is two children fighting. Does that mean that there will be no peace? Also, he isn't described as "dying" as much as simply shutting his eyes after slipping in and out of consciousness for days as the battle wounds and cancer take their toll, but does he really die immediately, or is there another tale to be told with Danny?
  • Evil vs. Evil - Barbarian Tribe versus Barbarian Tribe
  • Exposition - Most of what is happening in A World Half Full is explained to Danny, and experienced by the reader via Danny's first-person Point of View.
  • Fetus Terrible - Danny imagines what would happen if a woman was pregnant with twins, one a Hater and one an Unchanged, and he imagines the fetuses attacking each other like fetal shark pups do.
  • Five-Man Band
    • Big Bad: Hinchcliffe, leader of Lowestoft.
    • The Dragon: Llewelyn, Hinchcliffe's second in command.
    • The Brute: Curtis, Llewelyn's fighter deputy who brags about his kills.
    • The Evil Genius: Dr Rona Scott, who's job is to program unchanged children into haters.
    • The Dark Chick: Rufus, comic relief errand boy/messenger.
    • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Danny, who wants nothing to do with Hinchcliffe or anyone else.
  • Food as Bribe
  • Freedom from Choice - A philosophy that is discussed.
  • Gangbangers - Any given leader and the thugs.
  • Get It Over With - Spoken by characters when facing what seems like certain death, as well as Danny's motto for any given task.
  • Goal in Life - Now that the Unchanged are gone, most Haters don't have one.
  • The Hero Dies: Danny's more of Villain Protagonist or Anti-Villain, but the point stands.
  • Heartwarming Orphan - A few of the children melt the heart of a cranky old Hater.
  • History Repeats - Danny's personal history, as well as socio-political squabbles, repeats themselves. Danny, so dissatisfied with his job and people in general in the first book, must cling to groups of people for survival and take on other dissatisfying jobs to remain in more groups of people, noticing many parallels, navigating socio-political games in order to survive. As before the war, he finds himself in cliques, bullied by people who have power over him. More hierarchy battles for leadership with the elite always oppressing everyone else. The leader often wants to be leader not because it's for the greater good, but rather because it secures the greatest chance for survival. Danny is as miserable as he's ever been because this all sounds so familiar, and life as a Hater seemed to offer a chance at being a really cool, primal badass, which was untrue.
    • The only time Unchanged children are attacked and killed by Haters, is when the Haters are also children, but not in this specific book. Adults never attack children. And it's never shown, only described as something that has happened in the past, especially in Dog Blood.
  • Just Following Orders - An excuse used by a few people, but mostly Danny.
  • Just Like Us - In one of many tirades, some people try to point out that Haters and Unchanged are this as well as each other.
  • Kick the Dog - Hinchcliffe kills Rufus with a wrench to the face mostly just to vent anger, but with a little bit of punishment mixed in. Hinchcliffe also has many verbal Kick the Dog moments.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down - Many times, most often by Hinchcliffe. Many people will mortally wound someone else, and then deliver a kick or kicks to a tender part of the body such as the kidneys or the face.
  • "Kill 'Em All!" - Spoken by Johanson.
  • Lighter and Softer (A World Half Full) - Whereas Dog Blood was Darker and Edgier compared to Hater, this one is shades lighter than either. Danny's turn as savior of the Unchanged and savior of innocent, doe-eyed children, giving them candy as he rescues them after learning the error of his ways, and leading them to the Convenient Escape Boat, not to mention how all of his bodycount in this book is tinted with Mercy Kill, definitely makes this Lighter and Softer.
  • Lost Tribe - The last nest of Unchanged that Danny uncovers, which results in a Near-Villain Victory
  • Machete Mayhem - Many prominent deaths are by machete.
  • Meet the New Boss - The Big Bad Shuffle shows ruthless leader after ruthless leader, each killing the last for leadership, or savaging any threat to leadership, all of whom simply want to be on top in order to increase their own individual chance of survival by being on top.
  • Mercy Kill - Danny's justification when he kills the last starving, infected, miserable Unchanged is to A) End their suffering, telling himself and others that, "It's better this way," and, "Don't delay the inevitable." And B) Get the war over with, to stop the fighting, because once the Unchanged are all gone, the Haters can live in a Peace & Love Utopia... flawed logic since all Haters do is bicker and squabble and backstab.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold - Danny.
  • Mood-Swinger: Hinchcliffe is wildly insecure, and can go from calm to batshit insane at the drop of a hat.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Rona Scott
  • Mysterious Backer - Ankin for Warner.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name - The Haters and their Final Solution, especially the ones who do experiments on children.
  • Not Quite Dead Hinchcliffe pulls one of these.
  • Orphan's Ordeal - Rona Scott and her Orphanage of Fear, where she acts as child corruptor, and child neglecter and forces children to fight each other to the death.
  • Paranoia - The paranoia was saved for the "other team" in previous novels, but now it's every man for himself. As Jonathan Maberry puts it: “David Moody spins paranoia into a deliciously dark new direction."
  • Politically Incorrect Villain - Almost inverted when Hinchcliffe mentions that he'll kill anyone, even if that person is a "Black Lesbian Jew." Used to show that Haters don't care about any of the things that society has used for excuses to discriminate: Race, sexual orientation, or religion, for example. The only discrimination is reserved for Haters and Unchanged. Violence against Unchanged is business, violence against Haters is personal.
  • President Evil: Hinchcliffe killed Lowestoft's previous leader and took his place. It's implied that Chris Ankin isn't much better.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn - Lots of pillaging, lots of burning, and some implied rape and borderline rape.
  • Rasputinian Death / There's No Kill Like Overkill: Hinchcliffe gets thrown out a car windscreen when he crashes without a seatbelt, breaking his leg and losing a lot of blood, manhandled by a series of unchanged who throw themselves at him, receives a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown courtesy of Dr Tracy and another unchanged whaling on him with a pipe and a wooden plank, then stabbed, and he still survives long enough to blow himself up.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech - Delivered several times by Hinchcliffe to Danny.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here! - Danny's dozen thwarted escape attempts.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran - Danny has nightmares about the nukes and what happened to his daughter.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Rufus, the closest thing to comic relief in the book, gets his face bashed in by a wrench-wielding Hinchcliffe about halfway through.
  • The Short Guy with Glasses - Rufus, only his glasses got broken and lost.
  • Silly Reason for War - In this case, really no reason at all, other than that people can be separated into different groups or teams that have no real differences other the title of their team, like a football game, and any real or imagined differences between different members of the team. The only real difference is the increased adrenaline that sharpens the senses and increases the physical strength and speed of the Haters, a difference that only seems to happen during battle.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality - Because of the Hate, Hater women can easily overpower Unchanged men and take out a dozen people. However, Hater women are still weaker than Hater men, and therefore suffer in a society where there are no Unchanged, and Haters rule mostly by physical strength.
  • Small, Secluded World - Lowestoft.
  • Standard Evil Empire Hierarchy - People are separated into the leader, the generals, the best fighters, the switchbacks, and the underclass. The underclass are divided into beggars, scavengers, and thieves. There are also Brutes, which were guard dogs in the last novel, but are regarded as too much of a wild card in this novel to be allowed in Lowestoft.
  • Sticky Fingers - How people survive, even though it often gets them killed.
  • Storming the Castle - Ankin's volley for Hinchcliffe's land.
  • Taking You with Me: Hinchliffe tries to do this using Danny's grenade.
  • Technical Pacifist
  • Trilogy - It's the third book, following Dog Blood, so this series is known as the Hater trilogy.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Hinchcliffe, whenever he gets pissed, which doesn't take a lot.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Danny's ability to hold the Hate is all but useless now that the Unchanged are on the verge of extinction. Because of this, he worries that Hinchcliffe will decide that Danny is now useless to him and kill him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Hinchcliffe gets three. First, when a plane flies over Lowestoft, second when Ankin's army comes to town and the third when Danny grows a pair and defects to help the Unchanged escape on a boat.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React - When people try to play the blame game of who started the war, the Unchanged claim this, though it's actually Manslaughter Provocation in the eyes of the Haters, who sometimes wonder if it all was necessary in the first place.
  • War Is Glorious - Some people love it.
  • War Is Hell - Or, as Danny calls it, a "purgatory."
  • While Rome Burns - Hinchcliffe's room, where he smokes cigarettes, eats food, drinks clean water, sleeps in a cozy bed, has sex, enjoys the heat, and plays videogames on England's last working television as everyone else succumbs to the elements, gets infections, starves, gets radiation poisoning, and generally gets Driven to Suicide.


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