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Unusual Chapter Numbers

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"Chapters in books are usually given the cardinal numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and so on. But I have decided to give my chapters prime numbers 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 and so on because I like prime numbers."

Doing odd — no, peculiar things with your chapter numbers. Which can be either odd or even. Or fractional. Or even stranger things, up to and including non-numeric. Or they can be put out of order — counting down from, say, 10 to 1 is perhaps the simplest. Representing them with formulas, in binary, or in other non-standard formats works, too.

Compare Idiosyncratic Episode Naming, Episode Zero: The Beginning, and Self-Referential Track Placement. Compare and contrast Un-Installment.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: Some flashback chapters use negative chapter numbers:
    • Chapter -0.8 covers the very first meeting between Ichigo, Chad, Keigo and Mizuiro. It's told from Mizuiro's point-of-view.
    • Chapter -17 covers how Renji, Kira, Hinamori and Rukia met as Academy students and how Renji, Hinamori and Kira were put into an advanced class study group while Rukia was left behind in a lower achieving class. It also introduces Hitsugaya as a young child who refuses to consider the validity of training to become a shinigami.
    • Chapter -12.5 covers a past event where Aizen, Hinamori and Rangiku arrange a birthday surprise for Hitsugaya and reveals that Gin gave Rangiku her birth date.
    • Chapter "0 Side A" covers the days leading up to Chapter 1, focusing on Ichigo's feelings of powerlessness to help those in trouble, such as the little ghost girl.
    • Chapter "0 Side B" covers the days leading up to Chapter 1, focusing on both Rukia receiving her assignment to patrol Karakura Town and Renji receiving his new promotion to Sixth Squad Lieutenant.
    • Chapter -16 is Hitsugaya's back story, revealing how he met Rangiku and why he decided to become a shinigami. It picks up five years after the events in Chapter -17. The chapter was also written to promote the second film which is about Hitsugaya's back story.
    • Chapters -108 to -97 cover the Turn Back the Pendulum mini-arc. It covers a nine year period 110-101 years before Chapter 1 and reveals the truth behind Urahara's exile and who the Visoreds really are.
    • Imaginary Number 1 is a chapter detailing two Espada having been sent to Hell after their deaths in the Canon as an advertisement for the fourth film, which is set in Hell.
  • Recap episodes of Code Geass were numbered (number of the previous episode).5 with the next episode continuing onto the next whole number.
  • In Hyouka, an original (OVA) episode is set chronologically to be between episode 11 and 12, and therefore it is also known as episode 11.5.
  • Due to season 2 of I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying being in Anachronic Order, episodes have .5 numbers (or .8 in the case of episode 7) to represent where they are in the timeline for the first season, and two flashback episodes have negative numbers. The only exceptions are episodes 11-13, which take place after the season 1 finale and continue the numbering from where it left off.
  • Jaco the Galactic Patrolman has two numbers for each chapter in the Tankobon release, both of which count for this trope. The first is the normal number out of 10+1 (the +1 referring to the bonus chapter), so the second chapter is "2/10+1". The second number is preceded by DB and starts at -10, which reflects that Jaco is a 10 chapter prequel to Dragon Ball. The bonus chapter itself is called Dragon Ball Minus, referring to it being a prequel to both Dragon Ball AND Jaco!
  • Nana has a book of extra episodes numbered "7.8": this is both a joke on the two protagonists' names (Nana = 7 and Hachi = 8 in Japanese) and a way to say it is meant to be read after volume 7 and before volume 8, it spite of this being published some time after these.
  • Invoked in ADV Films' dub of Neon Genesis Evangelion; the tapes were referred to as "Genesis 0:1", "Genesis 0:2", etc. up to "Genesis 0:13".
  • The Saiyuki main-story series (Gensomaden, Reload, and Blast) have normally-numbered chapters organized into numbered "acts"—roughly equivalent to plot arcs. There are fractional numbered acts for omakes, and full-chapter flashbacks are listed as "act.xx".
  • School Rumble plot chapters are labeled #1, #2 and so on, but chapters about minor characters are labeled with â™­. There are also a few 'natural' chapters.
  • In Soul Eater, the three one-shot introductions for each of the three main weapon and meister pairs were, in the collected paperback, retroactively given the chapter numbers .1, .2, and .3.
  • Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan has its chapters start from 16; then 2, 5, 6, 4, 7, 8 and 9.

    Comic Books 
  • The first five issues of Fun With Milk & Cheese were numbered #1, Other #1, Third #1, Fourth #1, and "First Second Issue."
  • Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! numbered the main storyline backward because it was counting down to... Zero Hour. Various titles in The DCU had tie-in issues numbered #0, most of which incorporated flashbacks to the characters' origins and/or acted as a soft-relaunch point. For Legion of Super-Heroes and Legionnaires, their #0 issues were the starting-point for the Legion's first full-fledged Continuity Reboot. Other new series began here with issue #0, such as James Robinson's Starman.
    • Countdown to Final Crisis did the same thing, counting backwards from 52.
    • After the New 52 reboot, one special themed month had #0 issues for all DCU titles, telling stories of the characters' origins or early careers.
  • There have been a number of series that have been rebooted to #1 to take advantage of the extra sales it generates. Then when the number of issues of the new volume and previous volume will add up to a multiple of 100, the old numbering will be restored to take advantage of the milestone "anniversary". For example The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #58 was followed by The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #500. Naturally this can be very very confusing, especially when the numbering is reset multiple times in relatively short order.
  • DC One Million saw every DCU title put out an issue #1,000,000 as the far future DCU interacted with the present day.
  • Groo the Wanderer has had at least three "#1" issues (because it changed publishers, and because "#1" sells better). Original author Sergio Aragonés claimed that every issue he wrote was #1.
  • In a similar manner to DC's original "zero issues", which were Flashbacks to origin stories, Marvel had a Fifth Week Event of stories set before the characters' origins (Peter Parker as a kid; mutants before the founding of the X-Men, etc), numbered "#-1".
  • Long after both events (which it wasn't around for at the time), Booster Gold had a Zero issue (tying into Zero Hour and restating his origin) and a One Million issue (introducing Booster's 1M counterpart, Peter Platinum).
  • Given all this, it's almost not unusual that the Earth X trilogy featured the first issue as "0", the second through thirteenth as "1-12", and the last as "X". (With a number of titled but un-numbered comics in between during the runs of Universe and Paradise X.
  • In 1999, the publisher of 2000 AD decided to stop doing annuals in favour of triple-length December issues, which are cheaper and sell better. Each of these special issues has been given the number of the next year, starting with December 1999's 'prog 2000' and continuing through prog 2001 (December 2000), prog 2002 (December 2001), etc. Naturally, the number of the first issue of January directly follows that of the last issue of November, but the stories in the December issue still fall between them. This was all quietly ignored when the regular numbering reached 2000.
  • Marvel at one point had "Point One" issues: standalone stories that established the characters' status quo, published as, for example, #37.1 (between #37 and #38). Intended as a jumping on point, it might have worked better if any care had been made to ensure that #38 wouldn't be part four of a six-part story.
  • Like Zero Hour above, the miniseries Marvel: The Lost Generation has the numbering go backwards, matching the time-travelling POV character.
  • Back before it ended, the Deadpool Team Up series was numbered backwards, starting at 1000.
  • The Venom arc "The Circle of Four" got the numbers 13.1 through to 13.5, all during the same month.
  • From issues cover-dated January 1991 through issues cover-dated January 2002, the Superman titles had "triangle numbers", indicating the order they should be read in to follow the ongoing story, with the numbers resetting as the cover date switched to the next yearnote . When the "Millennium Giants" storyline (which ran from Superman: The Man of Steel #79, triangle number 1998/15, to Superman Vol 2 #135, triangle number 1998/20) crossed over into Aquaman, Challengers of the Unknown, Teen Titans and Steel, the crossover issues were given 1998 triangles reading 15.1, 15.2, 16.1 and 17.1. Averted with the non-Superman issues involved in The Death of Superman: Justice League America #69 (second issue of the "Doomsday!" arc) and Green Lantern Vol. 3 #46 (third-to-last issue of "Reign of the Supermen!"), which did not receive triangle numbers despite being key parts of the story.
  • Marvel's Original Sin tie-in minis were named like "Original Sin #X.Y" – the Y is the normal issue number in the mini, nothing to see there; however, the X was generally not the issue they came after in the Original Sin event but instead the one they came after in the series they tied into. For example, Original Sin #5.1 didn't come after Original Sin #5, but after Loki: Agent of Asgard #5.
  • The DC Rebirth line-wide relaunch in 2016 had a couple of confusing aspects to how it renumbered titles:
    • Firstly, Action Comics and Detective Comics (being DC's two biggest Long-Runners) reverted back to their original pre-New 52 numbering, adding the preceding 52 issues onto where their original volumes had left off: Detective Comics jumped from #52 to #934,note  and Action Comics jumped from #52 to #957.note 
    • Secondly, about three-quarters of the ongoing titles were relaunched with "Rebirth one-shots" – single-issue specials titled {comic title}: Rebirth – preceding the titles themselves being renumbered from #1. However, the Rebirth one-shots themselves were also numbered #1 – meaning that, for example, Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 was followed by Wonder Woman #1, and the latter also had "Rebirth" in big letters on its cover. As such it was very easy for an out-of-the-loop reader to mistake them for being the same comic, with one simply being a Variant Cover of the other. Additionally, the Rebirth one-shots began many titles' ongoing story arcs rather than acting as standalone specials, effectively making them integral parts of the series.
  • The Marvel Legacy relaunch in 2017 took what DC Rebirth had done with Action and Detective and applied it to about half their ongoing titles, with all of them going back to their original "legacy numbering". In many cases Marvel's choice of what to include in the counts was questionable: for example, their numbering for Invincible Iron Man directly contradicted the previous time its numbering had been reset to the "original" count. It was also rather annoyingly done to some series for no reason, such as Generation X (2017) jumping from #9 to #85 when it had already been cancelled behind-the-scenes and would end with #87.
    • Since the next line-wide relaunch Marvel: A Fresh Start in 2018, Marvel has made widespread use of dual numbering with both a lower official number and a higher unofficial "legacy number" on covers. This has turned out to work well as a best of both worlds.
  • The all-ages Bizarro miniseries has its issued numbered backwards on the title pages (6-1), matching the title character's "backwards" way of thinking.
  • In the 1960s, the Charlton Comics series Blue Beetle starring Dan Garrett initially ran from issues #1 to #5 before suddenly jumping up to issue #50 and continuing until #54. It had inexplicably taken over the numbering from Charlton's anthology series Unusual Tales, but in every other way went on unchanged.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 3) included what were effectively two five-part miniseries, published as issues with decimal points in the numbers. The story "Crawl" ran from issue #1.1 to #1.5, while "Spiral" ran from #16.1 to #20.1.
    • Using a similar technique, Avengers (Vol. 7) published the flashback story collected as Avengers: Four in issues #1.1 to #5.1.

  • A common trope in Troll Fics, given how their authors care little for any formality, including chapter numbers, and therefore, not only will chapter numbers be inconsistent, they might be subjected to Rouge Angles of Satin when spelled out.
    • StarKitsProphcy is more than a little careless with its chapter numbers. Whether or not numbers are being skipped or duplicated, Rouge Angles of Satin ensues.
    • MarissaTheWriter stories tend to exhibit this to some degree, but THE MARRISSA GAMES is absolutely the worst of the bunch when it comes to this; at first, it repeats chapter 2 (with its exact name, ignoring the misspelling) due to the plot twist at its end not being especially clear, then makes Marrissa lose track of the chapter numbers altogether, naming chapters "(surry I forgoat which one)" and 2 again before picking back up at 7, skipping 8 to get to 9, and labeling the final chapter as "final" without a number.
    • Supper Smash Bros: Mishonh From God ends up having two of it's Chapters labelled as the 14th. Apparently, the author gained some reviews that threatened her to not post Chapter 13, so she just said, "THEIR IS NO CHAPTAR 13!!!", and labelled the 13th chapter as "CHAP 14: THEIR IS NO CHAP 13" (despite the website still identifying it as Chapter 13 and therefore producing the oxymoron "Chapter 13: THEIR IS NO CHAP 13"), and then the next chapter was labelled Chapter 14-2.
    • Post-SCrash Session 2: The Belorussian Aliens, of the ITS MY LIFE! Expanded Universe, while being a trollfic, also tries to apply some internal logic to its chapter numbers: in Chapter 3, as a Hostile Show Takeover occurs, the fic restarts at Chapter 1. However, the next chapter after that one is not 2 but 1,5, as its events precede that of Chapter 2. After that, though, the chapters continue to be labeled with halves, concluding the fic with 3,5 (as it follows Chapter 3 plot-wise) and 4,5 (even though there is no 4).
    • Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami eventually ended up having the chapter numbers go a bit crazy. At the start of chapter 35, Dark travels back in time to events in chapter 32 to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, with the chapter title even noting that it’s essentially an alternate version of chapter 32. After this, what would be chapter 36 was labeled chapter 33, and the chapters stayed at three numbers lower for the rest of the story. The dramatic reading by manwithoutabody reflects this, with the thumbnails showing the “labelled” chapter number, while the video titles give the “actual” chapter number, with a “kinda” in brackets, so for example, what the story calls chapter 38 is given the video title “Chapter 40(kinda)”.
  • ASBusinessMagnet's fanfics, even if they are not trollfics, also tend to follow this. Usually, the theme is that they try to convey more information than if they were just numbers.
    • The Portal 2: The Stupidest Sequel of All Time series had a habit of naming its "parts" based on the first letter of the name of whoever the point-of-view character is, if multiple point-of-view characters split up. This leads to quite a few problems, including but not limited to just looking at the chapter index making you realize ASBusinessMagnet abandoned character arcs, Portal 2 Episode Two: The Stupidest Sequel of All Time Part Two continuing the numbering and introducing two letters for the purpose (as one letter was not enough to distinguish the characters), and The Inevitable Sunset restarting the numbering and ending with a "Part 4l", named not for its point-of-view character, but for its guest author (which also has its own chapters).
    • A common theme in ASBusinessMagnet's fanfics throughout 2014 and 2015 is her writing a single, longer chapter, splitting it up into roughly 1000 word chunks due to not wanting to frighten anyone with a longer chapter, and then not coming up with the names for the sub-chapters, simply numbering them. This has happened to Bright yet Dark with "Prologue" 1 to 4, Calliope and the Final Update with "Homosuck Again" 1 to 4 and Back to the Past: The Jennifer Parker Story with "Temporal Experiment" 1 to 3. Whether or not these are a single multi-part chapter or separate chapters is entirely up to debate.
    • Calliope's Update Girl series is split up into "stages" (labeled with Arabic numerals) and "loading screens" (labeled with Roman numerals), each of which typically contains 14 chapters, leading to the chapters being numbered "stage.chapter" in the official book releases, though the table of contents still features chapter numbers as they appear on the Internet.
  • The Elements of Friendship Book II: Chaoskampf. As Discord's reign progresses, the chapter listings go from Roman numerals to formulaic to something that stops even resembling numbers at all.

  • Independence Day is divided into "chapters" numbered July 2, July 3 and July 4.
  • The Naked Gun series: the second film is numbered 2 1/2 and the third is numbered 33 1/3.
  • The Star Wars films: The first entry was retroactively numbered Episode IV. Followed by Episodes V, VI, I, II, III, VII, VIII, and IX in that order.

  • The chapters of Eva are all numbered after how much time has passed since Eva awoke from her coma.
  • In Gone, the chapters come with a countdown of days, hours, minutes, and seconds to the climax of the book.
  • In Jago, the chapters within each section are numbered normally, but the "Interludes" between sections begin with "Interlude Seven" and are numbered backwards, providing an ominous countdown toward the climax of the novel. It also reflects the chronological nature of the interludes: Interlude Six is set earlier than Interlude Seven, Interlude Five earlier than Interlude Six, and so on. (And they are all set earlier than the first normal chapter.)
  • In Logan's Run, the chapter numbers go down. Since it ends with a rocket taking off, it's a countdown.
  • Similarly, the section numbers in Everything Matters count down to the destruction of life on earth. And when the main character gets the chance to relive part of his life, and the numbers start over.
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novel Titanicus, the chapter numbers are in binary.
  • In Margaret Ball's Mathemagics, the chapter numbers are mathematical formulae that can be solved for the actual number. (She lists the solutions in the back.)
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time only has prime-numbered chapters, due to the narrator disliking other numbers.
  • The chapters in Mass aren't even numbered; they’re just phrases, often ones about overthrowing the Philippine oligarchy or fomenting revolution, a central theme in the book.
  • Storm by George R. Stewart is chaptered "The First Day", "The Second Day", "The Third Day" and so on. There are no chapter numbers.
  • The Name of the Rose does the same thing, and subdivides the chapters according to the hours of the monastic day.
  • Wayside School Is Falling Down is stuck on the nineteenth story for three chapters. The following chapter is headed "20, 21 & 22: Eric, Eric and Eric", which brings the numbering sequence back on track for the subsequent chapters.
    • The previous book, "Sideways Stories from Wayside School," has no Nineteenth chapter at all (since the school isn't supposed to have a nineteenth story, either.) Instead, between chapters 18 and 20 we get a notice saying "there is no nineteenth story. Sorry."
  • The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov starts with chapter 6 of its first section, before flashing back to chapters 1-5 (i.e. the story is told out of order but the chapters are numbered in strict chronological order).
    • It also breaks all the chapters (except for the last one) in the second section of the book into three parts, numbered 1a, 1b, 1c (all of the action in these chapters are taking place at roughly the same time), 2a, and so on; the letters correspond to three different viewpoint characters.
  • The three books in Robert Anton Wilson's Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy are all Book One, and the parts of each book are all Part One.
  • In the Alcatraz Series book four, due to its offbeat style, the book starts on chapter 2, then skips to chapter 6 (mentioning how boring chapters 3-5 were), then from there it proceeds to chapter pi, then 4 1/2, then 42. Eventually you read through Act V, scene III, Chapter No!, Chapter 24601 (a reference to Les Misérables), Chapter 8675309, Chapter Infinity, and chapter infinity plus one, along with many other crazy chapter titles.
    • The titular narrator explains that this is a security precaution against Evil Librarians. Since the Evil Librarians are obsessed with order and putting everything in its place (which is why they're trying to take over the world), their heads will explode if they try to make sense of his numbering scheme.
  • The Eye of Argon includes a Chapter 3 1/2 and a Chapter 7 1/2.
    Mike: This edition seems to have omitted Chapter Pi.
  • The Running Man also does a countdown. Appropriate, since the main character has to survive for a specific time to win a prize. Actually, it's the countdown to his suicidal destruction of Games HQ by airplane collision.
  • Life in the Fat Lane's chapters are numbered according to the weight of the protagonist.
  • The Ring of Ritornel counts up to chapter 12, then starts counting down again; each chapter in the second half has a title which is a variation on the previous chapter with the same number. The final chapter in numbered x.
  • How To Eat Fried Worms has a chapter-and-a-half, and one chapter literally has only a blob of ink for a chapter name and number. (It's sometimes referred to as "Chapter Splort" in readings.)
  • The chapters in Jurassic Park (1990) are titled "First Iteration", "Second Iteration", etc., in keeping with Ian Malcolm's interest in fractals. Actual fractals (iterations of the Heighway dragon curve) are shown on the chapter pages, but the count is wrong — the "First Iteration" actually has a picture of the third iteration, and so on. (This might be because the first and second iterations don't look very interesting.) In the sequel The Lost World (1995), it becomes "First Configuration", "Second Configuration", etc.
  • Discworld:
    • Going Postal, the first non-young-adult Discworld novel since The Colour of Magic to feature chapters, has a chapter 7A instead of a chapter 8 (because the number 8 is considered unlucky on the Discworld).
    • While Thief of Time does not have chapters or chapter numbers, it does have a "tick" in the middle of each break in the text... at least until it doesn't
  • The chapters of I Am the Messenger are all playing cards, as each of its four acts begin with the main character receiving an Ace of each of the suits. And then it all goes out the window once he receives the Joker.
  • The Man Who Loved Only Numbers, a biography of Paul Erdos, starts with chapter 0, then goes up through one, two, e, three, pi and so on, before ending with an epilogue: Chapter Infinity.
  • Aside from the prologue, each chapter of A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny is titled October 1, October 2, etc., all the way to October 31, as each chronicles the events of that day.
  • Zelazny's Roadmarks, which involves time travel, begins with "Two", followed by "One" — then another "Two", another "One", and so on through the book. The chapters numbered One follow the protagonist through the story; the chapters numbered Two contain related scenes in other times and places, and are not in chronological order.
  • In Roddy Doyle's book, The Giggler Treatment, there were a few flashback chapters. The narrator apparently lost track of what chapter he was on after those and began naming chapters things like, "The Chapter After That Last One", "Chapter Mammy Doyle" and "This Chapter Is Named After Elvis Presley Because He Lives Under The Shed In Our Back Garden."
    • Not forgetting "Chapter Something"!
    • One of the few chapters that doesn't follow this format, the sixteenth chapter, is actually called "Chapter Sixteen", possibly as a gag.
  • The Captive by Scott O'Dell uses Mayan numerals for chapter numbers.
  • In Survivor (1999) by Chuck Palahniuk, the chapter numbers count down, as do the page numbers.
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels are full of this. There has been at least one instance of numbers counting down. It almost always has something to do with Time Travel.
    • The Torchwood novel The Men Who Sold The World has six Chapter Nineteens, each (except the last one) ending with Mr Wynter activating the time-gun and travelling back to the start of Chapter Nineteen. It also has flashback chapters headed "X Years/Months/Weeks Earlier..." and a prologue and epilogue headed "100,000 BC".
    • The Doctor Who Novelisations adaptation of The Day of the Doctor begins with Chapter 8, which is "The Night of the Doctor" (starring Eighth). It then opens Eleventh's part of the story with Chapter 11, goes back to the War Doctor stealing the Moment in Chapter 1, and introduces Tenth with, yes, Chapter 10. Chapters 2 to 7 then happen in that order, before the book ends with Chapter 13. (You may notice there's no Chapter 9. It's theoretically between 3 and 4, but erases the reader's memory of it.)
    • The 1996 original and 2021 revision of the TV Movie novelisation don't have chapter numbers, instead having chapter titles which taken together form the phrase "Out with the old, in with the new" and the counting rhyme "One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told".
    • While most novelisations use Arabic numerals for chapter numbers (or occasionally number words), The Romans, The Curse of Fenric, The Fires of Pompeii, and David Fisher's novelisations of The Stones of Blood and The Androids of Tara all use Roman numerals, which's justified in the case of The Romans and The Fires of Pompeii, as both are set in Roman times. On top of that, The Curse of Fenric has two chapter counts, one for the main story and one for fictional supplementary documents regarding past events.
    • The Eaters of Light is divided into Books, which use number words for numbering, with each Book being further subdivided into Chapters, which use Roman numerals, being another Roman-era story.
  • In John Varley's time travel novel Mammoth, the chapters are numbered in absolute chronological order, which is not the order the story is told in.
  • Iain M. Banks's Use of Weapons has two interleaved streams of chapters, one conventionally numbered in sequential Arabic figures for the main story set in the Present, and one counting backwards in Roman numerals working through the protagonist's backstory.
  • Tik Tok has twenty-six chapters, which don't have numbers, but each one begins with the appropriate letter of the alphabet in a very large font. (So chapter one begins "As I look..", chapter two begins "Broaching the second chapter..." and so on. The writer has to cheat a little: for example, chapter four has "Hey Dummy!" and chapter seventeen has "Q. Cue the bloody rainbow...")
  • Family Bites by Lisa Williams has "Chapter Twenty-Four - Part One" and "Chapter Twenty-Four - Part Two".
  • Imzadi, a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel by Peter David, doesn't have chapter numbers, but it has section titles such as "The End", "The Beginning of the End", "Interlude", and "The End of the Beginning". Though thematically appropriate for the sections, and entirely understandable for a time travel novel, they have nothing to do with their locations in the book.
  • Serpents Among the Ruins, a Star Trek: The Lost Era novel by David R. George III, has its chapters numbered from "Minus Ten" to "Plus One" (plus an Epilogue, for good measure). Chapter "Zero" is the main event of the plot.
  • In the Greek version of The Bible, the Septuagint, the Book of Esther has additions not found in the Hebrew versions. They were numbered to come after the rest of the book, but later re-inserted into more appropriate places. Consequently, the chapter numbers are out of order, and the book actually begins with Chapter 11.
  • Alain Damasio's La Horde du contre-vent has reverse numbered pages. It can be startling if you only notice it halfway through the book.
  • Georges Perec's La disparition (translated into English as A Void) is a lipogram - the letter E never appears in the text. It's 26 chapters long, but chapter 5 is missing.
  • Atlanta Nights has two chapters called Chapter 12 and no chapter 21. There's no real reason behind it, other than adding to the overall lack of professionalism in the booknote .
  • The Thursday Next books begin every chapter on a right-hand page. If the previous chapter ends on a right-hand page, the intervening left-hand page is blank. There is no Chapter 13, although one is listed in the contents — with the page number of the blank page before Chapter 14.
  • The book The Dancing Wu Li Masters (Think Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) numbered each chapter "Chapter One," with a different title under each one. The philosophy behind this is eventually explained in the book.
  • Looking for Alaska is separated into two sections, Before and After. Each section is divided into days (like 10 days before or 75 days after), with Before counting up to Alaska's death and After wrapping everything up.
  • A few Captain Underpants books have chapters numbered X 1/2, and one even has one with a 3/4.
  • The Otto Undercover series by Rhea Perlman does this a lot. For example, in the first book, the table of contents lists "Chapter Minus 1", "Chapter 0", "Chapter Regular 1", "Too Many Chapters", and "The End". The actual names of the chapters in the book are "Chapter Minus 1", "Chapter 0", "Chapter Regular 1", "Chapter 2", "Chapter 2½", "Chapter 3", "Chapter 4", "Rude Interruption of the Story, Number One", "Chapter 4 Again", "Rude Interruption of the Story, Number Two", and so on...
  • The Spanish novel La tournée de Dios, much like the example of The Gods Themselves, has the story told out of order but the chapters numbered in strict chronological order. The author lampshades this in the prologue proposing options to the reader including cutting all pages then putting them in order or directly throwing the book out of the window without reading it (although he doesn't believe the last option to be the best)
  • Brazilian novel A Lua Vem da Ásia has: "Chapter First" - "Chapter 18th" - "Chapter Twelve" - "(No chapter)" - "Chapter without Sex" - "Chapter 99" - "Chapter Twenty" - "Chapter I (again)" - "Chapter " - "Chapter CLXXXIV".
  • In William Alexander's Goblin Secrets, the chapters are listed as Act and Scene numbers, like a play's.
  • In RJ Anderson's Ultraviolet, it starts with zero, and ends with infinity, and includes not only the number but a parenthetical comment about how the number appears to the synesthete heroine.
  • If You're Reading This, it's Too Late from the Secret Series has the chapters in reverse order (starting with Chapter 34 and ending with Chapter 1) because the author hopes the book (and the secrets contained within) will explode like the countdown timer on a bomb. In This Isn't What It Looks Like there are normal chapters, but also negative chapters for the main protagonist, Cass, and what she's doing in the past.
  • In Shiver the chapters come with the current temperature of area.
  • Jacek Dukaj's novel Inne pieśni, set in a world where Greek culture is dominant, has its chapters numbered with consecutive Greek letters.
  • David Levithan's Every Day begins on Day 5994 of A's life, followed by Day 5995, Day 5996, and so on.
    • The prequel Six Earlier Days throws sequence out the window and has each chapter named after earlier, unconnected days in A's life.
  • The nonfiction book 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10, focusing on a historical program in the BASIC programming language, has its chapters numbered by multiples of 5 because that's how you'd usually number lines in a BASIC program (to be able to easily insert new lines in-between when necessary.)
  • Whateley Universe: The first four Tennyo stories have their parts numbered in Roman Numberals. They are, in order:
  • All the Light We Cannot See starts with a Chapter 0.

    Live Action TV 
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 began as a local TV show (on Minneapolis station KTMA), then became a 10-year national series on The Comedy Channel (later Comedy Central) and then the Sci-Fi Channel. Since all of its cable-era marketing treated the first national season as Season 1, fans and show archivists retroactively "numbered" the KTMA episodes "K01" through "K21", with an unaired pilot-show fragment numbered "K00". Confusingly, IMDb originally called the KTMA shows "Season 0", but has now renumbered them all to Seasons 1-11, breaking with all other information sources (but oddly keeping the "0" number for the "pilot").
  • QI labels its seasons not with numbers but with letters, with series 1 being called "Series A", series 2 being "Series B" and so on.

  • Professor Peter Schickele (University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople) is the world expert on the music of P.D.Q. Bach - the last and certainly least of Johann Sebastian Bach's sons. He has assigned Schickele numbers (S) to PDQ Bach's works.
    • The 1712 Overture is S. 1712.
    • The Classical Rap is S. 1-2-3
    • Einstein on the Fritz is S. e=mc2
    • The Erotica Variations is S. 36EEE
    • Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice (an opera in one un-natural act) is S.2n-1 (odd!)
    • The 'Howdy' Symphony is S. 6 7/8
    • The oratorio The Seasonings is S. 1/2 tsp
  • Stan Freberg's "Wun'erful, Wun'erful!" originally spanned two sides of a 45 RPM record, labeled "Side Uh-One" and "Side Uh-Two."
  • The Karn Evil 9 Suite was originally four tracks — called First Impression (Part One) (which ended Side 1 of the album), First Impression (Part Two), Second Impression, and Third Impression. At least one compilation album has featured a track which was supposed to be Second Impression but was actually First Impression (Part Two).

    Tabletop Games 
  • The version of Free Cell that comes with Windows has either 32,000 (pre-XP) or one million games, which are given positive numbers starting from 1. However, there are also secret deals -1 and -2, which are impossible. Vista added deals -3 and -4, which are quite the opposite.
  • The Normality game master's guide, which only manages to be a little less weird and disturbing than the other book. And that's very, very weird and disturbing. Part Juan, Past Dues, Parrot Tree, Parched Fief, Park Sex.
  • The original Malkavian clanbook in Vampire: The Masquerade. So much so it calls the Appendixes "Liver One" and "Kidney Two".

    Video Games 
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine has a variation on this: rather than the chapter numbers being odd, it's the studio's floor numbers. The floors accessible from the elevator are, from top to bottom, "K", "11", "P", "9", "14", and "S".
  • Braid began with World 2 and works it way to World 6, with World 1 being the last world you visit. It could be symbolic of the fact that in the final level, time flows backwards. Similarly, the stages in World 1 count down from 4 to 1, probably for the same reason. Of note is that the game is a metaphor for the invention of the atom bomb, so it's a countdown.)
  • When Caladrius received Updated Re-Releases with new stages, the new stages were given non-standard numbering and naming so as not to force re-numbering of the existing stages.
    • Caladrius AC adds a new stage between Stages 2 and 3, called Mission 1, and another one between Stages 4 and 5, called Mission 2.
    • Caladrius Blaze adds the External Stage between Stages 3 and 4.
  • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood has a Stage 0 as a prologue, eight regular stages and four hidden stages. The hidden stages, since they're accessible by taking alternate routes, are numbered like the regular stages, but with a prime mark next to the number (e.g. Stage 2′ 3′).
  • Cho Ren Sha 68k's seventh and final stage of a given loop is numbered Stage 0. What's more, it's considered part of the next loop for numbering purposes, so Stage 0 on the first loop for example is numbered "2-0", however it's still internally part of the same loop as the previous stage since it doesn't introduce revenge bullets just yet (or new types of revenge bullets, if you're on any loop higher than the first). This may be because the explosion that happens at the end of this stage is seen in Stage 1 and a full playthrough comprises two loopsnote .
  • In Evil Zone, the Japanese chapter titles for most characters' stories are conventionally enumerated in kanji, though some of them replace the 話 (chapter) counter with another kanji: Setsuna's story uses 幕 (act) and Tenpouin's story uses 夜 (night). Midori's story uses "Round 1," "Round 2," etc.; Erika's uses "Episode 1" through "Episode 10"; and the Gratuitous English-loving Gally gets "1st Stage," "2nd Stage," and so on in romaji.
  • The chapters of Book VII of Fire Emblem Heroes are numbered out of order, due to the arc's emphasis on time travel. The chapter order is as follows: 13, 5-8, 2-4, 9-12, 1.
  • * Garten of Banban skips from IV to VI, then V comes afterward.
  • The arcade game Kamen Rider Battle Ganbaride used straight numbers for its first several sets. When Kamen Rider OOO premiered, the sets were relaunched with set 001, when Kamen Rider Fourze premiered it was relaunched again with set 01, and Kamen Rider Wizard led to sets starting with "Shabadoobie". The same thing happens with Super Sentai Battle Dice O, where the early sets just had numbers, the Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger sets used "DX-{number)", the Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters sets used "Tokumei-(number)", and the Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger sets use "Gaburincho-(number)" (or "GB-(number)" for short).
  • Marathon has Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal, and Marathon Infinity note . As a continuation of this, the updated fan-supported source port version is called "Aleph One" note .
  • Minecraft Alpha and Beta releases had version numbers in the format of 1._____, eventually culminating in 1.9 prerelease 5. The "final" version of Minecraft is simply numbered version 1.0.0.
  • The New Super Mario Bros. games as well as Super Mario 3D Land and 3D World use symbols as numbers for special/final levels, such as World 2-🏰 or World 5-🚂 (and sometimes more abstract ones like 🍄, ⭐ or 👑). Sometimes entire worlds are numbered like this, which may lead to Department of Redundancy Departments such as World 🏰-🏰.
  • The stages in Radiant Silvergun are numbered not by the order the player goes through them, but by the time period they take place. The game begins on Stage 3, and then progresses to Stage 2 (mandatory in console-exclusive modes and optional in arcade modes, where you can go to Stage 4 instead) for a flashback episode. The final stage, which is set millions of years in the past, is Stage 1.
  • In Raiden Fighters Jet, all Simulation Levels after 1 are in multiples of 5. Furthermore, the number doesn't necessarily indicate the order in which you'll do the stage, as there are branching paths and some levels are only done on specific paths, and in one instance you will go back in number (specifically, failing to put in a sufficiently good performance on Simulation Level 40 will take you to 35, one of the two early-ending stages).
  • Touhou Project uses decimals for in-between installments. 7.5, 10.5, 12.3, 13.5, and 14.5 were fighting games, 9.5 and 12.5 were unique photographing games, 12.8 was a Lower-Deck Episode with Cirno as the main character, and 14.3 was a sequel to 14 with Seija Kijin as the main character. (Yes, there were 3 games between 12 and 13. No, they aren't examples of Capcom Sequel Stagnation.)
  • The story of The World Ends with You is played by week. During the first week, each day starts with a "THE XTH DAY" screen and ends with a "CHAPTER TITLE" screen. The second week starts over, so your eighth day is again "THE 1ST DAY", ninth is "THE 2ND DAY" and so on. The first day of the third week, however, is "7 DAYS LEFT", Week 3 Day 2 is "6 DAYS LEFT", and Day 7 is "THE LAST DAY". The unlockable bonus chapter is "ANOTHER DAY".

  • Adventurers! had hundreds of strips numbered 999 during the final boss battle arc, as a joke on Caps in RPGs.
  • The two prequel books for The Order of the Stick are numbered volume 0 and volume -1. A book of side stories is volume ½, while a compilation of Loose Canon stories is volume D.
  • Homestuck
    • It was originally intended to have 7 acts. As time went on, however, more plot threads and characters were introduced, requiring more acts. Hence, we have, in order, Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Intermission 1, Act 4, Act 5 Act 1, Act 5 Act 2, Intermission 2, Act 6 Act 1, Act 6 Intermission 1, Act 6 Act 2, Act 6 Intermission 2, Act 6 Act 3, Act 6 Intermission 3, Act 6 Act 4, Act 6 Intermission 4, Act 6 Act 5 Act 1, Act 6 Act 5 Act 2, Act 6 Intermission 5 (including its own Intermissions 1 to 6 and an "Interfishin'"), Act 6 Act 6 Act 1, Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 1, Act 6 Act 6 Act 2, Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 2, Act 6 Act 6 Act 3, Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3, Act 6 Act 6 Act 4, Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 4, Act 6 Act 6 Act 5, Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Act 6 Act 6 Act 6, and finally Act 7.
    • It went BACKWARDS from Act 6 Act 5 Act 2 to Act 6 Act 5 Act 1.
      Caliborn: GO BACK.
      Hussie: No.
      Caliborn: I MEAN BACKFORWARD.
      Hussie: No.
      Hussie: No.
      • And this leads to the Act 6 Act 5 Act 1 x2 Combo.
    • It is lampshaded by Caliborn once more:
    • As well as that, the acts are badly proportioned, as can be seen on this site.
  • Decrypting Rita's chapters start out normal at first but soon become Roman numerals before jumping around. Two are even repeated because their earlier instances have been corrupted, thus obscuring some of the more surprising plot developments in the story. It finally ends on Chapter Aleph, as in the cardinality of infinite sets.
  • Sonichu does this both with Episode numbers and Issue numbers.
    • In the first four issues, 0 through 3, each had a Sub-Episode at the end after all the regular Episodes, and then in Issue 4 it's nothing but Sub-Episodes, including reprints of the first four.
    • After that, Issue 6 had 12.5. If that weren't odd enough, both 12 and 13 were in Issue 5.
    • A Sonichu Christmas has no number, but is widely regarded as Episode 22 due to the fact that it's between Episodes 21 and 23.
    • Episode 24 is split into two parts. Episode 24, Part 1 is exactly where you'd expect it to be. Episode 24, Part 2 is after Episode 26. Episode 24, Part 2 is also the last Episode that is labelled by number. Fittingly, it's also right before the Issue that introduces this trope to the Issue numbers.
    • The Issues so far, both completed and planned, are numbered 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 12-9, 13, 14, 15, 16.
    • To make matters more confusing, Issue 13 used to be Issue 16, the current Issue 14 was started over two years after what are now Issues 15 and 16, Issue 15... okay it was always Issue 15, and Issue 16's plot used to belong to the now-seemingly-abandoned former Issue 14.
  • cool and new web comic, being based on Homestuck, has a similar Act structure to the Homestuck example listed above, with its own cool and new twist.
  • In Mob Psycho 100, the 10 chapters leading up to #100 were labeled in decimals of 99.
  • Sleepless Domain: The chapter immediately following Chapter 18, in which the Purple One shows Tessa her Dream, is ominously numbered Chapter ???, and unlike most other chapters, has no title and no cover page.

    Web Original 
  • "A Beginner's Guide To The British" has Part One, Part Two, Part Four three (oops), Part Four, and Part Four five.
  • The Nostalgia Critic, in his Top 11 Mind*** Countdown, used entries such as "Number Guttenburg" "Number Lamp" and "Number Number" (depicted by a # sign).
  • The Book of Sand puzzle does this with PAGE numbers. The page numbers are 999, 1001, 40514, 82499, 71077345, 3141592654, 11111000101, and 23^9. Worse yet, they don't take place in order. Rather, the reader has to put them in order based on context of the story.
  • The #Pirulla "series" of Canal do Pirulla on Youtube. Usually averted, but played straight when he happens to post a addendum or multiple-part video. Then the video receives either a repeated numbering (when it's an addendum) or a decimal point numbering – like in X.1, X.2, X.3, and so on – (when it's a multiple-part video), which obviously also results in out-of-order numbering.

    Western Animation 
  • From the third season of ReBoot on, where the show kicked off a full Myth Arc, episodes were numbered like versions of software in the formula vX.Y.Z where X is the season, Y is which Story Arc of the season, and Z is which episode of the Story Arc.

    Non Fiction  
  • One should not be surprised to open up a programming language reference book and see that the chapter numbers start at zero. If the author of the book has done this, the language will almost certainly use zero as the index of the first item in an array. Probably the languages to get this treatment the most are C and C++. Some math books also do this.
  • John Conway's On Numbers and Games not only starts at chapter zero, it's also divided into a "zeroth part" and a "first part."
  • The INTERCAL reference manual has a tonsil instead of an appendix.
    "Since all other reference manuals have Appendices, it was decided that the INTERCAL manual should contain some other type of removable organ."
  • Similarly, one strategy guide for the computer game Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time includes spleens instead of appendices, and they're scattered throughout the book rather than all placed at the end. Most of these are just quotes from various Monty Python sketches that are vaguely relevant to that part of the game.
  • When Donald Knuth declared METAFONT and TeX feature-complete in 1990 he also announced that both programs would receive idiosyncratic version numbers: the release versions of his font-design program METAFONT would be 2.7, 2.71, 2.718, etc, asymptotically leading to the constant "e"; similarly, the release versions of his typesetting program TeX would be 3.1, 3.14, and so on, converging to "pi". Knuth also stated that when he dies the version numbers will be changed to e and pi respectively, and any further bugs will thereby be considered features.
  • Jewish religious texts, such as the Talmud, generally begin with page 2a, and the other side 2b. The third page is then 3a, the fourth 3b, etc.
  • Matt Parker's book Humble Pi, about mathematical mistakes, starts with the dedication on page 314, and counts down from there. As the book has somewhat more pages than 314, this leads to a gag where an overflow error occurs and page 0 is followed by page 4,294,967,295 (one less than 2 to the power of 32). Additionally, the index gives fractional page numbers, indicating precisely how far up a given topic is on the relevant page. Finally, both this and his previous book, Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension, begin with Chapter 0 as the introduction, while Humble Pi also has a Chapter 9.49 (about small fractions).

Alternative Title(s): Idiosyncratic Episode Numbering