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Oh Crap / Literature

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Oh, Crap! in Literature.

  • In 1984, this is pretty much how Winston and Julia react when the telescreen that was concealed in the hiding place that Mr. Charrington was renting them the whole time makes itself known — moments before the Thought Police show up and arrest them both.
  • Angela Nicely: In “Starstruck!”, when Angela sneaks into the boy band’s dressing room, she immediately realises that she’d be in trouble if they saw her.
  • In Animorphs, the final book has two great ones in a scene. The first is Visser One, when he realizes he's lost. He doesn't say anything, he just slumps, and for the first time in the series, isn't angry. The second is Tom, when he realizes that Jake is alive.
    • Probably The One, upon hearing: "Ram the Blade Ship".
  • Artemis Fowl:
    • The Arctic Incident: Foaly is examining a fingerprint discovered at the goblins's shuttle and cross-references it to find who's been working with them. When Cudgeon steps into his lab, Foaly takes the time to mock him for his actions that got him demoted... until Cudgeon asks him to sign a order for shuttle parts, at which point Foaly's expression switches to horror as his computer identifies the goblins' conspirator.
    • The Opal Deception: Opal's master plan, like many, involves a massive bomb. Suddenly, her thugs notice the bomb has gone missing, and receives a taunt from the heroes, who have just snuck into, and out of, her shuttle. However, she still has the detonator and the opposing shuttle is in the right place, so she presses it. Only then does she realize they didn't steal the bomb, just hid it.
  • Happens with varying degrees of comedy and drama in the Aunt Dimity series. Notable examples include:
    • In Aunt Dimity Detective, when Lori learns the police have Kit pegged as a likely suspect in Prunella Hooper's murder and are questioning him about it. Gossip ceases to be a jolly pastime when it might land a good friend in jail.
    • Likely the biggest one to date is the moment at the end of Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea when Lori returns to her suite in Dundrillin Castle after she and Damian Hunter get the relatively innocuous explanation of the island's prosperity from Sir Percy and the island's elders. She sees the mirror door to the emergency stairs standing open (sans alarm) with Reginald and a toy soldier on the floor near the doorway. Then she comes into the room, sees the footprints in the dust and hears her son Will cry out "Mummy!" Realizing the crazy stalker has her sons, she follows him down the stairs and out into a Force 9 gale.
    • Played for Laughs in Aunt Dimity Down Under when Lori experiences her first earthquake while she and Cameron are visiting an art gallery in search of Bree Pym. At first, she doesn't understand what's happening, then after she's told, she can't understand why the locals are so calm as they wait it out under the furniture.
    • Played for Laughs when Kit extracts his condition from Lori in Aunt Dimity: Vampire Hunter: Lori must promise to take riding lessons despite being afraid of horses.
  • Bas-Lag Cycle:
    • In Perdido Street Station, the managers of Cadnebar's, an illegal gladitorial arena, play up the drama for the crowds by deliberately setting up Oh, Crap! moments for naive yokels, who sign up for what they expect will be an easy two-against-one fight. Too bad they don't know it's two of them against one weaponized killer Remade or professional cactus-man mercenary until their opponent steps onto the field....
    • Also, Simon/Silas gets a doozy of an Oh, Crap! in The Scar, when he realizes he'd neglected to mention the hundreds of little tugboats that used to drag the floating city of Armada in his report, meaning the Crobuzoner navy's about to get its ass handed to it by a mass kamikaze assault of unmanned floating bombs.
  • In Battle Royale:
    • When Sho Tsukioka realizes that Kazuo tricked him into lingering in a forbidden zone, resulting in his collar detonating.
    • When Shuya, Shogo, and Noriko find out that Hiroki is dead and thus they've inadvertently led Kazuo to their campsite.
  • In David Eddings' Enchanter's End Game (5th book of The Belgariad), one can easily imagine Zedar's face when Belgarath re-enters the room after Zedar kills Durnik in Torak's tower, performing the one act that left him with no chance of redemption and a one way ticket to And I Must Scream territory, being buried in the earth alive.
    • Earlier in Magician's Gambit Ctuchik, in a moment of desperation, tried to use sorcery to destroy the Orb with the command "Be not!" His terror caused him to forget that was one thing the universe itself would not allow, and he had a single moment to remember before he was not.
  • In Lawrence Block's Burglars Can't Be Choosers Bernie Rhodenbarr, while hiding from the police in an (absent) acquaintance's hovel of an apartment, introduces himself to the woman who came to water the plants as Roger Armitage from South Dakota. After an extended conversation:
    Ellie: Which should I call you, Bernie or Bernard?
    Bernie: Whichever you like.
    Ellie: I think I'll call you Bernie.
    Bernie: Most people do. Oh, sweet suffering Jesus.
    Ellie: It's all right, Bernie.
    Bernie: God in Heaven.
  • Brian's Saga: Hatchet: Brian realizes that rescue is unlikely because the pilot jerked the plane off course during his heart attack, putting the crash hundreds of miles away from the original flight plan and any subsequent search attempts.
  • In one of Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber series, a traveler encounters a demon guarding a bridge. The demon draws a (literal) line in the sand, and makes a Badass Boast about the consequence of crossing it. The traveler points out that there is one specific kind of being who could easily defeat the demon. The demon admits this is true, but thinks the encounter highly unlikely. The traveler then steps across the line...
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: At the end of The Last Battle, the Calomene Warlord Rishda gets a huge one when he discovers that the demon Tash is very real and very angry with him.
  • Codex Alera:
    • This is usually caused by an enormous army appearing out of nowhere. The Vord in particular are so good at causing this that even a fairly small group turned large portions of the second book into a string of such moments as Bernard and company fall into trap after trap.
    • Captain's Fury: Smug Snake Senator Arnos has a spectacular one when Tavi, who he has been trying to undermine all book, returns to the First Aleran and announces his true identity before challenging him to the juris macto.
  • The Culture: There's a great one in Excession when the ship that's been following the Sleeper Service realizes that it's converted all its internal volume into engines.
    The Yawning Angel: Two hundred and thirty-two thousand times the speed of light. Dear holy fucking shit.
  • The Dark Tower:
    • In the final novel, The Dark Tower, Walter (a.k.a. the Man in Black) has one when he realizes his thought cap was NOT preventing Mordred from reading his thoughts.
    • Also in The Dark Tower, Mordred has one when he realizes he ate very rotten horse meat which is sickening him and might eventually kill him.
  • The protagonist of Iain Banks's Dead Air spends the end of Chapter Nine leaving a drunken and horny voice mail for the wife of a crime boss. Chapter Ten consists of precisely two words: Oh shit.
  • Midas from Delirium also has one after a family memeber of Pablo Escobar's (yes, the drug dealer) tells him the plan that Escobar laid for negating her to enter to his gym.
  • Discworld:
    • In Guards! Guards!, the first victim of the dragon gets this as a death scene: "He said 'Oh shi--' and died."
    • This being Discworld, he got a chance to finish it, as his ride to the afterlife shows up. "—t."
    • Later in the series, Greebo the cat invokes an identical half-line of dialogue — the latter when he finishes becoming human, the former when he starts reverting to a cat — when he suffers an involuntary shapechange.
    • "OHSHITOHSHITOHSHIT I'M GONNA DIE!" is practically Rincewind's catchphrase.
      • To the point that when Butterfly asks him to say "something in wizard language", his first response is "Stercus, stercus, stercus, morituri sum."
    • Trev Likely has an internal-monologue Oh, Crap! moment in Unseen Academicals, when he realizes that the wizard who's supposed to use magic to prevent any cheating on the soccer field has just blocked all magic, including his own, from operating there for the duration of the game.
    • It is frequent to hear OH SHIT whenever anyone realizes they've just said Monkey around the Librarian.
    • From Small Gods:
      "Those watching said, later, that when Vorbis looked up, his expression just had time to change before two pounds of tortoise, traveling at 20 meters per second, hit him directly between the eyes. It was a revelation."
    • Likely the response of New!Death to this:
      But Bill Door was already rising and unfolding like the wrath of kings. He reached behind him, growling, living on loaned time, and his hands closed around the harvest scythe. The crowned Death saw it coming and raised its own weapon but there was very possibly nothing in the world that would stop the worn blade as it snarled through the air, rage and vengeance giving it an edge beyond any definition of sharpness. It passed through the metal without slowing.
    • In Monstrous Regiment, the escaping soldier holding Lt. Blouse hostage has one of these when he learns he is facing the legendary Sergeant Jackrum.
    • In Thief of Time, an arrogant Monk challenges a meek old sweeper for entering forbidden territory, then has one of these moments upon being reminded of Rule One.
    • In Going Postal, Moist has a moment of this after seeing the Ankh-Morpork Times political cartoonist has used his (Moist's) invention of postage stamps to make a joke about "licking Veternari's backside".
  • Dora Wilk Series: Roman's expression when he realizes that he's staring at a Tomb of Anna Batory, a form of punishment designed to invoke Fate Worse than Death, and that someone's escaped it, screams this.
  • Dragonlance: Raistlin Majere, upon seeing Tasslehoff (who, as a kender, can screw up the timestream) in the past, reflects on what this means for his plan to ascend to godhood. Precisely three thoughts later, the reflection is "I might die!"
  • Done at least once per book in The Dresden Files. Almost each instance requires multiple books of Infodump and backstory, plus a few Noodle Incidents thrown in for flavor, to really understand the full power and scope of exactly how screwed Harry is, though.
    • In Small Favor Nicodemus gets one when Harry starts strangling him with the Iscariot's Noose (the Noose will protect its wearer from anything except itself) and he realizes that he might actually die.
    • In Turn Coat, Harry manages to induce this in his mentor after casually mentioning that there are more parties about to show up. Only the mentor realizes what Harry's plan really is. McCoy takes it fairly well, all things considered.
      Harry: [grinning like a maniac] Wile E. Coyote. Suuuuuper genius.
    • Changes:
      • The thing that lets Harry know just how bad things are is when he talks to Mac, the usually monosyllabic bartender, at the beginning of the book. Harry's reaction to Mac speaking for a good paragraph is this:
        I looked at him, shocked. He'd used... grammar.
      • Changes also gets a good one in early, as a Red Court Vampire who's part of a hit crew runs into Harry... and runs screaming in the other direction.
    • Battle Ground: Rudolph has an understanably panicked reaction when he realizes that he's just killed Murphy and that Harry is getting ready to rip him in half in retaliation.
  • The Robert E. Howard short story "The Extermination of Yellow Donory" is a series of Oh, Crap! moments. The titular character, sick of being pushed around for being a coward, decides to commit "suicide by gunslinger" by seeking out and loudly berating a well-known, greatly feared gunslick. However, his plans go awry; the gunslinger's utterly spooked by this apparition, and thinks it's some sort of a trap for him, so he runs out of the tavern and high-tails it out of town... and "Yellow" Donory looks around to find that now everybody in that tavern is scared of him.
  • In the book Fool, whenever the fool's plans are derailed (about once a chapter, till in the end when his whole plan pays off. IN SPADES!) or on the last page when the witches show up to claim their price, which turns out to be Spain, his automatic response is a simple "Fuckstockings."
  • The Famous Five: There are many such moments, usually when the Five are cornered by the villains. One of the most long-drawn out moments is in Five go to Demon's Rocks, when the Five are locked in a lighthouse, realising that they will run out of food, there is no telephone, shouting would never be heard; and that even though the villagers have seen them coming and going, if they suddenly stop appearing, the villagers would assume they had gone home because of the bad weather. Their only small comfort is that they had promised to send a postcard to Aunt Fanny every day, who would worry if she did not hear from them.
  • Fortunes of War: In Battlestations!, the lead character and her friends use the immensely powerful tractor beam of their vessel to try to keep Enterprise from leaving the system they're in, as it's been commandeered by the book's antagonists. They end up actually bending one of Enterprise's nacelle struts, leaving Piper quaking in her boots at the thought of what Mr. Scott would say to her about it. Sure enough, at the very end of the book...
    Mr. Scott: Lassie, I'd like a worrrd wi'ye…
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series:
    • "The Mule": During the crisis with The Mule, the Foundation leadership awaits their anniversary of colonizing Terminus, when a recorded message from Hari Seldon will appear. They expect him to tell them how to defeat the Mule, but when the day arrives, the message is actually about a civil war within the Foundation which didn't occur because of the threat of The Mule. Seldon is cut off mid-message as the Mule's attack on Terminus begins.
    • "Search by the Mule": When the Mule realizes what the plan of the Second Foundation is, and how he has been duped, he despairs for a brief moment. This reaction was Invoked by the First Speaker, and during that emotional fraction of a second he went into the Mule's mind and destroyed his hostility towards the Second Foundation and ambition to conquer the galaxy, as well as erasing all memory of the encounter.
  • The climax of Good Omens. "For the second time in 6,000 years, Aziraphale swore."
  • In The Gospel of Loki, these are actually the title character's last words. To be honest, most of his life is one long Oh, Crap! moment, but this exemplifies it.
  • Go to Sleep (A Jeff the Killer Rewrite): Randy sickly enjoys his abuse of Jeff, but his twisted expression is replaced with shock once he feels his match slip from his fingers above Jeff, who's covered in flammable liquids. He screeches "FUCK!" as realisation hits him hard, and soon all three bullies have Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises of horror as Jeff becomes a Man on Fire.
    Troy: Randy! What did you fucking do!
    Randy: I- I don't know! Holy shit!
  • Harry Potter:
    • Dumbledore, the most powerful wizard on the planet, causes this reaction when Fudge comes to arrest him in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
      Dumbledore: Well, it's just that you seem to be labouring under the delusion that I am going to ... what is the phrase? ... "come quietly".
    • Bellatrix, described continuously as extremely evil and sadistic and seemingly not afraid of anything, has this reaction when Harry reveals to her that the prophecy Voldemort sent her to retrieve has been destroyed.
    • All the Death Eaters except Bellatrix have this reaction when Dumbledore joins the fight at the Ministry of Magic.
    • Fudge gets one at the climax of Order of the Phoenix when he appears in the Ministry just in time to see Voldemort make his exit, finally getting irrefutable proof that Dumbledore was right all along.
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this is pretty much Bellatrix's reaction when Molly of all people kills her. This was also what most fans said when they read the rather memorable Pre Ass Kicking One Liner, accompanied by giggles.
    • Harry's reaction in Deathly Hallows, when he looks at Snape's memories. He's just been overwhelmed by images of his mother, revelation's of Snape's character, guilt that he left him to die, not knowing the truth, and now - Harry has to die, leaving everyone behind, hoping someone will finish Voldemort off.
    • Also Voldemort's reaction after Neville kills Nagini. And before that, he has an epic Freak Out when he learns that Harry and his friends have broken into Gringotts and stolen the Soul Jar he hid there, as it means that they've figured out his biggest secret.
  • Heimskringla: The citizens of York have already negotiated their surrender to King Harald Hardrada of Norway and his invasion force when King Harold Godwinson unexpectedly arrives at York with the English main army, unnoticed by the Norwegians. The next day, when Harald advances towards York to take possession of the city, he leaves one third of his army to guard the ships; also, as the weather is hot and they do not expect a fight, they all leave their mailshirts in camp. Near York, they get aware that an army is moving towards them. Harald orders his army to stop, and after watching a short time in the faint hope that the other army could be English insurgents who want to join them, Harald himself announces that they have been surprised by the English main army.
    [T]he troop turned out to be larger the closer it got, and to look at it all seemed just like a heap of bits of ice with the glittering of their weapons. King Haraldr Sigurðarson spoke then: "Let us now take up some good and sensible plan, for there is no denying that [this army] is hostile, and it must be the king himself."
  • Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus has one for Alcyoneus after Frank and Hazel drag him into Canada. Also, Polybotes when he realizes that Percy’s got a god on his side.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: In the immortal words of a bowl of petunias:
    Oh no, not again.
  • The Honor Harrington series has numerous examples, often when some new wrinkle in technology is unleashed.
    • The very first book, On Basilisk Station, has a very strongly implied one on the part of the RMN's Home Fleet, after Honor signalled "Case Zulu". In RMN communications practice, Case Zulu always is taken to mean Invasion Imminent.
    • Pavel Young has a rather impressive one in Field of Dishonor when he watches Honor utterly annihilate the professional duelist he'd hired to kill her, followed by Honor's declaration on live HD that he was next.
    • In Flag in Exile:
      • When the Havenite fleet attacks Yeltsin, composed mostly of battleships, they notice that the Grayson battlecruisers have just assumed a formation that is insane for battlecruisers... but ideal for superdreadnoughts.
      • The probable reaction of the Havenite task force unlucky enough to be in the way of the Grayson Space Navy after Honor was apparently executed, as Fleet Admiral Judah Yanakov was a bit displeased by this turn of events. As was every soldier under his command. His order? "Lady Harrington, and no mercy!"
      • Yanakov's order of "no mercy" also inspired an Oh Crap from Admiral White Haven as well, especially once the crippled Havenite ships began to launch escape pods, because he thought he was about to witness a massive war crime, until he realized that the order was No Mercy,note  as opposed to No Quarter.note 
    • In At All Costs:
      • One for Recurring character Genevieve Chin, who survived all the way to the final battle. Her enemies fire multiple-stage missiles that proceed under power for some time, coast ballistically through space for a long time, then fire the second stage and do attack runs. Her initial skepticism — that these missiles would be easily stopped because the range would prevent their parent ships from relaying targeting data — was quickly overruled when she remembered that her opponents had recently unveiled a new technology allowing them to control the missiles in real-time from virtually any range. Unfortunately, she was two minutes too late, and Chin and her entire fleet were wiped out in what was probably the biggest massacre of the series up until that point.
      • The opening of that battle also contained an Oh Crap moment for Honor herself as she realizes that her home is being invaded by a fleet that is numerically larger than any fleet fielded in recorded history.
    • In Mission of Honor:
      • The reaction of the leading bureaucrats of the Solarian League when they are told that Admiral Sigbee surrendered her data cores to Mike Henke intact.
      • The SLN task force under Admiral Sandra Crandall getting a taste of Manticoran missile spam, as well as the Manticorans reacting to Operation Oyster Bay.
      • There's an interesting mix of Oh, Crap! and lack of Oh, Crap! moments as the conflict between Manticore and the Solarian League builds: various Solarian commanders have Oh Crap moments as they find themselves on the wrong end of increasingly lopsided battles (a group of cruisers and destroyers defeat seven battlecruisers, six battlecruisers defeat seventeen battlecruisers, twelve heavy cruisers defeat 71 superdreadnaughts), but the Solarian high command remains assured that once they concentrate a sufficient force, Manticore will be crushed like a bug.
    • In A Rising Thunder:
      • This is the near-verbatim response of the Big Bad in charge of the Mesan Alignment note  on learning that Manticore-Haven diplomatic relations have surpassed Mesa's worst-case scenario. As in, they're military allies. And it goes From Bad to Worse: the secrets of Mesa's ultra-fast streak drive and ultra-stealthy spider drive? Blown. The secret of Mesa's viral-nanotech assassination technique? Blown. The secret ultimate identity and strategic goal of the Mesan Alignment? Blown. And it only gets better from there...
      • One on the part of Admiral Filareta, who is up until that point convinced that the comparatively tiny Manticoran fleet can't possibly touch his fleet of over three hundred ships of the wall. Then Thomas Theisman appears on Honor's flag deck. And he's there voluntarily. When Filareta realizes what this means — that Manticore is now allied with the Republic of Haven — he most certainly had one of these. Yes, the two best active fleet commanders in the galaxy were sharing a flag deck. Whoops. The resulting Curb-Stomp Battle comes as a surprise to absolutely no one but Filareta.
  • Occurs a few times over the Horatio Hornblower books:
    • In Lieutenant Hornblower, the third-person narration breaks into an "Oh my God!" when Bush realizes that the ship has run aground while being fired on with heated shot.
    • In Hotspur, Bush and Prowse are grumbling about missing out on prize money that their ship opened the way for while Hornblower tries to be philosophical about it when they hear a midshipman order the lead to be cast. All three of them have a moment of utter mortification to realize that they were about to let the Hotspur run aground on a clear day.
    • A particularly big one happens in The Commodore when Hornblower realizes that his translator is about to shoot the Czar of all the Russias (whom Hornblower is trying to forge an alliance with) with a set of highly distinctive, custom-made pistols belonging to Hornblower.
    • Several books mention the traditional blasphemous prayer uttered by sailors waiting for a broadside: "For what we are about to receive..."
  • The Keepers in House of the Scorpion describe their side of the story to Esperanza of Matt and the Lost Boys' rebellion at the colony where they are held. Esperanza seems to believe it, right up until she asks about the drugs the Keepers have been taking. When they deny that they have been, Esperanza promptly submits them to a drug test, and they are led away by the authorities.
  • Hurog: In Dragon Bones, Ward has one of those when it is explained to him how powerful and dangerous dragon bones really are, and sees fear on the face of a man he thought wasn't afraid of anything, and realizes he will have to kill Oreg, his slave, who is magically bound to a ring Ward owns, and to Castle Hurog, in order to keep the bones safe. Oreg smiles when he sees the realization dawn on Ward, as he has wished for death for a long time.
  • In the illustrated book I Want My Hat Back the rabbit is clearly scared when the bear is running at him screaming: "YOU! YOU STOLE MY HAT!" He is promptly eaten.
  • The Jenkinsverse: Inverted in the first chapter. The entire world is horrified as they watch aliens attack a hockey game on international television. Everyone except Kevin Jenkins, former alien abductee, who is well aware that a) these aliens are irredeemable monsters and b) humans are The Juggernaut compared to every other species.
    Jenkins: This, boys and girls, is going to be fucking funny.
    [hockey team proceeds to slaughter the aliens without the slightest amount of difficulty]
  • An abridged version of Peter Stark's account from his book Last Breath of how drowning works in real life begins this way.
    Oh, shit! That's your only thought as your kayak wheels upside down through the air over the huge boulder that sits midstream in the river, creating an enormous hole.
  • In The League of Peoples Verse novels by James Alan Gardner, it's proverbial that the last words said by a member of the Explorer Corpsnote  are "Oh Shit". In fact, "going 'oh shit'" is Explorer Corps slang for dying.
  • Lensman: Second Stage Lensmen: Kim Kinnison has been playing a long game, working his undercover way right up to the top of the Thralian dictatorship. When he comes back home after a battle, with a Patrol fleet disguised as the Boskonian one he's just annihilated, his twelve Co-Dragons are summoned to meet him. Cue the Oh, Crap! when not only are they disarmed, but the man they thought was the Capo di Tutti Capi among the Boskonians climbs out of his armour with a Lens on his wrist.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, the Witch-King, having just boasted that "no living man may hinder" him, has one when Éowyn doffs her helm.
    • Gandalf, when the whip of the Balrog tangles on his ankle at bridge of Khazad-dûm
    • Saruman has one when he sees the pissed-off Ents in Isengard.
      • Also when he realizes what Wormtongue threw (the Palantír) at the departing group. Gandalf later explains exactly why Saruman is about to be in a lot of hot water with his boss.
    • Sauron, when he realizes just what the heroes' plan is and that the Ring is in the one place it can be destroyed. He realizes, in an instant, just how thoroughly he's been tricked and just how close he is to losing everything, and understandably freaks out.
      • Sauron had another one more than three thousand years earlier, when he realized that not only were there survivors from Numenor, but some of them lived practically on his doorstep, after he'd done pretty much everything possible to make it personal for them.
    • One that didn't make the adaptation:
      Legolas: Ai, Ai! A Balrog! A Balrog is come!
      • Gimli has an even greater reaction—this is the very monster that has haunted all his people's nightmares for the past ten generations, and the very one that slew his [Gimli's] nine-greats-grandfather.
    • Orc-captain Gorbag has one when he realizes that person or persons unknown have actually wounded Shelob, and are therefore likely to be an even more terrible foe.
  • At the climax of Gardens of the Moon, the first book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, the Bridgeburners suddenly realise that burrowing cussers—satchel charges—under the streets may be an excellent way to sow terror and soften up the city for invasion, but there won't be a city left after the detonation when the city is built on a pocket of natural gas.
  • Several moments in The Maze Runner Trilogy; the best example is when the wall that protects the Gladers from Grievers doesn't close one night, leaving them easy prey. Another good example is in The Death Cure when Thomas realizes that the Right Arm is going to explode WICKED. While he, his friends, and the rest of the Immunes are still inside it.
  • In The Vanishing Ventriloquist, one of The McGurk Organization books, the titular character of the series has this reaction when he realizes that the target of the crooks the crew was tracking wasn't one of the older ladies at a certain picnic like they originally believed and was instead teammate Wanda's visiting pen pal Mari, the titular ventriloquist… and they got away with her right under the detectives' noses.
  • In Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, the protagonists experience a domino-like series of these moments as Binabik's realization that they've been Unwitting Pawns in the Storm King's plan all along makes its way through their ranks.
  • This happens to Officer Reed in The Mental State. While undercover as a drug addict in prison, he uncovers enough information to get Zack and the rest of his gang in serious trouble and is excited about calling his superior officer on his mobile phone to tell him the good news. Sadly, this is when Zack walks in and calmly reveals that, not only has he stolen the mobile to prevent him from calling anyone, but he also knows exactly who he is and can extort him into doing anything he wants. The officer is completely crushed and realises just how much trouble he is actually in.
  • Island in the Sea of Time (Series):
    • In Island in the Sea of Time, the character Swindapa is captured, brutally raped, and given nasty STDs by her culture's enemies, then given as a present to the Nantucketer admiral, who is an utter badass black lesbian coast guard officer and martial artist, who frees her and teaches her how to use a katana. In the climactic battle, Swindapa ambushes her erstwhile tormentors, who barely have the time for an Oh Crap moment before they're beheaded/disemboweled. In the same battle, the Big Bad William Walker has one when the Nantucketers manage to blow up his supply of gunpowder, which fueled the only 3 cannons in the world, which had been busily enfilading the Nantucket lines.
    • A more comedic version occurs in Against the Tide of Years, when Kenneth Hollard discovers that he's been chosen to be the consort for Raupasha, the de facto Queen of the Mitanni.
  • Newsflesh: In Feed, as Shaun and Georgia find they're in the middle of a bunch of zombies:
    Shaun: Holy —
    Georgia: We're past saying it and all the way to doing it.
  • Happens to Freddy twice in the book A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Dealers. The first time, Freddy wakes up after being briefly knocked out and spots a bomb (which kept showing up in dreams) lying next to him, seconds before it explodes. Later on, when Freddy pulls himself back together, he finds himself confronted by the escaped souls of his recent victims, who decided to pay him a little visit before crossing over to the great beyond. Freddy is pretty much left speechless:
    Freddy: Wait! No, you wait — Stop!
  • John Taylor, protagonist of the Nightside series, has cultivated a reputation so nasty that he can often get an Oh, Crap! reaction from the opposition, simply by introducing himself. A pair of huge demons summoned to attack him once took one look at him, went through simultaneous Oh, Crap! revelations, and turned round to berate their summoner for pitting them against him.
  • In the Paladin of Shadows book Unto the Breach, Mike has one when he learns that there are 4000 Chechens after his ~100.
  • In Passage to November: oh so many:
    • As the Great Lakes Storm of 1913 intensifies, Captain McTavish and his wheelsman look on in horror as another lake freighter swings too close to the SS Longhope— they avert the impending collision just in time to see the monstrous waves tear the other boat to pieces and drag it to the bottom of Lake Huron. A similar fate awaits them when their boat's steel plates give way.
    • Still believing all will end well, Clara Grace follows the First Mate to the deck... only to discover what's left of the crew swinging out the last remaining lifeboat which is ripped from its winches and hurled into the roiling lake.
    • Having survived the wreck of the SS Longhope but likely dying of exposure, Clara Grace must watch as bits of wrecked ships and the dead, frozen bodies of her friends are violently slammed ashore.
      • Also becomes a Break the Cutie moment when she realizes that Captain McTavish may be the next corpse to come ashore.
  • During the duel between Westley and Inigo in The Princess Bride, this is what you think is going through the mind of Westley after Inigo reveals that he's not left handed, but then Westley gets him right back and reveals that he isn't left handed either! Inigo's reaction is priceless.
    • Subverted in the battle of wits against Vizzini, when Vizzini doesn't even have time to make the "Oh, Crap" face after he realizes that both cups were poisoned.
  • Many of the villains in the Redwall books have Oh, Crap! moments before their inevitably gruesome deaths.
  • In one of the Relativity stories, the villain of the story does this after realizing he sprang his deathtrap on the heroes while standing inside the trap with them.
  • The Running Man: Richards thinks that he is one step ahead of his pursuers after taking refuge in a hotel room in Boston. When he looks out his window he starts to notice that there are way too many police officers in the area, and he realizes that he's walked into a trap.
  • In one of the stories from The Sandman: Book of Dreams, Paramore a magician has been abusing his powers and divulging rumors of Morpheus, when he finally goes to sleep he finds someone and tells him a story of how he managed to unknowingly offend a great prince, cue Dream quoting the rumor.
  • Sandokan: In The Mystery of the Black Jungle this is the Thuggee's reaction when they discover that Tremal Naik has a pet tiger.
  • Shadow of the Conqueror:
  • Sheila Rae, the Brave: Sheila Rae's bravery immediately disappears when she realises she's lost.
  • Small Game: Mara catches one while wandering in a daze when she realizes she is between a mother bear and a cub.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Cersei Lannister's response to disagreement from the new High Septon in A Feast For Crows.
    • And, in A Storm of Swords, the end of the duel between the Red Viper and the Mountain.
      Viper: Say it! (stabs Mountain)
      Mountain: (grabs Viper and slowly crushes his windpipe) Elia of Dorne! I killed her screaming whelp! Then I raped her! Then I smashed her fucking head in! Like this!
      Everyone: Oh shit!
    • The most epic/tragic one is provided by Catelyn Stark in A Storm of Swords at the Red Wedding, when she grabs Edwyn Frey's arm and feels the armour beneath his sleeve, thus realizing exactly what is about to happen.
    • In the fifth book, this is Quentyn Martell's reaction when he realizes he's on fire.
      Oh, he thought. Then he began to scream.
    • From the same book, Janos Slynt when his smugass defiance forces Lord Commander Jon Snow to order his hanging. The smugness returns when Jon decides not to hang him, only to vanish again when he learns that this is because Jon feels his should behead him, Stark-style.
    • In the prologue of A Storm of Swords, Chett has this, too. At the first horn blast, he has a minor one and is infuriated that his plan is going awry. At the second, he gives up the plan and gets ready to fight. And then...
      Sam: Three, that was three, I heard three. They never blow three. Not for hundreds and thousands of years. Three means—
      Chett: —Others.
    • In A Dance with Dragons, both Kevan and Jaime Lannister feel dread when they see the white raven from the Citadel that marks the beginning of the long winter. After the disastrous civil war, Westeros doesn't have nearly enough food to endure decades of winter.
    • Ned recalls that the moment Rhaegar Targaryen passed over his own wife to name Lyanna the Queen of Love and Beauty after winning the Tourney at Harrenhal "all the smiles died". Everyone present knew that wasn't going to end well.
  • Happens twice in Space Glass, first when the mercs find that a rock worm has eaten the Aggressor, and second when they see the World Eater.
  • In The Spirit Thief, Tesset reacts with abject horror when his Alpha Strike doesn't as much as scratch Den the Warlord.
  • In The Stand Flagg and his followers all freak out when they see what Trashcan Man brought back with him from the desert: an armed nuclear warhead.
  • Star Trek Expanded Universe:
    • In Final Frontier George Samuel Kirk Sr. has one after he chased a sabotuer through the corridors on the Enterprise and that sabotuer runs into an area where life support and heating was turned off, resulting in the sabotuer being flash frozen in the process.
    • In Spock's World, McCoy gets one when he scans the names of secessionists and finds one he knows...T'Pring.
    • Roberta Lincoln gets one in Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars when Dr. Kaur accidentally calls her on Gary's servo. Assuming that he'd broken free from captivity, she reports that she's successfully infiltrated the facility and asks what the next step of their plan is. Kaur is not amused with the realization that her latest recruit is a double agent and Roberta realizes that it's all over except for the running and the shooting deep in the heart of the enemy's Elaborate Underground Base.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Vision of the Future has a great one, where one of the bad guys, described as a "liar, embezzler, and probable traitor... went white" in shock and fear.
    • From the novelization of Revenge of the Sith:
      • Count Dooku gets two major ones during the lightsaber duel. The first is when he realizes that Anakin and Obi-Wan have been holding back their true fighting styles. The second is when he realizes that Darth Sidious has turned on him.
      • Obi-Wan can say nothing more than "Oh" when Mace tells him they've tracked the Sith Lord to 500 Republica, the most exclusive address on Coruscant, meaning it might actually be true that the Sith Lord may be someone within the Senate.
      • Mace pauses for quite a while when he inspects Anakin through the Force and finds he's become the "shatterpoint" to everything. Moments later, Anakin reveals why: he's just found out that Palpatine is the Sith Lord.
    • In Dark Lord—The Rise of Darth Vader, when Obi-Wan realizes Vader is still alive, he begins to panic until Qui-Gon's ghost tells him that Vader will never return to Tatooine, and the infant Luke Skywalker is safe where he is.
    • In Showdown at Centerpoint, one of the four frigates confronting Admiral Ossilege's flagship gets close enough for him to see that its viewports are painted on, meaning that the firgates are actually "robot ramships", basically solid masses of durasteel with engines strapped on. Though his shock doesn't delay Ossilege in ordering evasive action, he knows full well that it's already too late.
    • While we don't get to see his reaction in the films, in Death Star Tarkin has enough time to shout "Unthinkable! Unthinkable!" as his precious Death Star explodes.
  • In Bloodstone, part of the Stones of Power series by David Gemmell, the Big Bad realizes that the legendary "Sword of God" is a nuke, and he's been transported to the site of the first testing of one. We get the immortal line "On wings of fear Sarento ran." He is annihilated soon after.
  • The Stormlight Archive novella Edgedancer: When Wyndle realizes that the man they're chasing is none other than the immortal Herald Nale, a One-Man Army now driven insane, he understandably panics.
  • In the Norman Spinrad short story "Street Meat" (published in Other Americas), a Streetie (one of the urban homeless in a dystopian future New York) named Gonzo assaults a random prostitute for his ration "kard". His erstwhile victim informs him that he's just attacked a slumming Townie (one of the privileged upper-class), which is an instant lobotomy for any Streetie that does so. Gonzo, not believing him, kills the man... only to discover that not only does his victim not have a kard, but the man's bag is full of useless junk, a bag no self-respecting Streetie would carry, but a Townie playing at being a Streetie might. It then sinks in that he's just murdered a Townie, an instant death sentence if he's caught. His next three lines are all Angrish.
  • In the Sword of the Stars novel The Deacon's Tale by Arinn Dembo (one of the game's writers), the protagonist Cai Rui is investigating a colony destroyed by the so-called Rippers (AKA Black 13). Then his assistant finds the last message sent from the colony, which never arrived. It was sent over a year ago. Except the distress signal arrived only last week. Cai turns on his motion detector and finds hundreds of signals rapidly closing in. He's the only one who makes it out alive.
  • These Broken Stars: So, so many.
    • Lilac and Tarver have a major one as they reach the crest of a hill near their escape pod, just in time to watch the Icarus fall to the planet's surface, shedding burning escape pods as it goes. They're both clear that there will be no survivors.
    • A slowly-unfolding one as they draw closer to the wreck over several days, while seeing no signs of rescue efforts, meaning that LaRoux Industries have no idea where they crashed.
    • When Lilac is killed trying to blow through a door.
    • When the replica water canteen made by the whispers dissolves, meaning that whisper!Lilac is running out of time.
  • At the end of Michael Crichton's Timeline, the villain is sent back in time, with no possible method of return, to 1348 Europe, the year when the Black Plague (which can be spread through air) had killed one third of the population of the place he ended up in. He goes into full on Oh Crap mode when he realizes this, and then he begins to cough...
  • In the second Troy Rising, the Rangora have one when they realize that Troy is mobile. One Rangora officer does not handle it well
  • Under Heaven:
    • This happens several times involving Shen Tai. One is when he finds out how many "heavenly horses" he is to receive as a gift; when even four is enough for deadly envy, a princess wishes to give him 250. Later, when he realizes that some soldiers wish to execute Wen Jian for her part in bringing about a civil war, he tries desperately to find some way to avoid it (the soldier claim things won't end if it doesn't happen). And then when he realizes that the emperor has abdicated...
    • Shen Tai manages to cause this reaction, and almost considers it worth it: When Wen Jian wishes to summon Shen Tai to ask about his gift, she sends a high ranking servant to 'summon' him. When informed that his own Sardian horse was moved without his permission, he gets increasingly angrier and frustrated, until he finds a way to make the servant panic: aim a poet at him.
  • From Under the Dome: Rusty has this reaction when he realizes that Jim Rennie's several-hundred-gallon propane supply is about to explode and flash-fry the enclosed town.
  • Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss but I'm Not the Demon Lord: Yumiella has this reaction when she sees the Leveling Evaluation and notices Level 10 is considered high, realizing that if she's able to solo boss monsters her level is easily much higher and about to stand out. She turns out to have already maxed out her level at this age.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga:
    • Vordarian in Barrayar — his last words are, "What? You're a Betan! You can't do—" Except she could. And did.
    • In A Civil Campaign, Richars Vorruyter is preparing to taunt Miles as Count Vorhalas and the other conservatives arrive to give him a majority of votes, when Vorhalas tells Richars that he knows what a douche he's been and is thus not going to vote for him. Later in the same scene, Richars tries to accuse Miles murdering a man to strongarm his wife into something untoward, at which point the widow in question proceeds to stand up from the balcony and propose to Miles.
    • Miles causes another one of these in The Warrior's Apprentice, where he arrives just in time to testify on his own behalf in a treason trial, and splits up the pair of villainous ringleaders by outlining how one is planning to betray the other. The first gets an Oh Crap moment as the second begins spilling the beans.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Ciaphas Cain's (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) whole life is a succession of Oh, Crap! moments. Far too many to list.
  • In the Warrior Cats SkyClan and the Stranger graphic novel trilogy, Billystorm has this reaction: his kits reveal that he was thinking of taking them away from the Clan to his Twoleg nest, because he thinks they'll be safe there. He walks into camp carrying prey after hunting to find his mate Leafstar, the leader of SkyClan giving him a Death Glare and he realizes what's going on and he even drops his prey.
  • Wet Desert: Tracking Down a Terrorist on the Colorado River:
    • The flight attendant gasps when she sees the leak in Glen Canyon Dam.
    • Grant's and Fred's reaction to the phone call informing them of the bombing at Davis Dam involves dropping the cutlery.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • While we can't see it, the description of Be'lal's death in the climax of The Dragon Reborn leaves very little doubt that he had this kind of reaction. Understandable, since The Chessmaster was moments away from the fulfillment of his Evil Plan before being blindsided by someone he thought he had removed from the equation and promptly rendered Deader than Dead.
    • Asmodean's death was much the same way, if his last words are any indication ("You?! NO!").
    • When Semirhage enacts her plot to capture Rand using the male A'dam, Rand gets a huge one. Quickly followed by Semirhage getting her own Oh Crap moment when Rand uses the power of the Dark One.
    • In Towers of Midnight, the Borderlanders get one so bad that they instantly cross the Despair Event Horizon when they see the Dark One's armies rushing toward them. They get better really quick.
  • In Antti Tuuri's The Winter War, the Finnish soldiers are happy to get a truck transport instead of marching on foot, but one of them notes that rank-and-file men don't get free rides just like that. They are needed in their destination in a hurry.
  • Wolf Hall
    • Thomas Cromwell's reaction when Archbishop Cranmer reveals that not only has he secretly married a German woman named Grete, he's brought her to England because she's pregnant. Cromwell runs home to grab Helen Barre, the most capable female servant in his household (and a a mother herself) to be a helpmate until Grete gives birth.
    • He has a low-key one after Henry's near-death in a jousting accident. On one side the Boleyns would have killed him if they had seized the throne with Anne or Norfolk as regent. On the other side, if he'd been able to fetch Mary Tudor to take the throne, the Catholics would have killed him for the breach with Rome. It's not comfortable — for several reasons — to realize that his only true ally in court is Henry himself.
    • The people involved in Cardinal Wolsey's downfall — Anne, Henry Norris, Charles Brandon — are not comfortable when they realize that Cromwell hasn't forgotten what they did to his master, nor has he forgiven them.
  • Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series is basically one big Oh Crap moment for The Race. Oh, it's only been 800 years, how far could the savages have gone since 1142? Wait, is the planet emitting radio waves?
    • Plus, every Lizard viewpoint character has at least one of these.
      • Three such characters, two shiplords and an artillery supervisor, are used for the sole purpose of screaming OH CRAP before the Germans or the Americans kill them.
    • The career of Flight Captain Teerts is a series of these events. First, his jet is shot down behind Japanese lines due to the world's luckiest bullet hitting his engine. Not knowing how the Japanese treat their prisoners, he surrenders. He's hauled over to Tokyo and interrogated on how to build a nuke. He tries to confuse the Japanese scientists by telling them things like "Nukes use hydrogen and plutonium", only to discover that they already knew about fusion reactions. He is eventually rescued, only to nearly die when America nukes Miami, finally dying when caught in a similar blast outside Denver.
    • The conclusion of the final book, Homeward Bound, is literally one big Oh Crap moment for the entire Race. To wit: while still trying to decide whether they're going to glass Earth to contain the human threat, they suddenly discover that the humans have not only matched their technology, but outpaced it, discovering FTL stardrives which would enable them to destroy the Race's empire before they even knew they were under attack. The Race then give an Oh, Crap! back to the humans by explaining that although the Race couldn't defend against that assault, they could use one of their sublight starships as a relativistic kill vehicle to obliterate all life on Earth.
  • A nearly pantheon-wide brawl in Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure comes to a complete stop when the Olympian gods realize that someone has just managed to release the Titans from their prison.
  • The Silmarillion:
    • Finrod gets one, when Sauron mentions the Kinslaying at Alqualondë during their duel of magic songs. Although he wasn't present and didn't participate, Finrod is guilty by having chosen to associate with those who did over turning back when he found out.
    • Sauron gets his own, when he loses a wrestling match with Huan: and realizes he's also just lost his control over Tol-in-Gaurhoth, and is therefore probably in a lot of trouble with his boss. Seeing as his boss is the aforementioned Morgoth, this is very bad.