The web serial of Doc Future is written by William Dow Rieder and consists of three novel-long stories: The Fall of Doc Future (completed), Skybreaker's Call (completed), and The Maker's Ark. The main protagonists are two professional superheroes Doc Future, whose mental augmentations had essentially made him into the smartest human in the world, and his adoptive daughter Flicker, whose unique and very powerful speedster abilities likewise make her into the fastest human in the world. With the help of their friends, they try to keep the world safe from super villains, natural catastrophes, demons, gods, wizards, alien invasions, and themselves.
In The Fall, Doc Future's mind is starting to fail him, endangering the world because of all the superheroes who depend on his work. The exquisite mind he had been cultivating since his youth is slowly deteriorating, and it is killing him. The reason for this is his sleep deprivation, caused by an endless barrage of prophetic nightmares which have been targeting him since his teenage years. Docs private and suspicious nature, unfortunately, hinder him from even telling his friends and daughter about it. Flicker, more than smart enough to read between the lines, desperately reaches out for help to Dr. Stella Reinhart an academic whose research and articles pinpoint her as one of the best mind control and mind augmentation specialists currently alive.
The tumblr on which the trilogy is currently being published is here.
Prologue of The Ark is here (no table of contents yet).
The series as a whole provides examples of:
- Alternate Timeline: So many of them, in fact, that their influence on the current iteration starts messing with the laws of nature and creates phenomena that people generally label as magic.
- Artificial Intelligence
- Author Appeal: There are a lot of casual sexual relationships with strong, dominant women involved. Many of them are polyamorous, which mostly passes without comment.
- Body Surf: Useful for making your enemies kill each other, among other things.
- Brown Note: Several variations: the nature of Dendrites abilities makes anyone connected to her mind be overwhelmed by her minds automatic defences and die almost instantly; the nature of this worlds Time Travel makes even thinking about certain things hazardous for the individual; etc.
- Clone by Conversion: Among Dendrites abilities.
- Demonic Possession
- Deprogram: Amond Donners abilities.
- Dimension Lord: Power over many pocket dimensions belongs to specific mythological creatures.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Doc was in university at age 15, and several women who were explicitly a few years older flirted with him. He rejected them all, but not a single person in story seems to be concerned with the fact that women who were legal adults were interested in a teenager who wasn't old enough to drive a car. Compare and contrast to Flicker's sexual experience with Donner, where a lot of emphasis is placed on her relative youth. Yiskah does end up having sex with Doc's memory of being 15, and the real Doc implicitly lost his virginity at 17, which is legal in some states. One could argue that he's mature and intelligent enough to deal at 15...but when he had a breakup he built and almost ''used' a world-destroying doomsday device as an elaborate form of suicide.
- Dream Weaver: Yiskah.
- Emotion Suppression: Flicker almost gets burned by this.
- Entropy and Chaos Magic: Mass-scale probability manipulation of several types.
- Expy: V-man (Superman), Blue Sentinel (Green Lantern), etc.
- Fake Memories: Existence of mind manipulators of various flavours doesnt help Docs paranoia much. Generally, most of the high-tier superheroes have their own ways of detecting if their mind and memories have been messed with.
- "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: Docs prolonged sleep deprivation makes his mental augmentations to gradually fail, which affects his intellectual capabilities. After his augmentation platform gets destroyed, he even loses some of his edge in quick-thinking and reaction, which becomes especially noticeable to him during his interactions with Flicker.
- The Hecate Sisters
- Hijacking Cthulhu: Stellas ability allows her to hijack pretty much anything (e.g. a Monster of the Week-godzilla or a high-tier demon from pocket dimension) if its nervous network is in position of direct physical contact with her.
- Hive Mind: Dendrites ability allows this, with certain reservations.
- Humans Are Insects: Skybreaker wouldnt care less about humans if they werent polluting a world in her care that she was supposed to be keeping clean from parasitic infections like them.
- Hypno Ray: One supervillains mass-scale mind control device was what caused Dendrite to become what they are.
- Immune to Mind Control: Stella.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: To some extent.
- Manipulative Bastard: Wanderer.
- Mental Time Travel: Docs future selves, from branches of timeline in which the world met its end in various ways, send him cautionary visions to help him avoid the mistakes theyve made and save the planet with its inhabitants.
- Mind Manipulation
- Mind-Control Device
- Mind Virus: In certain situations Dendrite is able to convert other peoples minds into dormant copies of her own.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: She Who Waits, Eater of Demons. Also Skybreaker and Eyetaker qualify when you realize just how literal those epithets are.
- Norse Mythology
- Pocket Dimension: Earth of the characters timeline has an abnormal quantity of such dimensions attached to it.
- Polyamory: Both Doc and Flicker eventually end up in polyamorous relations, for different reasons.
- Rational Fic: The plots advancement or resolution never relies on an Idiot Ball, and the only times when a character makes a rash decision is when it fits their general personality. Conflicts are often resolved through conversations and attempts to understand the other sides stance on the matter. Situations which could be easily dramatized by using tropes like petty jealousy or revenge also graciously spare the readers from the nausea and move in other directions instead.
- Reset Button: Docs ability to send warnings to his past self had allowed him for rather many iterations to reset bad outcomes, so to speak, and try to keep the world stable in yet another try.
- Save Scumming: Doc, to some extent. Wanderer.
- Screw Yourself: In a Sexy Discretion Shot, Stella and Yiskah, who are more or less the same person, sleep with Doc.
- Stable Time Loop: Theres an interesting variation of this trope here: information is being sent back in time from multiple agents and from multiple alternative timelines, and what the characters experience as their world is the stabilised environment after all this information settled into a stable new outcome.
- Story-Breaker Power: Protagonists abilities are so powerful in many ways that in many other stories it wouldve been difficult to preserve the conflict. Here, however, the author manages to keep it interesting by carefully choosing what types of problems the protagonists will be solving (usually Class 2 Apocalypse scenarios and higher), how they will be solving them (e.g. Flicker is discouraged from toppling governments known for humans rights abuse because in the larger scale of things it would only destabilise the world and make things worse), and what limiting factors are attached to those powerful abilities (e.g. Flicker could, in theory, travel at speed of light, but doing so would cause severe damage to the planet).
- Super Intelligence: Achievable through mind augmentations, genetic modifications of embryos, technological augmentation and ascension, etc.
- The World Is Always Doomed: There are so many bad outcomes for the human civilisation that Docs warnings about them from his future selves had essentially become indistinguishable from a stream of never-ending nightmares.