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Up To Eleven / Literature

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  • Mark Z. Danielewski's book series The Familiar is this to his debut novel House of Leaves. House of Leaves was known for its extensive use of Unconventional Formatting, text being printed in four colors, use of foreign language, and for having two narrators note  and several layers through which the story comes to the reader. In The Familiar all of this is taken up to eleven. It has nine narrators that each have their own font, page layout and color code; even more of Loads and Loads of Characters; features much more colors and has a lot of photo collages throughout; and it features a lot more foreign language - including Chinese and Arabic - most of which isn't translated. Oh and House of Leaves was already considered a Doorstopper being 709 pages, but each volume of The Familiar is 880 pages - and printed on thick paper so it's a hefty 3.6 pounds - and there are to be 27 books in the series. Making it a case of actually taking it Up to Twenty-Seven.
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  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The books contain Up to Eleven appendices, nomenclatures, maps and histories well beyond the original story.
  • Little Pete in the Gone series. Normal kids powers rank from 1-4, with Sam and Caine being the only two fours. Little Pete is rated at ten, considering he has the ability to create monsters and levitate things out of nothingness in Hunger.
  • A character in Sewer, Gas & Electric goes Up to Eleven in both lavish extravagance and in attempts to impress one's date with one's wealth, investing $10,000 in a top-of-the-line pack of condoms.
  • Dune Messiah: Alia Atreides engages in a sparring match with a mechanical swordsman, which gets faster, and creates more lights (which reflect off its prismatic body to distract its opponent) every time it is struck. It's noted that the greatest swordsmen in the universe can strike it seven times before it becomes too fast to safely continue. Alia manages to strike it eleven times, before Paul stops her. (This book was published in 1969, which makes Up To Eleven Older Than They Think.) And he does it by throwing his knife, striking a one millimetre diameter switch. What makes this even more impressive (up to twelve, anyone?) is that the mechanism is protected by a shield whose resistance varies directly as the speed of the impacting object - more than about nine centimetres per second and the thing won't penetrate at all.
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  • Matthew Reilly bypasses eleven in his books and goes straight to sixteen. One example: the heroes are in a truck and being chased in a tunnel barely wide enough to hold a car. The solution to get rid of the bad guys? Call in a plane, have it fire a missile down the tunnel, and drive the truck hard against the wall so that the wheels on one side ride up the wall, allowing the missile to shoot below the truck and kill the bad guys. This is one of the less extreme examples.
  • Star Wars Legends is full of much "up to eleven" material, including a tiny ship which has a power factor that makes the Death Star itself seem like a cap gun, a Sith Lord who sliced through a planet with his lightsaber, and combat movements that seem to be too fast for the human eye to collect (Thank God they're written down, then, eh?)
    • Luke's powers have been taken Up To Eleven, especially by Troy Denning. (Matt Stover, however, has Luke see the heat death of the universe. Seriously.) Kyle is too; he actually survives being stabbed through the heart with a lightsaber. It actually goes back to Bantam, when Zahn made a big deal about Luke's powers being taken Up To Eleven. He didn't exactly win that battle.
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    • Even the Jedi who have innate mechanisms to prevent them from being taken Up to Eleven, such as Corran Horn (He can't use psychokinesis, but get him enough energy, and it doesn't matter.), are taken Up To Eleven, when Corran projects an image of himself as a kaiju giant. Force, make my Jedi...grow!
    • Happens to Sith too. Palpatine in Dark Empire goes body surfing and rips the fabric of space-time itself, resulting in a Villainous RRoD. (He gets better due to said body surfing.)
  • In The Dresden Files, during the Finale of Changes, this trope is invoked by the narrator when he describes Molly, his apprentice, ramping the battle's chaos Up to Eleven with what he calls her One Woman Rave spell. Thomas goes into Dance Battler mode in response with a falcata and an automatic.
    • The gamebook for the RPG takes this trope...well, one step further. The book describes evil wizards as having arrogance turned Up to Eleven, and Harry's margin notes remark that it should be thirteen. This is followed by Will and Harry re-creating the Spinal Tap scene with altered dialog.
  • Almost all of the abilities and superpowers in the Suggsverse are scaled up higher than this.
  • The children's book Green Eggs and Ham was written as the result of a friendly bet: Dr. Seuss's publisher was impressed that The Cat in the Hat was written using fewer than 300 different words, and bet Seuss that he couldn't write another one with a coherent plot using only 50 different words. Seuss hit it right on target.
  • Sir Terry Pratchett explicitly invokes this trope on the Discworld. He said of his portrayal of an Ancient Egypt-alike civilization that this is Egypt with all the knobs turned up to eleven. He also described the Assassins' Guild School as a typical British boarding school with all the knobs - including and especially the one marked "violence" - turned up to eleven. "Up to eleven" also describes his parodies of various nation states of Earth: these are so over the top as to be caricatures. XXXX = Australia; Quirm = France; Brindisi = Italy; Llamedos = Wales; Uberwald = Bavaria/Switzerland, and so on.
  • Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle (a Girl Genius novel): Sparks cause a deep and instinctual fear/loyalty in non-Sparks, especially when they are fully within the Madness Place. Sparks, however, are excited or even aroused by this behavior. When Agatha drinks the Dyne water and begins to ascend, every other Spark in the room tries to run for their lives.
  • In Dinotopia Sunstones are said to have a Moh's Hardness of 11. A scale that IRL only goes up to 10 (diamond).
  • A Symphony of Eternity is Flashman meets Discworld and Legend Of Galactic Heroes. A Space Opera set in a universe that uses magic instead of technology and ramping up the conflict to a Galactic Scale. Oh, it also has a Deathstar with two energy beams and mention that their dozens of other such stations all around the galaxy
  • In The Bible. King Saul offers the worst variation of 20 Bear Asses quest in human history: "Sure, David, you can marry my daughter, just bring me a hundred Philistine foreskins." Worst. Quest. Ever. At least the drop rate is 100%. Even worse, David apparently got caught up in the "farming" and brought in two hundred, thus proving that Level Grinding and Collection Sidequest (not to mention Bragging Rights Reward!) are indeed Older Than Feudalism.
  • The Jenkinsverse: Temperate planets are ranked on a scale of 1 to 10. A class 1 planet is basically Eden; literally anything in the galaxy can survive there buck-naked with no trouble. A class 10 planet is a Death World, with dangerous weather and worse wildlife. Earth is a class 12. The only worse planet in the Milky Way is Nightmare, a class 13, and there is some argument on that classification. While Nightmare is worse in most ways, it's a Single-Biome Planet, so once you've figured out how to survive at one spot you can survive anywhere. Earth has many different biomes, all with many different ways to kill you.


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