- Complete Monster: Johnny Wulgaru, alias Johnny Dark, alias John More Dread, alias (John) Dread, is a rapist, Serial Killer, Psycho for Hire Misanthrope Supreme who was raised by his drug-addled prostitute mother for the precise purpose of being a weapon against the society she wanted revenge on. The Big Bad, Corrupt Corporate Executive Felix Jongleur, views him as an attack dog: vicious, but useful when directed appropriately. However, he severely underestimates Dread's cunning and ambition, and when he sees the opportunity, Dread uses his Technopath psychic power to wrest control of the Otherland operating system away from his boss. He then launches an orgy of virtual destruction, indulging his sadistic tendencies by, among other things, torturing, raping, and killing the people of Dodge City. When the thrill of godlike power subsides, he then plans to use the resources of Jongleur's empire to wreak havoc in the real world. Meanwhile, the police team investigating Dread's trail of real world murders interviews a psychologist who describes him as one of the purest examples of a sociopathic personality that he'd ever seen — no empathy, no remorse, only a fierce intelligence and the skill to manipulate others.
- Evil Is Sexy: Dulcie seems to think so regarding Dread; see All Girls Want Bad Boys.
- Growing the Beard: The first book, before the characters really get into Otherland, reads like something of a Justified Tutorial. It's very clear that the series is written as a coherent whole, rather than four separate novels, and the plot doesn't get into full gear until the second book.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Several characters refer to cinematic films as "net flicks".
- Ho Yay: Finney and Mudd have a very close relationship.
- Iron Woobie: Paul Jonas. The man spent eternity in the trenches of world war one and things got worse when he escaped. And he just kept going, and going, and going.
- Nightmare Fuel:
- So very much. If it involves John Dread, it's going to be fairly horrible, particularly when he gets godlike power.
- The Other inspires nightmares in its power and inhumanity, let alone the entirety of its very existence.
- Trapped by Mountain Lions: Okay, yes, technically every one of the massive number of plot threads matters in the end, but there are so, so many...
- The Woobie:
- Orlando, naturally. Also at the end, the Other.
- And possibly Paul Jonas.
YMMV / Otherland