Laterpress Tournament of Tropes, Round 2, Part 2
This weekday round features the other half of the remaining tropes in the Round of 32.
The Laterpress Tournament of Tropes is heating up! Inspired by “March Madness,” our first community event of 2023 features 20 books from independent authors, representing 40 different tropes, all facing off in a bracket where readers and authors alike can vote for their favorites. What trope will walk away with the crown?
You can view the full bracket HERE. Read on to vote.
With the first round complete, the field of 40 has been shrunk to 32. Now, we’ll be saying goodbye to half the field every round. Round 2 is split into two voting periods. This is the second of those two rounds.
There were two ties in the last round - those will both advance into three-way battles in the next round.
Read on to learn more about the tropes doing battle today, and if you like them, check out the book representing them! Laterpress is not using affiliate links for this community event. All proceeds from any sales go directly to the authors!
When can I vote?
Mark your calendars! All voting rounds begin at 1pm Eastern, and close at 11am Eastern on the day the next voting round begins.
Round 2, Part 2 - Now, keep reading!
Round of 16 - Friday, March 3
Round of 8 - Monday, March 6
Round of 4 - Friday, March 10
Championship - Monday, March 13
This round's matchups:
Matchup 1: Dreamwalking vs. The Never-Ending Quest
Dreamwalking involves the ability to insert oneself into the dreams of others. The person or entity doing this may or may not be able to alter the dream and manipulate what the dreamer sees. Dreamwalkers have appeared in the Wheel of Time and Sword of Truth fantasy series. Freddy Krueger may be the most well known villain with this ability.
Looking to walk through dreams? Check out The Office Job, by Edward Eidolon.
The Never-Ending Quest is much more complicated or difficult than “Go to Point A, obtain Magic Item, Return Home.” These epic quests may take characters across time and space, and take years to accomplish (if a “final victory” is even possible.) The quest may be handed down from one generation to the next, as new heroes carry on the legacy of their forebears. These kinds of quests demand everything from those embarking on them.
In My Celtic Luna by J. R. Froemling, Rolf has this kind of quest on his hands to find his lost love.
Matchup 2: Murphy’s Law vs. Damsel in Distress
Murphy’s Law is popularly known as the idea that “Anything that can go wrong, WILL go wrong.” Characters may make careful plans to confront an enemy, but those plans will all go awry, often spectacularly. Any genre can use this trope. I’m most familiar with its use in military sci-fi, where battle plans against invading aliens blow up in our hero’s faces, or in fantasy, where best-laid-plans devolve into the kinds of hijinks you may see from a good group of D&D players.
Murphy’s Law is in full effect in The Night Rangers, by J. R. Froemling.
The Damsel in Distress is probably one of the oldest tropes around. A woman is in danger, and needs to be rescued (usually by a man.) Princess Peach needs to be rescued from Bowser. Rapunzel is locked away in a tower. The president’s daughter Ashley getting abducted by a cult sets up the events of Resident Evil 4. This trope is most successful when the audience knows the damsel and has some reason to care about her fate, beyond her use as a living MacGuffin.
You can find a damsel in distress in Thomas and the Girl from Another World, by E.R. Zanes.
Matchup 3: Scrappy Underdogs vs Science Wizards
An underdog is a person or team most outside observers would believe is at a heavy disadvantage against their opponent, and can be expected to lose. Scrappy Underdogs are the kinds of characters who know they’re at a disadvantage, but manage to achieve the impossible through determination, ingenuity, and a little luck. They have a “never give up, never surrender” attitude, and aren’t afraid of the challenge.
You’ll meet some scrappy underdogs in Sigils & Sushi, by Nia Quinn
Depending on the fictional universe, a Science Wizard is either a character skilled in both the natural sciences and the magic arts, or magic itself is a branch of science, which the character studies with appropriate scientific rigor in hopes of making new discoveries.
Need a Science Wizard in your life? Check out The Magician and the Mechanical Doll, by Gaius J. Augustus
Matchup 4: Genies / Djinn vs. Found Family
Genies and Djinn are magical creatures, who have the power to grant wishes to the person who summoned them. There’s a wide range in depictions of these beings, from the irreverent Genie played by Robin Williams in Disney’s Aladdin, to the terrifying and demonic djinn of Wes Craven’s Wishmaster movies. If you encounter one of these creatures, you’ll get your wish, but at what cost? And will the wish even turn out how you’d wanted it to?
A djinn is more than happy to mess with the main character in 1001 Episodes to Literary Godhood, by Nate Gillick (writing as Eldritch Thundergod)
Found Families may also be referred to as a “Family of Choice.” Characters in these stories often lack strong bonds with blood relatives, or those relatives are deceased or far away. Over the course of the story, the character will form deep, meaningful connections with others, either forged through shared stress (like fighting in a war) or mutual interests (like a sport). There is a deliberate choice to construct a family out of the people they care for, and who care for them in turn.
Find your new favorite found family in Sigils & Sushi, by Nia Quinn.
Matchup 5: Star-Crossed Lovers vs. Secret Worlds
Most people probably think of Romeo & Juliet whenever someone mentions Star-Crossed Lovers. These characters feel a deep love for each other, but some external force stands in the way of their happiness. It could be family rivalries, politics, or a wide difference in social standing. Can these lovers overcome the forces that want them apart to find their happy ending? This is likely one of the few romance tropes where a happy ending is not the common / expected outcome.
Meet a pair of star-crossed lovers on the galactic stage in The Stars & Green Magics, by Novae Caelum.
Secret Worlds are whole societies running parallel to our own, in secret. They’ve been there the whole time, if you only knew where to look. The wizarding world of Harry Potter is a secret world, hiding from the Muggles. The John Wick franchise depicts a vast secret brotherhood of assassins, with its own arcane rules and traditions.
In A Wreck of Witches by Nia Quinn, witches and magical beings hide their talents and do what they can to pass as normal, to avoid upsetting those without magic.
Matchup 6: Motorcycle Clubs vs. Robot Girls
Motorcycle Clubs are often depicted as full of big, burly, grilled men who are more than happy to drink you under the table or crush you at a game of pool. They may be gangsters and outlaws. One the other end of the spectrum the biker gang might be a bunch of softies, trying to help out the weak, or less fortunate.
For an example of the kinder, more wholesome version of a biker group, check out Covered, by E.A. West.
To paraphrase from TV Tropes, “She's gorgeous, she's sexy, and she's got a 50,000-mile warranty. She's the Robot Girl. Despite their artificial nature, Robot Girls are at the very least cute as hell, and more often drop-dead gorgeous, if not outright seductresses. Despite how cute or sexy she may be, though, the Robot Girl is often a dangerous opponent in a fight, even if they're only created to do common household chores.”
Meet Replika, your new favorite Robot Girl, in The Magician and the Mechanical Doll, by Gaius J. Augustus.
Matchup 7: The Chosen One(s) vs. Multiverses
The Chosen One is a character selected by fate / magic / a deity for a grand purpose. Nobody else can do it. If this character fails, all hope is lost. In the Buffy the Vampire franchise, this was the Slayer, the “one girl in all the world” with the power to take on vampires and other forces of darkness. Many characters treat Harry Potter like he is one, in the battle against Voldemort. Frodo is meant to be the one carrying the Ring.
You’ll find Chosen Ones pursuing their destinies in My Celtic Luna, by J. R. Froemling.
Multiverses - the idea that there are multiple universes, and it is possible to travel between them. Sometimes these universes are very similar, with slight variations in history (anyone remember the TV show Sliders?). Other times, they might be radically different, with different flora, fauna, and laws of nature. Magic: The Gathering might be the most well-known example of a fantasy multiverse.
If you like Multiverses, check out Welcome to the Nexus, by Nate Gillick
Matchup 8: Questionable Morals vs. Immortal Love Interests
Characters with questionable morals are not obviously good or evil. They may do bad things while trying to achieve positive results. They may have strong justifications for their actions, such as justice (or revenge) for wrongs perpetrated against them. You may not like the decisions these characters make, but you can understand how they got to the point those decisions seemed reasonable and correct.
You’ll find questionable morality on display in Joy, by Emily S Hurricane.
What if the person you loved never aged and died? This is the core appeal of the Immortal Love Interests trope, where at least one partner in the relationship will never die, unless they can be killed through some unnatural (and likely violent) means. Vampires are a very popular choice as immortal love interests, but they’re not the only option. They could be a god or demi-god, have achieved immortality through magical means, or could be of an alien race where genetics or advanced technology have rendered them immortal. If the other partner is a mortal being, the relationship may have a “Mayfly-December” dynamic.
Meet your next immortal love interest in Good King Lyr, by Novae Caelum.
Good luck, have fun!
Voting remains open until 11am Central on Friday.