News & Updates
Mar 6, 2023

Laterpress Tournament of Tropes: Round 4

Only eight tropes remain! Who is moving on to the semifinals?

Nate Gillick
Nate Gillick
Person about to start running

Our Tournament of Tropes community event is nearing its conclusion. Forty tropes entered, only eight remain. My prediction bracket is completely busted. All the tropes I expected to make the final four lost last round. Good luck to the survivors!

You can view the full bracket HERE. Read on to vote.

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 of 8 - Now! Read on to vote!

Round of 4 - Friday, March 10

Championship - Monday, March 13

Matchup 1: Breaking the Fourth Wall vs. Reluctant Heroes

Breaking the Fourth Wall means the story is self-aware enough to know it is a story, and either makes fun of itself or addresses the audience directly. A character may exclaim, “Of all the books I could have been written into, why did it have to be this one? The author’s crazy!” Some cinematic examples of this would be Deadpool or She Hulk.

If you like Fourth Wall breaking meta humor, check out 1001 Episodes to Literary Godhood, by Eldritch Thundergod.

I thought I'd be king of the world on the fiction platform Zella, but when my magnum opus about a telepathic cuttlefish and his pet human flopped, I was desperate for a way to climb the ranks. When I bought a magic lamp at a garage sale and the djinn offered me a wish, I thought I was set. But magic comes with a price, and the $10 I paid didn't count. To ascend to literary godhood, I must write 1,001 episodes with features dictated by authors and readers... while using this stupid pen name. (Published under the name Eldritch Thundergod.)

The Reluctant Hero - Often, when a hero undertakes a quest, they do it because they feel a calling to the task. In other cases, their life may depend on it and they have no other choice to proceed. But sometimes, our hero is perfectly cozy and content with their life, but the course of events drags them along on an adventure (though they would have preferred to just stay home). Those are your reluctant heroes.

You’ll encounter reluctant heroes in The Adventurer’s Guide To Shopkeeping and Sidequests, by Elle Wilson

Strange magic, uncharted territory, danger at every turn. Adventuring is never easy. For Evadne, it means giving up the life she's built to embrace a legacy she never wanted. Pricing is for early access while I draft, but it will be made available for purchase when finished at a lower price.

Matchup 2: Magic is Dangerous vs. Alien Artifacts

In universes employing the Magic is Dangerous trope, magic is as deadly as a loaded gun. Or nukes. For stories employing this trope, magic isn’t all fun and whimsy. Its misuse can lead to serious injury, or even death. It must be used sparingly and carefully. The use of magic may be considered inherently evil, with any magic users feared or shunned by society. Narnia, this is not.

Be ready to approach magic with caution and respect while reading Dead Lands Rescue, by E.R. Zanes

Dangerous exploration into the dark unknown runs in Aer's blood. She's spent her adult life denying it. But when strangers come asking for her help, she's forced to pick up her family mantle and return to the Dead Lands. With cursed, blood-chilling creatures lurking within, survival is anything but guaranteed. Drawn into the old mysteries once again, will she only find familiar pain, or the desperate answers she didn't know she needed?

Alien Artifacts are a popular science fiction trope, where explorers encounter some relic or piece of technology from a lost or vanished alien race. The Stargate franchise is filled with alien artifacts, from the Stargates themselves, which allow for travel across the galaxy, to lost deposits of knowledge, and even the lost city of Atlantis itself. These artifacts don’t always push humanity forward though. In the Dead Space games, alien Markers lead to madness, death, and nightmarish transformations. 

You can find alien artifacts in On the Outward Edge, by C.P. Night

Her galactic empire is in turmoil. Will her attempts to save it push it to the brink of collapse? Princess Serina is out for revenge. Driven to destroy the rebels who slaughtered her family, she risks her declining health to prioritize her deadly mission. With enemies filling the surrounding shadows, will her faith blind her to the danger?

Matchup 3: Murphy’s Law vs. Scrappy Underdogs

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.

A Savannah Nights Story (Complete) - The Night Rangers, a top-secret paranormal hunter force for the US Military, is the first, last, and only line of defense between humanity and the monsters of the underworld. Follow Shadow Squad as they track down a new drug called Kiss. In the back alleys of Bogota, the hunters become the prey as they struggle to not become the monsters they hunt.

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 find both scrappy underdogs and found family in Sigils & Sushi, by Nia Quinn. 

I suck at magic, but make up for it with style—ask my demon roomies. Checking in rental cars for supernatural beings, I score whatever they ditch flying home—and they leave some weird stuff behind. Sometimes it’s a toss-up if it’ll help pay the bills, or cause an apocalypse. I don’t wanna start an apocalypse, but I gotta eat. What’s a girl to do?

Matchup 4: Secret Worlds vs. Chosen Ones

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.

When you're a witch juggling a sentient house and a magical plant nursery, you already think life is about as crazy as it can get. But scary things start happening in my mundane neighborhood when my friend goes missing. It's up to me and my ragtag group of witches—oh, and the ghost dogs—to get things under control before the Unawares figure out magic's real.

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.

Book II of the Immortal Love Saga (Ongoing) - Rolf and Lily saved the day, only to be separated. Rolf pines for his mate and never gives up the hunt to find her. When his father suffers a terrible fate, Rolf is sent on a journey to the Old World to gain him access to Valhalla. In the land of his forefathers, Rolf is gifted a second chance to find happiness when a fiery Celtic witch with a strange birthmark is thrust in his path. Amidst the political dangers of the wolf clans, Rolf must win Lily's heart a second time before it's too late.

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