is a 2012 Young Adult Science Fiction
novel written by Janet Edwards.
Even though she always loved finding artefacts of the Exodus Century on archaeological dig sites, pre-history buff Jarra would love nothing more than leave Earth and travel to the other sectors settled since portal tech was developed – but she is stuck for life. Handicapped people like her have a sort of allergy that has them go into anaphylactic shock and almost kills them within minutes once they leave Earth. Sucks!
But what she hates even more than being stuck is being seen as a backwater ape by the rest of humanity. So she sneaks into a pre-history class from Asgard, [Delta] Sector to show them all what bigots they are. Only to find herself rather liking more and more people in her class … A sometimes dramatic, sometimes hilarious coming of age story ensues.
In the 2013 sequel Earth Star the military drafts Jarra and Fian to help investigate an unmanned alien probe that has appeared in Earth orbit.
- Absent Aliens: At the time of Earth Girl, humanity has not encountered another intelligent space-faring species. They have, however, encountered lots of alien plant and animal life and so far two species of primitive tool using neo-intelligent aliens they leave alone until they develop further. But this changes in the next book, see First Contact
- A True Story In My Universe: Jarra writes the series In-Universe to dispel misconceptions about the handicapped and put her perspective of various events in the public record. See Fling a Light into the Future.
- Blessed with Suck: The handicapped can't portal, going into anaphylactic shock once they leave Earth/Sol for a still unknown reason. No cure could be developed so far.
- Blitz Evacuees: Everyone on Earth fled to underground caves under Australia called the Ark during the First Contact crisis
- Bold Explorer: The military's main job is the Planet First programme of finding and exploring suitable new planets and making them safe for people to live on. This can be quite hazardous, as shown by the chimera aliens.
- Cool Gate: Jarra reacts awed to seeing the sudden drop portal appear in earth's atmo.
- Cloning Body Parts: The regrow tanks can restore legs, arms, 98% of a person's skin and majorly injured internal organs. As long as your brain did not get squashed, you'd probably survive just fine.
- Crazy-Prepared: The military. In book 2, once the Alien Contact programme kicks in, they are prepared for any eventuality and doing anything, up to and including nuking Earth from orbit. The have missiles standing by, pointed towards earth during the whole crisis. The probability of the probe being hostile is recalculated constantly and new possibilities like the Ark are incorporated immediately.
- Earth That Used to Be Better: All that is left on earth now are mostly the handicapped, their families and Hospital Earth staff. See Homeworld Evacuation.
- Engineered Public Confession: In book 2, the military use Jarra to find Xenophobes in their own ranks by provoking them into calling her an ape after egregiously promoting Jarra and subsequently remove them from the fighter squads.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: The military make Jarra one in Earth Star to calm down people's hysteria about the alien probe.
- The Federation: The sector-spanning government of humanity appears to be this, unified and past waging war among nations. Other than the military, few details are known about how exactly it is run, but each planet (except Earth) and sector have their own parliament, the military are revered explorers, peace-keepers (pretty similar to contemporary UN blue helmet troops) and stewards of the solar power relays, and freedom of speech has been shown to only be curtailed by military classification. Sectors have many local laws and customs but there are also sector-spanning laws like the drafting of experts under the Alien Contact programme. It appears like a cross between the UN, the EU and the US.
- First Contact: Only discussed hypothetically. The military has an elaborate protocol for this, called the Alien Contact programme, giving them the power to draft anyone to help in dealing with the situation. Their approach is to go for a peaceful First Contact at all cost, because a more powerful race could obliterate them anyway and a less powerful race could be best intimidated by displaying their superior tech and firepower alone.
- Fling a Light into the Future: Because Jarra is a passionate historian, and also to dispel prejudices against the handicapped, she wants there to be an authentic true report of the historic stuff that happened to her, so she writes the ''Earth Girl'' series. But she can't publish it because the military classified all of it – still she hopes future historians will get to read it once it gets declassified.
- Future Slang: Zan (awesome), amaz, grazzed, nardle (idiot), flexiplas (a new type of plexiglass), glowplas (a lumininescent kind of concrete), legs (butt), lookup (post-smartphone smartwatch/wristband device), Twoing (marriage), Boy-and-Girl-ing (kissing), pre-history (pre Exodus Century history on Earth), cheese fluffle (Jarra's inexplicably favourite food :D), nuke (equivalent to fuck).
- Gender Is No Object: Both genders get to lust about the other's legs just the same. Oh, and everyone pretty much can do whatever job they want, worry about their spouse, make the first move and propose equally etc.
- Homeworld Evacuation: When portals where discovered, people yearned for the stars and left en-masse, known as the Exodus Century. They left in such a hurry that vital technology was lost because half of Earth's extensive databases and digital libraries were corrupted when someone royally screwed up the global data library back-up after a huge system crash After that monumental loss of human knowledge, backups of of human data are now kept at every major university on dozens of planets. The only likely copies of those corrupted files are now to be found preserved in buried stasis boxes, dug out by pre-history archaeologists.
- Hope Spot: In book 2, Jarra fears the dig for the alien sender on Earth is just this.
- It's The Only Way To Be Sure: When they threatened to drive humans to extinction, Thetis was nuked from orbit to obliterate the chimera. The military is ready to do the same to Earth if it stops an alien invasion. To this day, all military vehicles still have chimera detectors.
- Lost Technology: Humanity has lost the among other things: The ability to manufacture glowplas and scientific/mathematical proofs of laws of nature their current tech relies on
- Every stasis box bears the hope of finding the lost plans/proofs/papers/blueprints on those.
- Matter Replicator: The food dispensers.
- Military Brat: Jarra pretends to be one to disguise her status as Handicapped, then discovers she actually is one when she requests information about her parents. Played with in that she never knew her parents and resented them for a long time for not staying with her on Earth. When she learns about her parentage, she acknowledges that her parents being Military meant that staying with her wasn't really an option for them.
- Military Science-Fiction: The series is an untypical case, and only starts focusing on the military in book 2. There is no galactic war and the military is more of a peacekeeping force, akin to today's UN Blue Helmet troops. Also, the protagonist is not military. She fakes being military as part of her cover-story to get into the Asgard class only to later find out she was military-born all along and has famous heroes in her ancestry. In book 2, she and Fian actually join the military, though not voluntarily. They are basically involuntarily drafted into it under their First Contact programme citizen's duty.
- The military's main occupation is actually preparing suitable planets for settlement under the standardized 10-stage Planet First programme by exploring them and eliminating deathly live forms. This extremely hazardous, vital work is why they are so revered by most people. No planet has been settled do far without some military dying in the process.
- Funnily, Earth itself would not pass Planet First criteria because (among multiple other reasons) of the frequent solar storms (which cause portal network outages).
- Mission Control: Dig Site Command, plus the military in book 2.
- Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: One Big Lie: Portalling tech.
- Mundane Utility: Using a stasis box to preserve freshly warm Cheese fluffle :D
- Not So Different: For all her complaints about how people from outside of Earth are prejudiced against the Handicapped, Jarra initially has several prejudices of her own regarding the "exos" as she calls them, including her belief that they are all prejudiced against the handicapped. After a little time in the company of the exos, she realizes the error of this.
- Parental Abandonment: The fate of most handicapped. Only very few parents are ready to sacrifice life off-Earth and move there to raise their kids. Most of thom thus end up in the care of Hospital Earth, which gives them education and foster homes with designated ProParents, as well as other kids to befriend and in a way become their sibling substitutes. This care is thankfully quite generous and humane compared to its usual portrayal as cruel and wanting.
- Parental Substitute: The two ProParents each kid gets assigned on Earth serve as those for their whole life. Each ProParent cares for multiple kids though, sometimes leaving Jarra jealous of the other kids her ProMum cares for when she can't meet or call her and of all the exos for how much more time they ideally get to spend with their parents. Jarra has grown apart from her ProDad over the years, but inexplicably is unable to get Hospital Earth to assign her a better one. So they seem to be assigned for live, for better and worse.
- Plot Hole: Discussed In-Universe by Jarra and Fian: They each show one another an episode their favorite TV shows and, upon having the respective premises explained to them, point out the flaws in the storyline. Jarra's favorite show, Defenders, is rife with inaccuracies about military life and Fian's favorite show, Stalea of the Jungle depends on military personnel having ignored basic procedures.
- Portal Network: They are comparable to the portals of the Stargate Verse. The major difference is that they have Drop Portals, where you can bootstrap a new portal connection by portalling to a new place without having to get the receiving portal there conventionally. The small ships dropped there then assemble the regular receiving portal.
- They are restricted to a maximum diameter of 4 meters
- By now, humanity relies so much on them that their spacecraft cannot launch into space or land from there, only portal from orbit to the planetary surface and vice versa. The only airplanes still used are survey planes for cartography and to look for people gone missing.
- The Power of the Sun: Planetary solar power arrays collect vast amounts of solar power and beam them down to their planets in plasma beams that have to be shut down during solar storms because they can become humongous death rays when their orbit gets out of control.
- Prime Directive: The military has so far come across two so called neo-intelligent (that is, primitive non-space-faring, but already tool using) alien species on new worlds. Those worlds go into quarantine to allow them to develop uninfluenced. In book 2, the military speculate the mysterious probe-sending aliens have this as well and the probe only activated once it got a signal from a auto-scanning sender put on Earth telling them the earthlings had developed sufficiently.
- Propaganda: In book 2 – of the benevolent kind. They build up Jarra as a hero figure to calm the hysteria about the alien probe down and before that kept it under wraps. They carefully influence the footage the media gets to make Jarra and everyone look busy, doing good and heroic.
- Sector of Hats: Because long-range communication was so difficult when humanity initially settled worlds and because the first worlds where often settled by people from certain regions of earth, the sectors and the planets within those have developed distinct culture, laws and sexual mores. This is however frequently subverted by various characters.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Jarra punched her previous suitor and would rather forget that stupid tryst forever. Fian is not just good-looking, but also loyal, determined and supportive.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Some of the stasis boxes contain nuclear warhead, chemical or biological weapons, or even worse, highly classified things.
- Single-Biome Planet: Only one continent per planet is settled because it is more easy to set up the Portal Network there that way, so this might justifiably occur on some planets.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Rather idealistic portrayal of humanity: Very democratic and meritocratic, with plenty of room and resources and past waging wars with one another. Most people are good. But xenophobia, bigotry, narcissism, bullying and the occasional asshole still exist here and there.
- Space Romans: The Betans wear togas and named their planets after pantheon gods. They had an Emperor proclaim secession from the rest of humanity as the Second Roman Empire and later a crazy wanna-be Emperor, brother of the actual ruler, pointed the orbital power array plasma beam at their capital planet Artemis, killing almost 50,000 people to force his brother to cede power to him. It ended with the military storming the array and Betan space returning under unified military control.
- Split Personality Takeover: Jarra's "JMK" personality isn't really a split personality, but the spirit of the trope is there after Jarra learns that her biological parents were killed in the line of duty. She loses herself in the JMK's life and even dismisses mail sent to "Jarra Reeath" (her actual name) as a "mailing error" and files a complaint about it.
- Time Stands Still: Inside the stasis boxes.
- Terraform: Averted, because the military Planet First forces can cherry-pick suitable planets by deploying loads of unmanned drop portal survey ships.
- Translation Convention: Humanity speeks one unified language, simply called Language, but the Future Slang used is still obviously derived from English. Must be a Woolseyism, as in book 2 most archaeologists don't comprehend Earth English at all.
- Utopia: Earth is an interesting case: The handicapped are forever stranded on Earth, which is seen as backwater, with them seen as sub-human. But all handicapped get free health care, education and an unconditional basic income for life. But they don't get to vote: Earth has no parliament and they have no vote in the Sector Parliament.
- Humanity as a whole seems pretty democratic, quite well fed and cared for, and the archeology dig sites as well as the military come across as refreshingly meritocratic.