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Literature: Feliks, Net & Nika
Feliks, Net & Nika
is a series of Young Adult
books by Polish
writer Rafał Kosik, mixing fantasy and science fiction with heavy doses of Polish school.
It's the beginning of the new schoolyear and, for Feliks Polon, the beginning of new school - first class of Gymnasium
. Looking for his class, he meets gang of bullies and is robbed for his lunched money. Just after that meeting he stumbles upon Net and Nika, two other members of his class, who were robbed the same way. Together, they decide to solve the problem.
Oh, should me mention that Net has pet AI program
called Manfred and is a Playful Hacker
? Or the fact that Feliks is Gadgeteer Genius
and his father works on top secret government projects? That Nika hides that she's an orphan and can move things with her mind? That school is haunted? That the gang of so-called Invisible People starts raiding banks and trio just must
find out who are they? Or maybe that magic, as well as advanced cybernetics and time travel, is very much real?
First book was published in 2004 and next ones are still coming. Those are:
- Feliks, Net & Nika and Gang of Invisible People
- Feliks, Net & Nika and Theoretically Possible Catastrophe
- Feliks, Net & Nika and Castle of Dreams
- Feliks, Net & Nika and Trap of Immortality
- Feliks, Net & Nika and Orbital Conspiracy
- Feliks, Net & Nika and Orbital Conspiracy 2: Little Army
- Feliks, Net & Nika and Third Cousin
- Feliks, Net & Nika and Rise of Machines
- Feliks, Net & Nika and World Zero
- Feliks, Net & Nika and World Zero 2: Alternauts
- Feliks, Net & Nika and Extracurricular Stories (compilation of shorts stories featuring the trio)
Books are extremely popular in Poland and have won few national literature prizes. The movie based on Theoretically Possible Catastrophe
was made, but due to bad public reception, series was not continued on screen.
Series contains examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Warsaw's sewer system seems surprisingly spacious in Trap of Immortality.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Morten.
- However there might be something behind him turning evil... Konpopoz is a better example.
- Alpha Bitch: Aurelia, especially towards Nika.
- Alternate Universe: In both parts of World Zero trio visits some more and more different from ours, from the world where recent political crisis didn't happen to the world where dinosaurs never died by the way of everything in between.
- Alternate History Wank: in the Cliff Hanger to the first part of Alternauci, the heroes read about Polish-Chinese border. Ultimately deconstructed, since the Polish empire bordering France and China is still only slightly less friendly than Soviet Union, for instance (though the heroes visit worse worlds). The main universe can actually qualify as well - Poland sends robots to Mars, experiments with jump gates and hires Men In Black.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The symbol of three gears appears in Morten's lair, in the Nazi secret bunker and in the 18th century catacombs...
- Antagonist Title: Third Cousin.
- Artificial Intelligence: All over the place. Story states that in our times there are dozens of incredibly humanlike AIs that work in data analysis or management, it's just that they are not seen by general public. Special mention goes to Manfred and Morten.
- Bad Future: weather control is a crapshoot.
- Beneath the Earth: the Underwarsaw in Trap of Immortality.
- Benevolent A.I.: Manfred.
- Big Eater: Celina.
- Breather Episode: After serious Castle of Dreams and Trap of Immortality and before Third Cousin and Rise of Machines, Orbital Conspiracy was surprisingly light.
- Building of Adventure: Institute. Gymnasium trio goes to counts to, although it's no Academy of Adventure. The motel they stay in Third Cousin also counts, although this is more scary than awesome.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Professor Butler and most of Institute's staff. Institute even has Bunny Ears Robots!
- Captain Oblivious: Headmaster Stokrotka and his assistant. He don't realize most things that happen at school.
- Character Blog: Manfred used to blog occasionally.
- Character Name and the Noun Phrase: All titles follow this rule, even short stories.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Stefan Kuszmiński, man after whom trio's gymnasium is named.
- Cool Old Lady: Feliks' grandma, Mrs Lusia. She's amazing cook, always willing to help the trio and hides amazing fortune. Sadly, she dies in Trap of Immortality.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Subverted in most books, as it's demonstrated just how much trouble Nika must go through to avoid orphanage. However, played straight in World Zero, when it turns out that in almost every world they visit Nika still lives alone, so they have safe hiding spot.
- Creepy Basement: There's one under residual Orphanage of Fear where Golem hides, among... other things.
- Evil Teacher: Some of teachers in the heroes' school are just stupid like the incompetent IT teacher, or the Hippie Teacher of arts, but the geography teacher takes the cake, forcing the students to cram areas, leaders and borders of all the states. The PE teacher is borderline Sadist - instead of a school trip he changes it in the very last moment to extreme survival camp.
- Orphanage of Fear: Trio's class goes to one in Trap of Immortality. All children have only names and - maybe - numbers, building is dark and unfriendly and headmistress is terribly strict...
- Until kids manage to put headmistress and the local Alpha Bitch to sleep. Parties are quite fun, although Nika is still creeped out.
- Everybody Did It: In Trzy kuzynki the majority of school trip are Kid Sleuth s quite like our heroes, with access to unusual technologies and/or psychic powers, but using them to steal. The protagonists are Locked Out of the Loop, and just want to rest.
- First Episode Spoiler: Nika is an orphan and has psychic powers.
- Five-Man Band: One forms in Orbital Conspiracy
- From Bad to Worse: Both Theoretically Possible Catastrophe and two parts of World Zero are based on this trope.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Feliks and his dad, full stop. Polons' entire house is full of various gadgets and machines in different state of usability.
- Generation Xerox: Net and Feliks. Net's dad is hacker and programming specialist, the same as his son and Feliks' dad is hobbyst Gadgeteer Genius, just as his son.
- Nika might be this with some delay - her great-great... grandmother was one of the last witches in Poland.
- Genre Savvy: Main characters, especially Net.
- Ghostly Chill: Presence of ghosts causes temperature drop. This is used by trio to hunt ghosts at school.
- Girl Posse: Aurelia has one, consisting of Beta Bitch Klaudia and Fat Girl Celina. After some time, however, Celina breaks away and Aurelia is stuck with Klaudia.
- Going for the Big Scoop: Ilona Bogucka pretends to love this, while in reality she's in for money.
- Gone Horribly Right: Golem's first awakening was... adventurous, to say the least.
- Grim Reaper: Villain from Trap of Immortality appears as this. He's actually a ghost of long-dead inventor.
- Intangibility: Ghosts' property.
- Haunted House: Gymnasium, up to the end of book one.
- Hell Hotel: Three Cousins motel. It's absolutely creepy and run by even creepier two cousins.
- Hidden Depths: Juliusz Stokrotka, the principal of school - a jovial incompetent self-centered Ted Baxter... who, when realizing that his IT teacher is incompetent becomes a good enough sysadmin to stop Net.
- Inn of No Return: For some girls, Three Cousins is this.
- Its A Small World Afterall: That's quite a coincidence that both Net's and Feliks' fathers work in the same place when boys met each other for the first time at school.
- Legacy Character: The headmistress of Orphanage of Fear is always named Eleonora Chrubieszczak. The most promising student takes her place and name. The current Alpha Bitch is a biological daughter of the current headmistress - unaware, so that she receives the same treatment as other orphans.
- Lighthouse Point: Rozewie Lighthouse where climax of Theoretically Possible Catastrophe takes place.
- Mad Scientist: Professor Butler, Biology teacher. Gilbert's father, dr Kurtacz. Also some workers of Institute count. But the late Professor Kuszminski takes the cake.
- Man Behind the Man: Morten in Castle of Dreams and both parts of Orbital Conspiracy.
- Merlin Sickness: Great Anticipator lives backwards. Unlike Trope Namer this is painful - he remembers being born when he fell under the tram, had to learn to walk forwards and to discern human speech sounding backwards. When he reads, he loses information, and he knows he's going to die in 1960.
- Men In Black: A recurring Agent Mamrot, tied to Polish government. he's that badass that he exists in every parallel universe where there is a Polish government. He's also badass enough to be the first adult POV character in the series.
- Middle-of-Nowhere Street: There's one in Trap of Immortality that appears and disappears as it wish, at the same time erasing and overwriting itself from or into every data bank or map it should be in... including videos and tape recordings.
- Mind Screw: There are parts that induce that feeling, especially in Trap of Immortality. It... takes some time to get it.
- Noodle Implements: Short descriptions of Feliks' basement have this vibe. Among others there are high-jump shoes, cyberfly, forever-pen, matchstick de-lighter, torchdark (opposite of torchlight) and many others.
- As a meta example, backsides of covers of every book look like this, with short paragraphs of text mixed with various Checkhov's Guns and Noodle Implements.
- No Export for You: Some books were translated into Lithuanian, Hungarian and Czech, but nothing into English.
- Not Me This Time: It was actually Konpopoz, not Morten who wrecked havoc in Rise of Machines.
- Official Couple: Net and Nika after Orbital Conspiracy. Feliks and Laura later on.
- Paparazzi: Ilona Bogucka and the entire crew of News And Nuances to lesser extent. They're news reporter, but will bend the truth or outright fake evidence for audience.
- Playful Hacker: Net.
- Portmanteau: Names of Institute robots. Konpopoz is for KONserwator POwierzchni POZiomych (Conservator of Horizontal Surfaces), Roznakin is RObot ZNAKujący I Informujący (Information and Labeling Robot) and Autotup comes from 'AUTOmatyczny TUrystyczny Przewodnik (Automatic Tourist Guide).
- Psychic Powers: Nika has telekinesis, although it works only when she feels strong emotions or focuses very hard.
- Psycho Rangers: Kinga, Patryk i Adrian, the other Super-team. Not really sure if they're evil, but they quite likely work for Ancient Conspiracy.
- Reality Warping: Some ghost can do this... Or can't they?
- Recurring Boss: Morten, who appeared (or was suspected of appearing) in books 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Net's Red to Feliks' Blue. Golem Golem is Blue to Manfred's Red.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: All robots in the institute are like this. Manfred also counts, as he has his new shiny robotic body now.
- Repetitive Name: Golem Golem.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Manfred, Konpopoz, Roznakin and Autotup. Played with Golem Golem.
- Robot Maid: Konpopoz - no one wondered why to create an Artificial Intelligence just to clean corridors - and it really backfired on them.
- Second Law My Ass: Konpopoz has this attitude after accidentally his programming fails. Given what was his attitude to humans to begin with...
- Secret Keeper: Feliks and Net are this for Nika.
- Secret Secret Keeper: In Rise of Machines we find out that Net's and Feliks' parents know that Nika is an orphan an actively help her hide it, without her knowledge.
- Secret Underground Passage: Entire sewer system of Warsaw is one in Trap of Immortality. There's also small one between orphanage and sewer system.
- Something Completely Different: Third Cousin not only focuses solely on magic (other books have more science or mix science with paranormal) but is also the only book in the series that can be described as horror.
- Tagalong Reporter: Ilona Bogucka has this attitude in Rise of Machines, which annoys everybody to no end.
- Time Travel: The entire plot of Theoretically Possible Catastrophe.
- íThree Amigos!
- Three-Laws Compliant: Robots in Institute follow them, AI's... not so much.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future / Twenty Minutes into the Past: Bot occur in Theoretically Possible Catastrophe.
- Unfinished Business: The motivation of ghosts.
- Webcomic Time: Gang of Invisible People takes part during one schoolyear and Theoretically Possible Catastrophe all happens during holidays. But then all books up to and including Rise of Machines happen in school's year two and both parts of World Zero happen during holidays.