Series of juvenile science-fiction novels by Isaac Asimov
, written in the 1950s under the pseudonym Paul French. The series relates the adventures of David "Lucky" Starr, Councilman of Earth's Council of Science, and his battles against crime and corruption in different regions of the Solar System. He is accompanied by loyal sidekick John Bigman Jones, whose short height and shorter temper contrast him with the tall, cool-headed hero.The series comprises six volumes:
- David Starr, Space Ranger
- Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids
- Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus
- Lucky Starr and the Big Sun of Mercury
- Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter
- Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn
In his adventures, Lucky faces off against unusual alien organisms and hostile space environments as well as ordinary human sabotage. The predominating threat throughout comes from Earth's rivals in the system of Sirius, who, although descended from Earthmen, think themselves superior and show signs of wanting to take over Earth's Solar System. The stories usually have an element of mystery as well as adventure, with Lucky having to find a criminal hidden in plain sight, and, in true Asimov fashion, the solution can hang on the tiniest point.
The Lucky Starr
series was written explicitly with the purpose of teaching young people facts about the solar system, which means that it suffers from Science Marches On
perhaps more than the rest of Asimov's work—the title Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus
should be a clue as to how inaccurate it sometimes gets. Nevertheless, the books are still very enjoyable as science-fiction adventures.
Not to be confused with the anime Lucky Star
The first books were also marketed to Hollywood, as the basis for a TV series, which is why Asimov went with the pseudonym. He had seen how Hollywood tended to butcher the works of other SF writers, and wanted to be able to disassociate himself from any resulting series, if he had to. After the TV idea fell through, he started added elements to the later books that clearly labelled him as the author (such as three-laws robots with positronic brains.)
This series provides examples of:
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head
- Air-Vent Passageway
- Artificial Gravity
- Awesome McCoolname
- Character Name And The X of Y
- Chromosome Casting: A male example. All the more impressive considering it encompasses six books.
- Deflector Shields
- Delicious Distraction
- Early-Installment Weirdness: In the first book, Starr encounters an ancient race of Martians who give him a personal force field and dub him "Space Ranger". It was obviously intended as a hero origin story, but all the later books became more of a series of detective novels IN SPACE. He's never called "Space Ranger" again and hardly ever uses the force field.
- Escape Pod
- Everybody Smokes: except Lucky and Bigman.
- Excited Chapter Title!
- Fiery Redhead: Bigman.
- Future Food Is Artificial
- Future Slang: Sands of Mars! Great Galaxy! Space!
- Laser Blade: Trope Maker, surprisingly enough.
- Gagging on Your Words
- Go-to Alias: Lucky uses "William Williams". Or "Dick Williams".
- Government Agency of Fiction: The Council of Science
- Has Two Dads
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Hector Conway and Augustus Henree.
Neither Henree nor [Conway] had ever married, and for neither were there any girls to compete with Barbara in memory.
- Possibly also Lucky Starr and John Bigman Jones.
His years with Lucky had been happy, exciting ones. He had lived a full lifetime in them and had faced death without fear. He could face death now, also without fear.
- His Name Is...: In the fourth book, a robot about to shut down says that it received its orders from - well, only one syllable is heard, but its enough to figure out he meant "Earthman" - a project director who once visited its homeworld and stole the servant assigned to him.
- Honorary Uncle
- Hopping Machine
- The Hypnotoad
- Ironic Middle Name: John Bigman Jones (5 foot 2, counting the hair he keeps combed straight up).
- "It" Is Dehumanizing
Devoure broke in, "We had an example here a while ago, the Councilman's companion. It infuriated and nauseated me merely to be in the same room with him; a monkey, a five-foot travesty of a human being, a lump of deformity… "
- Look Behind You
- The Napoleon
- Nice Shoes
- No Gravity for You: Inverted in one story, where a character is killed because Earth-like gravity was activated at exactly the wrong moment.
- Outdated Future
- Punny Name: Lucky, of course, but also his spaceship, the Shooting Starr.
- Planet of Hats: Almost literally—Martian farm boys all wear garish hip boots, while Venusian men all have moustaches.
- Politically Incorrect Villain
- Pintsized Powerhouse: Bigman.
- Reckless Sidekick: Bigman again.
- Rule of Cool: In David Starr, Space Ranger, there is a fancy restaurant with tables made out of force fields. Why? Because they're so easy to clean, of course... yeah, right.
- Science Marches On: To such an extent that the 1970s reprintings included new introductions by Asimov enumerating all the newly-discovered astronomical facts that contradict the books' descriptions.
- Shown Their Work: It is by Isaac Asimov, after all.
- Silent Whisper: In Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn, Lucky and Wess take a moment to speak privately to one another by using ordinary sound waves, conducted through their spacesuits, so there is no risk of being spied upon. The narrator never tells us what Lucky says, but it becomes clear it has to do with the elaborate deception that Lucky pulls on everyone except Wess later in the book.
- Society Marches On
- Space Pirates
- SpaceX: The V-frogs.
- Stellar Name
- Stop, or I Shoot Myself!
- Technology Marches On: We will all use microfilm in the future.
- Three Laws Compliant: Asimovian robots appear in Big Sun of Mercury, Moons of Jupiter, and Rings of Saturn.
- Tricked-Out Shoes
- Underwater City
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee
- Unusual Euphemism: "To Sun-center with the Sirian cobbers!"
- We Would Have Told You, But...
- What We Now Know to Be True
- You Remind Me of X