Literature / Skies Unbroken
The Sky Is an Ocean
. The Wink and Smile
is an airship. She might only have four crewmembers
(plus a passenger), there might be some tensions among them due to persisting loyalty to their factions
from before the Dissolution
of the Orventian Empire
, and of course money is tight
But captain Kor Icomb has the favour
of lady Luck, and his comm officer
, Nem's ability to hear patterns out in the ether is downright uncanny
. They'll figure out a way to stay afloat.
In the author, Michael Watson's own words, Skies Unbroken
is a serialized fantasy
saga set in a world of endless skies, drifting isles, and continental plateaus rising above an impassable cloud floor
. This is a world rebuilding in the wake of a grand empire’s collapse and the successor states’ failures. Airships of all kinds traverse these skies, crewed by all kinds of folk. But in the Northwest Frontier they’re of a wilder variety. Pirates and Prospectors. Explorers and Settlers. Merchants and Thrill Seekers. Dominators and Dreamers.
Read it here
Look, we found tropes:
- Adorkable: Nem doesn't operate on the same frequency most people do, coming across as a sweet Cloudcuckoolander.
- Alien Sea: A particularly eldritch version in the Churn, which is underneath the floating islands. Proximity to it results in mutations (at least in animals, humans haven't tried, far as we know).
- Asteroid Thicket: The Dross, a chaotic thicket of broken islands and debris, functions as this.
- Blob Monster: Cleaner ooze is a classic one. Don't let it grab you (unless you like being digested). If necessary, Kill It with Fire.
: Besides, it takes years for them to grow large enough to threaten a man.
- Cats Are Magic: According to northern Ossporians, ship without a cat is unlucky. Kor considers this nonsense.
- The City Narrows: Skirts of Gloria.
- Communications Officer: A very important job aboard airships that have to fly in dust storms, between islands that constantly change locations, around other ships that send various signals. Nem is preternaturally good at it.
- Cosmic Plaything: Kor actually has perfectly polite, if oracularly vague, conversations with Luck.
- The Cutie: Nemily Pearson, the resident waifish Churn-listener. And a Kindhearted Cat Lover, since she adopts a kitty in secret from her captain.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Chantil's is frequently alluded to, if shrouded in mystery. The male part of the crew all fought in the war, on opposing sides. Kor used to be part of a Sky Pirate crew and didn't exactly part with them (specifically, with their leader) on best of terms. Even Nem might have some skeletons in her closet.
- Egomaniac Hunter: A group of them hires Wink and Smile for a safari in season one.
- The Engineer: Ship mechanic, Wilcox.
- Floating Continent: Some landmasses are fixed to whatever there is underneath the Churn, but many are floating. Some are floatier than others.
- Good Luck Charm: Kor's is a coin.
- Hostile Weather: Storms are a very big concern for airships, naturally. When Kor and Lucas get caught in one on an island:
Each step was blindly placed, the footing uneven and angled by the isle’s continued listing in the winds.
- Humans Are White: Averted Trope. Chantil and Wilcox are explicitly described as dark-skinned, while Nem is "ghostly pale" with Mystical White Hair. Then again, the etnicities in this world are not exactly like in ours.
- Indentured Servitude: Silija is introduced while working off a debt.
- Klingon Promotion: The real cause of death of Golden Jepp - he was killed by Bianca.
- Lady of Adventure: Verica Chantil, the scholarly biologist who has just a bit of Ship Tease with Kor. Technically a passenger, but contributes as much as she can.
- Layered Metropolis: To save space on the island for farming, Gloria is built vertically, with terraces.
- Man of the City: In case of Gloria, a woman, Ordelia Avarro, or as she calls herself "Governess".
- Must Have Caffeine: Chantil is Not a Morning Person. Wilcox is also mindful of their supply.
Chantil swept into the galley, ignored them all and went straight for the coffee pot.
- Mysterious Waif: Lady Luck.
- Order Versus Chaos: Wilcox sees the world as large-scale orderly, but small-scale chaotic - he thinks reining that chaos in is a bad idea.
- Perpetual Storm: The Ferron storm. Chantil notes this is very unusual. It's dissipating, though.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Both Kor and Lucas have consorted with Pirate Girls, and both relationships ended poorly.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Wink and Smile crew consists of two former Sky Pirates, an occasionally outspoken mechanic, and a probable Waif Prophet, rounded up by an exiled scientist Lady of Adventure. Another former Sky Pirate (Silija) joins in the season one finale.
- Scavenged Punk: Items are described as old, scuffed and leftovers from the Imperial days often enough to give the impression of this trope.
- The Scrounger: The Wink and Smile crew has Lucas Roth, who can sell or buy anything, anywhere.
Lucas: I always know a guy, captain.
- Sky Pirates: Are around. Kor's old captain "Golden Jepp" Jeppesen was actually a privateer for the Coallition, though, as long as the war lasted. Afterwards he just turned to regular piracy.
- The Smart Girl: Nem is a cryptologist as well as Communications Officer.
- Spot of Tea: Part of Orvientian culture. Chantil likes tea as well as coffee.
- Spy Speak: The guy in Gloria who takes Nem for his contact.
Spy: A ballad of errant strands and lost virtues, traced across the sky.
- Still Wearing the Old Colors: Lucas's old colours are tatoos, so he can't get rid of them so easily. In general, pre-war loyalties are going strong.
- Treasure Map: Kor "inherited" one from his old pirate captain. Now he intends to find what the treasure is. They loot the place right in Season One and discover, among a lot of junk, detailed notes on the Ferron Expanse, which is soon to become available for exploration. Kor intends to be the first there and rip all the benefits of that.
- Waif Prophet: Nem's ability to hear the music of the world borders on supernatural and she is pretty waifish.
- The War Just Before: The war that resulted in Dissolution of Orventian Empire. Wilcox, who was on the Coallition's side, has hints of Shell-Shocked Veteran, while Lucas remains a staunch Imperialist.
- Watch the Paint Job: The crew gets a shiny new, lovely skiff during a job, which is shot into oblivion not long after. At least no-one was hurt.
- Weird Weather: The Churn might be this, as it's worldwide and obviously phlebotinum-charged. Regular storms also look somewhat eldritch.
- Wretched Hive: Common in the setting. Even Hub, the main city of the Northwest, features a lot of The City Narrows for our heroes to visit.