Literature / Space Captain Smith

"A ship!" Smith sprang up. "That's excellent! Will there be action, and danger?"
"There'll be hippies. Will that do?"
"Sir, I'll take the risk."
Isambard and Mr. Kahn, "Space Captain Smith"

Isambard Smith is the square-jawed, courageous and somewhat dim new commander of the clapped out, battle damaged light freighter John Pym, destined to take on the alien threat because nobody else is available. Together with his bold crew- a skull collecting alien lunatic and an android pilot who is actually an escaped sex toy (and her pet hamster: Gerald)- he must collect new-age herbalist Rhianna Mitchell from the laid back New Francisco orbiter and bring her back to safety in the British Space Empire. Straightforward enough- except the Ghast want her too. If he is to get back to Blighty alive, Smith must defeat void sharks, a universe-weary android assassin and John Gilead, psychopathic naval officer from the fanatically religious Republic of New Eden before facing his greatest enemy: a ruthless alien warlord with a very large behind...

Space Captain Smith (The chronicles of Isambard Smith Vol. 1) is the debut novel of English author Toby Frost, and is a science-fiction comedy. It has been followed by four sequels- God Emperor of Didcot, Wrath of the Lemming Men, A Game of Battleships and End of Empires.

There are also three short stories (all Christmas Episodes) When Slay Bells Ring, The Celery an the Ivy and A Fairytale of New Dorchester, which are available as free downloads from the Space Captain Smith website. The first contains a significant (in some eyes) spoiler for God Emperor of Didcot.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Alien Invasion
  • Aliens Speaking English: The British 'civilized' aliens, making them learn English.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Carveth has an almost child-like obsession with ponies. This may be excused by the fact that she's only two years old.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Vorl
  • Ancient Tradition: Suruk's slaying and head collecting.
  • An Arm and a Leg: When the evil Gilead is shot by Smith, the doctors could only save his head and his bladder.
  • Artificial Human Pollyanna R Carveth, the sexbot on the run. Prefers the term "Person of Artificial Heritage".
  • Artificial Limbs: Smith needs one of these after Number 8 bites off his right arm. He gets a proper new one grown for him, though
  • The Battlestar: Dreadnoughts
  • Battle Trophy: After killing planetary crimeboss Corveau, Smith takes the guy's Civiliser (a massive revolver that shoots .45 hypervelocity rounds). This nicely supplements the heroes' somewhat meager arsenal.
  • Berserk Button: The normally cowardly Carveth will lose it, if anyone calls her fat.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Smith's return to New Luton with Wainscott's team and the Vorl.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology
  • Bloody Hilarious: Suruk in general, and the heads he keeps as trophies on his mantle.
  • The Bridge: Subverted- the John Pym barely has room for a two-seat cockpit.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Subverted. In Wrath Of The Lemming Men, Smith punches Number 8, who eats his arm. Turns out that Smith had a live grenade in that hand.
  • The Captain: Smith, obviously
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Although distances are never stated, it is made clear that travel between star systems takes only hours at best, but sometimes stretched into days.
  • Casual Kink: After many stoned conversations with Rhianna, Carveth tells Smith that he should 'watch his arse around a woman like her'. In context, the implications are...interesting.
  • Cool Starship: Subverted - the John Pym is very old and very battered, held together with duct tape and string, but she is also one of the fastest starships in the known galaxy - in a straight line - thanks to a massive non standard engine. Not so good at cornering though.
  • Copycat Cover: It's very similar to the British covers of the Flashman novels.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Suruk the slayer.
  • Gasshole: Made to be occasionally crude as part of the fetishized programming suite hardwired into her, Carveth is going to burp or fart every so often per book.
  • Granola Girl: Rhianna Mitchell, although her home world New Francisco is a whole planet of these.
  • Hand Cannon: Humans don't do man-portable energy weapons much. Instead they use oversized guns such as Smith's Civiliser that he took from Corveau and Dreckitt's Assasinator, which was described as having barrel big enough to rent as living space.
  • Hartman Hips: Number 462 of the Ghasts has a really big bottom (well...462 is a giant antman), this is something that Smith notices and taunts him about.
  • Higher-Tech Species: The Ghast use bio-ships with organic plasma disruptors, while humanity is still stuck with using big guns that wouldn't seem out of place today. It was the Ghast that provided the technology to separate Rhianna's Vord aspect from her human self.
  • Improvised Weapon: Suruk knocks out some mercenaries threatening Carveth, with a foot-long, black plastic club that's rounded at the top and gently vibrates to give his hand a nice massage. Carveth quickly takes back her vibrator.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The Ghast.
  • It Was a Gift: After Smith and crew liberate Paradis from Corveau, Francois tells Smith to keep the .308 Morgan Plainsman that he lent Smith. With Corveau gone, Francois no longer needs a gun like that and feels Smith will make better use of it.
  • Living Ship: The Ghast ships seem to be made of living tissue, but are not apparently sentient. They are chock-full of Squick, though; the airlocks are sphincters. Complete with sucking noises!
  • Man in the Machine: After being reduced to a head and a bladder, Gilead had been placed in a robot body, making him a near full-body cyborg. But because of issues such as ghost sensations (including trying to scratch an itch in a non-existent crotch), Gilead is not a happy camper and really wants to make Smith and friends suffer.
  • Ms Fan Service: Averted with Carveth. When Smith found out that Carveth was made as a custom-built sexbot, he was surprised given that she looks like a small, thin woman of 30 who's only pretty in a plain way. Carveth then explains the reason why she's not a busty goddess is that her owner is an extremely nasty pervert with very specific fetishes, and her design specs came from a questionaire he filled out.
  • More Dakka: Smith fends off three marauding void sharks with a somewhat futuristic Maxim machine gun that has 999 rounds in a single magazine. The Maxim was also used to beat back a Ghast boarding party. Once Smith gets his Morgan Plainsman rifle, Carveth takes up the Maxim and goes wild with it. For the bad guys side, the Edenites that wear powered armour also carry gatling guns as a standard weapon.
  • No Sell: Tea with milk, is such an incredible drink that it enabled Smith to withstand an concerted mental attack from a group of psychic children. Powered by tea, Smith's moral fiber shot through the roof and shut down the voices in his head.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: As its name suggests, the Democratic Republic of New Eden is a hellish theocratic tyranny.
    • The Greater Galactic Happiness, Friendship and Co-operation Collective is run by demented sadistic lemming men intent on conquest.
  • Power-Up Food: Why is the British Space Empire invincible? It's because of tea with a spot of milk in it. Near the beginning of Book 2, the analytical simulant mentions that tea raises moral fiber. And moral fiber is 30% more effective at raising fighting prowess than numerical superiority, good genes, fanaticism and etc. The Ghasts try to power themselves up with it, but fail despite their numerous experiments (including an attempt to mate with tea bags).
  • Powered Armor: The Edenites have very advanced tech, and in a shoutout to Starship Troopers, they attack the Imperials with powered armour that is capable of tremendous leaps. Unfortunately their armour is vulnerable to emp and Smith's rifle can shoot through bank vaults.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Morlocks. Suruk see the missions as holidays and opportunities to add to his collection of skulls. He never seems to use guns preferring to use his many blades and ancestral spear. Subverted with Morlock speech. In English they sound like the typical Proud Warrior Race Guy, but in Asur'ah they are, like, way more expressive, y'know?
  • Our Orcs Are Different: The Morlocks practically scream out that they're Orcs. They are large, strong and green (but skinny), they have big tusks and like collecting skulls, and in a shoutout to Warhammer 40,000, they believe that painting a ship red makes it goes faster.
  • Ramming Always Works - both the Morlocks and the Lemming-men favour this, the former because of their desire to board and engage in hand-to-hand fighting; the latter because of their suicidal tendencies - and their ships are constructed appropriately.
  • Retro Universe / Schizo Tech / Days of Future Past : But it's all obviously Played for Laughs.
  • Robot Girl Carveth (though technically she's wholly organic, in the flesh versus steel sense of the word - Rhianna is wholly organic in a more philosophical sense.
  • Sexbot: Carveth is a custom-built sex toy. As such she's hardwired to occasionally lapse into talking innuendo and be crude.
  • Shout-Out - liberally sprinkled through all three novels, calling everything from Enid Blyton to War of the Worlds, the Chipmunks to Japanese whaling practices (the space whales "ate the Japanese fleet and passed it off as research"), and even the Teddy Bears' Picnic.
  • Space Opera
  • Space Is an Ocean: With giant sharks in it, too.
  • Spot of Tea: In The God Emperor of Didcot, the Ghasts plan to destroy the tea fields, thus striking a mortal blow to the British Space Empire.
  • Stiff Upper Lip
  • Teens Are Monsters: A shoutout to Clockwork Orange, the crew end up on planet Drogon - a shithole of a world where teenage gangs go around in bowler hats, speaking a Russian/English hybrid, drinking narcotic laced milk and violently assaulting people. Unfortunately for one gang, they decided to attack Smith and Suruk. Not all of the gang died quickly as the heroes needed info.
  • Touched by Vorlons - Rhianna's mother.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Smith. Admittedly his idealism is based around how great it is that the British Space Empire stomps on and colonises everyone, but it's idealism.
    • Given the relatively benign impact of the British Space Empire compared to what you get at the hands of the Ghasts, New Eden and the Lemming Men, it's hard for him not to be idealistic about it.
  • With This Herring: For such an important mission, Captain Smith was given an unarmed rustbucket of a ship and a couple of guns in a locker (a Maxim machine gun which acts like the smartgun from Aliens, a shotgun and a service revolver).