The Icarus Hunt
is a 1999 Sci-Fi
novel by Timothy Zahn
, of Star Wars Expanded Universe
fame. The plot is as follows: Jordan McKell, a former soldier and current pilot/smuggler, is given command of the Icarus
, a very odd ship with a ragtag crew and a mysterious cargo. His journey is plagued with problems, not the least of which are a saboteur and murderer on board and a widespread manhunt for him and his cargo.
Tropes associated with this series:
- Applied Phlebotinum: The Patth's stardrive and the teleportation device the Icarus is built around.
- Artificial Gravity: There's basically a switch that flips it on and off.
- Badass: In Jordan's opening scene, he outsmarts a huge alien using racial psychology and then punches it in that species' Groin Attack location. Just to get into a bar.
- Batman Gambit: Jordan pulls off a couple big ones, including one on the Big Bad.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: The Icarus and its crew get out of a few tough spots with a string of these.
- Big Damn Heroes: When the rest of the crew show up to rescue Jordan.
- Bio-Augmentation: The Patth implant bits of their control hardware into pilots so the drives can't be reverse engineered.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Ixil has two rodent-like "outriders" that can connect to his nervous system and share memories. The computer also has issues diagnosing him when he gets injured.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Kind of. Reflecting trends in technology at the time the book was written, Jordan has a do-anything communication device that in other sci-fi settings would have a fancy name, but here he simply refers to it as his 'phone'. Also, Ixil's two outriders are referred to as 'ferrets'.
- Casual Interstellar Travel: Of the Space Is an Ocean and Planetville variety.
- Combat Pragmatist: Jordan. He will use anything and everything against his assailants including psychology, knowledge of alien anatomy, and his surroundings.
- The Conspiracy: The hunt for Jordan and the Icarus is backed by a mysterious organization.
- Death Glare: Tera gives lots of these to Jordan.
- Driving Question: What does everyone want with the Icarus?
- Energy Weapon: Jordan carries a "plasmic" and runs into aliens that carry "coronal discharge" weapons. The former shoots balls of plasma and the latter burns the target to a crisp with a burst of electricity.
- Eureka Moment: Jordan has several through the course of the book.
- Fantastic Drug: "Happyjam", which Jordan and Ixil have run for Brother John in the past. It seems basically like any contemporary addictive drug though, without any 'sci-fi-y' twists mentioned.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: Everyone has it; what's important is how fast.
- Genre Savvy: Jordan, very much so.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Jordan calls for aid for The Climax, with The Cavalry being Kalirixi commandos who have nothing to lose by helping him.
- Guile Hero: Jordan, full stop.
- Impersonation Gambit: Jordan uses one early to get more information about his pursuers. The papers he gets help Nicabar set up another one later.
- Improvised Weapon: Jordan threatens an alien with broken space glass.
- Indy Ploy: Whenever Jordan isn't on the ship, he's doing this.
- The Handler: Jordan gets two. At the same time.
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Discussed in some of Jordan's internal commentary. It appears that kinetic weapons and energy weapons deal similar damage to people, but kinetic weapons are a bad idea on a ship where they can destroy equipment and cause hull breaches.
- Half Truth: Jordan rarely tells the full story to anyone but Ixil.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jordan and Ixil. Many comments have been made that their relationship is like Han and Chewie's, without the life debt thing.
- Humanoid Aliens: Almost all the aliens we see in this universe are more or less humanoid.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Ixil to Jordan, sorta. It turns out that Ixil is technically Jordan's superior officer, though their relationship is more one of partners.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: The plot strongly resembles a cross between the Alistair MacLean novels When Eight Bells Toll (including the hero's boss being known as "Uncle Arthur") and Fear is the Key.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Jordan believes that Uncle Arthur uses these on his underlings. It doesn't really work over videophone.
- Significant Monogram: Tera ends up having one once Jordan learns her full name.
- Token Romance: Tacked on in the last two pages or so.
- Twist Ending: Like pretty much every other Zahn work. Not to mention there are plenty of twists part way through the plot, too.
- Undercover Cop Reveal