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Space Trucker
Complete with space mudflaps.
We got music in our solar system!
We're space truckin' through the stars!
Deep Purple, "Space Truckin'"

When space westerns decide to get literal with the genre name, these guys tend to show up.

They are usually depicted as, well, southern-fried semi truckers that happen to fly cargo spaceships instead. Usually easygoing, unflappable, and have a backwoods wisdom developed during the time spent alone on long hauls between solar systems. Occasionally they're smugglers, but usually aren't drug mules. From time to time, between hauls they'll stop at a local tavern and challenge various folks to a little arm-wrestling, drinking contests and then drunken brawls. Tend to talk in a Southern or slight Texan drawl.

Overlaps occasionally with the Boisterous Bruiser, Gentle Giant, Warrior Poet or other ersatz cowboy-style archetypes.

Their ships are most likely Used Future pieces of junk, just barely held together —bonus points if they're blocky, and bear a surprising resemblance to modern Mack trucks or other 18-wheelers.

Often a subtrope of Intrepid Merchant


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

     Comic Books  

  • 2000 AD's Ace Trucking Co. series.
  • While less of a trucker and more of a taxi driver, DC Comics has Space Cabbie, who has been shown transporting and imparting wisdom to everyone from Adam Strange to Ultra, the Multi-Alien.
  • The mostly-forgotten (for good reason) Marvel hero Razorback had the mutant power to drive any vehicle seemingly by instinct. He happily moves up from semis to FTL spacecraft.
  • The 2010 The Infinity Gauntlet mini-series includes the character U.S. Ace, whose Space 18-Wheeler (it looks like a semi-truck with rocket boosters) is the fastest ship in the galaxy, and therefore the chosen ship for The Avengers to use to get to the center of the universe. (U.S. Ace is a non-trademarked version of U.S. 1, a character Marvel created in the '80s for a licensed comic to promote a toy truck line. In the '80s comics his truck was "merely" tricked out a la James Bond.)
  • Wonton Soup: The main character is a highly skilled chief who decides to wonder the galaxy as a space trucker.

     Film  

  • The crew in Alien.
  • Spaceballs (a parody of Star Wars) naturally has Lone Star (a parody of Han Solo) driving a Winnebago through space.
  • Space Truckers. You don't say. Right down to the spaceship looking like a Mack truck.
  • Battle Beyond the Stars: Space Cowboy is a character like this, down to his broken-down cargo ship with a Confederate flag on the hull. He even watches old westerns on long hauls, and plays the harmonic.
  • For all intents and purposes, Han Solo in the first Star Wars film, at least when the audience first meets him. He'd normally have turned down the heroes' request for transport, except he was hard up for cash after having to dump a big cargo of illegal goods. Circumstances prevent him from repaying his debt which finally comes back to bite him at the end of the second and beginning of the third films.

     Literature  

  • In John DeChancie's Skyway trilogy, the only widely known form of faster-than-light travel involves driving ground vehicles along the highway/wormhole network Precursors have built which seems to connect every place in the universe worth visiting. Most races don't even bother building sublight spaceships (though they do get used), and if anybody has actual FTL space drives they're keeping it very quiet, so trade equals truckers. And human truckers tend to be... well, truckers.

     Live Action TV  

  • The Eureka Maru in Andromeda
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Outrageous Okona" had the Loveable Rogue variation in Okona.
  • The Lexx episode "Love Grows".
  • Firefly: The crew of Serenity have this as a major part of their job. Of course, they also do burglaries and mercenary work.

     Music  

  • "Asteroid Named Rest Stop", a song by Julia Ecklar and Leslie Fish. The lyrics can be found here
  • Obviously, "Space Truckin'" by Deep Purple.

     Tabletop Games  

  • The aptly named board game Galaxy Trucker
  • Free Traders in Traveller, though there the preferred analogy is of "tramp" (non-scheduled) ocean freighters than of truckers; even a free trader costs enough for any one who owns one free and clear to be counted as pretty wealthy.

     Video Games  

  • Elite, its sequels and the many, many games that followed its example start from a basic premise of "A Space Trucker Is You". Over time, the concept expanded to the point where the player may also be an explorer, a military fighter, or a venture capitalist with real estate of their own.
  • The X-Universe series allows the player to take up the role of a freelance trader, along with the thousands of AI traders. Most TS (Transport, small) class ships have modular cargo sections like a freight train. Several of them have elements of modern trucks - The Argon Mercury has a sun visor and a cockpit reminiscent of a Mack truck. Others resemble oceangoing cargo ships, with containers being the bulk of their mass and the cockpit protruding slightly above them roughly 2/3rds of the way from the front, like a ship's bridge.
    • TL (Transport, large) ships, however, don't reference pre-space age designs and consist basically of a single humongous container with engines attached. Justified as they need to carry very bulky goods like space station assembly kits.
  • While StarCraft was established as being the Deep South IN SPACE!, StarCraft II takes it even further, with all the music being country, the SCVs being truckers, and advertisements for "Bubba's Gas and Grits", a restaurant with an actual space truck on it.
  • In EVE Online, a player can train industrial ships and become one of these, hauling others' goods around. Red Frog Freight is a particularly well-known player corporation that specializes in this.
  • Space Run is about hauling goods between space stations. Instead of piloting your ship, you build and direct defenses to fend off pirates with Tower Defense style gameplay.

     Webcomics  

     Western Animation  

  • One episode of Futurama has a space trucker convoy. Their role in the story was basically just to throw cat calls at Leela.
    • The main characters themselves work for a delivery company, making them non-stereotypical truckers in Space.
  • The Planet Jackers from Invader Zim are quite reminiscent of long haul truckers.


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