A science fiction webcomic
by view, the artist behind Never Mind the Gap
. Compared to the latter, Space Pulp
is a lighter work, and lies closer to the "soft" end
of science fiction — as the name is meant to suggest
. However, as with view's other comics, the reader needs to pay attention to follow the twists and turns of the story.
In this Space Opera
, we follow Iridium Lake
— a sort of interstellar Knight Errant In Sour Armour
— as she attempts to save a species of kind-hearted but technologically backward
aliens from conquest by Unity
and its army of cyborg Super Soldiers
Imagine a Film Noir Defective Detective
cast in the role of a Jedi Knight
, fighting a humorously incompetent version of the Borg
, and you'll get the general idea.
There's also some romance and sex (including NSFW
pages, beware), some twisted humour, lots of Psychic Powers
, and the occasional Space Pirate
Start reading here
Space Pulp provides examples of:
- Absent Aliens: Inverted. Everyone's an alien; it's humans that are absent. "Poison Monkeys" like Iridium Lake look human, but are still a distinct species. All the other aliens are obviously non-human. It has never been stated canonically whether humans are or ever were a part of this setting, though there has been plenty of speculation amongst readers (especially since it is known that all the alien species share a common ancestor...)
- Action Girl: The setting offers a refreshingly gender-balanced cast of action heroes (and villains). Iridium Lake is the greatest action girl of them all, of course.
- Anti-Hero: Iridium Lake: Amoral loose-cannon Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Kills people for a living. Smokes radioactive cigarettes. May be the galaxy's last great hope.
- Awesome McCoolname: Members of Iridium Lake's species pick their own names, and they tend to have a flare for the dramatic.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Unity uses cyborg enhancements to control its soldiers and officers, making them evil.
- The Empire: Unity.
- The Federation: The Space Federation, which occasionally fights against Unity, and may be headed for full-out war. It is far from being an utopia — there is a lot of Fantastic Racism amongst the Federation's citizens, and the occasional Wretched Hive here and there. Iridium Lake describes the Space Federation as "very nice, in the places I never go."
- Also notable in that humans are definitely not the majority. Humans as such don't exist in the Space Pulp universe, but the most (visually, at least) similar species — the "Poison Monkeys" — are generally disliked and distrusted by the other citizens of the Federation.
- Flashback: Heavily lampshaded. "IT'S LIKE A NORMAL PART OF THE STORY EXCEPT EARLIER! WHOA-YOW!"
- Genre Savvy: Two Unity Super Soldiers introduced near the start of the story turn out to be smart enough to get out of the way and hide as soon as the hero starts doing her thing. ("She's been meditating for eight hours." "... We're f***ed.") As a result, they end up being the only mooks to survive Iridium Lake's escape from the Unity prison. Unfortunately, their superiors mistake sensible cowardice for skill, and they're forced to tag along with the Unity task force pursuing Lake. They become Recurring Characters — usually distinguishable by the way they always cautiously hang behind the other mooks.
- Hive Queen / The Emperor: Unity's leader is also their keystone.
- Human Aliens: The Poison Monkeys (Iridium Lake's species) look almost entirely human, but are a distinct species. All the other alien species are only vaguely humanoid. Everyone shares a common ancestor, explaining the general physical similarities.
- Last of His Kind: Unity's emperor is the last of his species, having been exiled before the extinction event.
- Magic A Is Magic A: There are consistent, important rules as to how the various Psychic Powers found in the setting work. The various other forms of Applied Phlebotinum are also consistently handled.
- Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Level 2 — World Of Phlebotinum. Plenty of fictional physics and essentially magical powers, but there are also consistent rules for how these things work.
- Smoking Is Cool: Iri smokes "Whitestix", which are full of radioactive isotopes. It fits the generally pulp-y feel of the story, and Iri's "devil-may-care" attitude. At one point a Unity soldier holding Iri captive sarcastically points out to her that smoking radioactive cigarettes is bad for her health. This does not end well for the soldier.
- A few to Star Wars, such as the distinction between diplomatic ships and blockade runners
- All on-page lines from the in-story movie are Doom quotes.
- Psychic Powers: Iridium Lake is a seer, and can foresee different possible futures. The exact extent and limits of her powers are explored throughout the story. There are also several other kinds of psychic powers found in the setting. The rules of how they work become fairly important to the plot.
- Psychic Static: Psychers disrupt other psychers' future perception just by being there.
- Those Two Bad Guys: The two Genre Savvy Unity soldiers provide some exposition when first introduced. They become Recurring Characters, though they're too busy trying to stay alive to provide much exposition after that point.
- Turned Against Their Masters: Poison Monkeys were engineered as slaves to handle hazardous materials. Until they rose and promptly exterminated their creators.