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Creator / Alexei Panshin

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Alexei Panshin is a American Science Fiction writer and critic, best known for his Nebula Award-winning coming-of-age novel Rite of Passage.

He has also written an award-winning non-fiction study of the field called The World Beyond the Hill with his wife Cory.

Selected Works:

  • Rite of Passage
  • The Anthony Villiers Adventures
    • Star Well
    • The Thurb Revolution
    • Masque World
  • Earth Magic (with Cory Panshin)

Tropes in his other works:

  • Alternative Calendar: The "Common Era" in the Anthony Villiers novels apparently is reckoned from the launching of Sputnik I in 1957.
  • Nay-Theist: Humorously treated in The Thurb Revolution. On an outback planet, one of the natives announces that he is God, having just been elected by the other Plonks (Don't ask). Anthony Villiers and his friends respond by engaging Him in an oh-so-respectful and reasonable discussion of what constitutes proof, since surely He would not wish to encourage the worship of false gods. Reviving the dead is "a modern commonplace". Transubstantiation "can be accomplished by mechanical means". And revealing a secret as proof of his omniscience fails because one of the other characters has already found out.
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  • Noodle Incident: In Masque World, a character made his reputation in the Imperial Service thanks to his role in solving the Diced Strawberry Affair — which is a code name for something far more sinister, but we do not find out what.
  • Remittance Man: Anthony Villiers in the eponymous series is a science-fictional example, though it's implied not that he's useless, but that he simply doesn't get along with his family.
  • Rite of Passage: In Rite Of Passage. 14-year-old children on a starship must go through a Trial before being considered adults: surviving on a hostile colony planet for 30 days with minimal equipment.
  • Spear Carrier: In Rite Of Passage, the main character muses on the existence of spear carriers as disposable:
    "A spear carrier is the anonymous character cut down by the hero as he advances to save the menaced heroine. A spear carrier is a character put in a story to be used like a piece of disposable tissue. In a story, spear carriers never suddenly assert themselves by throwing their spears aside and saying, ‘I resign. I don’t want to be used.’ They are there to be used, either for atmosphere or as minor obstacles in the path of the hero. The trouble is that each of us is his own hero, existing in a world of spear carriers."
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  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: In The Thurb Revolution, hero Anthony Villiers' old friend Fred Fritz confesses to Tony that he's become oddly attracted to young David Clodfelter. Villiers, more perceptive, or at least more consciously perceptive, realizes that David is not only a girl, but Gillian U, the girl Fred's father (the Emperor) has been trying to fix him up with. A snatch of conversation in the next book indicates the engagement has been made formal.


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