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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.
  • Becoming the Mask: Played with in ‘’Masque World’’, when Sir Henry Oliphant finds that wearing a Trog costume gives him an entirely new perspective, and stubbornly refuses to take it off.
  • Con Man: The ‘’Parini-Blinoff-Branko clan’’. Villiers implies that if you meet someone with one of those names, you should run in the other direction... but sometimes calls on their petty criminal services.
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  • Odd Couple - Interspecies Friendship: Or so Anthony Villiers says. Torve denies this, ascribing their companionship to ‘’lines of occurrence, a Trog philosophical concept which translates best as coincidence. The truth was they did not know why they travelled together.”
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: ‘’Masque World’’, where Sir Henry in the Trog Costume is received by the unpracticed audience as more Trog-like than the real Trog Torve.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: In ‘’The Thurb Revolution’’, the confrontation between Admiral Beagle and Clifford Morgenstern (“You’re not so much.”) is based on the first meeting of Isaac Asimov and Harlan Ellison. (As might be expected, Asimov’s and Ellison’s versions do not entirely coincide.)
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: Louisa Parini starts as this, but her schoolgirl crush shows signs of developing into something more serious (to the consternation of her grifter father). A sub theme is whether she will succeed in catching and marrying him, cut off when the rest of the projected series was dropped.
  • 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."
  • 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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