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Creator / Nicholas Fisk

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Nicholas Fisk (1923-2016) was an English writer of children's science fiction. His novels include:

  • Trillions: Tells how the world reacts when thousands — millions — trillions of mysterious crystals shower down from space.
  • Grinny: Three children discover that their weird Great Aunt Emma (who they'd never heard of before she turned up on the doorstep one day) is actually an advance scout for an alien invasion, who's gained some kind of hypnotic power over their parents, and it's up to them to defeat her.
  • You Remember Me: Sequel to Grinny. The youngest of the children realises that a famous and influential television personality is another alien, but even her older siblings have been got at, so this time it's all up to her.
  • Starstormers: Five part series. A group of children whose parents are living and working out in space build their own spaceship to go and rejoin their families. Adventures ensue when they encounter hostile aliens.
  • Monster Maker: 12-year-old Matt gets a summer job working for a man who creates mechanical movie monsters. Then, one night, the monsters seem to come alive.
  • A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair: Scientists in the future engage in cultural archaeology by cloning a family of World War II Londoners and keeping them in a replica of their original home.
  • Time Trap: In a post-apocalyptic world, mental time travel is a side effect of a drug initially designed to prolong life on long space voyages.
  • Flamers: Attempts to rescue a boy marooned on a planet with a hostile dying ecosystem are hindered by native lifeforms that attack metal.

Grinny was adapted for an episode of CBS Storybreak. Monster Maker inspired a TV movie that featured Jim Henson's Creature Shop monsters and aired as part of The Jim Henson Hour.

Nicholas Fisk's work provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Justified in Grinny and You Remember Me, where the aliens can mind control adults, but not children.
  • Alien Abduction: In "Sweets From a Stranger"
  • Backstory Invader: Grinny and her race can do this in-universe. It doesn't work on children, though.
  • Bland-Name Product: One of the characters in Grinny smokes "Henson and Badges" brand cigarettes.
  • Brainwashed: What the adults are in Grinny and You Remember Me
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: A Running Gag in the Starstormers series is that Ispex keeps coming up with terrible, overly elaborate puns that no-one appreciates.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The conclusion of Starstormers, lifting it out of Deus ex Machina territory.
  • Direct Line to the Author: Grinny is supposedly a true story told to the author, a friend of the family, by the children. He actually appears as a character in one scene of the sequel (and proves to be just another useless alien-brainwashed adult).
  • Evil Matriarch: Grinny
  • Jedi Mind Trick: "You remember me..."
  • Literary Allusion Title: A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair (a quotation from Rudyard Kipling)
  • No Social Skills: In Grinny, one of the things that prompt suspicions of Great Aunt Emma is her ignorance of many everyday things.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The alien in "Sweets From a Stranger" abducts people by being so obviously incompetent at abduction, and so woobie-ishly distressed at its failure, that its targets practically abduct themselves in an attempt to cheer it up.
  • Stepford Smiler: Great Aunt Emma, with her perpetual sweet-little-old-lady that prompts the children to nickname her "Grinny".
  • Unusual User Interface: The targeting system in Starstormers: Positional icons of the enemy ships are chased down in three-space by a kitten linked to the aiming system, and the armament fires automatically when the two coincide.