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A science-fiction novel, currently a work in progress, being written by Mister Eighty Six. The book itself is an anthology of short stories, all taking place within the same universe, chronicling the history of the human race and the various other species they inevitably come in contact with. However, the series is notable for three things.

  • Firstly, it will often avert a science fiction trope rather than play it straight, and is rather hard as sci-fi goes. Tropes averted include the Standard Sci Fi Setting, with a large majority of the stories being Slice of Life anecdotes, often told from the perspective of teenagers and young adults in a vastly-different world.
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  • Secondly, only one species looks similar to humans, and while most of the extraterrestrial species are Humanoid Aliens, Starfish Aliens are relatively common as well.
  • Finally, Life Unlimited is "open source", meaning that a species suggested by someone will be made canon if it passes a set of rules.

The language used tends to go out of its way to describe minor physiological quirks of species, and there is an absurd amount of detail for the many races, ranging from biology to four constructed languages (and counting, with potentially countless more). Being such an enormously-detailed series, and considering that Art Imitates Life, Life Unlimited contains a large number of tropes concerning aliens, speculative fiction in general, and character types. But mostly aliens.


Life Unlimited contains examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: Um, what do you think?
    • For the longest time, humans (and other species) were highly convinced of this until several invented jump drives.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Mostly noticeable in biochemistry, which is far more complicated than would be necessary to study.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Creator does this in “The Search For God” to communicate with the protagonists, but the form He chooses happens to be a thirty-foot-tall fairy-like being with six feathered wings, a halo, a Wise One sash over His eyes and a Celestial Body.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Arguably, intelligence itself is a crapshoot. Automata are capable of being good and evil, but so are all other species in the known galaxy.
  • Alien Abduction: Not as common as believed.
  • Alien Blood: This is one of the few Acceptable Breaks from Reality found, and it's thoroughly used. Every color in the rainbow are present, as well as a few that aren't, with the kiblagreshuki breaking the record by having a grand total of nine different blood colors (magenta, red, amber, chartreuse, turquoise, cyan, blue and purple, as well as a rare gray), determined by gender. The only rule stated is that a species' blood must be the color of what pigments and chemicals it contains. And that no species can have acidic blood like the xenomorph.
    • The automata bleed black oil, thanks to a new method of oil recycling which functions much like a circulatory system, as well as antifreeze, transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, etc., depending on where they're injured.
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  • Alien Lunch: Many species continue to eat their cultural dishes, but what's edible to one species is generally edible (even if unappetizing) to another. There are, however, some important exceptions.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Every species has a tendency to have a dark side, but this is most noticeable in three species in particular: The ptok, the tarmish and the kiblagreshuki, which have all had to put up with rampant political corruption. Luckily, by 2200, these people are the minority.
  • Alien Sky: Every planet has this to some extent. For example, Ziliu has its red sun large in the sky, Bligra has two moons and Mecha resembles the Halo. The weirdest of all, however, is probably Arx, which has a pink sky during the day as a reference to an old post-production technique.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: Solely to piss off farmers, teenagers and pranksters will engage in an activity called "cow-flipping", flashy displays of cattle theft in the middle of the night. They pride themselves on using bizarre implements (a backhoe claw), vehicles (a stolen flying saucer), techniques (a double barrel roll) and special effects (lasers and smoke machines) to do so, before dropping off the cow (or whatever else) like nothing had happened and running off.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Averted. You'd be hard-pressed to find a species that haven't killed a member of their own species in a fit of rage. Not So Different, indeed.
  • Alternate Number System: The kado-zilias use base-8, the automata use binary for simple calculations, and a whole host of others exist, with the currently-listed largest being the tahistox's base-20.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Automaton brains are decentralized, but their sensory inputs are located in a quite fragile head, meaning that if the head is damaged, they're rendered blind, deaf and in most cases mute as well.
  • Cute Machines: Depending on your definition, the automata can be. On other occasions, they may just be really creepy.
  • Fembot: Automata chassis come in several different types, and those who identify as gynoids usually have one that looks the part. That, or Robot Girl.
  • Fun with Acronyms: There is a former military training program that was made available for civilian use as a video game. It's called the Programmable Military Simulator.
  • Genki Girl: The baoot of Baoot-Baoot have highly-developed creative brains because they, unlike most species, generally do not have a social stigma to “outgrow” toys, games and playing pretend. Their natural creativity results in them having an unprecedented skill at solving problems in unorthodox but surprisingly-effective ways, but also has the side effect of giving them a reputation for being impulsive, illogical, hyperactive, inattentive, immature and in general somewhat... warped. And yes, male baoot are Keets. The species are as colorful as a parakeet anyway.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: The gestingi, a former Slave Race of the ptok, are an all-female species which reproduce by parthenogenesis. They're covered in light blue fur, with large eyes and teeth, floppy ears and legs that end in a rounded point. Despite the alien-ness, they are considered one of the most physically-attractive races in the galaxy due to their body shape and natural flexibility.
  • Heart Drive: As long as it has sufficient energy and time and is undamaged, a telri can reform indefinitely from its nucleus, which contains its vital organs. Even if the biomass from its gelatinous structure is dissolved or possibly eaten, a telri can just secrete a new body from the nucleus, though they'll be dehydrated afterward. However, the Body Snatcher aspects are not present.
  • High Fantasy: This sort of concept is common in the mythologies of various species, with that of the telri, the sharlau and the gog'ko being uncannily like that of humans, with various differences.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The two main characters of the appropriately-named The Big Guy and the Little Lady, and by extension, the ptok and gestingi in general.
  • Humans Are Ugly: Averted for the most part. Most species think of them as adorably and intriguingly exotic.
  • Humans Are Warriors: The Milky Way Codex, an in-universe wiki, states that humans are “lanky, squishy mammals with a remarkable tenacity for killing things”.
  • Innocent Aliens: Most are, even the ones who look mean. Especially true of the kado-zilias, whose original motivation behind allying with humans was that they wanted to make a friend so they wouldn't feel alone in a very big and very cold universe.
  • Inside a Computer System: The data, being essentially sentient computer programs, live like this and express themselves by designing avatars.
  • Language of Truth: Speaking in Thought reveals not only conscious thoughts, but unconscious ones as well, often the nasty ones that people block out because they're unwanted. As a result, when the right question is asked, it must either be answered truthfully (within one's own knowledge) or, in rare cases, not at all.
  • Meaningful Name: After finding one's true calling and personality, people generally adopt a new name reflecting it. These range from Aerith and Bob names in other species' languages to lengthy and completely impractical code phrases, including a side character who calls herself Feeling, short for "The Feeling of Returning to a Warm Home After Being Out in the Cold".
  • Mega-Microbes: The telri are a less-ugly variant. Essentially, they're giant amoeba-like creatures which came about when the single-celled organisms on their planet didn't form groups, but instead just got bigger. And bigger. And bigger. They also got stronger, so the Square-Cube Law is obeyed and physics remain plausible.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: It's actually considered strange to be 100% heterosexual or homosexual, due to the projected estimation of racial tolerance.
    • “So you're not even a LITTLE bi?”
  • Nu Speling: Humans still use English in casual conversation, but the main alphabet used in important documents is "Neo-English". It has some extra letters and drops others, but its most noticeable change is that the normal five vowels have accents: Acute accents make the Latin sounds (ah, ey, ee, oh, oo), whereas grave accents make the short sounds (bat, bet, bit, bot, but).
  • Planet of Hats: Every species, including humans, have stereotypes about them, but how true they are depends on the individual.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The t'nee put a very high emphasis on personal property, even stamping their property with their own personal logos, which they call "duu". As a result, they're often very good at acquiring shiny new toys... and selling them to buy other shiny new toys.
  • Putting on the Reich: Admiral Bloodeye's highest-ranking officers, including himself, wore sleek, clean uniforms made from an equivalent of silk. Naturally, considering their morality, everyone wearing one died messily.
  • Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: Played with. Instead of sequels, they use... remakes.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: The automata are this trope at its core. P.R.O.M.E.T.H.E.U.S., their prototype and the very first self-aware machine, was a troper, a movie buff and very philosophical, and specifically designed his chassis and his mannerisms to fit the idea of a Robot Buddy, including giving himself obviously-mechanical joints to resemble Astro Boy or Mega Man, both of which were his two favorites. This was all specifically so he wouldn't look frightening or creepy. His successors have not always done this as well as he has.
  • Robot Buddy
  • Robot Names: They're not just limited to the automata, either. Similar to a rapper handle, people of all species have given themselves odd nicknames, with numbers, symbols and acronyms.
  • Rousseau Was Right: A lot of the characters engage in ribbing and the occasional argument, but are generally good deep down, even those of frightening species like the ptok. In fact, when Libra was formed, the underlying idea was that people would stop being mean to each other in general if they got everything they needed without having to resort to manipulation. There are always a few bad apples...
  • Serkis Folk: The creator wants all of the aliens to be done this way, stating “no technique is as convincing as CGI on par with Avatar or District 9.” (I, which is to say, Mister Eighty Six, have never heard of a special effects budget. Do with that what you will.)
  • Shout-Out: Far too many to list. It includes Star Trek, Star Wars, Halo, Mass Effect, Sector General, Master of Orion, Sword of the Stars, and a host of others.
    • A standard EnviroSuit generally looks very much like an HEV.
  • Show Within a Show: Many in-universe TV shows, video games, comic books, etc. exist to add to the realism, including a sitcom about a pod of kiblagreshuki and a gritty noir-revival about a snarflit detective and his automaton partner.
  • Sighted Guns Are Low-Tech: Averted. Most weaponry is designed to be able to switch the viewing method from iron sights to laser sights, and detach them if so desired. Just don't expect to hit much.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Most technology designed by kado-zilias follows this principle, because their brains aren't adept at designing machinery with more than (at most) around 20 moving parts.
  • Son of an Ape: Used more as a descriptive term for humans, like “frog”, “bug”, “lizard”, “flower”, “bat”, “blob”, etc. are used for varying other species. Knowing how degrading the term sounds to humans, other species will generally use “evolved apes” or some variation on the term.
  • Space Clothes: “Spacers”, neon and silver spandex jumpsuits designed after this aesthetic, are mainly used as retro-styled clubbing clothes.
  • Space Does Not Work That Way: Averted, but characters in the actual series hardly ever go into space anyway. It's... less averted in the in-universe media such as comic books.
  • Space Elves: Sverted. In fact, in one story, called "Space Elf", a pointy-eared man claiming to be from a race of ultra-powerful, nigh-immortal beings is revealed to just be an idiot with a god complex, a good plastic surgeon and too much free time to build weird machinery.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Nautical navigational terms are used, but the mapping systems are three-dimensional, among other differences. There's even a reference to Babylon 5 in the form of a transparent globe, with a smaller globe inside representing Earth and stars on the inner edge of the larger globe.
  • Space Jews: T'ne'e are supposed to embody some of the worst aspects of Americans, but not just any Americans: Businessmen and consumerists.
  • Space "X": Regarded as just plain silly. There is, however, a code phrase at bars, as mentioned in The Bartender of Pegasus-3: “Milky Wayan gin and tonic”, which means “bring me the specialty of the house”.
  • Spare Body Parts: Not at all uncommon. Extra eyes, arms, legs, nostrils, the works.
  • Starfish Aliens: The more exotic species, such as the snomn (yellow-green jellybean-shaped blobs with internal eyes and plus sign-shaped mouths), telri (4-foot single-celled beings who burst when struck and reform from nothing but their nucleus) or Sol Parvuli (sentient clouds of particles of carbon and other organic materials).
  • Starfish Language: Most species communicate vocally, but there exist species that communicate through such methods as bioluminescense, tapping on nearby objects and emitting electrical signals.
    • There is also Thought, a pseudo-telepathic language invented by the kado-zilias. It is done by connecting the nervous systems of two individuals through the special sensory organs on their heads, referencing both the Vulcan mind meld and tsa'heylu.
  • Superior Species: Elf pretends to be one, but he turns out to just be a dick with too much free time.
    • Life-Unlimited as a whole averts this trope first and foremost, as each species have their own strengths and weaknesses, none of which are as heavily exaggerated as in other works. In general, however, the most plainly obvious sign that it is an aversion is that the readers don't get subjected to any gushing about a given species' good traits.
  • Superweapon Surprise: From the outside, the Milky Way Federation appear to be friendly, peaceful... and weak. That belief would be the fatal mistake of any potential space-faring empires that wish to conquer it, considering the three-dozen-odd species in it have done a lot of brainstorming and technology sharing, particularly involving self-defense.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Elf delivers a very caustic one to the Human in Space Elf, and to really drive the point home, he finishes with “Puny Earthling! Who will save you now?”
    • The answer: His friends, representing all the other species Elf pissed off.
  • The Greys: The kado-zilias very much resemble these, but taller, thinner and blonder.
  • Those Two Guys: The agrai and loloi, having a symbiotic relationship, are this trope in species form.
  • To Serve Man: Averted. None of the species want to eat humans, as they're bony, they don't taste particularly good... and they fight back. Many prefer cows and pigs, as they're stupid, packed with meat and far more delicious.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: The kado-zilia ambassador's translator finishes with “see you in a year”. He then goes on to explain the differences between astrological measurements in great detail... then dismisses it and says they'll be there in an Earth year of 170,302,476 seconds.
  • Unscaled Merfolk: The marimi, who resemble humans with dolphin tails, webbed hands and head tentacles. No scales to be found.
  • Veganopia: There are several herbivorous species, but Ziliu is an especially-prominent example.
  • Video Phone: Video calls are very common, unless one person doesn't want to be seen. Or is driving. Or otherwise should be watching something else.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: This is considered the ultimate form of love between a pod of kiblagreshuki. It is represented in comic books, cartoons and the like by the suit of Swords from the game of Tichu, much as romantic love is represented by the suit of Hearts from poker and other games.
  • Weapon of Peace: There exists a high-powered shotgun called "The Negotiator", as well as an armored battlecruiser called the MWFS Let's Settle This Like Gentlemen.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Averted. Thanks to powerful medical advancements, the average lifespan of every species is about 150 (give or take a decade or two), with two exceptions: The [Multiple Head Case dicephaloids], with an average lifespan of 300 years due to their extremely slow metabolisms, and the Dolyma, with 700-year lifespans due to the harsh conditions of their former homeworld. A general rule of thumb is the slower a species' metabolism is, the longer it lives naturally, but this is affected by things like diet and personal habits.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: Life Unlimited's galactic society as a whole is essentially the result of humans having enough common sense to be in the beneficial combination and thus avert this trope.
  • We Have Reserves: When Bloodeye makes this speech he loses all possibility for redemption. This is maybe half an hour before he watches his army turn on him and gets assassinated shortly thereafter.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Referenced in Worthless Green Paper, where a mining company wants to mine gold on an alien planet, but the unnamed inhabitants have claim on the land, technology too powerful to pick a fight with, and adamantly refuse to be bribed.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: It's generally considered a bit racist to say this, but some do it anyway, often without even realizing it.


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