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Literature / A Million Adventures

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A Million Adventures is a four-part novel by Kir Bulychev from his Alice, Girl from the Future series. Its second part was first published in 1976 and the entire novel in 1982. This is the first book in the series to feature Pashka Geraskin and Alice's other friends from the biological research station.

The first part, The New Labors of Heracles, is a Random Events Plot about the goings-on at the research station, the second, A Foreign Princess, describes Alice and Pashka's adventures in what may or may not be a Medieval Stasis parallel world, the third, The Holidays on Penelope, is about the children's adventures in the unexplored or not so unexplored jungles of the planet Penelope, and in the fourth, The Jewelry Box of the Pirate's Mother, Alice and Pashka have to save a planet that's been taken over by Space Pirates.

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The novel provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Pashka is astonished that the obviously adult Rat has a gorgeous young mother. Then her young face is revealed to be a mask.
  • Accidental Truth: The pirate queen makes a joke about her paranoia to her new Pilageyan friend, saying, among other things, "Maybe you're not a Pilageyan girl at all, but a guy and my enemy". She has no idea she's right.
  • Alien Catnip: When posing as a rich Pilageyan girl and offered a drink by the pirate queen, Pashka figures a way out of it by saying that alcohol is like water for the Pilageyans, however, water is like alcohol.
  • Alien Lunch: When Pashka (dressed up as an alien) states he liked some human food, someone remarks his species would have had real digestion problems with that. The guy hurries to state that his stomach is prosthetic.
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  • Ancient Astronauts: Alice finds a crashed starship underwater, and, apparently, another from four million years ago was found in a desert.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: played straight, subverted and deconstructed in fourth part.
    • Played straight: space pirates invasion on planet Brastaks.
    • Subverted: pirates are normal-sized, it's just a local inhabitants who are the same size as Earth kitten.
    • Deconstructed: Rrrr flatly stated, that if not for traitors and collaborators, the pirate invasion would be doomed from the beginning - pirates were too big to use any local infrastructure, could not enter any building, and could not even comprehend, from which "too small to pay attention" holes and passages kitten-sized Brastaks could attack them.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: As per usual in the series. In this novel, we learn that, for example:
    • The Pilageyans are egg-laying humanoids.
    • The Brastaks' eye color depends on their morals, so Innocent Blue Eyes and Red Eyes, Take Warning are not metaphors.
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    • Penelope is a sapient planet, with all its flora and fauna being its brain's manifestations.
  • Bluff the Impostor: When Rrrr appears, healthy and cheerful, after having been badly wounded and bandaged all over just the day before, Alice thinks up all sorts of absurdities to test whether he is the real Rrrr (he isn't). Subverted, since she gets so carried away with it that Rat realizes she has figured him out (especially since he has already suspected her of finding out the truth, as it's the third book he appears in and he is instantly aware Alice is a danger to his plans).
  • Death by Deaging: There is a time screen, under which time goes backwards. When it's accidentally left unattended, a rooster comes under the screen, turns into a chicken, then into an egg, then vanishes completely. Heracles crawls under the screen to eat that egg and barely escapes the same fate.
  • The Dung Ages: Pashka Geraskin requests a trip into the Middle Ages, hoping for Ye Goode Olde Days. He enjoys it thoroughly despite the constant fights, the lack of hygiene, and nearly getting executed.
  • Eternal English: The interstellar language appears to be completely unchanged after over two thousand years.
  • Even Nerds Have Standards: Arkasha's fanatical love for nature stands out even among an entire group of biology enthusiasts.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Alice finds an alien in a crashed ship underwater. He attempts to steal her body to take over the Earth. However, he dismissed her two dolphin companions as slaves rather than friends (a concept the alien considered to be a pathetic illusion for slaves), and was caught completely off-guard when they brought help.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Heracles is a pithecanthropus living on the research station. He doesn't seem to mind it, especially since in his own time he got nearly devoured by a sabertooth tiger.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: Penelope is upset when one person causes a mess with its biosphere - and has problems understanding that other people may disagree with what he does.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: If you try to hunt or mine while on Penelope... prepare for storms and earthquakes coming your way.
  • Genius Loci: Penelope turns out to be one. No predators, no storms, no mosquitoes... as it says, "I'm organised the way which is convenient to me".
  • Grand Theft Me: Alice finds an Ancient Astronaut in a crashed starship underwater. He attempts to steal her body for himself and take over the Earth. Fortunately, Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, so he is stopped before he can start.
  • Human Popsicle: Alice finds an alien one in a crashed spaceship.
  • It Can Think: When Penelopian fauna starts addressing people.
  • La Résistance: Rrrr and his compatriots on pirate-occupied Brastak.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Heracles, the research station's walking and slightly talking comic relief, becomes the one to bludgeon the mosquito/goose hybrid to death.
  • Made of Indestructium: Civilian tech in the fourth part is invulnerable to pirate weapons.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: At one point Pashka wants to make mosquitoes migratory, so that they would leave for the polar regions in summer. His solution is to make a mosquito/goose hybrid, which looks like a goose-sized, feathered and very bloodthirsty mosquito. It gets killed by Heracles several minutes later, so we never learn whether it inherited the migratory instinct from geese.
  • Mood Ring Eyes: Brastaks' eyes reflect their temper. Blue seem to be the best, orange-eyed ones are the worst.
  • My Beloved Smother: It's mentioned that the voyage to Penelope is Pashka's first space trip, since his mother hasn't let him leave Earth before. Alice believes this partly accounts for Pashka constantly rushing headfirst into adventures.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Pashka does it brilliantly in the fourth part, posing as a ditzy Spoiled Brat who doesn't understand that the planet is taken over by pirates.
  • Paradise Planet: Penelope is one, unless you make it angry.
  • Pink Means Feminine: When Rat takes Alice's shape, it's complete with a pink dress and a a wreath on the head. Pashka notes to himself it would have been a wonderful disguise, save for the fact that Action Girl Alice has never, ever owned, let alone worn, a pink dress.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: The serious and studious Masha Belaya and the carefree Natasha who loves dancing more than science.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Invoked by Fuuks, who gives Alice a piece of pink paper as an "identification document" of a princess.
  • Shrink Ray: The fourth part features such a container, stolen from a Precursors' base.
  • Slipping a Mickey: The prisoners on Brastak manage to slip a drug into Duch's drink, enabling them and Alice to escape.
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: Rat casually mentions that his mother accidentally killed his father and didn't bat an eyelid when she realized it.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Inverted – Pashka admits to briefly having a crush on the pirate queen.
  • You No Take Candle: Pashka in his Pilageyan disguise speaks Cosmolingua terribly. It's not actually necessary for the disguise, since many Pilageyans know it perfectly, but he thinks it good fun.
    Pashka: Hey! We are will die of hunger, and you guilty!
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