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Literature / Alouette's Song

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Alouette's Song is a self-published novel by troper the_eternal_squire.

The Skylark of Space was the first Space Opera series read in high school by the author still attending high school during the 1970's. The author had always been fascinated by the possibilities of how the story might have unfolded had it begun in the post-World-War-II era, with changes in the issues in culture and sensibilities that had taken place long since the Depression Era.


Because The Skylark of Space, the first novel of E. E. Smith's Skylark Series, had fallen into the public domain by the time Fine finally had a comprehensive vision for a reboot in 2013, this actually is a legally non-infringing piece of literature. Some names are the same, but the motivations for the characters are completely different: see tropes below and character sheet for specifics.

Has a character sheet.


Alouette's Song contains examples of:

  • Alien Invasion: Inverted. Kondal is about to be attacked by Mardonale's prototype spaceship.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Some points of original work are reimagined,
    • Propulsion system is now a distortion-drag based reactionless drive, fully subject to Einstein's laws.
    • The matter-to-energy conversion effect is handwaved by supersymmetric string theory.
    • Margaret also determines FTL jumps can be attained by travelling through the distortion dragging the ship behind it, of which the designs her own Inertial Dampening system as a subcritical case centered on the ship itself to keep the occupants comfortable during accelerations.
    • A lot has happened between 1928 and 2014. This reboot makes the most of it but we start at Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything rather than end with it.
  • As You Know: The mean are the first the first to obtain an Info Dump about Dunark's planet about his nation, culture, and language. Seaton's the first of them, but stops the transfer when he's about to get a sex education lesson based on Dunark's first mating with Sitar, and he's trying to save himself for Dorothy. After Seaton explains this to Dunark, the women get their Info Dump from Sitar, and Dunark asks his wife to withhold similar knowledge from Dorothy
    • Subverted in that the Info Dump while essential is useless for processing idiom, transferring the knowledge of old stories, and also requires practice before successfully using weapons and other devices.
  • Babies Ever After: Margaret's birth control shot gets compromised by an Osnomian fruit she finds delicious and she becomes pregnant while still on Osnome.
    • After marrying Dorothy and Richard settle on Osnome as ordinary citizens, then consummate their marriage, both awarding each other their virginity and immediately conceiving their baby. It's the moment they've both been dreaming for, and it's absolutely wonderful. The End.
  • Badass Bookworm: In this continuity, DuQuesne himself, followed just behind by his research assistant Margaret The others aren't too bad either.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The term for horse manure sounds really different in Kondalian.
    • "First Cause" remains from the original continuity the Kondolian equivalent term for God.
  • The Captain: Margaret Spencer Crane, on the basis of a coin flip between herself and her husband done by her new father-in-law just before launch.
  • Command Roster: Margaret Spencer Crane as The Captain. DuQuesne as The Scientist and The Navigator, after his protege' Margaret makes a deal with him so he can earn his freedom after losing his bid to hijack the ship. Dorothy as the Marine. Richard as the Mess Chief, giving his parole to his captor, DuQuesne, in exchange for his promise to spare Margaret's and Martin's lives once he hijacks the ship.
  • Cool Starship: The 2014 version with Japanese electronics, LCD displays, keyboards, and a navigator's control yoke. Especially the control yoke...
  • De-Power: Greater challenge for the boys and greater urgency to work together.
    • Richard is stripped of everything he ever had in the original continuity. He gets by now on his willingness to risk himself for other, how high the odds against success are, and how horrible the consequences will be for him if he fails. Each time he does this, he takes a physical and/or emotional injury.
    • Martin is stripped of direct access to his fortune. His dad controls it instead.
  • Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: Dorothy is mugged and pushed to the bottom of subway tracks, spraining her ankle. Richard is waiting for a train to catch a connection, so without even thinking he runs to the other side of the concourse from where she is screaming and jumps off it down onto the track. He sizes up the situation, then helps her to the tunnel well with a split second to spare from the approaching express run. While the train passes at highway speeds inches away from their elbows, Dorothy rewards him for his valor. Immediately after the kiss Richard noticed from her Chai pendant she was Jewish, so he revealed he was Jewish also. Each discovers the other is single and concludethey are destined for each other They begin an online courtship.
  • Enemy Mine: DuQuesne and Seaton are pretty snarky with each other but readily cooperate with The Captain Margaret bossing them both around!
  • Everyone Is Armed: Kondalians - check. Mardonalians - check. But none of the humans are aside from Dorothy and DuQuesne. Richard is a near-total pacifist.
  • Evil Overlord: Played with, usually in the process of scheming toward the greater good.
    • By the end of the novel, completely averted. In the previous continuity Seaton is made Overlord by Kondal's emperor for saving his kingdom. In this continuity, Richard must BECOME Overlord to force Kondal and Mardonale from engaging in a Nuclear War
  • Evolutionary Levels: The Kondalians of this continuity now ignorant of this and DuQuesne needs to explain to the ruler why Margaret was able to develop the math for interstellar travel in the first place. Even her parents had left in her the trash, but using her abilities, resolve, and honor she managed to defeat him in opposing an undeserving humanity's right to explore the stars. He conjectures the autism spectrum is actually a genetic mechanism responsible for accelerating evolutionary development of human beings for enhanced visual thinking and spatial reasoning, but since nature is often cruel a great many children are left by the wayside. Only a lucky few actually win the Genetic Jackpot of intelligence and creativity and still be even at most only slightly unaffected by behavioral problems. He explains Margaret is most likely one of a handful of the most intelligent children in her generation, and he's extremely proud of her.
  • Fantastic Racism: Avoided. Kondalians are the same racial stock as Mardonalians, but have exiled themselves through moral superiority as a race rather than any other reason.
  • Fantastic Rank System: Original continuity had no means for the emperor of Kondal to cope with a Terran holding enormous power from knowledge or wealth, and therefore had to invent titles on the fly for Seaton and Crane. In this continuity, room has been built into both the Mardonalian and Kondalian societies for a means by which a commoner may obtain power through the achievements of great learning. A sage is defined as a ruler over knowledge. The title of journeyman sage is styled "prince over knowledge", and in social prerogative ranks with-but-after all the other princes in the realm. The title of full sage is styled "ruler over knowledge", and is a complete equal to the emperor in terms of protocol. A full sage has several prerogatives, not the least of which is the right to refuse to obey the emperor's without needing a reason, and the right to speak truth to him at any time. These are important examples of customary checks over an emperor's power where there is no written constitution.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: The hole dragging the ship along can be entered at 0.82 lightspeed, and forms an interface to travel through higher dimensions (Hyper Space).
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: Kondal and Mardonale are in the middle of one at the time of First Contact, but compared to original continuity the real reason is now known Lady Kondal, founder of Kondal, and the youngest son of the then dying emperor of Mardonale fell in love. The oldest son had killed all the others aside from the youngest. They killed each other in a duel. The lady confiscated the emperor's crown and sailed off with it, along with the final male heir she was carrying. This plunged Mardonale into civil war. The new dynasty of Mardonality wants the crown back, and Kondal's people along with it
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Martin, but Margaret found he seems to be bisexual, but only for her.
  • Human Aliens: The same as before In fact, so much so that Richard is tempted to boldly come with one but in the end turns her down flat. He pawns the woman off to Margaret's professor, later, before he and his now fiancee' Dorothy return to Earth. She finds out later what he did and is extremely proud of him.
  • The Jailbait Wait: Zig-zagged. While some jurisdictions may have laws on the books punishing under-18/over-18 relationships even with minimal age gaps as felony sexual offenders, many others don't, especially when it's done as part of marriage with parental permission. Rick and Dotty are seriously in love with each other]], yet each have their own reasons to stay virgin until marriage. It's everyone else who thinks that something's going on, including Richard's mother who is even ready to press charges against Dotty.
  • Kid Hero: In the original 1930's continuity, Richard, Margaret, Martin, and Dorothy were all in their mid to late thirties. In this continuity they are a 16, 17, 18, and 19 year old Teen Genius respectively.
  • Mind Probe: A mind ripping machine designed by one of the Mardonale's inventors, captured by the Kondalians for use on a LOW setting upon the Terrans to provide them knowledge of language and customs.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Osnome has fewer heavy metals than before, making it now an almost parallel Earth aside from the complete lack of sodium, for which potassium must substitute to make life possible. Some plants concentrate the metals into their cell structure. DuQuesne is able to test for safety by taste but advises against tasting the meat
  • Not So Different: Richard and Dorothy are both Jewish, Dorothy being highly observant and Richard starting out as nearly secular. Their theology is very similar to Kondal's with those people even having their own Abraham figure in the form of their land's founder, Lady Kondal immediately bond with Sitar and Dunark.
  • Reactionless Drive: The metal is now described as an isomer of silver containing strange matter in the nuclei. No exhaust is produced, nor is their an explosive effect. The released energy produces a warp in the nearby fabric of space that the powerplant now falls toward.
  • Renamed the Same: "Skylark" is the English name for avian genus Alauda. "Alouette" is the French name for exactly the same. Portions of the plot actually depend on the change, for example, Dotty sings the 'Alouette' chant to the ship, as a software backdoor for entering the spacecraft to rescue her friends.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The entire royal family of Kondal. Roban, the Emperor, is an active head of state, his son, Dunark, who by custom as crown prince is his highest ranking general, and Sitar is now both crown princess and Dunark's favorite sniper on his intelligence gathering missions. She also gets to conduct the palace fire drills.
  • Spheroid Dropship: And how. Even when the ship can't fly anymore the party can still escape in it by dropping through several decks of arenak hull, shattering each deck with ultrasonics
  • Statuesque Stunner: Not so statuesque but still an absolute stunner. Dorothy at 5 foot 8 inches and having a perfect hard-body from being a range-hand from her mother's kosher meat-packing business working under her father the rancher makes her according to Word of God easily one of the most beautiful Terrans of her generation in the story's continuity. As a probable tell-tale that Martin is potentially bisexual rather than purely homosexual, Martin remarks if Dotty were walking in the middle of downtown wearing only a bikini she could cause cars to plow into fire hydrants
  • Techno Babble: Lampshaded. Martin is the first to ask regarding how the matter-to-energy conversion functions, "what are the mechanics of this totally wield shit?"
  • Technology Levels: Averted. Osnome is more advanced in the use of clean energy for the most part. They're roughly 1970's in electronics compared to current Terran advanced systems integration. They skipped chemical photograph directly to light-emitting-diode displays.
  • They Do:
    • After Dorothy gets her in-law issues sorted out, she marries Richard on Earth.
    • Margaret begs two weeks additional leave from her boss (DuQuesne) so she can elope and have a honeymoon with Martin. She doesn't tell him is they plan to have the honeymoon in Jupiter orbit far out of his reach. This evasion backfires badly for everyone.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: An Earth year is 1.6 karkamo, Osnome's solar year, as before. Osnome rotates in under 20 Earth hours, making a 'kam', an Osnomian hour, a little shorter than theirs. The term 'season' has been introduced into indicate quarter year, and a 'handsful of days' is their base-10 version of the week.
  • Unobtainium:
    • Played straight as before with Arenak. With one exception - Arenak is now vulnerable to ultrasonics
    • "Strange silver", this incarnation of Smith's metal X is also a kind of Unobtainium, having the power to convert copper completely into energy — without destroying any of the metal X in the process. But rather than requiring X-rays, the reaction needs to be exposed to a laser pumped through a quartz crystal doped with the very same silver
  • Up to Eleven: Greater ability for the girls and greater urgency to contribute.
    • In Backstory, Dorothy is given abilities based from hints provided by the original continuity.
    • Margaret is no longer a secretary in Du Quesne's company. She's instead a graduate student in mathematics with him as her thesis adviser when he's not out working in the field. He also cared for her and trained her when no-one else really wanted to.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: This is how DuQuesne operates now rather than the original Pragmatic Villainy, is part of a black branch of NSA charged with suppressing WMD-capable technology
  • Wicked Cultured: Lampshaded by DuQuesne when he makes comments about children's innocence to a social worker.
  • Zee Rust: Osnome's nuclear weapons technology on both sides is extremely crude, circa 1940's. Mardonale's prototype nuclear propelled flagship uses a design similar to ORION. DuQuesne exploits that design weakness to turn the engine room into a huge nuclear bomb.


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