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Literature / Damsels of Distress

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A series of novellas by James Turbett. The Damsels of Distress are an all-female mercenary gang made up of six members of different species. The world that they inhabit takes inspiration from westerns, mob stories, and miscellaneous fantasy tropes. Humans share the stage along with a number of sentient species such as wendigos, centaurs, tengus, and many others. The mercenary business is a seller’s market. Inter-species tension, hungry mob bosses, and the availability of firearms provides plenty of reasons for a fight. The Damsels of Distress rarely need to look far for work. They can get just about any job done... assuming that they can tolerate each other long enough to do so.

The author's website can be found here:


Damsels of Distress provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: The titual characters themselves.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Damsels of Distress are a mercenary gang comprised of six females.
  • BFG: Clementine’s favorite weapon is the dragon’s breath, a huge machinegun that she mounts onto the back of her abdomen. Being a centaur, her anatomy somewhat makes up for it with four hooves to brace herself.
  • Braids of Action: Tsubaki keeps her long hair in a manageable braid.
  • The Brute: Anya, but a loveable one.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Anya, again.
  • Chaotic Neutral: Jen qualifies
  • The Chick: Minerva.
  • Cold Sniper: Tsubaki is thoroughly stoic.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Only one of the Damsels is a human. The others’ cuteness depends on one’s standards, however.
  • Damsel in Distress: Averted.
  • Dark Action Girl: Tsubaki qualifies and Jen has shades of this.
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  • Dragon Lady: Tsubaki has shades of this.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The wendigoes are hinted to have aboriginal American influences. The centaurs are influenced by steppe nomads. The tengus appear to have some Japanese-ness about them from what little we know.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Thoroughly averted. There are a lot of guns in these stories.
  • Girls with Guns: Oh, so much.
  • Gun Kata: Anya can do this with a pair of auto revolvers.
  • Guns Akimbo: Anya, again.
  • Hairy Girl: Anya. It runs in her species.
  • Hand Cannon: Anya's auto-revolvers.
  • I Call It "Vera": Anya names her auto revolvers Mister Shots O'Plenty and Sir Caps Assalot.
  • Lightning Gun: Jen’s electrobolter qualifies as a sort of gauss gun that fires small particles that conduct electricity.
  • No Scope: Tsubaki does not need a scope weighing down her aim.
  • Snake People: Tawny is a naga.
  • Sniper Rifle: Tsubaki uses a bolt-action one.
  • The Speechless: Tawny is mute, but seems to understand the other Damsels… sometimes.
  • Stun Guns: Jen normally uses her electrobolter to blow holes in people and things but she can also use it to stun and paralyze people.
  • Team Pet: Tawny fits this to a degree. She cannot speak and is the most animalistic of the ground. The others are not certain if she is completely sentient.
  • Trench Coat Warfare: Anya wears a long trench coat.
  • Trigger Happy: Anya, oh so much.

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