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Literature / Galaxy of Fear

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The whole galaxy seemed to stretch out before them. It was dark, and dangerous, and full of fear. But it was also full of stars, and the stars burned brightly.
The Hunger

Galaxy of Fear, written by John Whitman, is a series of children's sci-fi horror novels set in the Star Wars Legends continuity. The series is centered on the Force-sensitive Tash Arranda and her brother Zak, who travel with their Uncle Hoole, a shapeshifting Shi'ido who first appeared in The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, and their protocol droid tutor DV-9, or Deevee. Tash and Zak were survivors of the Death Star's attack on Alderaan as they had been in an off-planet field trip. They were taken in by Hoole, an anthropologist with a mysterious past, who travels the galaxy for his work.

There are twelve books in the series. The first six books deal with the mysterious Project Starscream, a series of experiments in biological weapons conducted by the Galactic Empire. The other six have more independent storylines with the main characters fleeing the Empire as fugitives. One of the series' major gimmicks is guest appearances by major characters from other Star Wars works, from the movies to other novels to video games.

Tash, Zak, Hoole, and DV-9 achieved Canon Immigrant status in 2021, when the Disney canon featured them in an issue of Star Wars Adventures.

List of novels

  • Eaten Alive: Our heroes crash-land on the planet D'vouran and deal with several mysterious disappearances. Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie, and their droids make an appearance.
  • City of the Dead: The family visits the planet Necropolis, where Zak befriends some local kids who dare him to sneak into a cemetery. Boba Fett and Doctor Evazan make an appearance.
  • Planet Plague: The family visits Gobindi, where Tash learns that the Empire is experimenting with viruses. And she might be infected. Wedge Antilles makes an appearance.
  • The Nightmare Machine: Zak and Tash visit Hologram Fun World, which includes a simulator that brings their worst fears to life. Lando Calrissian makes an appearance.
  • Ghost of the Jedi: Fleeing Borborygmus Gog, the family hides out in an abandoned space station that houses an ancient Jedi library. However, the library also houses the spirit of a Jedi.
  • Army of Terror: The Arrandas visit Kiva to investigate Project Starscream where they encounter a spectral army and rescue an infant named Eppon from an Abandoned Laboratory. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and C-3PO all make an appearance, as does Darth Vader.
  • The Brain Spiders: Hoole visits Jabba's Palace so that he can study the B'omarr monks. Meanwhile, the kids investigate a series of murders whose killer leaves a K carved into his victims' bodies.
  • The Swarm: The gang visits the Sikadian Garden, where they run into Imperial officers and a swarm of carnivorous insects whose numbers have mysteriously skyrocketed. Captain (and future Grand Admiral) Thrawn makes an appearance.
  • Spore: The family travels to a mining colony in the middle of an asteroid belt looking for fuel for their ship. However, the miners may have Dug Too Deep. Jerec makes an appearance.
  • The Doomsday Ship: The Arrandas are relaxing on a luxury space yacht when passengers are ordered to abandon ship due to an imminent meltdown. Zak and Tash are stuck onboard but the meltdown never happens. The Arrandas are now trapped onboard with no communications and no way out. Dash Rendar makes an appearance.
  • Clones: The family lands on Dantooine, where they are tricked into visiting some old Jedi ruins. They run into a gang of Rebels but Tash senses the Dark Side in the ruins. Darth Vader appears.
  • The Hunger: Their ship destroyed by Boba Fett, the family is stranded on a swamp planet with a strange tribe calling themselves the Children. Boba Fett, Yoda, and Platt Okeefe make appearances.

In 2009 Adrian Tolliver wrote Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd, or What I Did On My Inter-Term Break, an essay from the perspective of Tash Arranda. Set between Army of Terror and The Brain Spiders, it has the kids wandering Lorrd and finding a wicked plot. Face Loran appears.Tash, Zak, Hoole, and DV-9 achieved Canon Immigrant status in 2021, when the Disney canon featured them in an issue of Star Wars Adventures.

This series provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Eppon in his child form is eager to eat people but cuddly and affectionate otherwise. The two modes aren't mutually exclusive. Tash believes he's good and that what he does is separate from his personality.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Star Wars doesn't often play in this space with AI that aren't just droids, but SIM in The Doomsday Ship certainly counts.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Wingsong isn't comprehensible to our heroes, but it's pretty.
  • All There in the Manual: The notes for Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd claims that Tash's change in attitude towards her brother and life in general between Army of Terror and The Brain Spiders is due to infatuation.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Eppon is the culmination of Gog's Super-Soldier project, and he possesses traits from all of the previous threats in the series.
  • An Aesop: Several books have them, sometime more obvious than others.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: A sci-fi example. Vroon, a Sk'rrr (an Insectoid Alien), is part of a cult that worships drog beetles as they believe that drogs and Sk'rrr are related. As the gardener of Sikadian Garden, he kills the beetles' natural predators. This causes the drog beetle population to grow incredibly quickly, reaching plague proportions and causing them to get so hungry they start attacking people.
  • Apocalyptic Log: In The Hunger, Hoole and the Arranda's stumble upon a datapad left behind by a failed survey mission to Dagobah revealing that the stranded expedition was joined by the crew of a crashed cruise ship, eventually resulting in the survivors beginning to breed and produce children. On her deathbed, the expedition leader confesses that the only way they could feed the children was by feeding them the bodies of the dead.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Tash idolizes Jedi and is Force-Sensitive. Long after the series, she's part of Luke's Jedi order.
  • Assimilation Plot: The goal of the villain of Spore.
    "I mean you no harm. I simply need... I mean, I want to know you better. To be a part of you. For you to be a part of me."
  • The Atoner: It's revealed that Hoole is atoning for the destruction of an entire civilization over the course of his experiments; true, it was the result of deceit and sabotage by Gog, but he still blames himself for failing to notice it - and for collaborating with the Empire in the first place.
  • Badass Bookworm: Hoole is a stoic and cautious anthropologist known for producing numerous first-hand accounts of various planets and species, though he's dabbled in other fields of science over the course of his career. However, his ability to shapeshift makes him easily the most dangerous of the main characters in combat; in most of the books, once he finally gets directly involved in the action, the tide turns dramatically in the heroes' favor.
  • Back for the Finale: DV-9 returns in The Hunger.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Vroon's faith in the holiness of drog beetles leads to him sabotaging the natural balance to protect them, resulting in numerous deaths — including his own.
  • Big Bad: Borborygmus Gog for the first six books. Technically he works for the Emperor, but he has a lot of discretion.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Many times.
    • In Eaten Alive, the crew of the Falcon make a brief cameo early on, then leave the planet. Later the planet itself comes to life and prevents our heroes' ship from taking off, and the Falcon picks them up because Luke had wanted to check on them.
    • It's also very common for Hoole to be kept in reserve until the climax of a story, and then suddenly appear out of nowhere to save the day.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The natives of D'vouran, the Enzeen, look like blue-skinned humanoids with spikes for hair. The planet is actually alive, and they are symbiotes which lure people to the surface so the world can eat them, then are fed themselves by plunging their hollow tongues into the dirt.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Averted. Surprisingly for a kidlit book (especially one set in the Star Wars universe), The Empire isn't all evil. Led by an evil Emperor, yes, and there's a high number of evil plots rooted in it, but at the same time, it's stressed that it is a government.
    "I know how you feel about the Empire, and you have a right to be angry. But you have to understand that the government has officers, soldiers, and fleets of ships all across the galaxy. Most of the time they are just beings going about their daily business. If you think that every time you see stormtroopers you have uncovered a wicked Imperial plot, you will go insane with worry."
  • Blob Monster: The... blobs in Planet Plague which all used to be humans before succumbing to The Virus.
  • Bonding over Missing Parents: The Arrandas and Luke bond over being orphans in Army of Terror.
  • Bookworm: Tash, whose near-Friendless Background has predisposed her to entertaining herself quietly. Especially if she can read about Jedi.
  • Brain in a Jar: As with their portrayal across the old expanded universe, the B'Omarr monks achieve enlightenment by putting their brains in jars and allowing spider droids to ferry them wherever they need to go.
  • Buried Alive: In City of the Dead Zak is poisoned and apparently dies, and is soon given a funeral and buried while paralyzed.
  • Calling Card: A serial killer in The Brain Spiders carves a "K" into the foreheads of his victims.
  • The Cameo: Oh, loads of them. Even aside from the main characters listed above, more minor ones frequently play roles. Doctor Evazan is the villain of City of the Dead. Dengar has an extremely fleeting role in The Nightmare Machine. Dannik Jerriko is in Ghost of the Jedi. Even when he doesn't meet the heroes, Darth Vader often appears in the Villain Opening Scene.
  • Care-Bear Stare: Tash uses the Force to reach out to Eppon, who had just awakened his true nature as Gog's Living Weapon and bombards him with memories of their brief but happy time together. It works.
  • Cliffhanger: Every book, several times. Daniel Wallace lampshaded it.
    Every single chapter of those books had to end with a cliffhanger. It was the law. A chapter would finish with "Tash stepped off the spaceship and heard a blood-curdling scream!" Then you'd read the next chapter and it would say "But apparently it was just a bird."
    • DV-9 also lampshaded it. Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd has him leaving a lot of comments in red on the essay.
    "I must object to the false jeopardy and melodramatic suspense at the end of every section. This is an informative essay, not a holodrama."
  • Closed Circle: Several of the books start with the characters' ship being rendered nonoperational for one reason or another.
  • Continuity Nod: Many of them, to the movies and the Star Wars Expanded Universe. In The Planet Plague, DV-9 chatters about the Massassi of Yavin Four and the Ysanna of Ossus. Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd is absolutely thick with them.
    • Hoole mentions in The Brain Spiders that he's done research on Tatooine and Jabba's palace before. A couple years before the series began, a book called The Illustrated Star Wars Universe was published, in which Hoole was first introduced as the "author" of the Tatooine chapter.
    • The Hunger mentions a failed survey expedition to Dagobah - which was also featured in The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, with expedition leader Halka Four-Den serving as the author of an Apocalyptic Log that eventually becomes the Dagobah chapter. The Hunger also features an unnamed cameo of Halka Four-Den recording her final Apocalyptic Log on her deathbed.
    • In his last appearance in The Hunger, Yoda mentions that he has to prepare for the arrival of a student....
  • Cool Starship: The Shroud.
  • Dangerous Device Disposal Debacle: While the Arranda's efforts in the first five books put a stop to the different parts of Project Starscream, Gog relies on this trope to preserve bits of his experiments to integrate into his final project.
    • Spore has an entire plot like this: it took centuries for the Jedi to contain Spore but the Ithorians just locked it up because they're too peaceful to destroy anything, including their most dangerous creation.
  • Debt Detester: This has Hoole very irritable. In all fairness, owing Jabba the Hutt an unspecified favor is never good.
  • Defanged Horrors: The zombies in ''City of the Dead" are different. Sure, they're mostly ugly and many of them are decayed, and they are super strong and able to shrug off injuries, but they're also not infectious, don't bite or scratch, follow their Necromancer's commands completely, and some remain their own selves with intelligence.
  • Defusing the Tyke-Bomb: Tash uses her Force powers to communicate with Eppon. This works until Gog sets off a device that makes his head explode.
  • Disney Villain Death: During Ghost of the Jedi Gog is burned and can't hold on to any shape but his own, and falls into a seemingly bottomless pit, where he's assumed dead. Vader, passing through after the heroes leave, also assumes he's dead, but Gog stirs as soon as he leaves.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Uncle Hoole is calm in crises. He's less so when dealing with Tash and Zak. When the kids meet Thrawn, they note he's the same, if in a colder way.
  • Doomed Predecessor: In Ghost of the Jedi, as the main cast explore the space station, they find the dead body of a man they chatted with earlier on, and later they find many more bodies of treasure hunters said to have vanished over the past few months. In a twist, none of them are dead, but they look dead due to the Mad Scientist and his essence-stealing machine, with the victims recovering after the machine is deactivated.
  • Dwindling Party:
    • Often, a group of several minor and often largely unnamed characters (including treasure hunters in Ghost of the Jedi, Rebel commandos in Army of Terror, Asteroid Miners in Spore, Captain Hajj and his repair party in Doomsday Ship, and Platt's smugglers in ''The Hunger) face the same dangers as the main cast and any previously established guest stars. They inevitably gradually experience misfortunes that remove them from the main action until there are few if any of them left. Sometimes, they are only injured or incapacitated, but usually, at least some of them are killed by the main threat.
    • In the Back Story of Eaten Alive, Captain Bebo and the other nineteen survivors of a starship crash began vanishing in groups of one to three at a time. About a quarter of them lasted long enough to take refugee in an abandoned laboratory that provided some safety, but some of them left to check their distress beacon and never came back. By the time of the book, only Bebo (the only one who can safely go outside thanks to a protective amulet) and his Not-So-Imaginary Friend Lonni are left of the original twenty. Neither of them makes it to the end of the book.
  • Evil All Along:
    • It's eventually revealed that the benevolent and helpful ForceFlow, previously known as Tash's online pen-pal and suspected Rebel spy is actually just Gog in disguise.
    • In The Brain Spiders, Grimpen appears to be the nicest of the B'Omarr Monks. Turns out he's been running a brain-switching scam to allow criminals to escape justice in new bodies, not only breaking the rules of the B'Omarr Order but gladly using Tash as a donor body.
  • Explosive Breeder: Droog beetles. Hatchling to sexual maturity in a day, laying ten eggs a day.
  • Face Death with Despair: In The Hunger, the dying expedition leader's final Apocalyptic Log features her breaking down in tears, convinced that she's failed in every way that matters in the knowledge that she's been reduced to feeding the children the bodies of the dead.
    May the stars forgive us...
  • Fictional Document: Tash cites several of them at the bottom of Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd.
  • Fictional Sport: Tash looks back on playing speed globe with her friends on Alderaan. She still has the ball and it still works - when activated it speeds away from people - but she doesn't have a team anymore.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival:
    • Despite falling down a very very deep pit and being assumed dead, Gog eventually stirs, fingers twitching, and opens his eyes. He's fine in the next book.
    • After being killed by Gog, a headless Eppon's finger twitches. The narration states that it might be the wind. Then the novel ends.
    • Body Twitching Revival in City of the Dead, where uncontrollable spasms serve as a Red Right Hand for those who have been reanimated by Dr. Evazan's serum. The end of the book suggests Zak himself might have been reanimated.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Tash does this a lot in the first book, as her Force-Sensitivity sometimes just lets her know what people are saying a couple seconds before they say it.
  • Genius Loci: D'Vouran is a living planet... one with an appetite.
  • Gender Bender: Karkas, when his brain is put into Tash's body. He's not happy about this and tries to get Jabba to find him another body.
  • Good Shapeshifting, Evil Shapeshifting: Uncle Hoole and Borborygmus Gog are both Shi'ido shapeshifters, but though their secretive natures both inspire mistrust in the Arranda siblings, their morality is ultimately revealed by how they use their powers. Hoole shapeshifts for utility and combat, almost never assumes the identity of another sentient being, and often wraps up each novel by using his powers to rescue the Arrandas; for good measure, he prefers using relatively benign forms like Wookies. By contrast, Gog firmly establishes himself as a Shapeshifting Trickster by constantly assuming pre-existing identities, playing his enemies against each other rather than getting directly involved in the conflict.
  • Googling the New Acquaintance: Tash meets a man who everyone agrees is crazy. She's told he's the sole survivor of a Coming in Hot situation, his mind snapped, and if he leaves D'vouran he'll be apprehended by the authorities. She accesses the Holonet to look up records on him and finds that they match what she's been told, but notices a program attached to the records that alerts someone that she's accessed them, and naturally Tash finds this suspicious.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Emperor only appears once, in the Villain Opening Scene of Planet Plague. Gog is cowed at the transmission of him.
    He [Gog] could order the deaths of hundreds if he wished. With his terrible knowledge he could engineer nightmares. But as powerful as the scientist was, the Emperor could snuff him out with little more than a thought.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Zak calls a somewhat deranged-seeming man "a few starships short of a fleet".
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Sometimes Tash can tell if someone really is good and trustworthy even if they're acting sketchy, and likes them without quite knowing why... but she also has no idea when someone helpful and friendly is out to get her. Case in point, her relationship with ForceFlow, who turns out to be a disguise for Gog.
  • Humanshifter: Borborygmus Gog, like Hoole, is a Shi'ido and can assume all kinds of shapes, but aside from his Shapeshifter Swan Song he seems to prefer humanoids and identity theft.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Tash was never given instruction on the Force.
  • Iconic Outfit: On the cover of The Swarm, Captain Thrawn is wearing his white Grand Admiral outfit, despite only being a Captain at this point.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: D'vouran, a planet that eats people and Necropolis, a planet with zombies.
  • I Know What You Fear: The Nightmare Machine is supposedly a thriller-style attraction at a hologram amusement park, so the advertised capability of making people face their biggest fears seems a bit overblown. Instead it's a creature trapping people in a dream.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Tash idolizes the Jedi and wants to be one of them; however, during a visit to Tatooine, the enlightenment offered by the B'Omarr Order also fascinates her, to the point that she even considers becoming one after she learns some of their special techniques. Unfortunately, this results in her becoming an easy mark for a criminal in their ranks.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Vroon killed by the drog beetles he worshiped.
    • Gog killed by the wraiths of people he slaughtered en-mass.
  • Life Energy: One of Gog's interests.
  • Mad Scientist: Borborygmus Gog and Mammon Hoole.
  • Master Poisoner: In City of the Dead, a handful of swallowed cryptberries will kill someone almost instantly. After doing this to one twelve-year-old boy, the better to test his zombification serum, Dr. Evazan injects another with diluted cryptberry, which puts him into a deathlike coma for long enough that he can have a funeral and be Buried Alive.
  • Man-Eating Plant:
    • The alleth plant in Spore is more like the carnivorous plants of Earth than most instances of this trope. No mouths, no sounds, they usually don't move much, and the insides of their leaves are bright red. A sproutling will sting a hand that touches it, and grown samples are large enough to kill and eat small rodents. Scary! Don't worry, there are more fantastical dangerous plants later in the book.
    • The meat flowers of Dagobah in The Hunger have toothy petals and bite passersby, though if they've been fed they will only bite if bothered.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Gog and Mammon are names from The Bible often associated with evil people or demons. However, it actually turns out that Mammon Hoole is an otherwise decent guy who simply failed to stop a tragedy.
    • Eppon's Pokémon Speak ("Eppon!") is merely stating his purpose: Weapon.
    • The planet D'vouran; say it aloud and what does it sound like? The planet devours people standing on it.
  • More than Meets the Eye: Luke says he knew Tash was this, to her pleasure.
  • Mugging the Monster: In The Brain Spiders, Grimpen makes the mistake of trying to use Hoole as a donor body in his brain-switching operations, clearly not knowing about his ability to shapeshift. He isn't even concerned when Hoole wakes up on the operating table... right up until the "victim" shapeshifts out of the restraints and goes on the offensive.
  • Mythology Gag: More than what would reasonably expected for a kids horror series. Thrawn and Jerec show up in different books.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Karkas. See, it sounds like "carcass".
  • Necromancer: The legendary Sycorax. In a sense, Dr. Evazan.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Tash and Zak are kids from Alderaan. The fact that they never got a chance to say goodbye to their parents weighs on both of them, but particularly Zak.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: In "The Hunger," it's revealed that an ill-fated expedition to Dagobah survived long enough to produce numerous children... but didn't have the provisions to feed all of them. In the end, the explorers only guaranteed the survival of the children by feeding them the bodies of the dead.
  • Nostalgia Filter: In-universe, this is why The children of the exploration team that crashed on Dagobah don't realize that it's wrong To Serve Man until shown otherwise by Zak Arranda.
  • Not Me This Time: In Ghost Of The Jedi, Dannik Jerriko - an Anzati Serial Killer and part-time bounty hunter - is left in the awkward position of trying to explain that he isn't actually responsible for the deaths that are occurring on Nespis VIII, even though they technically fit his modus operandi. Also, when he's caught murdering an Imperial assassin that was sent after Zak and Tash, things only get even more awkward.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Initially, Hoole will usually respond to warnings from the twins with polite dismissal. As time goes on and he learns to trust in his niece and nephew, he learns to avoid doing this.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Hoole is normally a stoic and level-headed professional. As such, when he attempts to downplay the situation by trying to crack a joke, it's a good indication that the situation has him more worried than he's prepared to let on.
    • Lando also pretty well describes this trope, telling the kids that if someone's acting out of character they'd better pause and pay attention.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Hoole is not a very good primary guardian at first. Tendency to be distant and refusal to talk about himself aside, he drags the children along on his work across the galaxy, not telling them what he's doing and becoming irritable when they demand to know where they're headed. He warms eventually, but by then they're wanted by The Empire and on the run. Inevitably they end up wandering into hazardous and terrifying situations.
  • Papa Wolf: Initially rather distant, Hoole gradually becomes a more devoted guardian to the kids, and it becomes increasingly common for him to swoop in to deliver a shapeshifting smackdown to whatever threat might have tried to hurt them.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Tash has abandonment issues and knows it. Her parents left her and her brother in the care of strangers and died; whenever Uncle Hoole leaves her and Zak to go do whatever, she becomes antsy and anxious.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: As he eats people Eppon grows up very rapidly.
  • Pokémon Speak: "Eppon! Eppon!" That's all the odd baby Zak and Tash take to says, so that's what they call him.
  • Precautionary Corpse Disposal: The planet Necropolis is said to be Cursed by an ancient Necromancer, forcing people to pay Due to the Dead or suffer their vengeful return, so they have massive gated cemetaries and rigid burial customs. Zombies do start to show up when outsiders trespass on the cemetery, due to a Mad Doctor experimenting with a "cure for death".
  • Precocious Crush: Tash, who is thirteen, towards Luke, who is nineteen or twenty. Tash would argue that she has outgrown crushes, she's just fascinated by his Jedi connections, but it certainly looks like a crush, being bold around most people but shy around him and feeling tingly when he shakes her hand.
    Something about him made her feel strange. Not "strange" like the crushes she'd had on boys back on Alderaan - she had outgrown crushes anyway. This was a sense of... relief. Tash felt as if she'd been waiting to meet someone like Luke Skywalker all her life.
    • Later:
    He winked at Tash, and she felt the Force flow between them, just as she had during their first meeting. It was a warm, electric tingle, as though she were on one end of a wire with Luke at the other. Together, they made a connection.
  • Pseudo-Crisis: Constantly. If a chapter end isn't a real cliffhanger, it's this.
  • Punny Name: The Don't Go Inn on D'vouran. And of course, D'Vouran itself.
  • Put on a Bus: DV-9 leaves after Army of Terror and takes a less stressful stationary research position. Hoole has fully defrosted and come to care about Tash and Zak, so DV-9's reluctant, dutiful caretaker functions aren't required. He's Back for the Finale in the final book, but only long enough to provide them with the coordinates of a planet where he thinks they can hide out from the Empire for a while: Dagobah.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Eaten Alive, though it's not quicksand, exactly. It's the living planet sucking people down.
  • The Scapegoat: The Emperor and Gog made Mammon Hoole the scapegoat for the destruction of Kiva. Hoole did start the experiment, but Gog was the one who told him that the experiment was safe when he knew that it would kill everyone on the planet.
  • Scars Are Forever: Even for droids, apparently - Deevee gets some dramatic scrapes and gouges that stick around and are noticed.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: Shi'ido have these. Hoole suggests that having his own form and identity keeps him from a Shapeshifter Identity Crisis.
  • Share Phrase: Tash has a bad feeling about this. Lampshaded by her brother at the start of the series, who scornfully says she always has bad feelings. By the end of the series he's started having them himself.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Tash and Zak. The slightly older, odd, psychic girl is more bookish and introverted, while the slightly younger, active, tech-loving boy is more mischevious and outgoing.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: The history/mythology of Necropolis involves a witch named Sycorax.
  • Spaceship Slingshot Stunt: Han uses one to escape the Genius Loci, calling it "the oldest trick in the manual."
  • Spider-Sense: Tash is Force-Sensitive. She knows when she's Being Watched.
  • Spooky Silent Library: Ghost of the Jedi has one of these, stocked with books that are dangerous to touch.
  • Stranger Safety: Force-Sensitive Tash Arranda gets feelings around some people. Some of the people she meets, she just feels like she can trust, though sometimes she has to struggle with whether she should or not since some of them appear sketchy. Most of these people are the Heroes of Other Stories, like the Heroes of Yavin, Wedge Antilles, Lando Calrissian et cetera. It gets to the point where her companions just sort of shrug and assume anyone she likes will be helpful and valorous. However, she can't always sense if someone isn't trustworthy, so if they are a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing she will assume the best, which her companions also fall afoul of.
  • Stylistic Suck: Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd contains some drawings by Tash of some of the people and things they find. They look like they've been scribbled with colored pencil. Well, she is thirteen and never stated to have an interest in art.
  • The Swarm: The beetles in, well, The Swarm.
  • Tae Kwon Door In The Doomsday Ship the doors are science-fiction things that slide open, and when Dash starts to pass through a doorway SIM slams it shut
  • Taking Over the Town: The planet Ghobindi is found to be blockaded, with only Imperial ships able to come in or go out. There's only one settlement there, clustered around an elaborate medical clinic. The Empire is actually testing The Virus on it.
  • Title Drop: Eaten Alive has this.
    "Aaiiiiii!" the Gank screamed. It was terrifying to hear that sound come from the battle-scarred thug. "It's hurting me! It's hurting me!" His eyes were alive with terror. "I'm being eaten alive!"
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In Clones, some characters wonder if they are actually clones. In City of the Dead, Zak may or may not be an intelligent zombie now.
  • To Serve Man: The natives in The Hunger, the planet D'vouran in Eaten Alive, and Eppon in Army of Terror.
  • Tyke Bomb: Eppon was designed to start off in baby form, the better to be underestimated and taken in.
  • Undead Child: Kairn in City of the Dead, who was killed for this very purpose.
  • Unfinished Business: The wraiths of the ravaged planet Kiva cannot find rest until they get revenge on the Mad Scientist who destroyed their world Mammon Hoole. When they learn that Gog was the one who deceived Hoole and allowed the experiment to go forward knowing it would destroy Kiva, they pounce on their murderer as he screams for mercy. Only then do they vanish.
  • Vine Tentacles: Vesuvagues are carnivorous trees that grab unfortunate passersby with their prehensile vines, wrap them up so they can't move, and then squeeze them to death.
  • The Virus: The Planet Plague and Spore have two very different applications of this. Planet Plague's seems like a relatively normal disease until it turns its victims into Blob Monsters, while Spore is a sentient hivemind that really wants new bodies.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Nearly every book ends with a suggestion that the book's threat hasn't been entirely resolved - an anomalous planet appears, Zak displays the twitch the zombies had, Gog has a new deadly virus, Gog survived his Disney Villain Death, Eppon's body twitches, some drog beetles got onto the hero's ship, Spore can survive dormant in space and wait for someone to pick it up, SIM has jumped into the holonet and is free to go elsewhere, Vader has clones of all the heroes and the quick-cloning tech. Except for Gog surviving a great fall, none of these come up again in the series. The quick-cloning tech is arguably a prequel to a more refined version used in The Thrawn Trilogy.
  • You Are Not Alone: Tash's first conscious experience of the Force is a greatly comforting sense of it as being huge and protective. Before that, Luke told her that her strange hunches might actually mean something and she had a sense of connecting to him. Her longing to have this connection consistently, and the false connection Spore offers, are a significant part of Spore.