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Literature / Imminent Danger and How To Fly Straight into It

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One morning Eris Miller finds herself abducted by alien slavers. That quickly proves to be the least of her problems.

Imminent Danger and How To Fly Straight into It is the debut novel of Michelle Proulx and was published in 2013. It's an unusual blend of science fiction and romance, and it's developed something of a cult following. A sequel, entitled Chasing Nonconformity, was published in 2015 and a third book in the series, Cerulean Bound, has been announced.

Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It contains examples of:

  • Absolute Xenophobe: The Rakorsians believe they are the greatest species in the galaxy, and attempt to back this up with extensive genetic engineering. They believe so strongly in this that they've even enslaved the Rakorsians who were not genetically engineered, believing them to be inferior. The Ssrisk are an even greater example of this, going absolutely berserk in the presence of any species that is not them.
  • Alien Abduction: Eris' abduction by the Ssrisk fuels the plot of the novel.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Most of the galaxy has this belief about the Rakorsians, as well as the Ssrisk. It isn't entirely true in either case.
  • Always Save the Girl: Varrin cuts it close sometimes, but ultimately he's always able to rescue Eris when she needs him.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The novel ends this way, with Eris reacting to Varrin's surprise announcement that they are married, and the attempt by the crew to reclaim the Nonconformity.
  • Anti-Hero: Varrin certainly qualifies, being an intergalactic mercenary and wanted criminal. By the end Eris and Miguri qualify too, since they join him on his adventures.
  • Arranged Marriage: Emperor Ka'zarel ordering Varrin into one was the ultimate reason behind Varrin choosing to flee Rakor, and the resulting estrangement with his family. Breaking the marriage pact caused Rakor to enter war, though considering the Rakorsian mindset, in all likelihood they were going to enter war anyway.
  • Bald of Evil: The unnamed Scalkans who attack Eris and Varrin on Vega Minor.
  • Battle Couple: Varrin and Eris become this during their attack on the Ssrisk and Rakorsians. Eris still has a ways to go combat-wise, but she's learning quickly.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: Eris encounters one of these on Vega Minor.
  • Big Bad: Captain Hroshk takes this title in Imminent Danger, on account of kidnapping Eris in the first place and later trying to kill all her friends. In the sequel Fino'jin takes the helm, despite not meeting Eris and Varrin until the climax.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Captain Hroshk and Admiral Kratis make an attempt at this. It falls apart fairly quickly, ending with them betraying each other and Hroshk vaporizing Kratis.
  • Car Fu: Eris destroys the Harmonious Enforcer Mark 1 using the Nonconformity... by blowing the ship up.
  • The Chew Toy: Miguri, especially in his backstory. His home planet was destroyed by invading Rakorsians and his people had to wander the stars as refugees. Due to their species being pacifists, the Ssrisk attacked them, thinking they would make ideal slaves. Miguri was the only one willing to fight back, and destroyed the Ssrisk ship to save his people. This promptly caused him to be exiled, and he lost all contact with his family. He wandered space alone, until he was captured by the Ssrisk, who planned to keep him as a pet. Things get only slightly better for him in the main series, as he is tortured more than once, becomes a wanted criminal, and regularly has to fight enemies who are much larger and stronger than he is.
  • Cool Big Sis: Sebara acts as this for Trystan.
  • Cool Starship: The Nonconformity, of course!
  • Crapsaccharine World: Though the novel's tone is lighthearted, the galaxy is not a very pleasant place to live. Two warmongering alien races are trying to destroy each other and everyone else in their bid to conquer the universe, evil corporations can enslave innocent beings, and the only group trying to control the chaos is too incompetent to really do anything about it.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The Chingun doctors in the epilogue of Chasing Nonconformity discuss the possibility of this happening to Fino'jin.
  • Disappeared Dad: Eris' dad abandoned the family when Eris was seven years old.
  • Does Not Like Men: Eris' mother believes men are source of all problems in the world, and she tries and fails to make her daughter believe the same. It's implied this belief is at least partly fuelled by Eris' father leaving the family.
  • Dude, Where's Our Car?: At the end of Imminent Danger, the Nonconformity is taken by the Tetrarchy. Much of the plot of Chasing Nonconformity is Eris and Varrin's attempts to recover it.
  • Elite Mooks: The Skin Slicers act as this for the Rakorsian army. Varrin, who can fight a roomful of Rakorsians alone and succeed, surrenders when he is cornered by them.
  • Enemy Mine: Captain Hroshk and Admiral Kratis join forces to take out their mutual adversaries Eris and Varrin. Their alliance goes extremely poorly, and ends with Captain Hroshk killing Kratis.
  • Energy Beings: Doctor T is a tiny ball of white light, but still manages to be a capable (and evil) scientist.
  • The Exile: Miguri counts as this, as his pacifist culture grew to despise him after he destroyed a Ssrisk vessel. Particularly unfair, considering the Ssrisk were trying to enslave his species at the time. Varrin also qualifies, though his exile is by choice.
  • Friendless Background: Eris had this on Earth, and it's a major factor in her choosing to remain with her friends in space.
  • Genius Bruiser: Varrin is not only a skilled combatant, but also a talented engineer and expert pilot. In his line of work as an outlaw, he'd have to be.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Emperor Ka'zarel. He only appears twice in the entire series, but his empire has conquered a quarter of the known galaxy.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Varrin goes through one, as a result of his time with Eris causing him to re-examine his amoral actions. Grashk also goes through one, albeit less so than Varrin.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Rakorsians appear to be this. The truth is a little more complicated. Several millennia ago, a group of Rakorsians landed on Earth and bred with early humans. This early interaction means that modern day humans have traces of Rakorsian DNA, justifying the resemblance. Scalkans also appear similar to humans (except without hair).
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Emperoro Ka'zarel has this with both his sons. His firstborn, Varrin, is a reckless mercenary who cares little for authority and abandoned his arranged marriage by stealing a spaceship and fleeing the planet (this caused a massive war, by the way). The only reason Emperor Ka'zarel hasn't disinherited and/or killed Varrin is because he views his second son as an even bigger disappointment... Trystan is sensitive, kindhearted and in touch with his feelings, which Ka'zarel despises.
  • Interspecies Romance: Eris and Varrin, though humans do have traces of Rakorsian DNA, making their species distantly related.
  • Karma Houdini: Though most of the villains wind up getting their comeuppance, Doctor T does not. As of the latest book, he is still abducting innocent aliens for his experiments.
  • Karmic Death: After kidnapping Eris and keeping her as a slave, Captain Hroshk is ultimately killed by her.
  • Killed Off for Real: By the end of Chasing Nonconformity, the death toll stands at Tarsis, Admiral Kratis, Captain Hroshk, and the Nonconformity itself.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: It's pretty hard to describe the book without revealing that Eris gets abducted by aliens... or without discussing her relationship with Varrin.
  • Morality Pet: Eris ultimately becomes this for Varrin.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Emperor Ka'zarel, Admiral Kratis and Captain Hroshk.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Miguri fires on a Ssrisk vessel that is abducting his fellow Claktills, since he knows the pacifist Claktills won't be able to defend themselves. They promptly exile him for committing an act of violence.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Psilosians, which is unfortunate considering they're the only method for upholding law in the galaxy. When Alyra promises Eris that the Psilosians will take her home, she says it will take over a month... in a setting where spaceships can teleport at will.
  • Order Versus Chaos: The protagonists are intergalactic outlaws, whereas the villains include an evil intergalactic corporation and two vicious armies based on conquering the universe.
  • Police Are Useless: The Psilosians attempt to regulate order in the galaxy, and fail spectacularly at it. The Rakorsians and Ssrisk are both openly at war with pretty much everyone in their attempts to conquer the galaxy, and evil corporations like Chakra Corp are kidnapping innocent aliens and using them as test subjects. The Psilosians are attempting to stop all of these atrocities from happening, they're just really, really terrible at their job.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: In Chasing Nonconformity, this is the fate of the Nonconformity.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Both the Ssrisk and the Rakorsians have this in spades. Varrin's feelings on this seem to be conflicted; he resents his culture's rigid and oppressive society, but can't quite shake his Rakorsian pride. Grashk is decidedly NOT conflicted, and believes the Ssrisk are the greatest thing ever.
  • Puny Earthlings: Most of the galaxy feels this way about humans, or any other terrestrial species, much to Eris' irritation.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The crew of the Nonconformity eventually becomes this. Everybody is either unable or unwilling to return home to their native species, and so they remain together.
  • The Right of a Superior Species: The Rakorsians and Ssrisk both use this line of thinking to justify their war on the entire rest of the galaxy. For what it's worth, the Rakorsians seem more successful at it than the Ssrisk. The Rakorsians seem willing to attack pretty much anyone, whereas the Ssrisk mainly pick fights with those weaker than them.
  • The Sociopath: Doctor T, and Triila in general, seem to be this. According to Dr. T, their species doesn't have the ability to feel mercy.
  • Starter Villain: Captain Hroshk appears to be this, but it ends up not being the case. After Eris and Miguri escape him, he is largely forgotten while they deal with the more dangerous Doctor T and Admiral Kratis. Eventually however Captain Hroshk returns... and ends up being the final villain in the novel. He even kills Admiral Kratis, and nearly kills Eris and Varrin.
  • Suicidal Pacifist: The Claktill are an example of this, refusing to harm other creatures. Unfortunately since the galaxy isn't an especially nice place, other species think this makes them ideal slaves.
  • Thicker Than Water: The only thing keeping Varrin's father from (directly) killing his rebellious son. Varrin knows this, and happily exploits it.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Eris has her hair shaved off when she is made a captive at Chakra Corp. She is very self conscious about it, and eventually Varrin takes her to an alien hair salon where they are able to grow it back.
  • Truly Single Parent: Claktill are an example of this, though they do still have genders.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: In Chasing Nonconformity, the main plot of Eris and Varrin journeying to get the Nonconformity back is supplemented by Trystan and Sebara's efforts to track them down.
  • The Unpronounceable: Ttrisklimysls. There's a reason he goes by Doctor T.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Varrin is usually pretty laid back, but he goes absolutely BERSERK when he thinks Eris has been killed.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Captain Hroshk responds his defeat at the hands of Eris and Varrin by going absolutely insane and trying to kill everybody.