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Literature / Outernet

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We are not alone. We might wish that we were... But we're definitely not.

There are some things that exist solely to lampshade, subvert, invert, and generally deconstruct any tropes they come across. This series does that for Space and Science Fiction Tropes.

The series follows fourteen year-old Jack Armstrong, his friends Merle and Lothar (Loaf) and two Shapeshifting aliens trapped in the form of a dog and cat. After Jack receives The Server, an alien teleportation/database system, the three humans are recruited to prevent The Tyrant's evil plan to steal The Server and thus control the Outernet. (Which is just the outer-space version of the internet). It has some surprising plot twists towards the end. There are six books in the series.


Tropes present in this work:

  • Alternate Universe Loaf is Awesome: In one book, Merle travels to an alternate universe where Loaf is a dashing freedom fighter named "Lothar."
  • Alternet: The Outernet is a galaxy-wide internet that can teleport people as well.
  • Big Bad: The Tyrant.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The gang optimistically suggest that the van-sized Trigger might be this but they turn out to be wrong.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: The Outernet can teleport people across the galaxy instantly for free.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Loaf, Googie, and the Server's interface, known (ironically) as Help.
  • Death World: The Planet Aaaaaargh (with six A's), home to the eyeball-popping razor-toothed ear-drillers.
  • The Dreaded: The Tyrant is THE most feared being in the galaxy. On a less selective basis, his top enforcers the Bugs are these as well.
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  • Elvis Has Left the Planet: The gang find an old, fat Elvis performing on Arcadia.
  • Five-Man Band: Jack is The Hero, Merle is The Chick and The Lancer, Googie is The Smart Guy, Bitz is The Big Guy, and Loaf is, well, The Load.
  • Foreshadowing: Throughout the book, when discussing the humans who have the Server, the Tyrant always pauses a bit whenever he has to mention Lothar Gelt. That's because the Tyrant is actually a Loaf from a Bad Future, who was accidentally stranded decades ago in the past.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The FOEs, the Forces of Evil. Also, Bug, the name of the species who work for the FOEs, stands for "Big Ugly Guy" (Reportedly, the name came from when someone asked, "Who's the big ugly guy?" and it stuck.)
  • Genius Bruiser: The Bugs, interestingly enough for the standard issue mooks of a series. They're big, hulking mutants larger than normal humans and speak with relatively soft, cultured voices.
  • Lovable Coward: Zodiac Hobo,
  • Meaningful Name: Zodiac Hobo.
  • The Milky Way Is the Only Way: Seems to be in effect. The only mentions of intergalactic travel are a petulent Halp threatening to teleport itself to one of the Magellanic Clouds and the back cover of the second book mentioning "a wild ride through strange galaxies".
  • Mooks: The Bugs.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Lothar "Loaf" Gelt.
  • A Planet Named Zok: Some planets fit, like Vered II.
  • Playing Both Sides: As it turned out, Tracer, the chief informant of the FOEs, is also the Weaver, the leader of the Friends. When The Reveal comes around, he admits that this was the only way he could keep both sides aware of the other's plans.
  • Pleasure Planet: Arcadia is a theme park planet.
  • The Reveal: Who is the Weaver, and who is the Tyrant? Both answers will surprise you.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Googie and Bitz are stuck in the form of a cat and a dog, respectively.
  • Shapeshifter Mashup: Bitz uses one in the last book. In his own words, he didn't know how to use his old forms, so he just made something up
  • Stable Time Loop: They create one... accidentally.
  • Time Travel: The fourth book.
  • Translator Microbes: The laptop can translate anything nearby.
  • You Have Failed Me: It's mentioned that anytime the current leader of the Bugs is called to the Tyrant's main palace, the Dark Pyramid, he's typically killed and his second in command is promoted.