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Literature / Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon

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The sequel to the best-seller Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain by Richard Roberts.

Penny and her friends are back in school, and finding themselves extremely bored without any supervillainy. While Penny distracts herself with wondering which of her classmates have powers, it's not really working. Thankfully, Spider comes up with a mission for them: She has detected a human transmission from the moons of Jupiter, farther than any human has ever gone. She wants Bad Penny to build a spaceship and investigate. The result is a red catfish bioship that carries the team to the stars.

Once they reach Jupiter, they quickly discover that it's nowhere near as uninhabited as they thought. There are colonies on most of the major moons, descendants of mad science refugees from World War II. They have a society built on impossible technology, trawling alien fish, and complete subservience to a breed of robots called automatons. Not to mention the extremely dangerous Puppeteers, and this one moon that could really use blowing up...


This book provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alternate History: Superpowers have been around for a long time, making the world a very different place. At least some of the Aztec gods were humans of immense power who demanded human lives be sacrificed to them, while Cortez was a Badass Normal criminal from Cuba. The Trojan war actually happened, and Troy was unearthed, with a bulletproof mummified corpse missing a foot that is assumed to be Achilles.
  • Arranged Marriage: The ruling Automatons are big on forced marriages.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Subverted and lampshaded. Penny, Ray and Claire are surprised to discover how sparsely-populated the asteroid belt actually is when they take off from Ceres.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Penny's power. In terms of raw inventing ability, she may well be the most powerful mad scientist in human history, but she can't really understand, repair, or reproduce her works, and she only has a vague control over what she ends up building.
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  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Sabrina is not a nice person. And she knows it, too. So when Donovan saves her in spite of how she's treated him, she becomes a Violently Protective Girlfriend and it looks like they'll have a Perfectly Arranged Marriage after all. Assuming everyone doesn't get enslaved or die first, of course.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Conquerors, the Puppeteers, the Jovians, and Chief Fawkes, are all making their bids to destroy/conquer humanity and each other.
  • Bio Tech:
    • In the middle of history class, Penny decides she needs a cloning tank. She has no idea what she needs it for, though at least she figures out that general bioengineering tools will work just as well.
    • The Puppeteers are an alien race that exclusively uses biotech, mostly for mind control.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • The Puppeteers consider any kind of individuality or self-interest to be "Evil" and any use of weapons or violence to be "barbaric". They consider the bioweapons that they send to conquer less advanced civilizations to be "cleaners" rather than actual weapons.
    • On a related note, Harvey, the main control point for the Puppeteers, considers himself insane and evil for valuing individual lives over the group.
  • Cape Punk: A Sci-Fi version of the series as we get insight into just how weird and dangerous the "superheroes go into outer space" stories would really be for untrained newcomers. Likewise, the Lovecraftian science and aliens without the benefit of superheroes elsewhere means space is a lot more hostile than good old Earth.
  • Demoted to Extra: Every major character from the first book except the main three and Vera.
  • Deus Exit Machina:
    • With as quickly as they leave Earth, Penny ends up leaving her transport bands behind.
    • Like at the end of the first book, Penny either gives away or loses most of her inventions, including psychic symbiotic cat Archimedes.
  • The Dreaded: Mourning Dove, a powerful Anti-Hero who has a reputation for taking out villains that cross the line. Penny, Claire and Ray shit their collective pants when they run into her on a heist. Luckily, she wasn't there for them and in fact considers them heroes for attacking the illegal weapons research lab.
  • Evil Counterpart: Penny's mother comes up with a compelling, logically sound, and completely wrong argument that the Inscrutable Machine are intentionally mirroring Claire, Ray, and Penny out of jealousy. E-Claire looks enough like Claire that she probably heard variants of "Almost as pretty as Claire Lutra" a lot, Reviled's name is a reference to Ray Viles, and Bad Penny probably has a minor inventing ability that Penny's much stronger one overshadowed.
  • Excuse Plot: The set-up for how the Inscrutable Machine goes into space in the first place. Spider detected a transmission, and thinks Bad Penny can build a spaceship. That's about it.
  • The Grotesque: Harvey's real form, as he's a Puppeteer cocoon complete with antennae. He's also the most noble character in the book, as his two biggest motivations are saving Juliet and the individuality of the human race.
  • Irony: Mourning Dove, the most dangerous hero in every single way, considers the Inscrutable Machine heroes since they broke into a supervillain lab, released all the employees and animals unharmed, and even helped her fight a defective clone. Unfortunately, nobody really listens to Mourning Dove anyway, so they're still villains to everyone else.
  • Important Haircut: Remmy cuts off her braids after building her mech and going on an Unstoppable Rage.
  • Improvised Weapon: All those dangerous Puppeteer creatures that gave the Rotors and Conquerors so much trouble? They're cleaners. Little more than self-propelled brooms and mops. Harvey says that truly civilized races see weapons, or even a desire for weapons, as evil and barbaric.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Apparently this is relatively common for mental powers, hovering at somewhere around ten percent.
  • Necessarily Evil: Mourning Dove. Her role is essentially to brutally murder any supervillains who violate the unwritten rules of the Community. The other heroes tend to turn a blind eye to the occasional bystander who gets killed in the process.
  • Never Trust a Title: The moon referred to in the title is not the Earth's moon, which is the only one normally referred to as "the moon". In actuality, it is one of Jupiter's many moons, which is alluded to by the Working Title At Least I Didn't Blow Up OUR Moon.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Pretty much everything the Inscrutable Machine does on the moons of Jupiter.
  • Non-Malicious Monster:
    • Both the Conquerors and the Puppeteers. The Conquerors are self-replicating Von Neumann probes that destroyed their creators and now conquer worlds and then just wait for orders that never come. The Puppeteers are just as automatic creations of a group of evolved "civilized races" that consider individuality and selfishness barbaric.
    • Also Mourning Dove, a cybernetic zombie/vampire whose powers are fueled by sucking life force who operates as a "hero".
  • Science-Related Memetic Disorder: More detail is given on Penny's. For one thing, her power still doesn't like repeating itself, and also doesn't really repair things.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: After The Big Damn Kiss of the last book, Ray and Penny's relationship remains poorly defined. They spent too much time avoiding awkward conversations. She's extremely embarrassed to find that her mother noticed before she did.
  • Shout-Out: Juliet's friend Harvey is a giant rabbit that only she can see. It turns out he is very real, and looks nothing like a rabbit, but that's the way he want Juliet to see him, as he thinks he is too ugly for her to love.
  • Space Is Cold: Used several times throughout the book, to the point where being in space without a space suit even for a few seconds could cause hypothermia.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Reviled promises not to kill any of the guards, much to Lucyfar's annoyance. Averted at the end when Claire breaks Juno's neck.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Remmy, due to her jealousy of Penny's power.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The battery and ball of electricity left at Penny's computer, and the person who left the challenge for her, are immediately forgotten about as they soon after are sent into space. The ending of the book also wraps up in a hurry with no time to remember them, but then they serve as an opener for the third book.