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Literature / Restoree

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Restoree is an early novel by Anne McCaffrey. The protagonist is a young woman, Sara, whose unremarkable and not very happy life is interrupted by a nightmarish Alien kidnapping that sends her into an amnesiac fugue state. She gradually comes back to herself to find she has been physically transformed into a much more lovely form and is being employed as caretaker to an attractively ugly man apparently suffering from some kind mental illness.

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A bewildered Sara realizes she is on an entirely different planet and that the man she is tending is being deliberately drugged. She withholds the drugged food and he comes back to his senses revealing himself to be the Lord Harlan formerly regent of Lothar, the world they are on, and a victim of vicious political intrigue. According to Harlan Sara herself must be a survivor of a raid by the Mil, a race of 'cellular giants' who regard humans as food.

Together they escape and set out to save Lothar from political enemies and all the human worlds from the Mil.


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Restoree provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Marriage: It takes Sara a little time to realize that by 'claiming' her as 'his' lady Harlan has in effect married her.
  • Alien Sky: Lothar has two moons, which Sara cites as a reason she's having trouble learning how to maneuver a boat they acquire at one point, due to the effects they have on the tide.
  • Big Eater: Possibly due to having to half starve herself in order to restore Harlan to his senses Sara spends the rest of the book constantly hungry. Maxil keeps asking her if she's sure she's not pregnant.
  • Body Horror: The Mil skin their victims alive. Early efforts to save rescued victims by grafting on a new skin not only led to major squick but insanity for the unfortunate victims. Sara is the beneficiary of a far more advanced technique which has been entirely successful but the prejudice against restorees is such that she and Harlan must conceal the fact.
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  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: Sara requires explanation - just telling people she is from another planet and a 'restoree' is out of the question - so Harlan constructs a background for her making a city recently devestated by earthquake her hometown.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Sara is no Action Girl but she is quite capable of thinking and talking her own way out of trouble.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The court of Lothar.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: Her new skin, new nose and new figure temporarily distract Sara completely from her strange and dire situation.
  • Fish out of Water: Sara on Lothar. It doesn't help that she's gotten herself entangled with high level political intrigue.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: Lothar got all its technology after when they overthrew the Mil and took it for themselves. It's never stated what their technological level was before it got this boost, but it's implied that they were very primitive, and much of their society reflects this.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Due to complicated convolutions of plot Sara finds herself pretending to be the girlfriend of Harlan's nephew Maxil, next in line for the rule of Lothar. Neither Harlan nor the boy's real girlfriend are at all pleased by this.
  • Their First Time: Harlan is all set to while away a short sea voyage with some sexual dalliance - until he learns Sara is a virgin whereupon he backs off, but promises to go through with it later when they have time to do it properly.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Sara very understandably suffers from this. Her time as a captive of the Mil is pretty much a merciful blank. So are her rescue and rehabilitation.
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