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Literature / Starluck

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Starluck is a 1982 Science Fiction novel by Donald Wismer. It follows the protagonist, Paul Cartier, who has just achieved a perfect score on the Autobeneficient Aptitude Test. Namely, he's been found to be incredibly lucky by nature. Unfortunately, the Emperor views any who have such a high score as a threat (after all shouldn't the luckiest person alive be Emperor) and has sent people to kill Paul. Paul escapes his erstwhile assassins, including a jaunt through the cutting-edge Matter Transmission technology (M.T. or "Empty" for short), he winds up stowing away with a travelling circus, only to find that the circus is actually a front for a faction of karate-wielding rebels against the Empire.


This book exhibits the following tropes:

  • Absent Aliens: There are no intelligent aliens, although the Emperor claims that the militarization of the Empire is necessary to defend against the aliens once they are found.
  • Born Lucky: The reason that the Emperor wants Paul dead is that he scored incredibly high at a test for inherent luck, something which is associated with people gaining great wealth and power. Early in the series, Paul finds himself saved by amazing coincidences, such as a one-in-a-million blaster explosion, but as others pointed out, if his luck is so great, why was he revealed to the Empire? It turns out that the majority of the people in Ahm Baqa's circus also aces the AAT, although no one else had a perfect score like Paul.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Haman the finder, an agent of the Emperor sent to find Paul, is killed along with a group of Imperial Guard, by a griff, a vicious alien super-predator, when one of Paul's compatriots shoots the lock off its cage. The griff was kept as an attraction by the circus.
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  • Location Theme Naming: All of the ships in the book are named after locations in Maine, the author's home state.
  • Portal Cut: The rebels have perfect a miniaturized and weaponized version of the M.T. and the small number of kills are largely due to Portal Cuts where only part of a person is beamed away.
  • Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër: The rebels practice "Sh'tok'n k'rati". Otherwise, this is largely absent.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: True out of universe where the rebels are uniformly good and intelligent people who are have suffered at the hands of the Empire but are trying to enact their rebellion with a minimal death toll. In-universe, the Emperor paints the rebels as horrible guerrilla fighters in service to the aliens and after they kill the Emperor, the rebels have a simulated emperor proclaim the rebels as having realized that they were misguided, but that he had learned from them too, and would be enacted reforms. They had realized that the Empire wasn't just going to accept them after what they had done.


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