After David Errgash is wrongfully convicted of an attempted mass shooting, he's suddenly approached by a warden of a galactic prison and given two options: either serve out his prison sentence in one of the toughest correctional facilities on his planet, or become a gladiator in an attempt to have his sentence reduced. David takes the warden's offer, and soon finds himself fighting alongside several other gladiators who are all seeking freedom as well.
Tails of the Space Gladiators provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Several of the characters act like regular everyday civilians, despite the cast being composed almost entirely of criminals. Even David is shocked at how easily he befriends Jamie Garvon, who was convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering three people.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: The Gladiator Detention Facility, surprisingly, isn't a Wretched Hive populated by the worst criminals the galaxy has to offer. Many of the convicts are guilty of committing regular crimes, such as robbery or single-digit murders. Nevertheless, there are some criminals, like Duunley Shuvv, who are either a Serial Rapist or Serial Killer—or both.
- Boxed Crook: Everyone. All the prisoners Crawlox contacts after they're arrested are offered a deal: either fight for him in his gladiator tournaments in exchange for having their sentence reduced, or go to their designated prison and serve their sentence normally. Crawlox mentions how a prisoner with a thirty-year-sentence was released in eleven months because of this.
- Bring My Brown Pants: After Marty Gonlit witnesses a prisoner's explosive collar being set off in front of him, he wets himself.
- Explosive Leash: All the convicts in the GDF are forced to wear one. They detonate either by remote conotrols, or automatically should the inmates wander into restricted areas.
- Genre Shift: Tails of Fame and Tails of the Bounty Hunter were largely crime dramas with sci-fi elements incorporated into each story. This story, however, fully embraces the sci-fi angle as early as the first chapter.
- Gladiator Games: The purpose behind the Gladiator Detention Facility. Crawlox designed the station both so criminals would be able to get out of jail sooner than later, and also so he could create an underground televised program where he would get rich filming gladiators fighting each other.
- Lighter and Softer: Even moreso than Tails of the Bounty Hunter. The story seems to focus more on simply embracing its concept, dark humor, and fleshing out the characters as opposed to taking a more pessimistic and/or realistic route the previous two stories in the Tails Series took.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There's currently no less than a dozen recurring or major characters. Considering the story's only four chapters in, it's likely the cast will grow later on.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: In chapter 3, Sheila the security guard asks the dozen newcomers what they were convicted of. When she comes across an anthro who murdered fifteen humans and ate their brains, she sets off his explosive collar with no hesitation.
- Tractor Beam: One is used at the end of chapter 1 when Lizvin completes his tournament.