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Literature / The Girl to Whom Nothing Can Happen

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The Girl to Whom Nothing Can Happen (Russian: Девочка, с которой ничего не случится) is a 1965 short story collection by Kir Bulychev, the first book in Alice, Girl from the Future series.

In the Framing Device, Alice prepares to go to school, so her father Professor Seleznyov decides to write down some stories documenting her early years – to warn her teacher of Alice's reckless and rebellious character.

The stories contain examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Seleznyov tells Alice about the Martian fire-breathing viper that spits boiling-hot poison, Alice muses that someone must have offended it somehow and asks "Why have you taken it away from Mars?" Seleznyov can't give any satisfactory answer to that, since she is right – nobody asked the viper if it wanted to leave Mars.
  • Dramatic Irony: Professor Seleznyov hopes Alice's teacher might succeed in getting Alice's adventurous streak under control. Anyone who has read beyond the first book knows that he hopes in vain and that Alice's adventures described here are positively tame compared to what she gets up to later.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: While the consistency among the books is not very good to begin with, the fact that a trip to Sirius is taking months and is a historical achievement puts these stories very far apart from any later installment.
  • Early Personality Signs: The very first short story features Alice as a three-year-old. She refuses to go to sleep in time, her father says he'll phone Baba Yaga if Alice continues to be naughty, and the girl is extremely interested and begs him to do so as she would love to meet the hag. That foreshadows Alice's plucky, adventurous and rebellious character that would develop by her preteens and early teens (her age throughout most of the series).
  • Even the Loving Hero Has Hated Ones: In The Ghost, Alice, All-Loving Heroine and Friend to All Living Things, who leaps to the defense of the Martian fire-breathing viper, says she doesn't think that Kolya, a whiny bully from the neighborhood, is nice.
  • Missing Child: In The Tutekses, Alice goes missing on Mars, and the search for her takes more than two hours, though the town is practically turned upside down. She is found in the Martian desert, two hundred kilometers away from the town, after accidentally flying away in a postal rocket ship.
  • Mistaken for Aliens: In The Tutekses, Alice's drawing of her father in an ancient tuteks pyramid is mistaken for a picture of an actual tuteks, the tutekses being an ancient, long-extinct Martian civilization.
  • Mistaken for Undead: A ghost Alice befriends near the country house turns out to be a professor whose teleportation experiment has gone awry, leaving him partially materialized.
  • Protagonist Title: Alice is the eponymous girl and the protagonist of the stories.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Alice starts being a benevolent version of the trope very early. In Brontya, for example, she uses the fact that she is the zoo director's daughter to get close to the heavily-guarded baby brontosaurus.
  • Spoiler Opening: The Framing Device opening immediately spoils the twist in Shy Shusha (the fact that Shusha is sapient).