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"A ship!" Smith sprang up. "That's excellent! Will there be action, and danger?""Sir, I'll take the risk."
"There'll be hippies. Will that do?"
—Isambard and Mr. Kahn, "Space Captain Smith"
Isambard Smith is the square-jawed, courageous and somewhat dim new commander of the clapped out, battle damaged light freighter John Pym, destined to take on the alien threat because nobody else is available. Together with his bold crew- a skull collecting alien lunatic and an android pilot who is actually an escaped sex toy (and her pet hamster: Gerald)- he must collect new-age herbalist Rhianna Mitchell from the laid back New Francisco orbiter and bring her back to safety in the empire. Straightforward enough- except the Ghast want her too. If he is to get back to blighty alive, Smith must defeat void sharks, a universe-weary android assassin and John Gilead, psychopathic naval officer from the fanatically religious Republic of New Eden before facing his greatest enemy: a ruthless alien warlord with a very large behind...
Space Captain Smith (The Chronicles of Isambard Smith Vol. 1) is the debut novel of English author Toby Frost, and is a science-fiction comedy. It has been followed by two sequels -- God Emperor of Didcot and Wrath of the Lemming Men.
There are also three short stories (all Christmas Episodes) When Slay Bells Ring, The Celery an the Ivy and A Fairytale of New Dorchester, which are available as free downloads from the Space Captain Smith website. The first contains a significant (in some eyes) spoiler for God Emperor of Didcot.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Subverted. Smith isn't just a virgin at least until partway through God Emperor of Didcot, he's downright virginal.
- Alien Invasion
- Aliens Speaking English: The British 'civilised' aliens, making them learn English.
- All Girls Like Ponies: Carveth has an almost child-like obsession with ponies. This may be excused by the fact that she's only two years old.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Vhorl
- Ancient Tradition: Suruk's slaying and head collecting.
- Artificial Human Pollyanna R Carveth, the sexbot on the run. Prefers the term Person of Artificial Heritage
- Artificial Limbs: Smith needs one of these after Number 8 bites off his right arm. He gets a proper new one grown for him, though
- The Battlestar: Dreadnoughts
- Big Damn Heroes: Smith's return to New Luton with Wainscott's team and the Vorl.
- Bizarre Alien Biology
- Bloody Hilarious: Suruk in general, and the heads he keeps as trophies on his mantle.
- The Bridge: Subverted- the John Pym barely has room for a two-seat cockpit.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Subverted. In Wrath Of The Lemming Men, Smith punches Number 8, who eats his arm. Turns out that Smith had a live grenade in that hand.
- The Captain: Smith, obviously
- Casual Interstellar Travel: Although distances are never stated, it is made clear that travel between star systems takes only hours at best, but sometimes stretched into days.
- Casual Kink: After many stoned conversations with Rhianna, Carveth tells Smith that he should 'watch his arse around a woman like her'. In context, the implications are...interesting.
- Cool Starship: Subverted - the John Pym is very old and very battered, held together with duct tape and string, but she is also one of the fastest starships in the known galaxy - in a straight line - thanks to a massive non standard engine. Not so good at cornering though.
- Copycat Cover: It's very similar to the British covers of the Flashman novels.
- Egomaniac Hunter: Suruk the slayer, also a Heroic Sociopath
- Granola Girl: Rhianna Mitchell, although her homeworld New Francisco is a whole planet of these.
- Insectoid Aliens: The Ghast.
- Living Ship: The Ghast ships seem to be made of living tissue, but are not apparently sentient. They are chock-full of Squick, though; the airlocks are sphincters. Complete with sucking noises!
- People's Republic of Tyranny: As its name suggests, the Democratic Republic of New Eden is a hellish theocratic tyranny.
- The Greater Galactic Happiness, Friendship and Co-operation Collective is run by demented sadistic lemming men intent on conquest.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Morlocks. Suruk see the missions as holidays and opportunities to add to his collection of skulls. He never seems to use guns preferring to use his many blades and ancestral spear. Subverted with Morlock speech. In English they sound like the typical Proud Warrior Race Guy, but in Asur'ah they are, like, way more expressive, y'know?
- Ramming Always Works - both the Morlocks and the Lemming-men favour this, the former because of their desire to board and engage in hand-to-hand fighting; the latter because of their suicidal tendencies - and their ships are constructed appropriately.
- Retro Universe / Schizo-Tech / Days of Future Past : But it's all obviously Played for Laughs.
- Robot Girl Carveth (though technically she's wholly organic, in the flesh versus steel sense of the word - Rhianna is wholly organic in a more philosophical sense.
- Shout-Out - liberally sprinkled through all three novels, calling everything from Enid Blyton to War of the Worlds, the Chipmunks to Japanese whaling practices (the space whales "ate the Japanese fleet and passed it off as research"), and even the Teddy Bears' Picnic.
- Space Opera
- Space Is an Ocean: With giant sharks in it, too.
- Spot of Tea: In The God Emperor of Didcot, the Ghasts plan to destroy the tea fields, thus striking a mortal blow to the British Space Empire.
- Stiff Upper Lip
- Touched by Vorlons - Rhianna's mother.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Smith. Admittedly his idealism is based around how great it is that the British Space Empire stomps on and colonises everyone, but it's idealism.
- Given the relatively benign impact of the British Space Empire compared to what you get at the hands of the Ghasts, New Eden and the Lemming Men, it's hard for him not to be idealistic about them.