Gaea Trilogy

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A Science Fiction Trilogy by John Varley describing humanity's encounter with a planet sized alien, and the indigenous aliens that live upon it.

In the first book, titled Titan, a space expedition to Saturn Gone Horribly Wrong when the ship gets swallowed by one of the satellites and find themselves inside a living planet with a god complex. The crew all get separated at first, and start looking for each other. They find useful aliens in the form of Smilers, a six legged kangaroo you can eat without killing, Titanides, musical oriented friendly centaurs, and Blimps, living dirigibles that willingly serve as transports.

The second book, Wizard, is set some decades later. Some characters return from the first book, but two new cast members are introduced: Chris Major, who suffers from psychotic episodes; and Robin, a witch from an all-female space colony who has a seizure disorder. Both come to Gaea to be healed, but get sucked into the original cast's plot to overthrow the crazed Genius Loci that runs the world.

The third book, Demon, brings back most of the cast from Wizard. It describes the final war between the human refugees and the Genius Loci.

Tropes used in Gaea Trilogy include:
  • Affably Evil: Gaea, at least until the last book.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Gaea manifests as a plump, homely, slightly dotty but cheery and friendly little old lady. Until Demon—when she switches to a fifty-foot-tall replica of Marilyn Monroe—that is.
  • Chubby Chaser: "Fat Fred," at least by angel standards.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Once at the end of the second book, when Cirocco actually punches the incarnation of Gaea out. Again, at the end of the third book, when a team effort manages to completely kill Gaea.
  • Eldritch Abomination: All of the regional brains, and Gaea proper.
  • Exotic Equipment: The Titanides, being centaurs, have one set of human-sized genitalia in the front (male or female), and both sets of horse-sized genitalia in the back (male and female). "Rear sex" is casual, but "front sex" carries an enormous amount of emotional baggage.
    • This one raises Fridge Logic issues, as Gaea supposedly designed the Titanides' human-like and horse-like features based on the content of TV transmissions she'd picked up from Earth, starting in the 1930s. But nobody in the 1930s was broadcasting porno into space, so how could she know what human or horse genitalia look like?
      • It was however quite clear that Gaea wasn't above modifying her creations after the event of creation, remember she completely changed their sexual reproduction between the first and 2nd books to cut down on overpopulation[1] after the war was stopped.
  • Genius Loci: Gaea, and she's neither a nice nor a sane one.
  • Global Airship: The Blimps, especially Whistlestop. A 3000-year-old, living Cool Airship.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: the Titanides, kinda.
  • Improvised Microgravity Maneuvering: At the end of Wizard. The hub of Gaea is practically in zero gee, and Cirocco needs to get herself out of there and back down to the rim in a hurry.
  • Interspecies Romance
  • Les Yay, Everyone Is Bi and a lot of it. Cirocco with Gaby, April and August, an entire society of lesbian separatists, and completely normal among the Everyone is Tri Titanides. Gaby may state that she believes Gaea facilitated her relationship with Cirocco by mucking about in their heads, but all the rest of it occurs naturally.
  • Mars Needs Women: "Fat Fred," an angel, prefers human women to his own species. Tzigane, a Titanide, is stated to have a habit of "chasing human tail."
  • Our Angels Are Different: Nothing supernatural about them; "angel" is simply the term applied to any of several different species of Winged Humanoid.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Titanides have an incredible variety of possible appearances (smooth-skinned, short-furred, long-furred, any imaginable color and pattern). Above the waist, they all appear as sexy human women, complete with boobies. They're also all hermaphrodites (although they identify themselves as either male or female) with three sets of genitalia (the frontal set determines gender identity, along with whether or not they can reproduce via parthenogenesis). And they can interbreed with humans.
  • Physical God: Gaea is a planet sized creature with inhabitants that she created.
  • Superpower Lottery: Gaea does this in a half-assed fashion. Usually, it's Translator Microbes (Titanide song or blimp speech), but April is transformed into a compulsively solitary angel.
  • Take Me to Your Leader
  • Tsundere: Chris and Robin's daughter Nova is a type A of Helga Pataki caliber.
  • Winged Humanoid: The angels.
  • Zero-G Spot: Right out of the starting gate in chapter 2 of the first book.
  1. and morally enslave Cirocco