Intergalactic High Series
Intergalactic High is a series of young adult science fiction books written by Frost Devereaux, under the pseudonym Claire McGuffin. The books focus on a high school in the Horsehead Nebula called The Rigellian School for Females during the 25th Century.
The first novel in the series was published in 1997 by Planet X Publishing. Eleven novels followed between 1997 and 2002, when the series ended with “A Look Back.” Planet X Publishing was acquired by the Random House group, which did not pursue continuing the series. Devereaux went on to edit adult novels and published the adult novel, “The Lifesaver” in 2005.
The story for the Intergalactic High series focuses on Lilly Mitchell, a fifteen-year-old girl from the 20th Century. During an experiment by an eccentric scientist, Lilly is catapulted into the 25th Century through a temporal rift.
The Universal Coalition, the governing body of Earth and most of known space in the 25th Century, outlawed research on time travel early in the 23rd Century after a series of temporal disasters. The Coalition’s Time Authority apprehend Lilly, at first holding her in custody as a “time criminal.” After Lilly proves her innocence, she is turned over to her nearest relative, a scatter-brained niece named Edna.
Unable to deal with raising a young child, Edna—with help from her scheming nephew Horace—sends Lilly to The Rigellian School for Females in the Horsehead Nebula. Lilly is at first an outcast among the students, befriending an unpopular alien named Frabpe. Together they save the school from destruction from a misunderstanding with a new race of aliens.
The remainder of the series continues to follow Lilly and Frabpe through their four years at The Rigellian School for Females until their graduation in the final installment. Most of their adventures feature science fiction staples like alien invaders, time travel, and space exploration. In addition, the series incorporated elements of the fantasy genre such as vampires, zombies, and fairies.
Lilly Mitchell: Lilly is the primary character throughout the series. She was a resident of Phoenix, Arizona in the year 1996 until a temporal rift created by her neighbor transports her to the 25th Century. Lilly soon finds herself enrolled at The Rigellian School for Females in the Horsehead Nebula. Though at first an outcast at the school, throughout the series Lilly makes friends with several other characters and in “Against the Odds” makes the varsity razorsled—a version of bobsledding using rocket-powered sleds—team. In “Taking Sides” Lilly is promoted to captain of the razorsled squad. In addition to sports, Lilly also takes interest in playing the lungaphone, a combination of a French horn and harpsichord, making the school band in “Hard Choices.” Despite her outsider status at the school, Lilly is always depicted as upbeat, positive, and strong-willed. In most every novel Lilly and her friends are the ones who save the day, often through Lilly’s ingenuity and leadership.
Frabpe: Frabpe is Lilly Mitchell’s best friend at the school and comes from a race of aliens who inhabit a world called Dekappra. As the only Dekappran to ever enroll at The Rigellian School for Females, Frabpe is initially as much of an outsider as Lilly. Throughout the series, the two remain friends with the exception of “Dangerous Love” where an alien parasite infects Lilly and turns her against Frabpe. Because Dekapprans primarily live underground on their home planet, Frabpe wears protective goggles to protect her eyes from bright lights. Frabpe’s primary interest at the school is the field of exobiology and she is often shown collecting alien plants and animals to study. While Lilly is the unquestioned leader, Frabpe is depicted as capable in her own right as well as reliable and emotionally stable—a perfect foil for the more emotional Lilly. Her presence helps make Lilly’s stay at the school more bearable and her steadiness and curiosity aid Lilly in solving the crises the girls face.
Nickle Forest: The class president through all four years of her stay at The Rigellian School for Females, Nickle is the most popular girl at the school. She frequently lords this over her social inferiors, especially the non-human students. Because of this, Nickle and Lilly Mitchell frequently clash with each other, with the exception of “Dangerous Love” when the parasite-infested Lilly befriends Nickle. Though often egocentric and cruel, Nickle is also depicted as having a conscience when anyone is hurt. At times, as in “Growing Pains” and “Against the Odds,” Nickle and Lilly are forced to work together for the common good. Because of this, Nickle is not a true “villain” of the series.
Headmaster SPNCR-7: The headmaster of The Rigellian School for Females, SPNCR-7 is a automaton designed for bureaucratic management. Its programming is based off some of the most heinous bureaucrats in history, including heads of the IRS and California DMV. Throughout the series, SPNCR-7 is often shown jeopardizing the lives of students it is supposed to care for because of an adherence to rules and regulations. Since it is a machine and performing its function, SPNCR-7 is not classified as a true “villain” in the series either.
S’Teir: The only non-human on the teaching staff, S’Teir is a reptilian from the planet Sloparn who teaches music appreciation. Because she does not have human vocal chords, she communicates with a computerized voice box. Among all the teachers at The Rigellian School for Females, S’Teir is the friendliest with Lilly Mitchell and Frabpe, due largely to Lilly and Frabpe’s clearing her of murder charges in “Against the Odds.” Though a member of the faculty, S’Teir is often shown working behind-the-scenes against the directives of Headmaster SPNCR-7. At the conclusion of “A Look Back” it’s revealed that S’Teir is promoted to the headmaster post.
Paul Elmer: The senior-most teacher at The Rigellian School for Females, Paul Elmer is so old that no one knows his true age. He teaches composition and drama, often falling asleep on his feet. His critiques of student work are severely harsh, though it’s usually shown they are also on-target. Despite his cantankerous personality, Paul Elmer often treats Lilly Mitchell with kindness as “the second oldest person at school.” At the beginning of “A Look Back” Elmer finally retires to direct a theater company of seniors on a tropical retirement planet.
Edna Boman: The distant relative of Lilly Mitchell, Edna married a wealthy industrialist. In time she inherited her husband’s money and nephew Horace. Despite her wealth and privilege, Edna is shown spending most of her time gossiping with a group of sycophants. Most of Edna’s appearances throughout the series—with the exception of “Growing Pains” when a visiting Edna is changed into a two-year-old through a temporal anomaly—occur through long-distance communication.
Horace Boman: The nephew of Edna Boman, Horace is a teenager scheming to take over his aunt’s vast fortune. When Lilly Mitchell arrives, Horace is a driving force to sending her to The Rigellian School for Females, concerned she might try to steal his inheritance. Horace appears prominently in two novels, most notably “Summer Winds” where he and Lilly spend a summer at a razorsled camp on Neptune. In other novels Horace makes cameos to support Lilly when she requires assistance, not out of love, but to keep her at the school.
The primary theme throughout the Intergalactic High series is alienation. Most of the main characters—including Lilly Mitchell, Frabpe, and S’Teir—are outsiders to the main student body and faculty. Issues of prejudice and assimilation are frequently part of the crises threatening the school, such as in “Final Frontiers” when a race riot threatens to tear the school apart.
Other novels deal with deforestation, industrialization, animal experimentation, and similar environmental themes. The bureaucratic mindset of Headmaster SPNCR-7 that often puts the school in danger also raises the issue of dictatorship versus democracy. “Against the Odds” especially discusses the pitfalls of authoritarian leadership.
- New Arrivals (1997)
- Playing With Fire (1997)
- Growing Pains (1999)
- Against the Odds (1999)
- Summer Winds (1999)
- Final Frontiers (2000)
- Outcasts (2000)
- Caught in the Middle (2000)
- Dangerous Love (2001)
- Taking Sides (2001)
- Hard Choices (2001)
- A Look Back (2002)
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