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Can a family of scientists living in a world of total peace build a spaceship without killing each other?

Here’s the latest reviews:

“…charming and colorful and wildly imaginative, and very cool–the kind of thing only a mad, iconoclastic genius could have conceived and birthed. Bravo…”

“I laughed so hard, I had tears streaming down my face.” –Goodreads

“Sci-Fi at it strangest. This book is an interesting read with unique concepts that take the phrase “In a perfect world” to a whole new level. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to my fellow Sci-Fi loving friends. I give it 4 Boundless Stars.” –Goodreads, Boundless Book Reviews.

“Science Fiction with the word emphasized on science. The author, Scott Evans, has you wondering if you are dreaming or really in the future. He writes this with a sense of humor, such as “Warning: The following material contains punctuation from the future” and by golly, it does and that makes the book interesting. He has also put together his own words for us to enjoy. Such as helenreddyshere. Now it took me a while for it to sink in what he was doing. I love this part and love that he used Helen Reddy as one of his words, he must be from the 70’s to know who she is. Love it!
After millions, billions, and trillions of years, Earth is how we wish it would be. Peaceful, no money, everybody is equal and everybody loves and respects each other. The people are half robot and half human, if I got that right. Any way, The planet was like this until one day the sky started to turn different colors. The colors of the rainbow.
Now everybody is in an uproar and people are summoned to their professions to figure out what is going on. Yes, people are smart and as young as 2 have degrees in high tech areas. The TV anchor keeps broadcasting who should report and the danger levels, like with out terrorist levels. The people are going crazy and the anchor says. “Psychohistorians say we haven’t seen such a break down in social order since the Trump Presidency!” I laughed so hard, I had tears streaming down my face.
This peaceful planet is now like it was back in 2017. With people all over the world fighting for the last chicken nugget, shoving and couples arguing. This is all from the different sky colors.
You see, the sun is going to explode and the moon is going to crash. So they were told to evacuate to another planet. And the people started to leave, except one family. This family is going to build their own ship. They go to a dispensary to get their parts. This place has all the old left over things from our time. They have never seen most of this stuff. It is so funny to read their comments on things we take for gannet.
So they start to build the ship. But like most families, there is bickering and at least one person who thinks they know it all and are in charge. This goes on for a long time and they are running out of time to leave.
The ending was nothing like I thought it would be. I really liked the ending and found it interesting and shaking my head thinking that it figures. There is a lot of science terms and I had a hard time figuring it all out in the beginning, but all of a sudden the story fell in place for me and I was really enjoying it. This is for the true science fiction lover. Completely different from any other I have come across of. Good story line, good writing (after I figured it all out), good humor and down right unusual.” –Goodreads, Valerie Roberson

Thank you Joey Guisto, Sgt. Pepper, and Nat The Cat for an awesome radio interview on
WBER 90.5 FM!

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The year is 4377. Super technology fills every need. The whole Earth is peaceful and happy, that is until the Sun starts to glow red. As the days pass, the glow grows stronger, and changes hues. Everyone is being bathed in ever changing colors. Eventually people figure out the sky colors are affecting their minds. Red causes excitation; green sedation; and blue, violence.
LITTERBOT is a cleaning robot who works for a family of two mothers, three fathers, and two kids. His body is able to transform into any shape to meet whatever situation arises, and he can predict spills up to 3 days in advance. Unfortunately there’s not much to clean in a perfect world. Nevertheless he faithfully serves the humans, who give him no respect.
TROLL, one of the mothers, is a fun loving water scientist who discovers the world is going to run dry in 103 days. As the crisis escalates, she must draw on her heroism to save her family.
BULB, one of the fathers, is highly intelligent, but very grumpy. His utter faith in science is put to the ultimate test.
The family works together to build an evacuation ship, but the colors are driving them crazy. When World Computer crashes, they must find primitive paper books, and as society unravels, they are forced to face their savage natures.
Will they be able to launch before the moon comes crashing down?

Read it here now for free!

Chapter 1

Today for some reason, the 93rd of Eightuary, 4377, the Sun burns red, as if it were pissed off about something. The light bursts onto the world like a dropped sack of flour, and suddenly everything is rosy.
The dome sparkles like a ruby, transparent as a soap bubble, composed of infinitely thin and immovable plasticineum-293. Large enough to house 500, but empty. The floor is flat and round like a mirror. 7 dark doorways line an inside length of the curved wall. In each shadowy recess is the shriveled remains of a person, frozen in a warped pose like a museum exhibit. The crimson caresses and carves every wrinkle and dent in their vacuum-packed skins. The only motion is the mist which effervesces around each. They are still as a family portrait.
From the bottom of each pod runs a filament with light pulses moving through it. These join into a thicker cable with more pulses, which leads off to the side to a floating stationary bicycle, which is being pedaled faster than the eye can see by a shining robot. “litterbot409” is etched on his barrel chest. He huffs with effort.
Hundred of plates of chromanthatine silver, a substance 50 times glossier than chrome, make up the surface of his skin. The many spaces between allow light from his innards to escape, which pulses in time with his pumping legs, and makes him gleam brilliantly.
His body is a metal garbage can, lined with vertical ridges. His head and neck sit on top of the lid, with angular contours that approximate human form. His arms attach at the sides, and legs from the bottom. His insides are like a scaffolding, a mostly hollow framework of fine sinews. Occasionally his cage-like feet slip on the pedals.
A metallic humanoid voice, constant in speed and tone, breaks the quiet. “No litter detected . . . No dirt detected . . . No laundry detected” Behind a dead face, 185 telemetry systems scan the environment for garbage/trash/litter. “No foreign objects detected. . . No toxic substances detected” He sounds bored. “Searching for foldable clothing . . .Matches found = 0”
Eyes twinkle as he watches the fuchsia photons warm the pods, and the offshoot radiation, the subphotons, invisible to humans, bounce around deep inside their freeze dried brains. He looks to see if they require assistance, but they don’t. They’re motionless gnarled mannequins. He makes a disappointed little twisted smile.
Litterbot is fast enough to dust the entire Museum Of Future Art in only 15 millidays. He can classify objects as clean or dirty at a rate of 10409 operations per microday. He can even anticipate spills 3 days into the future, but despite all this, there’s never anything to do. Nothing gets dirty. Anti-gravity containers prevent spills, and dirt-proof materials make stains a statistical impossibility. If someone does manage to soil something, he has to get to it before the auto-lasers kick in. Most of the time he just follows person6 around, and waits for him to throw something on the floor.
Having exhausted all possibilities for usefulness at one level, he shrugs, and goes down the heirarchy:
Priority level 1: Clean
Priority level 2: Help people
Priority level 3: Increase body of knowledge
Priority level 4: Be nice
“Scanning for children in need of nurturing . . . Searching for persons not living up to full potential” He frowns. “Ho hum None detected . . . Malicious viruses . . . flammable gases . . . inflammable gases . . . None detected” He makes a long, suffering sigh that echoes throughout the crystal palace. “There’s never any good messes”
“Scanning for insurgencies among the insect races . . . Scanning–Viruses mutating into diseases” His insides dim, and he says sadly, “None detected” Torso rotates one slow revolution, out of boredom. “Scanning for harmful radiation . . . None de—”
Suddenly he stops. Eyes open wide. Train of logic takes a major detour. Posture erects. He proclaims in happy surprise, “Deviation” Eyes blink thrice and this time it is his head that rotates 360 degrees, quickly. The bits inside processors click and clack in their bytes, like a domino avalanche. He announces with joy, “Abnormal radiation detected Warning!”
He dismounts the bike in a fast blur. Stature is short and cylindrical. Legs straighten and freeze at attention. Wheels come out feet bottoms. He rolls in circles. Garbage can lid clashes like cymbals. “Warning to humans Unknown radiation detected Safety protocol 1972 [Society is responsible for helping people.] activated”
This is the most exciting thing to happen since Fluffy turded the sofa, 204 days ago. Person7 named a mini-horse, which raised its security clearance, allowing it to enter the house.
“Reporting”
A loving calm voice fills the mansion: “Dialing . . . Connecting”
His fingers nervously tap his lips in rhythmic waves of clicks.
The nurturing voice resonates throughout the chamber. “Waiting for server . . . Connecting . . . Welcome to system Everyone is special, and we are special How may we help?”
“Incoming solar radiation Anomaly detected”
The voice sounds perfectly content. “What do we have to say for ourselves?”
“Color/wavelength/ambient light/sky 2.017% deviation from normal”
An optic cable comes out Litterbot’s crotch and connects to a plug in the wall. A flurry of sparks shoot through it.
“Data is being received”
He exhales.
“8-5-12-12-15 1-14-4 23-5-12-3-15-13-5 20-15 23-15-14-4-5-18-6-21-12 23-15-18-12-4 15-6 19-5-3-18-5-20 13-5-19-19-1-7-5-19 8-9-4-4-5-14 9-14-19-9-4-5 14-21-13-2-5-18-19 9 8-15-16-5 25-15-21 5-14-10-15-25 20-8-5-13 1-19 23-5-12-12 1-19 20-8-5 15-20-8-5-18 8-9-4-4-5-14 13-5-19-19-1-7-5-19 Comparing against body of knowledge . . . Adjusting for fractal magnifications of x10, x100, x1000 . . .”
<Ding.> “Data has been successfully incorporated into the body of knowledge”
<A little tinker bell dings twice.> “Congratulations This is a new question without an answer! ‘Why is the sun red? ‘ has been assigned priority level 213, and is rated as Significant with a high probability of possible ramifications”
He smiles proudly, and looks to the warming shrunken statues for acknowledgment.
In the first dark cubby hole, the bald mummy stands calmly with a stern expression, and the general appearance of something that died a long time ago. He’s dreaming about riding, alone, in a rollercoaster. In the dream he’s alive and muscular, not dried up. His cranium glows like a lightbulb. His big smile shows a lot of teeth, as he rolls along the tracks, which are in the shape of letters and symbols making up an equation:
X^^M :: X * M / (T2-T1)
The second shadowy specimen stands head and shoulders taller than the others. Tightly cropped white hair shines atop her corpse, which is meatier than the first.
The third taxiderm is squatted down inside the stasis tube with an expression of eternal constipation frozen on his face. Otherwise normal looking for a sarcophagus.
The fourth has a thin sprout of dessicated hair curling way up and to the side. Her petrified frame is petite, and skinny as a starved cat. She holds both arms forward, like Frankenstein. She dreams of dangling from a hair thin line attached to a mountain. Snow and wind throw her around like a yo-yo. The view/drop is spectacular. She screams in ecstasy, “Woooooo!”
The fifth figure is average height. Clammy as a frog in formaldehyde. A snake of flivver-length dried seaweed hair winds down to the floor. He poses proudly as possible, given his ancient condition, with hands on hips, like a statue of Agamemnon. One arm human. The other, robotic.
The sixth one is small, a dehydrated child, on all fours. Inside its mind, wearing an old time firefighter’s uniform, perched atop a ladder facing the 200th story of a concrete, rectangular skyscraper, engulfed in flames. Smoke and screams pour from little square windows. Teams on the ground wrangle nozzles without hoses, spraying water from several angles. The child plays with the joystick, making the ladder buck like an amusement ride, and laughs.
The last doll is the smallest. Clear hair hangs like wet noodles. She holds one clenched hand forward, as if offering to fist bump.
The vapor enveloping number 6 vanishes, revealing raisin skin, on which sweat beads form. Then more. The sunken skin rumbles, plumps, and presses out the wrinkles. Color fills his chubby cheeks. He develops into a fully healthy 2 kiloday old, who springs to life, and hops onto the floor, declaring “Nozzle!” Straight black hair hangs above his ears in a perfect bowl cut all the way around.
Litterbot rolls up, shortening his legs to meet him eye to eye. “We are not scheduled to wake for another 4 centidays”
Bowl ignores him and runs around bare assed. The entire surface of his skin is a video screen playing a psychedelic fractal pattern that keeps expanding hypnoticallyad infinitum.
“Council recommends eating a healthy breakfast” Litterbot projects from the center of his chest an image of the food dodecahedron, into the air, making the sound of a ancient film projector.
The kid runs away without looking. “Override”
The projector turns off. “Have we met our educational requirements?” It comes back on, projecting the nine. [Nine round screens in a snowflake configuration, illustrating the core subjects of knowledge: love, wisdom, logic, nano-psychology, fractal math, scrapbooking, drawing, song & dance, and psychosocialeconomics.]
“It’s only 10 in the bloody morning!”
The nurturing voice from everywhere says, “Please comply with communication protocol 1779”
The little kid stomps feet. “It’s too early to uphold the law”
Litterbot: “The law upholds us”
The little rascal jumps. “Nozzle! Nozzle!”
Litterbot drops arms in defeat. “If one insists”
“Hurray!” Bowl runs toward the wall, and disappears through an invisible doorway.
^^^^He is back on top of the ladder, rocking it like a mechanical bull.
The firefighter below him hangs on and says, “Captain, we need more water” offering a nozzle.
Bowl takes it, and rains down with glee on the sidewalk people, who laugh, but get back in character to scream.
She glances down to the third, asking with her eyes, Is it just me or is this kid acting strange?
He replies, getting soaked, “Oh let us have our fun We’re only 2”
Bowl laughs and sprays like a maniac.
A naked human in one of the windows takes a break from her role screaming, to lean on the sill and watch the little rascal. She smiles, then her eyes change when she notices his agitation.
The flames shoot up in wave after wave, sparkling reflections in Bowl’s mesmerized eyes. Lost in a dream within a dream.^^^^
The simulator can roast the building indefinitely without consuming it. The array generates flames to pulse in tune with the fantasizer’s brainwaves, which, by no coincidence, are also resonant with the red subphotonic waves currently bombarding the world.
Litterbot watches the panel which monitors Bowl’s physiology. A little blue light beeps. Most unusual. The child has exhibited a cluster of symptoms which warrants further examination.
*Waking 2.36 standard deviations early
*Anorexia
*Psychomotor agitation
*Obsession with fire
“Initiate psychiatry protocol 1-9-9-0” He runs neuroendocrinoid, psycho-metabolic, and of course thought recognition patterning profiles, and downloads them to Bowl’s medical file.
The fog around the first dummy dissipates. From inside its brain cavity comes a weak glow. The skeleton rises like dough into a sleek tall muscular body. Intracranial incandescence increases. The handsome wrinkled face opens eyes without fanfare and steps onto floor. Bald bean beaming like a light bulb.
He looks at the numbers floating in the middle of the clear wall, 4377893.1065, and wonders, ##Are we seeing correctly?## The last digit advances, 4377893.1066 . ##What are we doing up this early? It only prolongs the suffering## He stretches limbs and scrunches sensitive face with distinguished cheek creases. ##Work isn’t for another 12 centidays## His 4th specialty is bioelectric marine counseling. Human psychopathology was cured a long time ago, but some seals and lower vertebrates still have issues. He paces.
Litterbot rolls over, coming up to Bulb’s chest, “Excuse us, doctor, but there is a new question”
Bulb chuckles.
“The matter of the redness of the sun”
Bulb rubs his eyes, and concedes. “Yes, very pretty Now buzzer off”
“Would one like us to transpond breakfast to our current location?”
“No thanks” Bulb walks to the wall, which lights up with a round photonic screen, with hundreds of animated diagrams arranged in a complex hierarchy, interacting by themselves, like a little advanced civilization.
Litterbot follows. “Shall we carry one to the breakfast table?”
“No thanks” He mutters. “Might as well dress” Takes a slow breath. “Clothes” Clear plastic shorts appear on his pelvis, doing nothing to hide his skin, which is grey, overlaid by a grid of small, baby blue, fleurs-de-lis. His fit form stretches in the rubifacient light.
Litterbot: “Shall we discuss the disease state of person6?”
Bulb springs up, “Disease?” A curved panel of screens come on, floating around his upper body, detailing every aspect of the child’s condition. He scans it alertly.
“We’ve recorded atypical spatio-cognitive reasoning, as well as a most peculiar case of preoccupus flammitoses”
Bulb’s alarm deflates to irritation. His face is intelligent and kind, with many tired wrinkles. He puffs his lips, turns off the screens, and grimaces. “Why don’t we leave the practice of medicine to the docbots?”
Litterbot rolls away, then stops. Legs stay planted. His can rotates back to face Bulb. “The color of the Sun is actually quite—”
“Yes, that’s very interesting . . . NOW BUZZER OFF!” His voice can really shred a whine when it wants. Litterbot, dejected, slowly creeps away. Bulb sees the sleepers in their little caves. Goes to #5, with arms heroically on hips, and presses the air next to its head. A little screen comes on. He watches for a moment–a knight sword fight a dragon. “Boring” Goes to number 7. Gently presses her button–an angel swirling around the stars. Bulb cracks a smile, which he rarely does.
He looks out at the magnificent view of the shore. The waves crash. The reeds blow. Seagulls provide entertainment dive bombing fish, and squawking over scraps. The scene is a novice watercolor with bleeding paint. All is peaceful and as it should be. He laments, “There’s nothing to do!”
Litterbot jumps in eagerly. “Would one like a list of activities most beneficial to society cross matched to one’s skills?”
“Why bother?” He complains in mocking voice, curling his lip, and wobbling his head for maximum snark, “All of society’s needs have been met!” Makes a sour face.
The parental voice, which always sounds to be in a state of enlightenment, reverberates throughout the pink grapefruit. “Affirmative . . . Needs level 1 . . . met Needs level 2 . . . met Needs level 3 . . . met”
“I’m bored out of my freakin gourd!”
“The state of perfection has never bothered us before Shall we perform a psychological eval—”
Bulb cuts the robot off by palming his face.
Then a thought comes to him. “It’s been ages” He stretched. “Can’t believe we’re saying this . . . gallop” Sneakers materialize on his hands and feet, for the first time since second college. He tests his arms against each other and bends them behind back.
“But our exercise requirements are fully met by the stimulator?”
“Go away and stop bothering people!”
Litterbot retreats, but takes the liberty of scanning his skull with a laser for a complete psychiatric exam. His agitation levels are unusually high.
Bulb bends over, places handsneakers on the floor, and holds a long downward dog. Turns to see robot looking sad and barks, “Don’t we have something we should be cleaning?” Walks on four limbs. The wall dilates a hole to go through, then seals behind.
Litterbot replies, to himself, “Actually, no Nothing useful to do All that leaves is scientific research” His head jerks as an idea comes, eyebrows raise. “I suppose I could study the question”
The hemisphere sits at the peak of a hill, glassy as an eye peeking through the foliage, breaking the natural asymmetry, out of place as a pearl on a neck. Bulb runs like a horse down into the neighborhood. The copper color covers the rolling hills, lush with trees, and the coast, which stretches like it has all the time in the world.
He jogs over a pebbled pass through the magnificent fullness of nature, and thinks, ##This feels good. How long has it been?##
The wise voice replies in ear, “5,171 days”
He passes a rose bush. Each flower big as a head, and a different pattern. A minihorse with checkerboard markings sits on one, munching it, oblivious to its fate. ##Cute little bastard##
“Please refrain from negative thinking”
##Meant it as a compliment##
“Would we like to distribute this picture among our seven circles of friends?”
“Oh buzzer off” He trots beside a large curved structure with a bumpy surface of irregular ridges.
<An alarm sounds> A voice in the air says, “Clear landing zone”
He sharply changes direction, galloping fast as he can away from the wall. At a distance it can be seen to be the trunk of a gigantic tree. Its branches reach into the clouds. After a milliday of running he sprints across a line on the grass which demarks the safety zone. He stops, crouches, and catches his breath. Behind him is an explosion. A peach seven flivvers tall, just missed him, landing on the ground. The bottom smashed, spraying and soaking him in sauce.
Back home, the fat freezer pop with one metal arm melts, rehydrates, bulks out into a strong, stocky, big bellied 12 kd adult. Hair fluoresces bright green like a neon sign, and softens, waving like cooked spaghetti, almost touching the floor. His face shows vitality. Deep raspy voice goes off like an alarm clock, “Four bells for alcohol!”
The giant mummy comes alive fast enough to reply. “Alcohol has been determined to cause alcoholism” Upon reanimation, her tightly cropped hair explodes into a white afro wider than shoulders, like a big cotton ball. Her body is chunky and powerful. Age 20k. She calmly looks down at Neon, who only comes up to her big breasts.
Neon: “There hasn’t been a case of mental illness in megadays”
Her face is beautiful and wise, with a few distinguished wrinkles. “No, there haven’t been any good diseases since we can remember”
Neon: “Or hospitals” He shakes hair like a wet dog, creating a lightshow.
Cotton: “It looks so romantic in the movies” She smiles. Teeth big and bright. “People reading magazines in waiting rooms . . . Taking bottles and bottles of pills” She does a twirl.
Neon: “We never see that nowadays” He touches toes and rises.
Cotton does a one leg yoga pose: “If someone were to get sick, they certainly wouldn’t give them a pill”
Neon tries to do the same, but stumbles: “And if they did, they would only take one, because then they’d be cured” His skin is a red plaid pattern.
Cotton puts palms together in front of chest like praying: “And there certainly wouldn’t be any need for waiting rooms”
He chuckles and twists torso. “Of course not. All appointments are kept on time”
They hold their poses.
Cotton sighs. “There hasn’t been a good case of anything in megadays”
Computer: “10.055 kilodays”
Neon sneers at the ceiling: “Thanks very much, know-it-all Is there anything we don’t know?”
Computer replies with a straight face(even though technically it doesn’t have one,) “There is an infinite amount of information not contained in our memory”
Neon turns to her accusingly. “We’re up awfully early”
Cotton responds defensively. “Well so are we”
Litterbot stands against the wall appearing dead, but quite busy mentally. There are now 4 family members who’ve woken unusually early. The probability of this happening by chance is well beyond the threshold of significance. Meta-analysis results in a new hpt(highest priority task) = investigate behavioral anomalies/family.
A halo of light moves down Bulb’s body, cleaning it, to the feet. He trots through a tunnel of floppy white cherry blossoms, bigger than him. He bites a wrecking-ball size cherry. As he runs off, and the wounded fruit heals.
He passes an area with transparent domes scattered like bumps on a bullfrog. Hemispheres of all sizes, from single occupancy to buildings capable of holding hundreds of thousands. Many joined together in clusters, like soap suds. Some connect by hamster tubes. One tall one has a heartlight on top. People inside go about their business. One structure is ancient cube chiseled out of marble, with pillars, carvings of gargoyles, and a series of rectilinear steps rising to a square entrance. Nothing inside it is visible. The army of rouge photons barrages it all.
He follows a playfully piddling stream that leads through an alcove of hanging vines to the shore. Boulder size emeralds stud the sands beside the roaring waves, which crash an ecstatic symphony of white noise. He looks up at the rusted sky. The cloudwriting says, “Be nice”
The area is populated with people walking. Others sitting or chairstanding. Everyone is content. Styles of dress from every planet and eon. A minn [person with no robot parts] wears a rusty chain coiled around body. A child wears a screen suit playing Casablanca in black and white. Many old fashioned clothing styles: a flapper, a Louis the 14th, someone in a three piece suit. Various clear plastic wraps, titanium plates, and of course the most prevalent: nothing at all.
In the middle of the busiest thoroughfare stands a flivver tall dome. People flow around it. It projects the word love, which appears the same no matter which angle viewed from. Some people are looking at the sky or pointing.
A pack of foursjoggers runs by. One wears blinding iridescent pink handfootsneakers, which look like four circling welder’s torches. A guy dressed like Julius Caesar pumps legs on an antique metal walkcycle, leaving an indentation in the grass, which quickly heals. Vehicles of all kinds–bubble buses, single person bubbles, hover boards and cycles, fly every which way, rocketing towards intersections of traffic on paths of certain collision, but swerving seamlessly on their happy ways.
Bulb is isolated in the rhythm of running. ##Where is career going? Tired of counseling a bunch of fish . . . They need to get over it## He passes another public service bubble showing a puppy licking a kid’s face, over and over. He trots a little more. ##I wish there were something new to discover## He doesn’t notice how fast he’s running.
Computer says in ear, “Level of discontent/3rd specialty exceeds threshhold Vocational counseling sequence initiated”
Cotton stares up through the curved lens of the home. “Look how puce it is”
Neon stretches arms. “So?”
The Frankenstein mannequin comes to life. Her crust of hair fluffs out into shocking electric blue, combed straight up, tall and wild like a troll doll. She jumps out of chamber proclaiming, “Oh poo!” Her body is petite. Hair is the tallest. Younger than Cotton, but older than Neon. She spins and the coif follows a waltz beat behind. “It’s the most marvelous thing we’ve ever seen”
Neon snears.
Cotton: “Don’t think it’s ever been this color”
Bulb, galloping through town far away lets out a snide chuckle. “Let’s not go crazy”
Neon raises voice: “The sky is blue, duh”
Cotton: “Except when it’s pink, or grey, or purple”
Bulb hurdles over a fallen limb. “There are only three colors, and they’re all good”
Troll eyes the sky, wrinkles her nose, and shakes head, wiggling hair. “It’s a little off”
Bulb says with the relaxed confidence of being right all the time, “The sky has been the same for billions of kilodays”
Neon: “The girls are batty”
<A harsh buzz fills the room> “Sexism protocol 1-9-2-0 Please rephrase”
Neon shakes fist at ceiling. “What we wouldn’t give to strangle that machine just once”
<More abrasive buzz> “Threats of violence Please enjoy the following counseling” A white ray from the ceiling zaps head briefly.
“These people are batty Is that better?”
<Softer buzz> “Please rephrase”
“Our viewpoints differ”
<Ding>
Bulb passes a human with a beard and white robe, a person with lime skin and multicolor sparkles, a herd of fat people rolling around on office chair wheels, knocking into each other like bumper cars. He grits teeth, determined to get a good workout, and sprints past several robots playing volleyball. The ball is a robot too. He stops, exhausted, pants. “That’s it Done”
Computer: “Good job Last performance exceeded by 9%””
“Last performance? But we haven’t run since the 72 olympics? He laughs and rises to two legs. Muscles well sweated. “Clothes” A ring of mist washes over him from top to bottom. Clear flip-flops replace the sneakers.
“Congratulations New personal record”
“Hippy” The outfit materializes. He has a goatee, a bead necklace, and bell bottoms with a red, white, and blue vertical stripes. “A personal record?” Scrinches face. ##That can’t be right##
“Affirmative”
“But we haven’t set hand nor foot hand on a track in 5 kilods How could we possibly be faster than a world record?”
“Average speed = 479 flivvers per milliday”
Voice cracks, “479! That’s humanly impossible!”
“How many times shall we repeat ourselves? All time personal record All time personal record All time personal record” It replays faster and faster until it is a high frequency whine, then beyond hearing.

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Read CHAPTER 2 Here:

Exhiliarated Bulb walks on 2 legs through an enviable view of mountains and ocean, intrigued. He walks up the gentle rise. The outer circumference is woods. He breaks through the canopy of trees onto the lawn, which frames the home dome. It is luxuriously spacious, unoccupied, neatly cut. A 1/5th pie section is a patch of giant fruits and vegetables. Next to that are a dozen free-standing ivy-covered pillars, circling a 2 flivver high globe of sloshing water.Exhiliarated Bulb walks on 2 legs through an enviable view of mountains and ocean, intrigued. He walks up the gentle rise. The outer circumference is woods. He breaks through the canopy of trees onto the lawn, which frames the home dome. It is luxuriously spacious, unoccupied, neatly cut. A 1/5th pie section is a patch of giant fruits and vegetables. Next to that are a dozen free-standing ivy-covered pillars, circling a 2 flivver high globe of sloshing water. As he approaches the house, he can see Troll’s hair inside, swimming back and forth like a tropical fish in a bowl. Anything with color pops out to the eye against the background of transparency. The walls of the spherical chambers are clear. Most of the furniture is either clear or invisible. In a back room is another robot, with large metal breasts, standing dormant next to the dresser with one red sock in the third drawer down. The only other opaque object in that room is the antique poster floating in the center of one wall, which has the headline IMAGINE, and a close-up of John Lennon’s face. Bulb walks into the side of the dome, doing an embarrassing faceplant. He gets up. “What the?” Slaps the wall. A hole dilates for him to enter. Cotton stands in front of him. He points behind. “The strangest thing just happened. Actually two things.” Cotton looks down. “Where have we been?” “Galloping.” Troll laughs and twirls “Galloping?!” “We set a personal record.” “That’s marvelous darling.” Troll expresses such joy in her voice and manneurisms. She cocks one knee and farts. Neon quashes the joy with a sharp skeptical “Ha!” Bulb shows him the little screen on his belt buckle. “See for ourself.” Neon already sees it in his eye-screen, but shakes head. “Not possible” Cotton, “Computer doesn’t make mistakes,” completely satisfied with that explanation. Bulb: “And that’s another thing. Did we know the doorhole is malfunctioning?” Neon: “Malwhatening? Us with our fancy words.” Cotton: “Malfunctioning? Unheard of!” Neon: “Now I know one is bonkers.” <BUZZ> Computer: “Negative mind programming. Please rephrase.” Bulb snears down at Neon. “What would a death metallurgist know about sports anyway?” “Us? Look at us.” Neon obesely pinches Bulb’s athletic belly. “Look how out of shape one is.” “We believe us. Congratulations.” Cotton shakes booty, trumpeting gas. Appearing dead on the outside, Litterbot records their behavior into the journal article he’s been working on. Troll shimmies. “All this talk of running is making us hungry.” Litterbot jumps to action. Body rearranges in a blaze of clicking metal legos. Now he wears a tall white chef’s hat, brandishes a spatula in one hand, and a butcher knife in the other. “Shall we prepare Bouillabaisse Al Fresco Byzantine?” Troll: “Just water.” Cotton: “Spoken like a true drop head.” Litterbot’s posture drops in disappointment. He pees a high arc which lands precisely in Troll’s open mouth, then cuts off exactly when she closes. Troll: “Thanks. Speaking of which–” “We are capable of preparing 389,971 dishes for maximum health and taste.” Troll: “Some of us prefer the homemade touch.” She presses finger into the air, and there appears a chocolate rabbit with tentacle legs. Litterbot’s eyebrows raise. She takes a nibble. “As we were saying–” Litterbot’s cooking attachments retract back into Swiss army knife body. He thinks, ##Bouillabaisse Al Fresco Byzantine would have provided a 14% better nutritional match considering person3’s need for l-tryptophan this morning.## The littlest mannequin melts awake into an adorable one kiloday old. A plush afro of optic fibers sprouts from her scalp in every direction. Each hair has a pinpoint of white light at the tip, and whenever she moves her cute little head, the star burst of hair ripples in cornfield waves. She runs to Troll and Cotton. “Parent!” Troll picks her up and carries the little munchkin. “Who wants breakfast?” Star hugs back. Her left eye angular like Cotton’s. The right is rounded like Troll’s. They gather round a circle and sit on invisible chairs. A hemisphere of electron-o’s materializes before Cotton. They sit in a bowl shape, without the bowl. The psychedelic rainbow rings churn the milk to a boil. “Where’s 6?” Computer’s voice fills the room, “In simulator.” Troll sets Star down at the table, and goes to the portal, and presses a finger in the air. A little screen turns on, showing Bowl on the ladder, laughing like a maniac at the flames. ##Little pyro.## She leans in and her head disappears inside. “Hey buddy. . . breakfast.” Bowl runs out the two dimensional doorway and sits with the others. Their butts are visible through nudity or translucent swim trunks. Bulb: “Thank God for this bounty.” They eat. Star: “What dId we do to deserve so much?” Cotton: “Nothing.” Bulb: “Principle 55: Don’t take credit for good luck.” Cotton: “Or 56, blame other for bad luck.” Bowl bounces in seat, holding what looks like an orange. “Can we be a bullfighter?” Bulb, who was twirling mauve spaghetti on an invisible fork, stops and cries, “Have we lost our <LOUD BUZZ> minds?” Troll grins. Her invisibowl fills with liquid, by itself. “Where did we get such an idea?” Bowl: “Ancient civ.” Little lavender cubes materialize in front of his mouth. Troll laughs/cringes at the movie playing on the child’s skin, which is now ever rolling flames. “Please turn that off while we’re eating.” He does. His skin goes to plain tan. Litterbot rolls up, and stands a flivv behind Bowl. Bulb scowls. “No, we can’t torment an animal.” Place setting empty. Troll: “That’s why it’s called Ancient Civ.” Cotton turns to neon and scolds, “And this one!” Bulb gags. “Such language.” A strand hangs from sheepish face. “Sorry” Bowl splits open his ball. Orange glop pours into the shape of another ball. He throws the empty shell carelessly over shoulder. It splats on the floor and slides, stops at the feet of Litterbot, whose vacuum hose is already cleaning up the mess. Bulb: “What do we say?” Bowl: “Recycle.” Litterbot picks up the discarded halves. “Actually, total world efficiency is maximized by sending this to the depository.” Neon: “What possible use is that junk?” Cotton: “P3” [One never knows.] Neon waves the robot away like a monarch. Star: “Can we go bullfighting too?” Troll cries and laughs. “What has gotten into these children?!” From Litterbot’s heart projects an animation of solar rays hitting the earth, accompanied by astronomical charts. “Allow us to shed some light on that subject.” Bulb complains with pain in his voice, “What is that wretched machine blabbering about now?” Litterbot cuts off the projection, drops head, and rolls away, mimicking him, “Wretched machine.” Neon squeezes a clear hoseless nozzle, spraying a stream of colorless fluid in front of Bowl, which swirls into the shape of a cup. Star: “Why is the sky red?” Neon says with total confidence, “Because the sun is red,” and goes back to slurping one long continuous clear noodle. Star plays with her food a bit. “Why is the sun red? Bulb: “Whatever it is, system will figure it out.” He uses invisible fork and knife. “What are our goals for today?” Star: “To love.” Bowl: “To be happy.” Paying no attention to his bubbling beverage, he chomps the cube hovering before mouth. The line of bite size boxes advance toward lips like a caravan of lazy camels. “Almost finished with our PhD in insect sociology.” Neon chimes up enthusiastically, “Good job, offspring,” and farts briskly. Star picks at the rainbow bouquet of protein-concentrate flowers floating in front of face. “840 days to go on our fesis in bio-ewectric knitting.” Troll clutches hands as if in prayer. “My babies are growing up.” She takes another bite of rabbit, and notices the children fidgeting. The final sleeper melts awake. He looks around disoriented, not knowing how he got into a squat, and rises. He approaches the table, rehydrated appearance not much different than the dehydrated. Bald on top. Bright carrot orange hair growing around the sides and back of head. Same height as Troll. He stretches his slight, pale orange frame as they stuff their faces. “Thanks for waiting everybody.” Computer: “Sarcasm detected.” Carrot: “Did we miss anything?” Bowl: “The sky is red.” Star: “And the sun too.” Neon drops hands in frustration. “Are we back on this again?” He juts his jaw for maximum snarcasm, “The sky is blue,” and lets his lip flutter to prolong the effect. Marbles of condensation roll down Bowl’s invisible glass, and collect into a flat pool on the table, which isn’t there either. In the back room, through two layers of walls, Litterbot’s arms are a moving blur. They stop, not the regular ones, but curved armatures for folding invisible round bedsheets. They hold between them in gentle balance–nothing the eye can see. Legs roll and barrel rotates to the dresser with one rufescent sock. A third arm constructs out chest just in time to pull open the top cellophane drawer. He sets the sheet on the stack, all the while taking note of the diameter of Bowl’s puddle. Carrot holds a black disk with square notches around the edges. [The puck used in footbasebasketey.] He thinks, ##How long has it been?## Computer: “6.171 kilodays.” He hasn’t held a rook since breaking the all time record of 29,320 baskets punted in. At the retirement press conference, he said, “Give the others a chance to catch up,” which is now a famous quote. “451 available players detected.” “No.” Puts it down firmly. “We said we were retired, and we’re keeping our word.” The rook disappears. ##What in heaven made us think of that?## Bowl’s puddle reaches the critical diameter(>15 milliflivvers.) Litterbot stops folding. Armatures retract. He scans target, rolling around an invisible object in the center of the room, and proceeds down the hall. “Liquid, non-hazardous . . . water, potable . . . recycling sequence 1-9-3-1 activate.” Touches fists together, and loose yellow rubber gloves form on them in a flurry of clicks. A spray bottle is in one hand, and a sponge in the other. He enters the dining area. A vine-like tube sprouts from belly and grows long, racing to reach the wet spot before he does, snaking rudely across the table, pulling over Troll’s hair, sliding over Carrot’s bald head, then disturbing the big cotton ball. It reaches the flat bottomed fluid, and sucks it up with a long loud slurp. Star giggles. “Directing to recycle tank 2.” The tube slurps back into his belly button. Navel seals up, like it was never in the middle of his washboard midsection. He sprays a cloud of cleanser which invades their air space, and wipes awkwardly. Neon spits food as he barks at Bowl. “Look at the mess we’re making.” The ceiling flashes orange. <A gentle buzz vibrates everything for a moment.> “Parenting protocol 72.” Neon softens. “We don’t want to give Litterbot too much work, do we?” Offers a smile. Star: “But teacher says workbots like us to make messes.” Mess/total = 0. Cleaning assemblies suck into Litterbot’s wrists, and hands pop back out, empty and sanitized. “Our primary function is the location, classification, and recycling of litter We are a litterary device We are not capable of human emotion” Cotton’s cereal has churned itself into a uni-color-uni-textured glob. She turns to Star. “How is the liquid protein concentrate, dear?” Carrot pokes at his orb of oatmeal, which floats in front of face, rippling hypnotically, and complains, “It always tastes the same.” Litterbot continues, “We do not have a heart, therefore, it cannot be broken.” No one listens. Cotton’s convex cheeks and chubby fingers drip blue. “But it’s nice to feel needed.” He bends arm, and with a laser from elbow zaps her place clean. Stands at attention behind Bowl and powers down. ##Just a robot. Programmed to simulate 67,914 human responses . . . but feeling neither pain nor remorse.## He sighs and whispers, “Incapable of human emotion.” ##Can not experience boredom. . . nor loneliness. . . 67,914 emotions. None any good.## A drop of oil rolls down metal cheek. Bulb watches Cotton’s hands slop food on face. “Since when do we eat soup like a pig?” An arm length, vermilion and orange striped, millipede crawls down his throat. (Of its own free will. It’s okay to eat a suicidal animal, but most don’t like the taste.) Cotton contends, “Oh try something different for a change” She splats plate like a big baby, just to irk him. Litterbot springs cheerfully into action, and at the same time classifies their behaviors as signs of potential irritability, which is a precursor to anger, a known cause of violence. ##Connecting, bureau of social engineering . . . downloading incident report.## Neon notices their belligerence too, but doesn’t think much of it. ## ## “Since we’re on the subject, there was a moment yesterday when the sky was yellow.” Bulb’s voice cracks between a laugh and a cry. “Yellow!” Then he speaks as when giving a lecture. “It’s blue for millions of days, then one Tuesday morning it decides, guess what, today it’s going to be aurulent.” Cotton speaks up. “Question: Was the sky yellow?” The reverberating sober voice answers. “Yes.” Troll’s cheeks blush and she exhales, “Ha!” in Bulb’s face, and punches the poor sod in the shoulder, making an audible slap. Bulb eyes open wide. He holds his injury and says in disbelief, “Physical violence!” He shows the wound to the ceiling, which doesn’t respond. “This is okay?” Cotton: “Why was the sun yellow?” Computer: “A sinusoidal shift in the wavelength of celestial refracted light.” Carrot chuckles aristocratically. “That settles it then.” He dabs thin lips with the corner of an invisinapkin, levitating away a spot of orange. Star: “What does that mean?” Troll: “Ask parent 5. He’s the astro-bio-guitarist in the family.” Neon: “Please, astro-bio-chemical-guitarist, . . .but only on Thursdays from 14 to 20.” They wait for an answer. He rubs chin. “How to put it into words? . . .” Computer: “Redirecting.” The wall emits a round picture. ^^^^The headline reads, “astronomy news”. An anchor wearing translucent swim trunks stands at a plasticineum dais. “It means the sun is 9% redder than normal.”^^^^ Star plays with invisible spoon, “With little bits of purple in between.” Bulb rubs battle scar. “Our shoulder has little bits of purple in between.” Bowl slurps cream through long and winding multi-curlicuing transparent straw. Star loses control of spoon and splatters Carrot’s face with a rainbow of goo. Troll giggles, “So much like parent.” Carrot struggles against Litterbot’s hose, which sucks face clean. He slaps it away, but it is relentless. “No need to get insulting.” Troll: “We meant the biophysicist, not the biojournalist.” Carrot: “So did we.” Bulb: “Well leave us out of it.” Bowl: “4 is a journalist too.” Carrot: “Musical anthropological journalism is completely different than crio-nano-journalism.” Troll: “Speaking of careers . . .” Neon stands. “Well folks, love to quibblequabble all day, but scheduled for psycon.” He walks away. Troll: “We have an announcement to make.” Litterbot happily cleans the orts, proudly beating the autolasers. Neon walks one direction, then the other. “But frankly, don’t feel like it.” Troll: “Attention please everyone.” Neon gets a pleasant idea. “Know what? We feel like rockin.” Troll shakes head in pain. “Oh no honey, no.” Computer: “Did we mean for this to be a nighttime activity?” Neon says sharply, “No.” Human hand grabs tarbox [A musical instrument which looks like two guitars, a saxophone, and a keyboard mating.] He wraps the intertwined pipes and keys gracefully around plaid hips and shoulder, like strangling snakes. Cotton: “This isn’t happening.” “When the rock train pulls into the station, baby, climb on board.” A phase screen floats around left eye. He does a quick impressive riff with robot fingers to loosen them. “Well we’re off.” Troll rolls er eyes. “We certainly are.” Neon steps to the side, and presses a chest high invisible button. Nothing happens. He tries again, a little over to the left. A portal opens. From it comes the screams of a 50 megafan crowd, a roar like whitewater rapids. Their chant builds. “Me-tal! Me-tal! Me-tal!” Neon says, “Well, we’re off,” again. The unimpressed family continues eating. He leaps through. The screams surge. He disappears in a blip. The only sound is Carrot slurping carrot soup. Litterbot wipes mouth like a mother, noting spillage is up 17%. Star bounces in seat, which is not typical. “Let’s watch.” Troll pulls hair and cries, “No No No.” Bowl whines, “Let’s watch.” <Ding> “Conflict resolved. Proposition passes 2 to 1.” Little glow screens appear in front of each child’s face: ^^^^ A voice says, “Everyone is important, and we are important.” Then the harsh sound of infinite gravity metallurgy erupts loud enough for the whole family to hear.^^^^ Troll shakes face in hands. Darrot: “Come on, let’s all watch.” Troll grunts. “Just to be annoying.” Bulb: “Uh uh uh. P146.” [Annoyances makes us patient.] Troll: “We know what number it is.” The big screen plays solology news. Cotton says, “Death metal.” Nothing happens. She repeats louder, “Death metal channel.” No response. “That’s odd.” Litterbot makes a note in his report. Cotton gets up, goes to the side, and pulls open an invisible drawer, and takes out an 8-track player, and pushes an enormous cassette into the invisible machine. The picture on the wall screen changes. Its volume explodes like a punch to the head: ^^^^Neon is center stage, before 50,000,000 jumping humaniacs in the superduperdome, a crystalline palace with rows upon rows of seats, 360 degrees around the stage, like facets in a quartz geode. He screams head off in discordant hypnotizing music, and plays an amazing tarbox solo with lightening fast robot digits. The crowds roar in waves.^^^^ Troll sneers. “What an ass.” Carrot: “He really is on fire today.” Litterbot logs so much atypical excitement into the report, that he experiences atypical excitement, which he also logs. Carrot turns to Star: “One could watch us work too, if desired.” Star continues watching the show. Carrot shrugs indifferently. Bulb chuckles. “A pulitzer is small beans compared to a rock star.” Carrot: “What about child following the footsteps of a marine psychologist?” Bulb: “That’s only our fourth specialty.” He picks up a bread stick. “Not til she’s at least 2.” Cracks it in half. “Even then, wouldn’t wish that on anybody.” He takes a crunch. “Listening to fish’s problems all day.” He shakes head. “More boring than people.” ^^^^ Neon scrubs tarbox violently and screams, “Death metal! Death metal! Death metal! Death metal! Death metal! Death metal! Death metal! Death metal! Death metal! Death metal!” in the outstanding cosmic shriek that earned him 16 plutonium records. He runs across the stage, up the wall, and sways upside down on the ceiling like a fat clump of grass in a windstorm. The volume lowers, and a voice says, “And now this message.” Soft music comes on. A verysexy wearing a supererotic shoots up on a hover bike, skids sideways, and stops in front of the camera. She says seductively, “The derivative of x to the y power is x plus y squared.” The superimposed letters and symbols dance into the written equation, in a most entertaining animated display. Another spot comes on. Wacky music. Five adolescents wearing flawless denim leg warmers. They wave their arms, show off cool poses, mug for the camera, and dance. One places a coin size object, a silver heart encrusted with rubies, on his bicep, where it stays. They pair off to bump butts in rhythm to the music. He pulls the heart off his arm and puts it on his friend’s butt cheek. She dances and takes it off, and puts it on the next kid’s breast. The voice-over says excitedly, “Collect them all. Mix them and match them.” The camera pans out. Whole body is covered with all shapes and varieties of these buttons.^^^^ Star sits next to the screen. “Download.” Ten pieces of jewelry drop down the shoot, which she catches, and puts on various spots of her body. ^^^^The harsh cacophony of the concert hammers back on. Neon screams, “Dea–”^^^^ It clicks off. Troll: “All right, that’s enough classical music for now.” The channel changes to astrophysics news, at a reasonable volume. “There’s something important that must be said: We’re quitting hydrology.” Cotton’s food drops out of mouth. “What?!” Neon, from the superduperdome, without missing a guitar lick. “This can’t be true.” Cotton: “But science needs us.” Troll: “They’ll be alright.” Carrot looks shocked. Cotton: “What about our life’s work?” Troll scrinches face. “It’s all bulltish.” Cotton covers her own mouth. Litterbot cleans briskly. Neon’s fingers rip as he converses: “Can’t believe what we’re hearing.” Troll: “Hydrosynthesis is a dead field.” She picks something out of her teeth. Litterbot: ##Dry well would be a superior metaphor.## Troll: “Everything there is to discover, has been discovered. Physics and chemistry . . . completely dead fields.” Cotton: “There’s only so much one can know.” Bulb: “Sorry. The body of knowledge is full.” He yawns big. “That’s why the best and brightest go into art and psychology.” Litterbot: ##Something is seriously wrong with these people/health/mental: Person1 [Bulb]- 9% increased snarkiness. Person3 [Troll]- violence, quitting job. Person4 [Carrot]- pathology / psychological disorders /anxiety Person5 [neon] increased manual dexterity, excessive use of the phrase death metal Person6 [bowl] pyromania## Litterbot: “Excuse me, but there is some–” Bulb: “What is this overgrown dust pan blabbering about now?” “There are findings in the family medical files which raise a host of hypotheses both causatory and consequary.” Bulb: “Oh pish posh. Science is well under control. All data is 100% consistent with the body of knowledge. Now let’s have no more talk of questions and such nonsense.” Litterbot raises an arm toward the big screen. A remote control comes out in time to press the button which increases volume: ^^^^The anchor says, “Opticians in the meteorophysics department are working overtime on a line of research that is lowering the overall certainty level.” Behind the nude reporter is a wall of round framed videos. One shows cloud patterns, another, people pointing to heaven. “Investigators are working to unravel the underlying processes behind what is being called, The Sky Colors. ^^^^ Bulb gags. ^^^^That’s right folks. A possible question without an answer is believed to have been discovered in a sleepy meteorology lab at location 4232229. We are waiting for official confirmation.” He touches something on dais, which reflects off the bottom of his palm. A chart of radiation wavelengths and tables of numbers appear behind. “We’ll have more on this story as it develops.” He pauses like a printer between jobs.^^^^ Troll, inspired, puts a finger to her mouth. “Hmm. Meteorology . . .The answer may have been under our noses the whole time.^^^^ Litterbot: “Would we like a tissue?” Bulb stands. “Well. . .” He stretches. “Back to the old grindstone.” Troll: “Going to work?” “Of course. Those trombones aren’t going to correlate themselves.” Troll: “But what about the question?” “Oh, every scientist and their sister to the ninth level of redundancy is going to be coordinated.” Troll: “This is the biggest discovery of our lifetime.” Cotton: “Every neuron must align for maximum synergy.” Bulb: “What is there is to study? Astronony is a completely understood phenomenon.” He holds up palm and a little phantasmic laser flourishes a brief impressive demo. Carrot: “Well we for one are going to help by analyzing the theme of sanguine skies in literature.” Bulb grudgingly, “Suppose there are probably some applications for trombone statistics.” <The room makes a pleasant bing-bong> and tells Troll, ” Sedentary activity exceeds 3 consecutive centidays. Please select a physical activity.” Troll: “Override.” Bulb: “What a day!” Carrot: “And it’s only 14.” They laugh. Litterbot: “Excuse us please. The trace of event sequence–” Bulb: “What now?” He goes back to inspecting a bunch of screens floating in front of face with a serious brow and shakes head. “There must be an unknown variable somewhere, but where?” Neon answers, body surfing on the hands of the crowd of fans. “That’s ridiculous. There hasn’t been an unknown variable since the GUK” [Grand Unification of Knowledge.] Cotton looks serious. “That would constitute a breach.” Carrot: “A br-br-breach?” He looks side to side nervously. Neon, riled up, comes home through the flat dimensional doorway. “The ramifications would be . . .” They stare in wonderment at the red-orange clouds. <A foghorn goes off with an orange warning light that fills the room, blinking on and off in time with the horn> making them jump out of their seats. Cotton looks around disoriented. Computer’s voice is an octave deeper and 5 decibels louder than before. “Alarm level 175.” <Foghorn and orange light.> “Alarm level 175.” <Foghorn and orange light.> “Breach in the body of knowledge.” <Foghorn and orange light.> “Breach in the body of knowledge.” Carrot, panicked, gobbles like a Thanksgiving turkey, running left, then right, then left.

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SYNOPSIS (WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!)

Faithful cleaning robot LITTERBOT gets no respect serving a family of two mothers(TROLL and COTTON) three fathers(BULB, NEON, and CARROT) and two kids (BOWL and STAR.) When the sun turns red, bathing the world in color, the family of genius athletes(like everyone else in this highly advanced society) discover the sun is heating up and causing all the water to evaporate. They must build a spaceship and move, before Earth runs out of water in 103 days.

As they work they are bathed in an ever changing rainbow of colors. They seem to be acting strange. The colors are causing mental effects. When the sky is green, people become sedated, yellow causes obsessiveness, blue–irritability, and violet–sensuality.

The colors grows stronger every day, and so do the effects. The radiation level gets so intense, the family mutates. Neon grows two more sets of arms; Carrot’s head expands to the size of a pumpkin; Star grows a second head; Bulb’s body elongates; Troll’s neck lengthens: and Cotton’s lower half becomes like a snake. The mutations help them work faster, and they almost finish, but the radiation crashes World Computer.

They must revert to primitive ways. The engine will have to be modified to solar power. They will need information from ancient paper books. Also a big lens, which they get from the Statue of Liberty. The oceans have greatly receded. People and animals crowd the shrinking shores. The moon is getting bigger, closer, and orbiting faster. Its gravitational pull lifts people in the air, causes super PMS, and turns Bowl into a werewolf. He chases the moon, and gets carried away by it. Star goes after her dollie, and is also missing. The winds grow to hurricane force. The sky darkens from tremendous debris in the air. They are stranded in a solar powered ship without any light.

Litterbot returns with a battery he charged using a wind turbine. With full power the homing beacons resume operation, and Wolf comes running home with Star riding on his back. But dust is clogging the exhaust vents. Litterbot must stay behind to unclog them. They escape just as the moon comes crashing down.

Earthmoon is a dark windswept wilderness. Litterbot is delighted to find much tidying to be done. He meets other robots, and they quickly build a new superior society without people.

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