The novel is filled with instances of the characters
comparing things in their minds to 20th Century analogs of
what they've discovered on their journey. This is a frequent
form of writer's shorthand for making alien or
futuristic concepts accessible to readers, but it always
seems overdone to me for characters in a future time to be
obsessed, or at least particularly cognizant of, historical
aspects of life a century or more in their past.
The book's dedication by the author reads: "For Carnival
Diablo, December 1993, Scott McClelland, Julianne Manchur,
Ryan Madden, commemorating our own strange trip through time
Carnival Diablo is a travelling sideshow operating in
Ontario, Canada. It was started by Scott McClelland in 1992
and still performs today. Julianne Manchur and Ryan Madden
have been performers in the sideshow act, which involves
eating glass, lying on a bed of nails, escape routines, etc.
Author Pat Cadigan travelled with Carnival Diablo for a brief time to
write an article about it. You can read the
article (originally published in Omni magazine)
Page 1 reveals that Don now considers himself a former
Page 2 reveals that the (human) crew of the Jupiter 2 have to
ration shower water from the distiller to each have a shower once a
week; seven crewmen (including Dr. Smith) over seven days.
Page 4 reveals that all but one of the bathrooms on the ship have
been closed down. Presumably this was done for water preservation
purposes, but it's not clarified.
Page 5 reveals that Penny is currently keeping a journal of poems
she calls Star Songs of the Dream Dancer.
Page 6 states that Dr. Smith now has his own quarters on the ship.
Dr. Smith is now taking a drug of his own manufacture called the
Kiss of Bliss, also known as Head Job on Earth.
On pages 8-9, Dr. Smith imagines the Robinson family and their hired
hand as a bunch of Okies trekking across the ecologically ravaged
land in a truck, to finally be held in a Hooverville. This a
reference to the Dust Bowl climate of the American prairie during
the Great Depression of the 1930s. Many families from the Midwest
fled to the western coastal states, many of them from Oklahoma, hence
the term "Okies". A Hooverville was any shanty town built
by homeless people in the U.S. during the Great Depression, named
after the man who was President when the depression started, Herbert
On pages 12-13, Maureen is reminded of an old 20th Century poster
reproduction she'd seen at the Museum of Modern Art of two vultures
perched high over a desert, with one saying, "To hell with waiting,
I'm gonna kill something." The
Museum of Modern Art
is located in New York City. The poster mentioned may be real, but
I've been unable to confirm it.
On page 18, Judy wonders whether the ship is lost in time as well as
space after their experience in Lost
in Space. In PopApostle's study, it seems confirmed from my own
observations of the story and from the director's commentary that
they are trapped about 10 years into their future.
After being cooped up on the ship all these months, Judy has
occasionally felt the need to take mood stabilizers in the form of a
On page 21, John reminsces on an old poem that reminds him life is
real, life is earnest. He is thinking of "A Psalm of Life" by Henry
Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882).
When the world-sized sphere is picked up on the Jupiter 2's
sensors, Don notes that it doesn't appear to have any external
damage, so it either had not run into the metal-eating spiders or it
had a repellent for them. This is, of course, a reference to the
spider-like creatures the crew encountered on the Proteus
Lost in Space.
Etched patterns on the surface of the sphere remind John of giant
lines and designs he'd seen in South America which some people
thought were marked out as landing fields for the chariots of the
god-aliens. He is thinking of the
Nazca Lines, ancient geoglyphs in
the Nazca desert of Peru. Although the theory is not generally
accepted by mainstream researchers, many people do think they were
built to guide alien spaceships to a landing, most popularly
speculated by Erich von Daniken's best-selling 1968 book
Chariots of the Gods?
The sphere encountered by the crew in this novel is a variation of
the Dyson sphere, originally hypothesized by Freeman Dyson, a
mathematician and theoretical physicist, as a cloud of
artificial satellites around a sun, designed to harness the solar
power for use by a stellar civilization.
On page 23, Will implies that
helped sponsor the Jupiter Mission.
On page 26, Dr. Smith repeats the phrase "give my regards to
oblivion" that he used after reprogramming the Robot to destroy the
Jupiter Mission in
Lost in Space.
Page 26 reveals that Will has been tearing down and rebuilding the
Robot over and over, trying to improve its parallel processing.
Pages 28-29 reveal that Blarp (here spelled "Blawp") has been placed
in hibernation. The creature is not seen at all in this novel.
The description of people downloading binary files and opening them
in a word processing program, yielding pages and pages of garble, is
also true today due to incompatible files being opened in the wrong type of
Page 31 reveals that Penny's station on the bridge of the
Jupiter 2 is called Video Mechanics, whatever that is.
As the crew enters the sphere, Don reflects that it seems peaceful,
not like the last time they boarded another spacecraft. Presumably,
this is a reference to the Proteus in
Lost in Space.
On pages 43-44, as the crew is being loaded onto a subway car inside
the sphere, Don is reminded of the Chinese in 19th Century America.
He is probably thinking of the large numbers of Chinese immigrants
to the United States at that time who often did work laying railroad
tracks across the country in often subpar conditions, under racist
On page 44, Judy reflects on an Art Deco era brass floor lamp she
used to have in her bedroom back on Earth. The Art Deco era is
generally considered to be 1920-40s.
Page 48 has Will thinking of a feed from MicroNet. Presumably, this
is the future version of the internet.
On page 49, Will is pleased to note that the sphere they've entered
is not filled with metal-eating spiders or mutated bacteria billions
of times larger than the norm. The spiders are obviously another
reference to those they encountered on the Proteus in
Lost in Space, but what is
the reference to mutated, giant bacteria? Is there an unchronicled
story in there somewhere?
Also on page 49, Penny refers to the domed cities of Earth as
On page 54, John wonders if the round shape of the dining table at
the meal they're treated to is based on the same thinking that King
Arthur had used in choosing the Round Table for meetings with his
knights, i.e. since the table has no head, all seated at it are
Page 65 reveals that Judy is a better shot with a gun than either of
On page 73, Will is worried he made a big mistake in telling the
aliens in the sphere about the hyperdrive on the Jupiter 2,
thinking of himself as "the King Kong of dingdongs." King Kong, of course, is the gigantic
ape who's appeared in a number of films and other media since his
debut in the classic 1933 film King Kong.
On page 74, Will worries what will happen to Earth since the
Jupiter 2 never made it to "the planet where the gate was
being built." This must be a reference to Alpha Prime, but it would
more properly be stated that it was where the gate was going
to be built, i.e. that was the job the Robinsons' were supposed
to do when they got there.
Will also wonders if they are still in their own time, though he
seems to be thinking not in terms of the temporal portal through
which the ship flew early in Lost in
Space, but from having flown through the self-destructing
planet using the hyperdrive at the end of the film.
On page 85, Dr. Smith worries that Maureen will have another baby to
add to the Robinson family...and they'd probably name it John-Boy.
This is a reference to the 1972-81 TV series The
Waltons, about a large family during the Great Depression and
WWII; one of the main characters was the oldest son, John-Boy.
On page 87, as Dr. Smith is imagining starting his own drug dealing
business in the sphere, he anticipates getting his customers to
refer to him as Dr. Feelgood. The term originated as a nickname for
President John F. Kennedy's personal doctor, Max Jacobson, who was
known as a doctor to the celebrities and other high-profile clients
and who would administer amphetamines and other concoctions to them at
their request to make them feel good. Since then, the name has come
to be associated with physicians who administer or prescribe drugs
for mental effects illegally.
On page 89, Judy refers to Dr. Smith as a terrorist manqué.
"Manqué" is a French word for a person who has failed to live
up to expectations. She is referring to his failure to destroy the
Jupiter Mission for the Sedition in
Lost in Space.
On page 90, Dr. Smith thinks he should "whistle a la Bogart." This
is a reference to the 1944 film To Have and Have Not. Dr.
Smith had just quoted a line from the film (originally spoken by
Lauren Bacall), "You just put your lips together and blow." After
Bacall says this in the film, Humphrey Bogart whistles a cat call.
Page 90 reveals that Dr. Smith is incapable of whistling.
On page 103, Dr. Smith nearly uses the phrase "brave new world" in
describing his vision of what the world inside the sphere could
become (substituting instead "bright new order"). Smith was probably
unconsciously thinking of the world of Aldous Huxley's
1932 novel Brave New World, which
features the theme of a future society in which the populace is
controlled by a government that uses artificial reproduction of
humans to produce well-behaved contributors to society in a set of
castes. Ironically, this is not entirely different from what Smith
and the Robinson's soon learn this world has in place already.
On page 105, Don sarcastically remarks to Judy, "You really got a
way of making a guy feel welcome. If only you had a cup of water.
Then we could have another perfect moment together." This is a
reference to a scene in
Lost in Space, where she
dumped a glass of water on his head to cool him down at a moment
was feeling amorous with her.
Page 107 hints that Judy had spent some time participating in
gymnastics when she was younger.
On page 108, Don and Judy trade a paraphrasing of Satchel Paige
Satchel Paige (1906-1982) was a Major League Baseball player who
started out in the Negro Leagues. His full quotes as paraphrased in
the novel were: "Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently
as you move," and "Don't look back...something might be gaining on
On page 110, Don says to Judy, "Oh, I remember that famous
those-who-can't-think-fight quote. I can even remember who it was
that said it." This is another reference to an interchange between
the two in
Lost in Space.
On page 111, Don describes pulling duty airlifting orphans out of
the Mandela Republic when he was 15. There is no real world nation
officially known as the Mandela Republic, but the nation of South
Africa was occasionally referred to as such unofficially after the
end of Apartheid and the election of activist Nelson Mandela to the
office of President of the country from 1994-1999. Possibly the name
became official at some point before the year 2058 when
Lost in Space opens. Don's
description of the event also suggests that the military of his time
period accepts recruits at a much younger age than currently!
Page 135 reveals that Judy spent a summer in Oslo when she was
younger. Presumably, she is referring to Oslo, Norway.
Page 159 reveals that Don has insisted on having weapons accessible
in any part of the Jupiter 2 for emergencies. He also made
each crewmember hide one weapon somewhere on the ship where none of
the others knew where it was. Only Dr. Smith was excluded from this
Page 161 implies that Judy developed the cryotubes aboard the
On page 163, Penny is already planning a follow-up to her first book
of poems. She'll call it
Star Songs of the Dream Dancer: Book the Second, the Human
Inside the sphere, the
Jupiter 2 is outfitted with fresh supplies for a long
voyage and the fuel generator modified to distill fuel from
available sources while in transit.
Page 172 reveals that Maureen had smuggled a case of Champagne
Jupiter 2, to be opened when the hypergate was completed at
Alpha Prime. Judy and the hijackers end up drinking most of it, as
part of Judy's plan to bring the hijackers to their knees. The
Dom Perignon, a prestige brand of Champagne made by Moët &
Page 172 states the Robinson's were expecting to meet a bunch of
workers at Alpha Prime to build the hypergate.
Lost in Space implies that
the crew of the Jupiter 2 will be doing it on their own
(though that does seem like a tall order for one family!). Judy was
surprised when she discovered the case and learned that her mother
is the one who stashed it aboard, having thought of her as the
original Mrs. Sobersides. "Mrs. Sobersides" seems to be a term used
in England to describe a woman who doesn't drink alcohol.
Page 176 reveals that Judy has the following degrees: M.D. (Doctor
of Medicine), Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy), and D.V. (unknown, may be
a fictional degree of the future).
Page 176 also reveals that Judy was known as a lightweight drinker
among her colleagues on Earth.
Also on page 176, Judy muses on the phrase "On Earth as It Is in
Heaven." This is from the Lord's Prayer in the Book of Matthew
in the Bible.
On page 177, Judy drunkenly begins to think about Earth "a long time
ago and a galaxy--". Obviously, she was thinking of the preamble of
the Star Wars films, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far
On page 179, in order to give Will information silently while they
are hiding from the natives, the Robot projects his words with a
light beam, using Will's hand as a screen.
Page 180 reveals that Dr. Smith apparently likes to wear to
Page 188 reveals that Will's middle name is John.
On page 197, Dr. Smith discovers that Judy has removed the raw
materials needed for him to make more Kiss of Bliss.
Also on page 197, Dr. Smith goes through psychological withdrawal
from the Kiss of Bliss and reminisces on the wonderful times he
experienced under its influence, including a description of
Escher-like diamond shapes. M. C. Escher (1898-1972) was a Dutch
graphic artist known for his finely detailed printed works of
impossible architecture and shapes.
Why has Blarp been placed in hibernation for the entire novel?
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