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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
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Robotworld
Lost in Space: The New Journeys Book 1
Written by J.J. Gardner

(Page numbers come from the 1st printing, July 1998)

The Jupiter 2 discovers a world of cities uninhabited except by robots.

 

Story Summary

 

In their continuing search for Earth, the crew of the Jupiter 2 passes another world and receives a signal from it which seems to take control of the Robot, who programs a course to the planet.

 

Scanning the planet, the crew finds several intact and functional cities, all uninhabited except for robots. Once landed, the ship is greeted by a swarm of said robots and the Robinsons' Robot is taken away with them. John and Don take the chariot into the closest city in an attempt to retrieve the Robot but are themselves abducted. Will, Dr. Smith, Penny, and Blarp then sneak away in a native transport in an attempt to negotiate the freedom of the entire crew away from the planet; they too are captured in the city, by the Robot, who has been reprogrammed to work for the master of this planet. They discover that John and Don have had their memories wiped from their brains and are now mindless automatons of the city's System Prime, a computer that runs everything.

 

Maureen and Judy arrive in jet packs but are also captured and turned into automatons. One robot in the city, Glimbus Two, seems to have a modicum of free will against the System Prime and leads Will, Penny, Blarp, and Dr. Smith to a vast computer library where they may be able to learn how to free the humans and restore their memories. Before this can happen, System Prime realizes what is happening and stops them. Taken before System Prime by the other robots, Dr. Smith is wiped and Will is about to follow. But he is able to make a friendship connection with the Robot thanks to his own personality engrams imprinted in it and the Robot intercepts the control plate intended for the boy. The Robot sends a reverse command to the System Prime and the master computer self-destructs. But this causes all the controlled robots to start attacking each other. The Robot, Will, Penny, and Blarp, along with Glimbus Two, race back to the library, only to find it nearly destroyed in the robot battles.

 

The Robot detects an immense chamber beneath the library but don't know how to get into it. Suddenly, a panel opens on Glimbus Two's body, with a diskette key inside. They find that the diskette opens a door on the central obelisk of the library and they enter. There, they find thousands and thousands of aliens in suspended animation; they look just like the form of Glimbus Two. The Robot's scans suggest they've been in stasis for close to 5,000 years. They are able to awaken the aliens and one of the beings is found to be Glimbus the First, the creator of the android Glimbus Two. He reveals that the surviving members of his civilization, the Dolians, went underground and into suspended animation in order to escape and outlast a deadly virus that came to the planet by contact with other visiting aliens. They were supposed to emerge after only five years, not five thousand and Glimbus Two had been programmed to awaken them at that time. But something had apparently gone wrong with the master computer, which had become System Prime and blindly turned the world into a planet of robots that simply maintained the cities and mimicked the actions of the Dolians and must have wiped out Glimbus Two's programming to awaken the people.

 

The Robot gives Glimbus Two the ability to interface with the remains of System Prime and the android is able to restore the memories of the captured members of the Jupiter 2 crew.

 

Notes from the Lost in Space chronology

 

On page 2, the book seems to contradict itself a bit in stating how long the Jupiter 2 has been away from Earth, first stating it had been only a few months, then twice stating a year. The book also depicts the Robot maneuvering on treads. In The Vault, Will has replaced the treads with three multijointed, gyrostabilized legs; this suggests that Robotworld takes place sometime before.

 

Didja Know?

 

Lost in Space: The New Journeys was a series of six books for young readers, published by Scholastic.

 

Didja Notice?

 

Page 1 suggests that the next time the crew of the Jupiter 2 finds an environmentally friendly planet to set down, they would try to spend a few months of food harvesting and fuel regeneration.

 

Page 2 also has Will musing that they had had a number of false alarms about a possible hospitable planet they could stop at to replenish food and fuel.

 

On page 6, Maureen uses a thermowave heater to heat a glass of milk. Presumably, "thermowave heater" is just meant to be a futuristic name for a microwave oven.

 

Penny's pet space monkey is referred to as Blawp, not Blarp as in Lost in Space. "Blawp" was a name used for the creature in the screenplay.

 

Page 11 reveals that the Robinsons have the Robot monitoring the helm while they sleep. The Robot will wake them up if a threat or planet of interest should be detected.

 

On page 12, the Robot says, "Warning! Warning! Danger! Danger!" while waving its arms. This was a common behavior of the Robot on the original Lost in Space TV series.

 

Page 14 mentions that the Robot was almost completely destroyed while protecting the crew from giant alien spiders. This is a reference to events in Lost in Space.

 

On page 15, Don climbs up to the bridge deck from a ladder. The Vault suggests there is also an elevator and stairway that go to the various levels of the ship.

 

On page 17, the crew detects a number of cities on the planet they are approaching, but no people in them. This is similar to the opening approach to Rellka in The Vault.

 

Page 20 states that the ship has visited a number of worlds in the past.

 

Page 22 reveals that the Jupiter 2 has a protective force field that can be activated in dangerous situations.

 

Page 30 reveals that Maureen tutors Will daily on his scholastic studies.

 

On page 35, John and Don take the chariot out to the uninhabited city. But in Lost in Space, Don stated that the chariot was pretty much scrap metal after the Jupiter 2 crash landing.

 

After Blarp's careless pressing of buttons inside the so-called monster machine causes it to lift off with her, Penny, Will, and Dr. Smith aboard, Penny decides to access the machine's video systems to find out where they're heading. Promised Land reveals that Penny's assigned station on the Jupiter 2 is Video Mechanics.

 

On page 45, Dr. Smith grabs the laser pistol away from Will and fires at one of the robots, destroying it. What happened to the safeguards programmed into the Jupiter 2's weapons to prevent Smith from using them as seen in Lost in Space?

 

On page 52, Will sees a number of holographic symbols inside one of the city's buildings. One is described as the symbol for the "subatomic atom." Uh, if it's subatomic, then it's not an atom. The author must have meant a "subatomic particle".

 

Page 56 reveals that the Robinsons have jet packs on board the Jupiter 2 which allow them to travel through the air individually over a planet's surface. Jet packs were occasionally seen in the original TV series.

 

Page 70 mentions a library disk on Robotworld displaying a holographic readout of plant and mineral life. Uh, minerals aren't alive.

 

The planet is never actually called Robotworld in the story. It's name is not revealed at all, though it may be Dolia since the aliens found in hibernation underground are learned to be called the Dolians. 

 

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