This book is dedicated by the author to Buck Coulson
(1928-1999) and mentions Thomas Stratton, EISFA, YANDRO, and
Windycon. Buck Coulson was a science-fiction writer who was
also publisher and editor (with his wife, Juanita) of the
science-fiction fanzine Yandro from 1959-1986 (with
a final issue published in 1991). Thomas Stratton was a
pseudonym used by our current novel's author, Gene DeWeese, as co-author, with
Coulson, of two novels in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
series. EISFA was the Eastern Indiana Science Fiction
Association, a sci-fi club in the 1950s of which both
DeWeese and Coulson had been members. Windycon is a
science-fiction convention held in or near Chicago, IL every
Throughout the book, the Robinson's ship is referred to simply as
the Jupiter instead of Jupiter 2.
On page 2, Dr. Smith, in his nightmare, reflects on armored spiders
found on the Proteus. This refers back to events in
Will's most recent reprogramming of the Robot's AI software has
resulted in the mechanical marvel's current tendency to spout clichéd
platitudes. On page 4, the Robot says, "Run away and live to fight
another day!" The currently popular idiom is "He who fights and runs
away will live to fight another day." The idiom is derived from a
quote by Demosthenes in 338 BC, who, after fleeing from a
battlefield, defended himself with, "The man who runs away may fight
The book suggests the crew of the
Jupiter 2 have had a number
of adventures in space and on alien
worlds before the events of this
Page 5 reveals that
the crew acquired
technology "a couple
But the later book, The Virus,
claims that Penny invented the device! However, Penny has never been
depicted as such a scientific whiz that she would be able to
accomplish the invention of such a device.
On page 11,
John's decision to
current world they
find themselves near
because "it may have
leads to criticism
from Dr. Smith, who says, "You said
very similar things
about the last one
and look what
that got us!"
- On page 55, Judy
muses on the other
has run into in the
- Page 72 mentions
that there have been
several incidents in
which Dr. Smith has
programmed into the
Robot and taken
control of it.
On page 5, with the ship confronted by a space-pirate ship, Don
suggests to John that maybe it's time they "headed through the sun
again." This is a reference to the hyperjump the Jupiter 2 made through
Earth's sun in
On page 19, the Robot says, "I make it a practice to believe in at
least one impossible thing before my morning diagnostic routine."
This is a play on a statement made by the White Queen to Alice in
Lewis Carroll's 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass, "Why,
sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before
Also on page 19, Will's dark side rains on his Pollyanna half's
parade. Pollyanna is a character appearing in
a number of children's novels; she is known for an unfailingly
On page 24 (and elsewhere in the novel), notice that Will refers to
the Robot as "he", while his father stresses "it". It's a nice
juxtaposition of Will considering the Robot a friend, while John
considers the Robot a
On page 34, Dr. Smith thinks of his nemesis, Don, as a mesomorph. A
mesomorph is an entity that exists between the states of solid and
liquid, i.e. gelatinous. He is probably referring to Don in his
estimation of the pilot/soldier's mental capacity.
On page 48, John recalls his youth, when he and some pals had viewed
some gross-out Surroundvids. Presumably, Surroundvids are a type of
movie or VR entertainment.
On page 55, Judy is relieved to find that the inhabitants of Rellka
are at least aware of the existence of other worlds. This may be a
reference to the society the crew found aboard the sphere they
encountered in Promised Land,
the citizens of which largely did not acknowledge the existence of
anything outside their interior world.
During his session in the cubicle on page 57, Dr. Smith sees members
of his own family: his parents and some uncles and aunts. The
omission of any mention of siblings hints that he was an only child.
On page 63, Judy compares the cubicles to being possibly like the
Roman Coliseum as a source of despicable entertainment. She is
referring to the slaughter of often innocent people by gladiators,
animals, or each other in the Amphitheatrum Flavium (now known as
the Roman Coliseum) in the ancient Roman Empire of Earth.
On page 68, Judy reflects on the fact that, while Smith may be a
doctor, he does not place any value on the Hippocratic oath.
This is the oath taken by western
doctors to obey a certain code of ethics. The original version is
believed to have been written by Hippocrates in ancient Greece.
Page 72 reveals that John and Don have placed a number of lockouts
on controls of the
Jupiter 2 to prevent Dr. Smith from gaining access
to the ship's important systems.
On page 73, Judy muses on some seeming lapses on Dr. Smith's part
over the last few months when he'd seemingly put someone else's
welfare on a par with his own.
Page 74 mentions the time Judy spent helping Dr. Smith get through
detox. This must be a reference to Smith being forced by Judy to get
off the drug called the Kiss he'd been manufacturing on the ship and
Page 82 reveals that Will has devised three multijointed,
gyrostabilized legs for the Robot, so it could more easily travel
over all types of terrain. It has previously maneuvered on two
On pages 106-107, Will tries to remember what passphrase he last
programmed into the Robot to allow him to override its current
orders. He remembers that he'd been viewing old 20th Century pop
culture entertainment in the ship's library when he developed the
new phrase and so he tries various ones until the Robot responds.
Will first tries "Shazam!" "SHAZAM" comes from
the Captain Marvel comic books published by Fawcett Comics
from 1939-1953 and later by DC Comics and was the magic word spoken
by young Billy Batson to transform into the powerful Captain.
(SHAZAM is an acronym for the mythological gods whose powers he
receives when he transforms into Captain Marvel: the wisdom of
Solomon; the strength of Hercules; the stamina of Atlas; the power
of Zeus; the courage of Achilles; and the speed of Mercury). Will
then remembers the correct phrase, "Holy Takeover Scenario, Robotman!"
This is a play on the phrasings Robin would use to Batman on the
1966-1968 TV series Batman. Responding to the passphrase,
the Robot thunders, "To the Robot Cave, Boy Wonder!" This is a play
on Batman's frequent use of "To the Bat Cave!" or "To the Bat Cave,
Robin!" and "Boy Wonder" was one of Robin's nicknames.
On page 144, Will reflects on how he occasionally finds that his
hacker solutions to computer/electronic problems have what should be
an obvious flaw, the equivalent of division by zero in math
problems. In mathematics, division by zero is undefined since
multiplication of any number by zero always equals zero.
On page 157, Will reflects that his father, despite his brilliance,
was not infallible and compares him to Einstein, who'd formulated
the theory of relativity and who frequently forgot "to put his socks
on." Einstein, of course, is a reference to
Albert Einstein, the renowned German theoretical physicist who
refused, during a visit to America in the 1930s, to return to
Germany after Hitler came into power, and became an American
citizen. He did formulate the general theory of relativity.
According to lore, however, he did not so much forget to wear socks
as he consciously chose not to wear them, finding them redundant if
one's feet were already going to be encased in shoes and, besides,
ones toes always wound up wearing uncomfortable holes in the socks
In an attempt to find a way to counter Dr. Smith's newfound psychic
abilities, Maureen studies up on such phenomenon in humans from the
ship's library, with her only reliable findings being Rhineian
studies of the past century-and-a-half. This
is a reference to the real world Dr. Joseph Rhine (1895-1980), a
botanist who developed an interest in parapsychology and began
scientific studies of it at
and founded the
Journal of Parapsychology and the Foundation for Research
on the Nature of Man (now known as the
Several times in the book, Penny thinks of herself as the Space
Captive. She was first depicted referring to herself thusly in
Space, having been brought along with her family on their
mission to find a new Earth against her own wishes.
Pages 163-166 reveal that Penny kind of likes Dr. Smith, despite his
treacherous ways, and wouldn't mind so much if he took command of
the ship, believing he'd be more proactive in getting the ship back
to Earth without the sightseeing and hand-wringing her father tends
to engage in.
On page 191, Dr. Smith recalls watching a "prehistoric"
entertainment vid called something like the Elvis Sullivan Show.
He is obviously thinking of the 1948-1971
Ed Sullivan Show and probably confusing the name
with several controversial appearances by Elvis Presley on it.
Page 205 mentions that Maureen is a xenobiologist, but she wishes, in
the current circumstances, that she were a xenopsychologist and
xenohistorian. The prefix "xeno" means "alien".
On page 210, Will hopes the Robot won't break into a rendition of
the song "Whistle While You Work". This is a song written by Larry
Morey and Frank Churchill for the 1937 animated Disney movie
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
On page 211, the Robot insists on entering the Vault before Will,
stating, "You know the rules about harm and inaction." The Robot is
referring to the first of Isaac Asimov's original Three Laws of
Robotics in his Robot stories. The First Law states, "A robot may
not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being
to come to harm."
Page 217 reveals that Dr. Smith had hidden a number of virus-like
programs in the ship's computer over the months of their journey
through space, in hopes of triggering them to his benefit at some
point in the future. Will has found them all during the events of
the novel, however, and eliminated them.
Upon seeing Don on page 231, the Robot says, "Mazel tov, kemosabe!"
"Mazel tov" is a Yiddish phrase for expressing congratulations. "Kemosabe"
is the word used by the Lone Ranger's American Indian friend, Tonto,
as a term of friendship and respect for the Ranger.
On page 232, the Robot uses the phrase "come a cropper". This is a
British phrase which essentially means "to fail badly".
Page 238 reveals that there is a set of rarely-used stairs leading
to the bridge from the lower deck of the
On page 251, Judy remarks that her sister Penny is fond of saying
"do the math". Penny used this phrase in
On page 259, the Robot says, "What the Vault gives, the Vault can
take away. Praise be the Vault." This is a paraphrasing of
phrases sometimes used by those of Christian faith in describing the
actions of God.
Page 270 uses the phrase "Hitlerian dictatorship". This is obviously
a reference to Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of
Germany 1934-1945, who established a fascist government there.
On pages 272-273, the Robot uses a number of plays on phrases from
popular culture of our own time.
"Coincidence is the
hobgoblin of logical
minds..." This is a
play on a line
written by Ralph
Waldo Emerson in his
is the hobgoblin of
- "Logical minds
want to know." This
is a play on the
catchphrase used by
Enquirer in the
minds want to know."
- "Which came
first, the invading
chicken or the
This is derived from
dilemma "which came
first, the chicken
or the egg?" (The
term used by the
Robot is referencing
the planet Rellka's
broken hypergate and
comparing it to a
On page 289, the Robot refers to Will as "sahib".
"Sahib" is an Arabic word, essentially meaning
"friend" in modern parlance, which has passed into numerous other
On page 293, Will threatens to stop his father's heart with his new
psychic abilities if the Robot doesn't put him down. The Robot
responds, "How sharper than a serpent's tooth--" before Will cuts
him off. The Robot is quoting a line in Shakespeare's 1605 play
King Lear. The full line is "How sharper than a serpent's tooth
it is, to have a thankless child!"
Page 304 reveals that Dr. Smith, though now deprogrammed of his
psychic abilities, did retain the unfortunate (from his point of
view) beginnings of empathy for the Robinsons, from his recent
telepathic contacts with their minds.
At the end of the novel, the Robot still has his three legs instead
of the former treads, so future stories in the series would
presumably depict him thus, if they mentioned his legs at all.
By the end of the novel, it could be argued that the story presented
is based on that of the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, which
itself is a science-fictional take on
Shakespeare's play The Tempest. In Forbidden Planet,
the crew of an Earth ship learn of the self-extinction of a
technologically advanced species called the Krell through the
beings' own submerged inner evils brought to the fore psychically.
Here, the Rellkans (notice the similarity to the name of the Krell)
were nearly destroyed in a similar manner.
Where is Blarp? The creature is not mentioned or seen in the entire
novel. Presumably, she is still in a hibernation tube, as previously
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