(I Also Write Children's Books!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

One Final Taste!

I bring you your final teaser for the fourth book!  I may have to take these down soon.  I'm not sure how happy my publisher will be, and they're setting up some kind of... contest, or special membership program, or something.  Access to chapters as they're written was discussed as an option.

EDIT - Wow, I goofed!  I can't believe I was THREE chapters behind showing you guys stuff!

Chapter Four

Chapters Five and Six

Also, minor good news.  The audiobooks have sold so well, the fourth book has already been contracted.  That's actually unusual in a small press.  It means the audiobook company thinks I'm a safe bet.

I'll try to write the rest as fast as I can!  It really helps to know you folks are interested.


  1. Actually contains chapters 5 and 6. Not that I'm complaining, except for missing all the details in chapter 4...


    1. What? I thought I gave you 4 already! I'm checking. If not, I'll fix it.

  2. Awesome! Though now I am even more depressed that we have to wait for it to finish. Three great chapters!

  3. Lots of good stuff in here.
    Shame about Juno, but what happened to her is more than a bit ominous considering the similarities between her, She-Who-Wots, Barbra and Penny. We now know for sure from Cybermancer that Penny has a Jekyll and Hyde like condition. When we combine this knowlege with Morning Dove's warning it gives me the heebie jeebies for the future. The fact that Penny isn't putting all these facts together or isn't worried about it is even worse.
    It is cool to see Remmy again, but it is gonna cause a ton of problems in the near future. Part of the reason the Inscrutable Machine's visit to Jupiter was so chaotic is that they were in unfamiliar territory and were acting like they were still on Earth. They were not considering that the situation on Jupiter was so serious when compared to the relatively safe environment they have been in up until that point, and they paid for it. Now the boot is on the other foot. Remmy has now showed up on Earth but is going to be using Jupiter rules. She has no concern for 'Getting Personal' and is used to solving her problems head on and with force. It is what she has learned from her brother and it has worked for her so far. On Earth though she is going to set off bomb when she tries to take down Penny. I wouldn't be surprised if someone tries to kill Remmy for getting personal but Penny has to save her, with Penny getting unmasked in the process. I do wonder as to why Remmy has showed up now though? It probably had something to do with travel time and not having the Orb of Heaven to transport her. Regardless this makes me even more excited for the next book.
    One wish though, I hope it doesn't end with Penny's parents learning the truth and then cut to black until the next book. I've been anticipating that conversation between Penny and her parents ever since book one. Her familial relationship is one of the most interesting aspects of her character and seeing how it will change (or how it doesn't change) after this revelation will be exciting. Also the Akks are some of the more interesting characters in the setting. The community sees them as these almost titan like figures, while Penny mainly only sees them as her parent (she is beginning to see what the rest of the community does through) and it is an interesting contrast. Seeing their reaction to the knowledge that their little girl is a supervillain will be priceless.

    1. Actually, Cybermancer stated that the Jeckle/Hyde Pesonality Flaw was common among those who black out – but that Penny did not have it.
      “Jekyll and Hyde is common in mad scientists. Multiple personalities come with blackouts, but even arguing with yourself, you sounded manic, not like you had a different identity,” he mused.

      As for Remmy, I have a few speculations, but I am just going to have to wait and see, like all of us.

    2. Trevor I think your going to be spot on about Remmy. She's gonna be stepping on tons of toes. I actually think based on her re-appearance she is gonna be labeled a Super villain. Which could work in Penny's favor, could be her ticket to becoming a Hero.

      I'm more interested in the Why she came looking for Penny. I could understand her going after Penny if they ran into each other, but hunting her down is a bit extreme. I guess I was wrong about how angry she was.

      I would also guess she went to Ceres and came through Spiders portals. I think the note hints at this.

    3. Well... I'm thinking she needs help with something. I mean, she dropped Penny when she realized she was about to mess up. And, yeah, she is for sure a VILLAIN! And friggin nuts! But she stopped from really hurting Penny. So she is nuts and doesn't know to really really deal with Penny. She's too mad. But the whole moon blew up so Remi didn't have anything to work with. She's teh Kludge, right? She can't make, she mashes together things that others make, right? I bet she did like Penny said and mashed together a couple of ships and made a mega-fast beast ship, and flew to earth. I am still confused about her tracker-thing so maybe it sent her to one of Pennys' friends? Or maybe someone saw her come down and blow some stuff up and sent here where all the villains hang out. Cause she sure acts like a villain.
      It's gonna be a long hard wait for the book to find out!

    4. Oh yea. I wonder why Remi left space? I mean she was supposed to be the protector of the colonies right? She had to have a good reason to do that. Her big brother is alive and doing well. Can't say what her super brother is doing. But a tough sob like him is probably fine too. So what in the world is she doing coming to this world? Earth. She didn't know about Juno so she wasn't chasing her. Her tracker didn't point to her. It's got to be something else.
      Huh, I wonder if she figures that the heroes or cops of the world will help her if she turns in a so called massive villain like B.P. has got to be? Ha, big surprise in store for her! But Trevor is right about her being clueless. She is so messed up that she is going to be stepping on toes left and right. Even if she is behaving that suit of hers is going to freak people out all over the place! And she was raised by outlaws. She rules by force even and made herself the protector of space so she is kinda making herself Judge Jury and Executioner all in one. 9 times out of 10 kids are more ruthless than anything an adult could come up with.

    5. Nah she had to come through the Ceres gate. Rotor ships can't fly in Earth Atmo without dire consequences, and the Jet ships didn't have the power, also would guess have some sort of bad affect on earth atmo.

      Not to mention "Someone highly unexpected came looking for you. Letting her PASS unimpeded and sending you this note seemed like the limit of how deeply I should get involved. Be on the lookout"

      The phrasing of using Pass would imply she came through the gates. Not to mention that if she flew a spaceship to earth, a whole mess load of people would have detected it.

      I think the Tracker actually leads to Penny. But it unreliable. The cursed pennies are link to Penny, so it stands to reason there would be a tether back to her. But the pennies do run out of juice, and also could potentially link back to each other. Or even the mayonnaise jar the Outsider is trapped in.

      I could see her coming to Earth for help. Another invasion force showing up. Or they destroyed all the Automatons and the colonies are falling apart, she did say none of the humans knew how to make Charged Atheric fluid.

    6. Hmmm, yeah that 'pass' through comment seems right. But, she'd have to figure out that there is a gate cause I don't think the kids told her. Didn't they just show up in a space ship and meed and then go to the space base?
      So Remi would have to
      - find out about Ceres
      - fly to it
      - get the Orb to let her pass through
      - hit the moon base
      - and 'pass' through Spider's own lair.
      That's a lot of jumps for Remi. How in blazes did she manage that? If she build a beast of a ship with all kinds of power and engines she could fly to Earth. And yeah a some people might notice but if she comes down fast enough what could they do to stop her? Heck there might be an alert and a task force looking for her right now!

    7. But I don't think she is stable enough or smart enough to run the colonies. She probably mucked it all up and now need help. Or messed something up that she can't fix with a kludge. She has the extra strength and her power. But she is just not as smart as Penny. Or Ray. She for sure doesn't have the people skills that Claire has.

    8. But I was thinking about her stepping on toes. You know we didn't see a lot of powered folks in the colonies. It looks like they have a lot of mad science tech but the kids in school didn't seem to recognize what Penny was doing. They just didn't believe her. Cybermancer understood what she was on about right away. I think they have lots and lots of low level mad scientists. Like a ton of talents. But they don't look like they have the full blown knock your socks off mad science that Earth has.
      Hey, I bet that means that Remi really has no clue about how MANY supers can drop on her head if she makes a lot of noise! I mean Penny could call in the club and a few friends and have a dozen supers ready to knock some sense into Remi! It think that Ray said something about there being 200 hundred active supers around L.A. right? 200 in just one city! That's a lot of fire power ready to go off on Remi if she tries to stomp her way through town!

    9. I want to confirm one thing, since I tried to make it clear in book two. Darkall is right, a double-digits percentage of the population of the Jupiter colonies has one specific low-level mad scientist power. That power gives them an instinctive understanding of the insanely complex gearwork required to maintain automatons and other inventions of the settlers. They have very, very few other super powers, and new inventions are rare. Remmy's strong but peculiar mad science power of knowing how to combine unrelated existing tech does not fit the patterns they test for, and in general she was treated as an inferior and unreliable power.

    10. When they first meet Penny mentions that they heard a radio signal. Remmy gloats about it reaching earth, but Penny corrects her saying that they heard it from Ceres. So is would stand to reason that would be the first place Remmy would look for them.

      Also I think Spider wouldn't of had a problem letting Remmy come through, if for no other reason then to build "good will". But we forget that Spider knows their are Humans on Jupiter and I can't see her passing up the opportunity to at least try to communicate with them.

      I'm sure she would mess everything up if she was the one trying to run everything. Look at all the failed child rulers in earths history. But I think she'd try to rule, but I see her interfering.

    11. Thanks Frankensteinbeck! That clears one thing up for sure!
      So, Remi is going to get a big surprise if she thinks she can bulldoze her way around L.A.! Someone in the superhuman community is so going to spank her! I hope.
      One thing. I went looking but couldn't find it. didn't they tell Remi that they received her signal? But did they tell her that it was on Ceres? And did she know were to find it?
      And how in the world did she get the Eye to let her to Earth? I mean I can see she could've asked permission but she is not good at it. I don't think the Kludge asks permission of anybody. So the first person Remy ticks off on Earth should have be Spider.
      I don't know. I don't see it. I'll stick with my idea of her building some mega-ship and sailing it to Earth. Plus I really want to see that ship!

    12. Mr. Olson, I recall a posting by Mr. Richards that Penny's Parents would find out that she was actually Bad Penny prior to the end of the next book.

      Based on that, I believe that it is safe to assume that there will not be a cliffhanger where they discover the truth, and then the book finishes.

      But, if it were to fall out that way, I have faith that Mr. Roberts could write it in a way that would still be very satisfying.

    13. For reference, I don't think I've heard anyone here ever guess correctly how book four will resolve. Only one person I know ever has, a fellow writer I greatly respect, and even then I was surprised.

    14. Southard, in book two there was a comment by Penny to Chief Fawkes, "Let your sister combine a Rotor and Jet engine so you won't run out of power, and hit the asteroid belt... Remmy can get you more iron than you'll ever know what to do with."

      Such a ship would allow for interstellar travel on the Rotor Engine, and then she could use the Jet Engine to fly within Earth's Atmosphere without destroying either atmosphere or 'Earth Space.'

      Additionally, considering what else Remmy could have had to work with, it could be an impressive ship.

      I believe that Spider would take a strong interest in such a ship as well. Currently, she is the only asteroid miner of Earth. Such a ship would constitute competition, which she stated she was pleased to work without. It would be very sensible for her to arrange to allow Remmy to "pass" through her realm, to L. A., in exchange for the ship not being used by anyone else on Earth, and that Remmy would be leaving Earth afterwards. (The Counsel Enforcers were allowed by Spider to ambush T.I.M., and Spider apparently predicted that T.I.M. would not lose. Of course she would expect Penny to defeat Remmy. Allowing Remmy to try, while benefiting from the arrangement, would be very much in keeping with her character.)

      I can also easily see any potentil task force pursuing the 'extra-terrestrial' visitor being stymied by Spiders Efforts, in order to give Remmy time to "deal with Penny."

      In such a case Remmy would be on a ticking clock, and under pressure to quickly 'deal with Penny' or whatever problem might have actually brought her to Earth.

    15. Ah, hello again Mr. Roberts.

      I am not even going to try and predict how the book will end. Your twists and turns and surprises are too enjoyable.

      I will only go so far to as to only speculate on where things will not go.

    16. Hi Mr. Frankensteinbeck. Thanks for letting me know that my guess was right about supers in space!
      They sure did give Remi a lot of grief about her power and how she failed their big test! Now it makes sense.

    17. Last thing on this one for me. The other foot thing.
      It would be kinda cool if Remi got a lot of respect from the Earthers. Heck, it would be smart for Penny to set it up that way! Remi got all hot and bothered that everyone was so impressed with her Power that she blew her top and attacked Penny! If Penny could set it up so that everyone got all ooohing and ahhhing over Remi it might cool her jets and get her on an even keel. Then she could go home with a clear head and go back to being the protector and leave Penny alone.
      Makes sense to me.

    18. I have the reference. They were with Shimon Litvin, on Io Omega, when they revealed to Remmy that the signal had been received on Ceres.

      However, T.I.M. had been traveling quite a bit after Ceres, and encountered The Fawkes and Juno from a long distance view first.

      Remmy herself mentioned that she had sent the signal as a fallback prior to convincing her brother to travel farther than anyone had done before.

      It seems that Ceres would be even more farther out than they had ever traveled.

      Ceres is 2.77 Astronomical Units (AU) or approximately 257,487,586 miles from the sun. Jupiter is 5.2 astronomical units, or 483,370,197 from the Sun. Io is 262,000 miles from Jupiter, roughly.

      So, assuming that they are in an alignment, at at relative perihelion, that is very, very, roughly something like 225,620,611 miles from Io Omega.

      So, it stands to reason that Remmy would have had to "kludge" together an improved version of existing ships in order to reach Ceres at all.

      I was impressed that she has a new power armor with an elegant core, which I hope to find out about in the next book. I do hope that we get to see that ship, and what she had done to make it so spaceworthy.

    19. It occurred to me a couple books ago that Penny should build a robot Bad Penny to do battle with. It fills me with hopeful glee that things might be heading that direction.

      Incidentally, does Nemesis happen after the birthday party? Because Remmy's Penny-finder might have lead her to Gerty Goat's family Farm.

    20. I assume so, as it is in the Summer Break after they passed out of Northeast West Hollywood Middle School. As Penny stated in the first teaser, "Middle schoolers like Rocky and I... were a few weeks ago. Penelope Akk, sophisticated high school student. That's me!"

      However, it is a good thought. If it is following the residual traces of the pennies that she has used, or left behind, that could lead Remmy to Claire’s home (from Ms. Lutra touching the statue), their old base, the new base, to her console, to the statue itself, and back out to space again.

      If it tracks everyone that Penny has contacted, or battled with the pennies, that would include Marvelous, Generic Girl, Chimera, Lucyfar, and Ampexia.

      Ah, a clash between Sound and Fury, Ampaxia and the Kludge. That would be an interesting battle.

    21. However, I fear that if you are right, Gerty Goat may be a casualty of Remmy's Quest for Vengeance, which would break the hearts of Wes Lee, and Penny.

    22. I think Remmy's Penny finder is simply inherently flawed. Going by the text The Cursed Pennies store energy and once used they drain quickly. Also they are a magical in nature, in theory.
      It could be that Remmy's power is limited to science and her detector is tracking trace energy readings. Also jury rigged things tend to lack reliability.

      So my guess is that it's not detecting other pennies, it's just flawed.

    23. Potentially, yes. Merely being flawed, and only tracking her properly on occasion, would be simple plot device.

      However, in the hands of a skilled author, something such as that would have much... potential. If it were operating on a logic of its’ own, it could lead her to… interesting encounters.

      Imagine something such as if it were tracking magic, and it lead her to “Little Grandmother’s” Store. Remmy is a techno-villain, Little Grandmother hates technology… misadventures ensue.

      This is just speculation on my part, but I imagine that there is a reason for it to behave as it does, and that it will be interesting to read.

    24. Frankly after thinking about it a bit I think that Remi is ultimately heading for a big world of hurt and/or just having the ever living crap scared out of her. She may be from another world but 'getting personal' is absolutely taboo in LA if not on Earth in general which is even more deeply explained if you've ready the prequel "I did not give that spider superhuman intelligence!" As soon as she has a good solid run in with Mourning Dove or Psycho Pop(guessing on spelling of the latter since I just listened to the audio book) she is going to have a HUGE wake up call and I suspect that those speculating Penny will end up saving her from one or both of them are likely looking in the right direction.

    25. Lately I've been thinking about what happens when she see Penny being herself and not Bad Penny.

      By all appearances Remmy believes Bad Penny is evil, that she caused all the problems she did on purpose and not out of ignorance. Not to mention Earth knows nothing about puppeteers.

      What is she going to think when she see's Penny, with her parents, at school, with the club, doing her community service. When what she sees comes up against what she believes and doesn't mesh.

    26. Well, there are two pieces of evidence that do not match.
      She found Penny in a hospital and immediately accused Penny of ‘hiding’ in a place where she knew she (Remmy) would not fight her.
      Then, after Penny asked about Calvin, she dropped Penny, and she carefully tip-toed out around a patient, and exited through a window – without Penny.


      Looking at the first piece of evidence as a guideline, she would become extremely upset to see Penny in a happy domestic setting – with her parents, or at home. I would expect to see her rail against anyone who states that Penny has any right to such happiness or castigate them for indulging her, when she is obviously a vile villain, and then attacking.

      Looking at the second… well I cannot actually say what she would do following the behavior of the second, as I do not know why she would refrain from her intended plan of action – publicly bringing Penny’s crimes to public knowledge.

      Something else is going on, and I cannot see what it might be.

    27. Remmy didn't recognize it as a hospital. I imagine she wouldn't have attacked if she had. I believe this is the same reason she retreated so rapidly. She believes she is the Hero, and Penny is evil. Probably evil enough to use the patients as a shield.

      It seems likely that Remmy will either spill Penny's secret to her parents or force Penny to do it so Remmy doesn't.

      It also seems likely that there is a bigger reason for Remmy coming to earth then hunting down Penny. A new invasion seems possible so that could be it.

      Another, larger, invasion from the Conquerors would make for a very interesting finally. And give Penny the opportunity to finally prove herself a Hero.

    28. Yes, I agree that she might not have attacked if she had recognized the hospital.

      However, the fact that she jumped immediately into assuming that Penny had chosen the location for their battle intentionally, and did not take even a second to consider any other possibility, to me indicates a mind that is not sensible – not thinking properly.

      However, I do not understand the reasoning in her decision to drop Penny, and then leave. That action seems out of character for her.

    29. Fighting in the hospital could result in collateral damage. If Penny were as evil as I assume Remmy believes her to be, she wouldn't hesitate to use the patients and staff as shields, weapons, and distractions. Remmy is in a rather large suit of power armor. I would also guess Remmy relies most on brute force, where Penny is a subtle strategy. Being in hospital puts Remmy at a big disadvantage, as Remmy doesn't want to see anyone get hurt.

      Remmy came millions(???) of miles to defeat Bad Penny. Of course she's not being sensible, but that doesn't mean she's going to be stupid or callous. Remmy is smart she would see the dangers of fighting there.

      I can only guess she dropped Penny simple so Penny wouldn't ended up doing something that would hurt the bystanders. Alternatively, could be that the Tracker malfunction was a symptom of another issue with her suit, like a low battery. So she left before it died.

    30. Several interesting options there, Southard.

      However, from the way I read the situation, Penny had surrendered, and Remmy had her, and was carrying her by her bunched up clothes. Her stated plan was to drag her out, and expose her ‘crimes’ to the world. She literally had Penny in the palm of her hand, and dropped her. She traveled millions and millions of miles, and dropped her. I do not understand why she would do that, at all at that point.

      I cannot assume that she will have a good reason, as Remmy is insane. I am simply going to have to wait and see.

  4. Penny, Penny, Penny; yet another great invention that lasted all of 5 mins. Hopefully her father can repair it. Keep it up Richard!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Well.... she still has the blueprints, and can redo that one anyway. So it's not gone per se, just that one unit. Man, if her new staff got crunched, then it woudl be gone gone. I really wanted to see more of the clock. And the mini-mecha-robot was so cute. You're right Ghost, her stuff has a real short life. I about had a fit when she lost track of the Machine.
      Hope Vera's ok.

    3. plus it was great for a short fun Rampage. But she did say it didn't seem impressive and she wasn't sure she wanted to show her father it.

      And of course her stuff breaks, or gets lost, or re-purposed. It's her consent need for new or better gear that leads to her invention sprees, which in turn eventually leads to what ever trouble they get into.

    4. I agree that the robot was not very impressive, and not her best work.

      The concept of programming The Machine to construct things for her is, however, very interesting. Assuming that she can construct more, were she to access her father's workbook, she could finally have found a way around her one device per inspiration limit. I had personally long been thinking that she needed a schematic making machine for herself – one where she could envision a device, and record it, in order to make more than one single device per inspiration.

      I have been worried that, as she cannot repair her own creations, were Vera, The Machine, or the other interesting devices (namely Claire’s Insoles, or the Teleport Bracelets) to be damaged, they would be gone for good. Currently, that is still a concern. The ‘sponges’ appear to be able to make large scale, but only ‘crude,’ devices.

      She did not previously show any "power" in the analytic direction in any of the other books, so to see it suddenly develop up was quite a surprise. I did not actually expect her power to grow at all. I was instead expecting her science knowledge to grow into the capacity to explain what was going on before her, and that her being able to make any category of device was her power. Previously, Penny had commented that the children with strong powers were having trouble using them. I had assumed that hers coming in so early and so strong, with only partial control, was much the same thing.

      However, for her to be developing more powers, that is quite a development. I recall that one member of the middle school club had the capacity to grow claws on his hands and armored plates on his arms, only. Penny had predicted that he would be truly powerful when his power fully arrive, and the rest of the plates came in. It appears that Penny herself has a few ‘plates’ that may still come in before her power is finished growing.

    5. Ah, random thought. As she can create multiples of the robot now, T.I.M. could ride into their next fight with each of them in their own battle robot.

  5. Ahh, this was so good. Thank you Mr. Roberts.

    I only have one question. Where did Penny acquire the tank she used to spelunk. I did not see it mentioned in the description of her new outfit, and do not remember her using it in any other scene.

  6. Oh, I found a few possible typos;

    I think you meant to say - "sprang" here.
    "The car span backwards out of what wasn't a parking spot anyway, and screeched across the lot and onto the street in a streak of black fire produced by Lucyfar's powers."

    And, did you mean, at Cybermancers lab - eyeing everything covetously?
    "“It's impressive,” I admitted, eyeing the everything covetously."

    I think this should have been - This was not part of our base.
    "This were not part of our base. Regular, ugly house bricks, with a couple of embedded cement blocks, filled the arch."

    Finally, it looks like it should have been - take any power that I could give them.
    "Yes, I sought the Devil's power, channeling it into my creations to make them stronger. They would take any power that I could given them. It did not matter."

    On two it could be the way that the characters speak. I could not tell.

    1. Or, "These were not part of our base."

    2. "eyeing the everything covetously" sounds like something Penny would say on purpose. Like, she's eyeing, very specifically, everything. I liked it, even if that's not what was intended.

    3. Yes, on my last line I mentioned that two, Penny's quote and the one from Mammon, could have been intentional, as part of their speech pattern.
      I like it as well, but the other two seem to be mistakes.

  7. Darn right we're interested! I only found this series a couple of weeks ago and I'm already chomping at the bit for the next one to come out!

    1. Ha, Man! I got the book back in 2014.
      At least you got to binge read them! I've been chomping at the bit for each one!

    2. I accidentally started with book 2 a few months after it came out, not realizing it was book 2. I tried to stay away from on going series, but failed.

  8. Oy, what to say. I really like this series, and this 'taste, ' just makes me want the book! Not pushing you to write faster, but I wish we could get it already!
    But, I was wondering about something. Penny has go to do something about that tracker! I wonder if leaving her little cursed pennies around town would keep Remi off her back? I mean, the one she had pointed to Penny and then went way off track. So, is it like tracking something else? Penny is sort of the mother-load, so what made it lose track of her?
    I am guessing that it was pointing back to her statue, or a pile of pennies she has, or whoa, the big tentacle'd thing that was guarding it in the first place. Ha! Let Remi face off with that thing!
    Or, Penny needs a Remi-tracker! If she had that she could sick her minions on Remi, and keep her busy. Or, oh man, call in the b-team, and send the other kids in the club after her. If they can get the tracker away, Remi is hosed! Trying to find Penny in the L.A. Area, forget about it! She would have to do something big, like cause a ruckus to lure her out -and that could go all sorts of bad. If Generic Girl shows up instead, she would take Remi apart!
    Man, I am so ready for the book!

    1. My guess is Penny will discover something about the Eldritch statue that'll throw it off. Remember, that's where the cursed pennies come from, and it was lampshaded with the fake southern priest in the last sample chapter. It's also a long term plot point, way back from the first book, so it's about due to be resolved.

    2. Actually, I am not sure that the statue will be the focus, or the plots involving it resolved completely in this book. Mr. Roberts mentioned that in his plans for the series, book four would involve the Nemesis, and book five would involve “The Artifact.”

      The longest standing plot point featuring an artifact would be any involving the cursed statue.

      Seeing Mammon again, as a preacher, is interesting. I am not sure it is ‘lampshading’ so much as it is ‘foreshadowing.’

    3. I'm afraid you have that backwards, Luis. Book four is the artifact book, and merely has a nemesis name. Book five... I don't THINK I've told anyone even a hint of what it will be about, other than that it is the culmination of Penny's story, which the books have all been chapters building.

    4. Ah, thank you for clearing that up. I was having to go far back in the forums, and could not find the quote. I believe it was Ms. Shadowdancer who had posted one of your comments, but I could not in fact find the quote, and I am afraid that my memory failed me.

      Thank you for correcting me assumption.

    5. So, Origin Story, Heroes in Space, The Competition, The Artifact, and then The Finale?

      I wonder, is there any way at all that we can convince you to continue to write about the Inscrutable Machine?

      The character and stories are so engaging, I dread the idea of their stories truly ending.

  9. Ok, I was reading all the teasers again, and wow, some stuff just jumped out at me.
    Has it really only been 6 months since Juptier? Wow.
    Ok, ok - a couple of questions.
    1 - like Penny said "Bwa?" Claire is going off to camp? Oh man, so many things I want to know. Is it a normal camp, for hiking and camping and stuff or is it normal but high class like fashion modeling or burglary. Or is it a super kids camp from one of the brochures from the end of the year? I mean, Penny could've given them to her, or maybe her Mom was making plans, or something.
    2 - when Penny did her thing with the water cleaning out, how much did she clean? There was some stuff on the wall, 3.2 kWh/kgal from Malcontent, braggin on how much he did. So how well did Penny do? Did she break a record or what?
    3 - is it the Orb of Heavens, or the Eye of Heaven? I could swear I saw it as Eye, but can't remember where? But, after Jupiter they only called it the Orb. So, which is it?

  10. Why does it feel like Penny just made the Lament Configuration?

    1. That was were my thoughts went as well. Although I did not know the name of that type of box, I immediately though of Hellraiser and the puzzle box.

    2. Have there been any other uses in literature, or film, which used the Lament Configuration. I can only remember one instance, as a 'throw away' in the movie Cabin in the Woods.

      When determining the character's form of 'doom' in the basement, one of them picks up a puzzle box. It looked much like the Lament Configuration, but they did not use it in the story. It was just a reference piece.

  11. I have a speculation now, but do not know how much credince to give it.
    However, I noticed back in they day while reading book two that Remmy was 'touchy' in regards to many things. However, the one that most stirred my curiosity was that she was quite upset with the colonies when they mentioned the arranged marriages.
    ""Five will get you fifty Earth is like us. They don't do arranged marriage," Remmy piped up. Despite her high voice, she had her hands stuck in her pockets and a contemplative sullen-lipped pout. Something about this was personal."

    I wonder if something romantic or marriage related has gone awry, and she is either seeking assistance on Earth, or is distracting herself by chasing down her Nemesis - ie: Penny.

    If she is much like her brother getting revenge might be a way to deal with emotional discomfort. That would explain, I think, why she might abandon the colonies and her self appointed job of protecting them.

    1. I think I'd be a bit more inclined to think that Remmy really lost her mind possibly due to having been so close to Juno for so long along with her brother and that being why she's seeming to increasingly lose what little mind and emotional control she ever had and thus changed from what she declared in her message that The Inscrutable Machine and any other earth based heroes or villains were unwelcome on Jupiter and having come to Earth to pursue Bad Penny and possibly the rest of T.I.M.

    2. Remmy has had a bad time during her youth, and came out of it more than a little broken. At least, that is what I have gathered from the stories, the posting concerning the history and invasion timelines that Mr. Roberts posted.

      I would agree, that she is very badly unstable, and not thinking clearly at all.

      Juno may be been factor, and now that Remmy has found Juno, or her ‘body’ in the hospital, who knows what she will do.

  12. So, Mourning Dove's silver ring. It flares white on one side, black on the other.
    When it triggered it seems to have amped-up Penny's power, and Claire's physical ability seemed reduced when she lifted the three of them.
    This could be a school of rosy-hued herring, but I'm tempted to draw conclusions.

    1. Perhaps, but Claire is after all only moderately stronger than normal. Having the weight of both Penny and Ray on her, it is reasonable to expect that to be a strain.

      But, from the way I read it, the ring is gone, likely consumed by Penny in the making of her new devices.

      However, if you are correct, one possibility is that Penny consumed it in the inventive process due to her 'mega-brain' perceiving that it was harmful.

    2. I think it's a bit of a leap from Claire not wearing it to the ring having disappeared once it did its thing. Think of the timeline: Claire touches Penny's shoulder, flash, falls over, Penny goes crazy-mad scientist. Rey, at the very least, would have removed the ring since it just made his friend unconscious and his girlfriend manic.

    3. You got that Brian. So I hope Richard let's us know what happened.
      But it would be real real smart to get rid of it. Mourning Dove is going to be super pissed if she sees it. So let's hope she used it when she made her new stuff. And it would serve Claire right anyway.

    4. But Claire and Ray both needs new gear anyway.
      I'm holding onto a dream of a cosplay costume for Claire and headgear for Ray! He's got the problem of having a different accent. So if she made him a really cool mask or some voice changer that would be cool! If anyone saw the original V TV Series they had some really cool ones that made them talk all deep and gravel-y. Ray would totally rock that sound! And if he could change it he could have all sorts of fun with it! Here's hoping right?

    5. Alright I go it! The Starcraft Outfit!
      I have seen a lot of cosplay pictures of that at the conventions. Make it sparkly, or pink, and it would be perfect for Claire!

    6. I think Ray needs some non Reviled gear. Something for him becoming a Tomb Raider.

      Clair needs something that isn't going to interfere with her acrobatics.

    7. Southard, you believe that Ray will give up the Reviled Identity? I had not thought he would, considering that it is a shared origin with the other members of T.I.M.

      But, you have something there.
      If he goes of on adventures, he would not really have a need for the secrecy, or to hide his voice and accent.

      However, we have two books remaining in the series, apparently, and considering how quickly some of Penny's Inventions are lost, something to keep his identity secret until he goes off would help retain Penny's Identity.

    8. Well Ray won't need to be Reviled when he goes Tomb Raiding, he just needs to be Ray Viles. It would probably be beneficial to Ray to have the separate identities. Since he's not planing on being a hero or villain it would stand to reason he'd do it as him self. Keeping the Reviled identity in reserved for and mischief he may want to get into later in life.

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    10. Ah, very good, very clever.
      However, I think that does make a case for my idea that Ray needs a voice modulator, or accent modulator, to allow him to speak while acting as Reviled. Having a different speaking voice will help keep the identities separate.

  13. I really wish someone would draw concept art for lucyfar and the other villans

    1. I vote that she looks like Silver Sable.

    2. But Lucyfar is a hipster, plus I'm guessing she's around 18-19. and her powers don't fit in with sable's look.

    3. I would not call Lucyfar a hipster. hipsters are posers, Lucy is anything but a poser.

    4. Sorry, I was thinking Claire. She has that wild pale hair.

    5. Alec, why Lucifar?

      Her outfit would either be merely a t-shirt and jeans, or body covering blackness. Poly or even Barbara would be interesting, the former due to her unusual form, or Barbara for her unique gothical outfits.

      So, why Lucyfar?

    6. I'd guess some want to see Lucyfar because of her sometimes being described as being covered in skin tight blackness that's as much if not more so revealing than a bathing suit.

    7. However, the description on the first book stated that the 'dress' was of "black fire and wings and oozing gown."

      Being covered in the equivalent of supernatural tar is somewhat less 'enticing.'

    8. I don't want to see lucyfar drawn in something revealing that would be weird I just think she is super badass

    9. One thing that I have just realized, we do not have a good description of any of the faces of characters in the books. Faces can be narrow, or rounded, long or short. Cheeks can be rounded, low, high, angular, or sharp. Eyes can be deep set, or flat, with thin or strong brows. I could gather no information of any of the characters facial descriptions.

      Lucyfar is described as having long, straight, black hair, and as slender. Ray is described as slender and having blonde hair, and blue eyes, and as wearing glasses (originally – I do not think he needs them after having taken the serum). Claire has been described the most – “Blonde, wavy hair, a curvy figure already, delicate, blonde doll face, all lips and eyes – pretty much the opposite of my shapeless tick topped with brown, braided pigtails.” The description of Claire was amended to be pale blonde, “as in how do you get that color without bleach?” pale, or white even. Penny frequently describes others by their hair color and style, and by their general physical build, so she describes herself as skinny, with little or no figure, and as having agouti brown hair. Even Cassie is described as being “a bit too rough to be pretty,” if I remember correctly. Claudia’s face is mentioned, but only as being angular. Charlotte (Beaddown) is described as, “thin with some of the blackest skin I’d ever seen… This girl was straight lines and sharp angles.”

      But, there is no description of their faces. Even Claire’s description, of having “doll face,” what does that actually mean? Babies can be very “cute,” with vague features that will grow more defined as they grow into them, or with ‘tiny’ features that will remain ‘petite’ no matter what age they achieve.

      I do not know if that is intentional by Mr. Roberts, to allow us to fill in the blank spaces with our own imaginings.

      However, when I began thinking of how to start creating some image of Lucy, I did not know where to start.

      I attempted a search of the internet, of girls with long dark hair. One show that was mentioned was Charmed, starring Holly Marie Combs, and Rose McGowan. But of these actors have had (at one point) long dark hair. However, they have very different features, particularly in the jaw-lines, hair-lines and noses.

      And, as I do not know if Lucy is actually intended to be ‘pretty,’ that did not sit well with me.

      So, the first question for an image of Lucy should be, are we to assume that she is in fact ‘pretty,’ and also how does one define that?

    10. First Lucy claims to be Lucifer. Lucifer is a a Angel. Angels are generally considered to be beautiful.

      Second, it is a common literary tool to only give vague descriptions of characters appearances. It is meant to help the reader identify with the characters. It is found most often in books meant for younger audiences, historically they have more difficulty becoming invested with characters they don't identify with.

      Of course I have no clue if this is the reason for it in these books. I know I avoid detailed descriptions of appearances because I'm just bad at them.

    11. I am not sure that being an ‘Angel’ has any mandate that they be ‘pretty.’ Considering that some were angels of vengeance, and destroyers of cities I am not sure that particular role requires pretty-ness (and Lucy would definitely wish to take on). If you do a search for Renaissance Paintings of Angels, the pictures you will find would not be what I would call ‘pretty.’ Striking, and memorable, but perhaps not pretty – at least not by modern ‘Hollywood’ Standards.

      I believe that making angels ‘pretty’ is a product of ‘modern’ media.

      However, even assuming she is in fact pretty, what definition of pretty? As I stated before, look at Holly Marie Combs, and Rose McGowan – long, dark haired, but pretty in different ways, with different sorts of faces.

      And, consider cultural differences. Lucy speaks Armenian, so could assume she is of Armenian Descent? That would be a different sort of look, but would match up with the description of having long, dark hair. If anyone cares to see what I mean, try an internet search using different key words, especially blonde and Armenian, and you will see quite a few difference in 'pretty' faces.

      And, as I stated, “I do not know if that is intentional by Mr. Roberts, to allow us to fill in the blank spaces with our own imaginings.” It might have been a “literary tool” as you stated.

      I have no problem with that at all – such writing tactics may have contributed to making the books as appealing as they definitely are.

      However, if you want to create art depicting the character, some more detailed descriptions would help.

    12. When anything is not described in one of my books, there are two reasons.

      First, the lesser reason - many times something is not described because the character doesn't care. That's actually more observed in the reverse. When I make a description, I usually go for what the character notices. Penny sees general colors and body shapes, then mostly focuses on fantastic elements. She focuses on finding the fantastic, period. You'll only get face shape details if she sees something that seems unusual and dramatic to her, like Beaddown's particularly sharp features.

      That rule reason only because of the overarching second reason: I only have so much narrative room. I could absolutely freaking drown my text in descriptions. It is a constant danger. Any time spent describing something is time when people aren't talking and action isn't happening. The fact of writing life is that I have to preemptively cut 90% of descriptive information about anyone and anything, so I pick what gives the best impression - or expresses the PoV character's interests - and move on. Face shape is usually low on that list.

    13. Ah, now that you point it out, I understand. I have seen too many books that will drown you in verbiage.

      I do not want you to think that I am complaining, as I am not.

      I may not expressed it properly, but what I was attempting to point out is that it is difficulty to draw the characters.

      I think I will take a lesson, and try to condense my writing.

  14. I reread all of the books, I'm ready for the fourth!!!! XD

  15. Replies
    1. Agghh! You and me too! The wait is killing me! And I don't have like anything else good to read! Aaagggh!

  16. Hey! Wasn't there something on a post about a movie?
    Is that still going to be a thing?

    1. The last I heard was that Hollywood likes serieses, and they want this series to be finished before they decide if they want it.

    2. The reason Hollywood likes series is do they have more they can screw up and such.

    3. Possibly.

      However, if you look at what has been done with Game of Thrones, and the fact that the TV Series outstripped the books, it makes sense that they would want a series to be completed before beginning on a film project. As I understand what happened, George Martin had to rush his books, and reveal what he intended to do, before he had completely formed the stories.

    4. Then again, I was just reading that there had been an adaptation of Wee Free Men (Pratchett) in process, and he (Terry) pulled back the script option after "Hollywood" made a horrible screen play.
      For he adaptation of Mort, featuring the character of Death, the execs stated the personification of Death "was a downer," and advised him to lose the Skeleton."
      The project was scrapped.

      So, Van, maybe you have something there.

    5. Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Preacher, even Lucifer, are all examples of what you can make if you stay true to the comics without needing to be exact.

      But for each of them you get, well too many crappy ones to name

    6. I think it is something like twenty to one, bad/mediocre to good.
      But, then again, I am not a twenty-something looking for a date-night movie, or anything like that, so I am not the target audience for the vast majority of movies.

    7. Yeah if you add movies it get real bad.
      Marvel is doing it right. Fox is not.
      Why would you take one of the more popular comic story arcs(Age of Apocalypse) And they completely ignore the source material.

    8. Additionally, they did the Killing Joke, an adaptation of a comic - to an animation. They did not change anything as far as I can determine.

      Why would one do that, without expanding, or bringing your own influence to such a story? I would say that the original is a masterpiece of storytelling. So, I do not see any point in simply doing a frame by frame 'copy' of the original to make it an animation.

    9. The only major addition to the Killing Joke was the very beginning. The original didn't have the relationship, in that series those two were never in a relationship.

      I have no problem with adaptation, expanding, and adding flavor. If the director had done anything to change the Killing Joke, he would have been hunted down and skinned alive. The Killing Joke has rabid fans, and as you said is a masterpiece.

      Gotham, doesn't follow the comics at all. The most they do is use some of the origin stories for the characters. I have no problem with this because it's not claiming to be anything other then it is.

      On the other hand we have the Shannara Chronicles from MTV. It's almost like they only read the jacket cover before making the series. The show wasn't terrible, but it wasn't the same story.

      Even going further back the Black Cauldron was a complete insult to the book it was "based" on.

    10. I was not expecting a 'change' so much as, as you said, an addition.
      There was a 'remake,' frame by frame, of the original - Psycho, with no addition on the part of the director. I never saw the point to that.

      Same is true of the Killing Joke. It was virtually a frame and art style copy. I expected some expansion, something the new director wanted to 'say' with their work. But, there was not.

      So, my expectations of any movie 'adaptations' are not high.

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    12. Thinking about it, if nothing else, working in a different medium – if it were live action instead of animation, you have different options, things you can do that as an artist (or director/producer) believe work better, or show things differently – even if it is the same story.

      In terms of the Inscrutable Machine, simply having a camera over Penny’s Shoulder, vs. ‘seeing through her eyes’ will show things differently. She is short, so her PoV would be lower than with a camera over her shoulder, so you would quite literally see things differently. A good director would use that, and In My Humble Opinion, the makers of the Killing Joke Move did not.

      As I said before, I regard the Killing Joke, the original, as exceptional. The movie ‘copy’ not so much. IMHO.

    13. Frame by frame remakes are pointless. A remake should always improve on and fix the mistakes of the original. But then certain movies should never be remade.
      The Magnificent Seven, the original it self a western remake of the Seven Samurai. The remake was rather good, kept enough of the original but still managed to make it a new movie.

      My friend is a comic guy, killing joke is one of his favorite batman comics. He told me he thinks they changed too much for the movie.

      The point of taking a popular book/comic and turning it into a movie isn't to make it something else, it's to give it new life.
      Change for the sake of change is the problem.

      Whats Hollywood going to do to this.
      Well first you can't have 12 year olds in life and death situations, so lets make them 16 instead. Also because they want to use the current IT actors.
      Next you can't have an awkward looking girl as the lead, so now she's going to be a beautiful girl who they try and fail to make look awkward.
      Well Ray is going to be on the football team, but like a 3rd stringer. Until he gets super powers then he's going to be the starting quarter back.
      And of course you can't have any teen movie with out a love triangle. So either there will be some interest between Ray and Claire or it will be someone else like Marcia or Cassie.
      Claire's power is going to have to change, because it's too hard for an audience to get a feeling for super cuteness.
      OH and of course the Machine will need to have intelligence and a personality. It will like a really smart dog. Cause that would make a much better toy.
      No Teddy bears and Chainsaws either. We'll need to use one of the most popular games out there, so we can drum up extra revenue.
      But without that, it makes most of the 3rd act inventions have to context, so we'll need to change those.
      All the villains will be merged into new villains that have little resemblance to the originals.
      And a giant Spider won't play well, might scare away too many potential viewers. So she will have to be changed. either a person using a robot spider as a cover or an anthropomorphized spider, mostly human with spider features.

      I could go on, but with those changes, which are not far fetched in the least, it wouldn't be the same story. And that's what happens when you change stuff for no reasons.

      Fox does it with ever comic based movie they make, (the exception is DeadPool, but theirs reasons for that.) and those movies bomb.
      The Fantastic Four movies, they are mostly garbage. The last one was only made because they didn't want to lose the rights. They rushed it, and Fox ended up making them take out like half the story to add more poorly scripted action scenes.

      A good director wants to keep the movie as close to the source material as possible and some personal flavor to the missing parts.

      A great director can keeps the movie close to the source material and only makes changes and additions that improve the overall original story.

      An additional point is that in many cases the directors are only a least part of the problems. The writers, producers, and studios are often the bigger problems.

    14. I agree.
      The movie interpretation you posted is all too probable, especially if it is produced by Fox. I imagine it would be funny to watch it unfold, like a ‘train-wreck’ – best to watch from a good distance, worst to be involved in. However, it does not sound like any movie I would want to watch.

      My opinion on the Killing Joke Movie, however, still holds that they did not add any of their own artistic flavor to the movie. So, I don’t see the point of making the movie the way they did.

      I do have a bit of hope, however, for a T.I.M. Movie, because there is now a second ‘re-imagining’ of a Series of Unfortunate Events, which is/was grim in setting and visual style, very ‘Dickensonian’ – especially for a move for, ah, ‘young adults?’ The same audience group that one would assume would be the target for a T.I.M. Movie. It does also have a young, female, inventive genius in the lead.
      If that series can be ‘movie-ized’ while preserving its’ ‘dark humor,’ then perhaps some of the originality of T.I.M. may be brought properly to the screen.

      I am not, however, going to hold my hopes too high. I will simply reserve those sorts of high expectations for the next book.

    15. I always thought the books would work better as a TV series; something similar to Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Penny is Buffy; T.I.M as the Scooby Gang etc. Maybe they need to age the characters like they did with The Magicians but with all the kids in the school, there’s plenty of potential storylines for the showrunners to mine.

    16. T.I.M. as Scoobies? No please!

    17. If T.I.M. was turned into a Netflix's original I would be all for it. After what they've been doing with the Marvel series I would trust them with most things.

      Turning TIM into a Buffy type show would we sacrilegious. I love Joss but that show was bad, the god kinda bad, but still bad.
      Also aging the characters would take away so much from the story. It wouldn't be the same if they were older, one of the main premises of the story is that they are so young.

      The TIM books are a bit on the shorter side of books. But are still too long to fit completely into a movie. A shorter series that isn't episodic.
      SciFi did a Dresden Files series that failed to live up to the books. It was an enjoyable show, but they made all the episodes self contained, and tried to use the books as episodes instead of seasons. Both things caused it to fall short.

  17. A part of me would love to see these books turned into movies or tv shows but I'd be afraid of what Hollywood would do to it.

    1. Well, they would give me enough money that I could keep writing these books forever, which would be nice!

    2. The problem with Hollywood directors is that they want to take the material and make it there own.

      The Hobbit add the elves and pretty much everything in Lake Town.

      They completely butchered the entire Divergent series.

      Directors always think they can improve on an already great product.

      I'd love to see this at a movie but I just hope they don't mess it up

    3. Exactly.
      However, if it requires a movie (good or bad) to allow Mr. Roberts to continue writing of T.I.M., I would pre-purchase these tickets without a single regret.

      Except... I could wish that it be done well. The audio books had a slight problem. The woman reading the books did not know how to pronounce Marcia. If I remember right she pronounced it as Marcy. So, if they miss that type of detail, I can only imagine what a Hollywood Writer would make of the Charlie Kamachi and Cassie Patter.

    4. I like the idea of this series being written forever, although eventually every series runs out of ideas this one is one of my favorites

    5. Even if it were to be 'infrequent,' I do like the idea of this series going on longer.

      I was once a fan of the Anita Blake series, until after the ninth book when the series when off the rails, and the author ran out of good ideas. Another series I like is Thaumatology 101, and it is on book twelve. My most favorite author before T.I.M. was Sir Terry Pratchett, and I like forty of his Diskworld Books, and of that forty I cherish eleven enough to read again and again.

      So, best case scenario would forty adventures of the Inscrutable Machine, and a good movie.
      Worst case scenario, I believe that I could live with even a single bad movie if it were the price of a series that long and that good.

    6. You're getting five books about the Inscrutable Machine. That's how long Penny's story is. It would take a really great inspiration for me to want to tell another story about her.

      HOWEVER, I'm warm to the idea of other books in her world, probably starring characters who are currently on the side. Spider was an example. I want to finish Penny's series so that I can do that with YA characters, who I prefer over adults. Penny's position as the first serious child supervillain is important, and I don't want to tell stories after her until her story is told, so I have to finish her arc.

    7. I can understand that, Mr. Roberts. But, I have to say that your series is vivid, and enthralling. I liked the Spider Book, and can only look forward to other books in the world of the Inscrutable Machine.

      I thoroughly enjoyed the interplay between Neon Rider and Delicious, and laughed when Bismuth and Joe faced each other, and Good Night jumped in with her simple introduction of “Meee.” Which caused all the experienced heroes to look above them for one of her calling cards.

      So, further stories in that would be greatly appreciated.

    8. I would defiantly love to see more Penny-centric books, but wouldn't want to see it turned into the Xanth series.

      Of course everyone is waiting to Rowling to start writing Harry Potter again.

    9. Well, using Terry Pratchett as an example, he had over forty books set in the Discworld.
      There were eight one-offs in different areas and with characters of the Discworld, seven involving Rincewind the Wizard, six involving the Witches, five involving Death as a lead, eight involving the City Watch, three involving the Moist von Lipwig, and my personal four favorites ones involving Tiffany Aching.

      We have already seen that there is quite a bit of backstory for the world of The Inscrutable Machine, and a large cast of available characters. So it is possible for the series to extend, if Mr. Roberts wishes to write them.

      And, I am not a fan of the Harry Potter Series, so it make no difference to me if she never writes another book.

    10. I Started looking at scrapped movie projects, and there were several books that I really liked that never made it to the screen because the adaptation was unacceptable to the author...
      So, I am not sure what to think of that idea now.

    11. I loved the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. From what I heard at the time, someone bought the rights to make them into movies. But it never amounted to much.

      They had wanted to cast all the popular actors of the time and it would have been garbage.

    12. You have to remember, Hollywood reserves the right to screw anything up that they get their hands on. Look at the Starship Trooper movies, and look what they did to Clan of the Cavebear <-only watch this one if you never read the books. It has nothing in common with the books.

    13. I liked Starship Trooper, but I never read the book.
      But despite my complaints, some books are nearly impossible to translate into a movie. I've heard Starship is one example, another is Fight Club.

      Some things just can't be done right, so need alteration. The problem with Hollywood is that they like to change the things that shouldn't be changed.

    14. Actually, Starship Troopers would have been easy to make into a movie - but the setting and basic themes were antithetical to the life experience and philosophical viewpoint of the director.

      It had the same title and shared some character names with the book. Any of the plot points (maturation, responsibility, the importance of self-chosen service) that Heinlein felt were most important were carefully excised. As was any understanding of military tactics.

      I'd really looked forward to the movie - despite some flaws, I quite enjoyed the book. The movie made me wish that some Bugs had appeared eaten Verhoeven before he could release his monstrosity on an unsuspecting world.

    15. Meh. I’m not really a Heinlein fan.
      I think I read one of his books about the kids that had to like get themselves from Mars to Earth. Or the other way around. But I liked that one ok. The rest were just meh.
      That Lazarus Long stuff was too freaky weird for me. Why did he think that everyone in the future would be bi or that it was ok to mess around with their own moms? Ugh.
      But I get what you mean. From what I remember he was really down on the military stuff. So the Starship Troopers Movie being a big steaming pile wasn’t a big surprise.

    16. Read the book sometime, they were running around in heavy power armor with jumpjet of some sort. In the movie, they were wearing flak jackets and using assault rifles. The animated series was closer to the book and they were still off. But at least they used military tactics in the animated series. As for the weirdness in a lot of his later books, you have to understand that a lot of that is caused by the publishers forcing the authors to rewrite the books according to how they want them. The originals of the books he wrote were actually 2x or 3x longer and made sense. But the publishers would force him to edit it down or change a lot.

    17. I remember Troopers I think. I remember the power armor. But the way I remember it there was an awful lot about making a military society and how it was wrong to promote the warfare lifestyle. If it's the one I remember anyway. I don't remember any of that in the movie.

    18. they used the power armor for one of the sequels.

  18. Like the Dead silence of us all waiting on the book.

    Anyway. I was thinking about the stuff in the book and like when Penny and Ray were on their big date. Penny said something about making a rocket to fly around.
    Man that would be so cool!
    The old F.F. stuff had them flying around what sorta looked like goofy flying bathtubs.
    So like what kind of rocket would Penny make?

  19. This is what happens when i don't stalke my favorite authors, i miss free chapters! arrggggg!

    1. Oh man! And the way it ended! Makes you really want to know what happens next. Can't wait!

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  21. Ugh! Remmy's back, the only person in this series I hate worse than Jagged Bones. The only real problem I had with Book 2 was that they didn't *throw her out an airlock*! The little psycho brat desperately deserves to be spaced. Please tell me she'll die a horrible screaming death in this book?

    1. You hate Jagged Bones? He was in like one scene. How'd you build up that much hate-on for a guy that quick? I know he's like a psycho, but for real he is not even the worst villain.

    2. Yeah. In the first book Spider is the creepiest biggest villain. Jagged Bones don't even come close.

    3. Every time she pushed them around I got pissed. They kicked Bones' backside. But Spider is still around pulling strings.

    4. My point is that Jagged Bones was a completely unhinged psycho; even other villains didn't like him and he was on a short list to meet Mourning Dove. Spider definitely has some code of honor as LA's "Godspider of Crime," so she can be reasoned with and people can work with her.

      Remmy is the most annoying brat - who desperately deserves a spacing, not a spanking - that I've ever encountered in all of fiction. Veruca Salt has nothing on her.

    5. Ha! Veruca didn't have anything to back up her arrogance. Remy does - she's a butt-kicker!
      I don't much care for her, but JB was just a psycho-killer.
      Spider is just a cold blooded manipulatore. I I think her niceness is just the best way she could figure to control T.I.M.

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  23. Curious what time frame for the release will be :)

    Though yes, I can't say as I like Remmy either. Everything was super awesome for the story up till she showed up >_> I'm hoping she gets a nice memory wipe.

  24. Hey quick question that I've been wondering about in Penny's universe, how does the state and federal government feel about the superpowered community?

    1. Excellent question, William!

      This is briefly answered in I Did Not Give That Spider Superhuman Intelligence. I'll try to go into it with a little more detail, here.

      Basically, the government is scared of superhumans and relieved to let them regulate each other. When one single person can have the power of a giant bomb, and there are thousands of these around the country, law enforcement becomes prickly. Conventional attempts to deal with them require you to either accept massive collateral damage, or go heavy on cruel and unusual punishment. When super powered communities fall into a relatively peaceful pattern, neither the government agencies nor the electorate want to interfere with that. An analogue is when organized crime takes root, and locations decide fighting them is more trouble than it's worth.

      There are bad and unfair aspects to this. Superhumans are above the law in many ways. They're not going to get arrested for, say, reckless driving, or violating building codes. They don't have to face their bank accounts frozen for criminal acts, unless a superhero makes a point of dragging the villain in and revealing where the money went. The minor damage caused by breaking these laws, given the small number of people doing it, is considered a price easily worth paying to limit the gigantic damage that could be done if powers were used unrestrained and with malice aforethought. As long as heroes are willing to fight villains, and everybody is willing to keep damage to civilians to a minimum, the government is willing to limit themselves to doing the sweeping up afterwards. It is very convenient to let the hero take the blame when a villain is dragged off to jail.

      Side note: It is extremely hard to keep supervillains locked up. People like Bull can walk through any wall you can build. Some mad scientists can create an escape tool out of a spoon and a mattress. If they don't break themselves out, they have friends who can do it easily. It's an unsolved problem.

      No amount of superhumans the government can hire can come close to what's lurking in the 'civilian' population, and like conventional weapons, enough force to reliably stop someone like Lucyfar or Chimera (or Mech, who has broken a lot of laws in his vigilantism!) brings us back to neighborhoods destroyed and hundreds dead.

      All of this is self-reinforcing. Government cracking down makes superhumans more violent, which forces the government to crack down harder. The government turning a blind eye makes it easier for self-regulating communities to maintain a peaceful tone. In LA in Penny's time, the hero and villain communities are actively friendly with each other, despite how seriously most of them take their roles.

      This is far from a perfect system. For example, built into LA's friendliness is mob justice with execution as the penalty for breaking the rules. The superhuman community itself is weird, a separate culture from main society with a lot of social pressures. Both superhumans and the government cling to this system as a thousand times better than the alternatives.

    2. So is The Glitch at risk of catching it in the neck due to her ignorance of the rules?

      Yes, she's a self-righteous idiot about things outside her immediate knowledge - but she's still (I think) younger than Penny was at the start of the first book, and she's totally ignorant of how near the edge she's treading.

    3. Yeah Buddy!
      Only problem is that "The Kludge" makes thing out of other Mad Scientists Stuff, and she has lots to stuff to work with in LA!
      Can you say RAMPAGE!

    4. Oh Hey!
      I found a different book which is pretty cool. It's called Wearing the Cape and has a pixie sized girl with superman style powers. Kinda like Claudia but shorter.
      What is really cool is that it has it's own RPG Coming out on Kickstarter.
      Which started me thinking.
      What sort of RPG could possibly work for the coolness that is the Inscrutable Machine?

      I don't think a standard generic system like GURPS could really do it right. It's all about getting the power levels right. All the nuts and bolts of powers. But T.I.M. is coolest when it's about the consequences and the stuff that happens between characters.
      Anybody know of a good system for that?

    5. @Darkall:

      You'll want Silver Age Sentinels for the Tri-Stat System. It can reliably and quickly built ANY superhero you can can imagine.

    6. Cool! I will give that a try. Thanks!

  25. My guesses for what will happen in the book, based on the preview chapters:
    Penny will be piloting about the soulless body, letting that be Bad Penny. Moving two bodies at once will be easier than expected because there's a functioning brain to delegate stuff to. (Still, ewww. That's an order of magnitude ickier than wearing someone's used underwear.) However, there'll be the standard problem of subconscious impulses being more easily expressed through the puppet. Our favourite Vampire Zombie WILL want her bauble back, because it'll turn out to be really dangerous, and Claire will learn a Valuable Lesson about Friendship (and probably won't be able to watch horror movies for a few months without getting the shakes).
    Remmy will be making a nuisance of herself throughout, and Penny will be trying to befriend her but it just won't work out until the end, where The Audit will step in and take the initiative to adopt Remmy, making them sisters and properly defining their relationship as people who don't have to be friends to care about each-other. ( I'm basing this on nothing but how much I want it to happen, and on Beebee reminding me of Cordelia Naismith-Vorkosigan's no-nonsense attitude.)

    Looking forward to finding out how many of my guesses are true!