(I Also Write Children's Books!)

Monday, May 22, 2017

And The SPOILER Thread!

I am supplying this thread for anyone who finishes the book and wants to discuss it with the other advance reviewers.



  1. Replies
    1. EeeeeeYUP.

      I've been planning that for years. It was fun to get to it.

    2. Yeah, I expected of course that her power (or as it turns out a part connected to her power) would fuck her over, but that is a damn big cliffhanger. On the plus side she has a mother who provided with the right infos might see through it, and the fact that other people know the robot was a copy of penny and on friendly footing with her means evil penny will have to make up a lie to explain introducing potential errors, also if she really wants to use her powers freely that will provide discrepancies, still quite a mess.

      I wonder if it counts as getting personal if you reveal the identity of a copy of yourself.

  2. Wow. Yeah I just finished it.

    I can see the hints leading up to it, and Thought I knew, but nice curve ball.

    It still seems though that Penny has 3 powers. Her moms statistical thing, the gear thing which seems closer to how her dad's stuff is, and then the third semi-mystical uber-invention gestalt factor.

    I am guessing that the Soda Pop girl's pop rocks are similar to what Penny had created in her Candy mode. Her soda wand was the same as another inventor's too after all. And the gloves were shown like Remmys. Basically like the gestalt thing can make anything... as long as someone else could do so.

    Thinking that the Machine is actually Penny's normal powers (uber gears).

    But also Yay for making me not hate Remmy as much. I really had loathed her (book 2 was my least favorite of the series so far honestly).

  3. What a great cliffhanger, its funny but despite you saying there is one in earlier posts you straight up dont see it coming. Brilliantly done.

    1. I have been carefully putting in foreshadowing of this moment for the whole series so far, and accelerated it throughout this book. That so far no one has seen it coming makes me proud and happy.

    2. Ahhhhh! The ending!
      Very cool, but oh soooooo Cruel!

  4. There’s something oddly humorous about the cover saying “COVER”. Giant enemy crabs reference was nice. Is Marcia that crazy or does she just not care? AND SO IT BEGINS.

    ---Book stuffs---

    Done with the first read. Was a very nice read. It feels, at this point, that everyone but Penny's parents know Penelope Akk and Bad Penny are the same person. Marvelous is probably aware of the fact since she either saw Penny at two very different locations or two at the same place. The fire scene was a bit confusing, but I'll pick up more on a second read.
    The undertone of what is a soul is a bit strange, but it's probably the easiest+logical conveyance mechanism of the morality Penny is facing. It's also more than possible it's because everything is filtered by the Akk household logic. Everything is nice and orderly until the outlier hits. It's these outliers which make it more apparent how much is going on under the surface.
    It's good to see Penny is getting smarter about things. She's picking up on clues and planning over reacting. Her plans leave much to be desired though. I'm going to go ahead and predict that the next book is on Penny actually planning and acting like a super over joyriding power user.

  5. I love how everything is built up on consequence. The entire situation evolved from her failure to just come clean, to really own up to her mistakes, or to think things through as carefully as she should have. The conflict was beautiful and knowing the name I'd the next book gave just enough foreshadowing to worry without giving the twist away. It was very reminiscent of themes that question how good permits itself to do evil for greater good.

    1. Also going back through previous tweets like:

      "Now, witness the power of this fully armed and operational friendship!" - Penelope Akk, referring to Gerty Goat

      And my brain is exploding with possibilities.

  6. Ok so I can definitely understand how things can spiral so very far out of control. Personally for me the hints that her dad is going to be the first one of her parents to figure it out is so very sweet. XD I wonder if I'm right or not and if so, if I'm the only one who noticed it.

  7. I have to go over everything again, to get all the dropped clues.
    So does this mean that the next book will be "Please Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain!?"

  8. Evil Penny won't be able to fool her mom for long. She'll have to outright lie about too many things. Just the lack of the Machine could be enough. The sudden love of dangerous explosive inventions will do the rest.
    Ohh, is this the Jekyl Hyde syndrome mentioned in the first book??

    I honestly thought the treachery mentioned by Mourning Dove was a reference to standard mad scientist insanity. An actual brain jacking didn't enter my mind.
    I do admit to being worried that the forest fire was a way to kill her dad.

    I like the thing with Apparation. Think Vera will notice the change in Penny?

    Bad Penny in a robot body with the Machine standing by. Wonder how much tech she incorporates into her body.

    Will this be fixed before Ray and Claire return!!

    1. I think Penny might try and keep Ray and Claire away until it gets sorted out because she wants to fix the mess she made herself?

  9. Huh. Powers with "Possession mechanics" referred to in book 3. Certain powers, certain hair styles. Another reference? Least favorite statistic sounds like a personal reason.

  10. Now that is how you write a surprise ending!

  11. Luckily, in a world with that many super powers, "she took over my body" isn't even in the top ten weirdest things a teenager could complain about...

    I bet Lucyfer notices first.

    1. Lucy is a good bet. I would say Ray and Claire but their away for a month at least.
      I don't think anyone from the club has ever witnessed her actually inventing, and they are all too enamored with her to begin with.
      Cybermancer might notice, he's shown a very intuitive view of Penny and her powers. He would probably notice the shift in her personality.
      And don't forget Morning Dove who can see or at least sense Souls. And has known about the hazard for months. Also Poly might have some insight considering her previous disposition.

    2. Oh a lot of them have seen her inventing.
      Remember Book 3? Claire invited Cassie Teddy and Will in and she wowed them with the invention of the gloves for Ray. I think Barbara was there too but I can't remember.
      And then she had to make changes in her clock thing because so many people were wandering into the lair while she was working on it.
      So that a lot of witnesses to her power!

    3. I admit I forgot about the gloves. But even then she didn't go full blackout and if not controlled it at least steered it to the ends she wanted. What I was thinking about the full blackout manic penny inventing.

      But I still don't think they would notice the switch.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Y'know, with that ending you better be pretty far along with the next book. It's like we were watching a television series, with each episode wrapping up neatly and moving a few parts forward. Then you basically drop a two parter on us.

    Personally, I think you've earned my trust that it'll be worth it and I'll enjoy the second part of the finale. This is book four after all. But... man, cliffhangers are damned annoying, so it's a close thing.

  13. Incredibly good book. I read it almost straight through. A few surprises, with major differences from what I anticipated and yet a very similar basic concept.

    I'd expected Mammon to bring the mannequin to life and for it to use the ring (which I thought transferred powers) to transfer her main invention power. (But not all of it, just the T3 happy part - I thought she had three powers, as someone described above).

    I expected Cybermancer to learn of said ring and try to use it to take her powers for himself.

    I expected Remmy to be marked as a villain, with PenUltimate as her heroic opponent.

    I expected Rocky to go villain.

    I expected Penny to have to tell her parents everything after defeating "Dark Penny" - with Dark Penny becoming Spider's apprentice after.

  14. Is it safe to assume that penny at least has part of her powers? Because well, you know... it's not all-knowing so it couldn't have all of her power, some of it must have been transferred with her right? And I'll say that I did expect it to take control at some point but I didn't think it would be this way. I'll admit this way has a lot more potential and is going to be way more fun than an internal struggle. Really looking forward to what happens next.

    Once again another great book And while I loved reading the preview chapters beforehand and I'm hoping you share a couple of chapters for book 5 I was very disappointed to find out that I had already read 35% of the book. I'm not saying don't share it's a lot of fun and helps me get through to the release of the full book, but I was sad to see I didn't have that much left as I thought I did. I had assumed I'd only read like maybe 10%. But I think I'm going to go ahead and reread the series now. And hope it doesn't take very long for book 5. Because I believe the one-armed robot XD.

    Also is there ever going to be a hard cover for henchman or spider or this one? Because I got the first two books in hardcover and I like to keep my collection the same. I've been holding off on buying the prints because you did say at one point that there was going to be a hard cover for hinchman. Thanks and keep up the good work

  15. Honestly, I should have seen that coming, but I DIDN'T. That was really very unexpected, seriously. I may have to reread the book just to get over this. The one thing I don't exactly understand though, is why the Heart of Gold didn't just transfer herself into Penny's body instead of transferring the Heart of Steel.

    1. Also, it's not her power that's evil, just the part of her that can use it? Please tell me this doesn't mean that in Book five she takes up Mourning Dove's offer, all she has to do really is to not go around willy nilly transferring her mind to robotic bodies.

    2. my understanding is that heart of gold transfered real Penny into heart of Steel so that she could transfer herself into penny's body without killing her. But with real Penny gone it allowed the Evil Personality that was connected with her power to take control of her body.

    3. Because Heart of Gold was a copy, I don't think it could transfer herself into Penny's body. Since original Penny is the dominant personality.
      Of Course Sylar has a good point in that HG might have feared Over Writing OP and killing her.
      I also have some ideas on the Evil personality but I'm going put those in a separate post.

  16. So the Penny in control of the Body right now. I don't actually think it's evil. I think it's more along the lines of her id. If it was evil it wouldn't have left Penny in the Robot body, It would have blown her up completely.
    To me it seems like its acting without Penny's moral filter. Her morality is what kept her pushing away the bombs and other nasty weapons. I mean honestly what teenage kid doesn't love a good explosion.
    Also since it wasn't transferred, makes me think it is also soulless. Which could explain the lack of moral filters.

    1. I absolutely agree that it seems almost like each is an aspect of her id, ego, and superego.

  17. I dunno about that theory. "Evil" Penny did try to kill Heart of Gold. She mused aloud about finishing Penny off. "Evil" Penny's move seemed more calculated to me, the type a true supervillain would make.

    I thought reading this book would quench my thirst, but I'm even hungrier for the next book now. I have so many feels about this book... I made notes all throughout my copy. But this ending hit me and I'm still dazed.

    That sure escalated quickly.

    1. Yes but to someone without any sort of moral compass would they consider the Heart of Gold to be alive. It's a copy, to an intellectual and callus person they might not even bother to question if it's alive. She is kinda an invention.
      Also smashing the heart i think was more meant as a preventive measure from it taking the body.
      She wasn't being malicious or mean or cruel. She was acting and reacting to her sudden freedom, her concern was maintaining that freedom. Heart of Gold and Penny were both threats, she took care of those threats.

    2. Nah.
      She made a bomb big enough to blow off some steam and blew off RoboPenny's arm and then tried to have the machine eat it right in front of her! That is some hard-core badness.
      I'm leaning on her being a cancer bump on her brain that got itself loose! Her dad has a brain mutation that gives him extra power you know. So maybe that is what all that weird shape in her brain stuff was about in book 3 wehn they did the power tester stuff?

    3. The bomb she made was to blow up the soul switching machine. Penny just happened to still be locked into it at the time. Also she tried to command the Machine to eat the Heart of Gold not the arm.

      I also lean towards thinking it is something of a mutation, they has only been able to take over because of the lack of a controlling force. It makes sense that the weird shape and pain in the back of her head are both connected to this different personality.

    4. Oh yeah. Your're right.
      Still it is pretty cold to leave her strapped in with a bomb next to her! Blew her arm off!
      But it was pretty stupid to throw away The Machine! That girl is all temper! Bet that is how mecha-Penny beats her!

    5. Cold yes, but I see it as being motivated by simple being uncaring. Same thing with the Machine. To Penny the Machine is more then just a tool. It's a part of her, it's a friend, a symbol of her power.
      To her power, without any of her compassion, it is nothing more then a tool. And a useless tool at that if it doesn't respond to her.

      Definitely has terrible impulse control, but being an ignoring voice in the back of her head for her entire existence might have something to do with that.

      I still wonder if since the Machine didn't respond to the current meatbag Penny, and it's even odds that it will to Penny in the robot. I always felt that it was implied that the Machine was linked to her power. So did some of her power transfer over?

    6. Hope her power transferred. Gonna be real unbalanced fight if mecha-Penny can't build.

      Didn't get enough of her in the scene to figure out if she is evil or uncaring or what.
      But man is Dark Penny gonna have a problem fooling anyone if she is really that uncaring!
      Can't wait!!

    7. Dark Penny, I like that. I'm inferring some from Penny's trances over the course of the series.

      Add that I think an actual Evil Penny would be smart enough to eliminate the big threat.

      Mostly it's just a feeling I have.

  18. I have to say that the ending we received stunned me. As before, the hints provided led me astray, and I did not see it coming.

    That did put me in mind of something I read before. As a long time comic fan, I started reading the original X-Men at the beginning of the 'Dark Phoenix' Story when it came out, and that turn left me as stunned as this ending.

    However, that does lead me to a (probably incorrect, based on being fooled by this turn) history-following assumption - we could be seeing the rise of 'Dark' Penny.

    'Dark Phoenix' was not exactly "evil" so much as 'inhuman.' I think that does properly characterize the Penny that is in the flesh and blood body now.

    Personally, I think she made a serious error. She would have been much better off in a mechanical body - unaging, and untiring, with the power to invent new devices for her body, or even being able to upgrade her own body. How many times has Penny lamented not giving herself super-powers? She, again, missed the opportunity - unless the mechanical version of Penny can grab it.

    However, I have to wonder, why did she choose the flesh and blood body at all? To compare to Dark Pheonix, perhaps she had the emotional attachments of the 'real' Penny (assuming she is actually not the 'real' one after all - that would be quite a twist on top of twists)? She seems to be quite like the Dark Phoenix - passionate, and very self-centered. I cannot tell yet, if that is due to her 'inhuman' nature, due to being only seven months old (as she stated of her age), or simply being 'evil' natured.

    I am also still unsure of how the control of the Heart of Gold came about.

    I am looking forward to finding out, hopefully some time in the near future.

    1. An additional thought, the 'Penny' in the flesh-and-blood body has to worry about "fooling" her parents, and acting like nothing has changed.

      If she had been mechanical, the explosion could easily have been terminal for a flesh-and-blood body, and she could have walked away in an immortal robotic body with the wealth, technology, and be completely without supervision. Additionally, with a mechanical body, she could have changed her face easily, and taken on a new identity without anyone being the wiser.

      I do hope we find out why she made that particular choice.

    2. The way I see it, Dark Penny is mentally(and emotionally) identical to Penny. Just like Heart of Gold Penny. And the most important thing to Penny is her Family and friends. That said who ever is in the body is going to be considered the real Penny. Which is why they all want it.

      Each of them wants to be Penny, which is why they all want a body.

      Of course Heart of Gold had the added problem of not having powers, but she was a copy.

      But both Penny and Dark Penny are originals so that gives me hope for them both having powers.
      My hope is that Penny keeps her Uber Power, but without Dark Penny around maintains more control.

    3. It is true that being seen as the ‘real’ Penny has an appeal. From a ‘grasp it all’ point of view she would want it all - bring ‘real,’ as well as being free from the back of Penny’s Mind. It also has the advantage of allowing her to strike out against her counterpart.

      However, she will now have to contend with parental oversight, which is going to chafe the irresponsible and selfish version of her, which just freed herself from the limits her ‘other’ self put on her.

      From a purely functional, and power hungry point of view, it would have been smarter to be robotic and ‘free’ of oversight, and start from fresh – with full bank account and all of Penny’s tech.
      As she cannot recreate any invention, she cannot make another immortal robot version for herself – and she destroyed the mind transfer device.

    4. I don't think the parental oversight sticks out as that big an issue, considering how much Penny has gotten away with in the last 7 months. It's even possible that Dark Penny thinks she can outsmart her parents.

      I don't think 'That' robot body is the better choice. It's lacking functionality, we don't know what but it was mentioned Penny want to do more with it. It also moves like a robot and not a human, pointed out by Penny. It's also made from a mannequin, which means it's lacking quite a bit. Dark Penny maybe only 7 months old but she is effectively a 13 year old girl. Who thinks about boys and all the dirty thoughts that go with that. Plus we don't know if any Powers transferred, and Dark Penny is a complete wild card who knows if she could even be transferred.

      Don't forget Dark Penny had nothing to do with gaining control of the Body. It was Heart of Gold's plan to take over. Because they didn't know of Dark Penny's existence, the over sight allowed the moments of freedom for her to take control.

      Also we don't know yet if Penny can or can't recreate any invention yet. Things have changed. Without Dark Penny there she might gain full use of her power, or lose the Uberness of it. And the Machine might be able to repair the transfer device. Who knows.

    5. I am not even going to attempt to predict what happens next. I have been too surprised by the twists and turns.

      However, Dark Penny stated that, “Now it’s time for me to go home and confess to Mom and Dad that I was Bad Penny and everything kept going wrong and I’m sorry I was too afraid to tell them, but now everyone thinks Bad penny was beaten and I can go back to just being me. Whatever punishment they want to give me is fine.”

      The Pennys all "know" (in general) that punishment would be coming, but I do not think Dark Penny has the maturity to handle that punishment, especially after she stated, “you have not… idea … how angry I am at how you always held me down.” I expect that she is too immature, and short tempered, to handle restrictions, especially after being restricted, essentially, her entire life (in Penny’s head).

      Also, once Robot Penny escapes, and starts to make war on her, I cannot imagine that Dark Penny will want to stand on the sidelines and wait to see what happens, and let her parents confront Robot Penny – especially if Robot Penny can start to make them suspicious.

      We shall have to wait and see.

    6. However, where did you find any reference to Dark Penny having “thinks about boys and all the dirty thoughts that go with that.” At what point did that happen?

    7. I agree Dark Penny's biggest enemy is herself. She is not going to do well with pretending to be the real Penny.

      There is no reference in the text about the boys thing. But Penny thinks about boys, Heart of Gold seamed to being still interested in Ray. So I would have to assume that if Dark Penny has Real Penny's full stock of memories and emotions, she's going to be into Ray. And if she's into Ray then she's into boys.
      I was simply inferring it, so it's possibly wrong.

    8. Perhaps.
      It would, however, be more interesting, or a plot twist, if she took up with Cassie.
      If that were to occur, I could imagine the school club - led by who they believe is the "true" Penny, vs. T.I.M.
      The winner would have a solid claim to be the "real" Penny.

    9. Or even more twisted, T.I.M. led by the Flesh & Blood Penny vs. The Club led by Robot Penny.
      It would be very dramatic to have her on the opposite side from her closest friends.

    10. I don't see how Ray and Claire could or would be fooled by Dark Penny. They've been with her too long to not notice a personality change. No to mention the lack of the Machine.

      I'm guessing that book five starts within days of book 4 and it's going to be Penny vs Penny. Ray and Claire are gone for a month or more. I actually think Cassie might come to real Penny's help.

    11. Being powered by the Heart of Steel might make Penny's efforts to convince Claire and Ray that she's the real Penny harder, though. Last they saw, Heart of Steel Penny was a rampaging monster waiting to get out, and Heart of Steel going mad believing it's the real Penny and trying to get her body back is completely realistic in this setting. I think they even joked about the dangers of robot doubles at one point. And while Evil Penny may have troubles of her own dispelling suspicions, her behavior might not qualify as a personality change, especially now that she has "come clean" with her parents and no longer needs to "hide" her more uninhibited side. Penny has had plenty of theatrical destructive moments herself, and if—as Evil Penny believes—they are the same person there may be very little deception for her to maintain, especially if being free calms her down.

      In that vein, if Ray and Claire are involved in the conflict between Penny and Evil Penny in the next book, I hope they take Evil Penny's side. To me, it feels as if Ray and Claire's stories have already been told. We know what Ray wants from his future, and Book 3 gave readers closure on his relationship with Penny (in the "I love you but I can't stay so let's enjoy the time we have" kind of way). And Claire seems determined and quite happy to follow in her mother's semi-amoral, "have fun playing both sides but ultimately do good" footsteps. Seeing the Inscrutable Machine come together to defeat Evil Penny would be cool and a high note for the team to go out on before disbanding, but what would it offer to Ray and Claire for character development? In contrast, if Evil Penny successfully convinces them that Penny is the evil duplicate, Penny's conflict becomes that much more poignant and important to her.

      The irony of Penny's situation may also be lessened if she's still able to count on her original, pre-superpowered adventures friends for help. In-universe, there's been speculation that Bad Penny is a robot and a tech thief, and now Penny has actually become a robot and (presumably, depending on what powers did or did not transfer over) a tech thief. I want to see her fully embrace her false identity as Bad Penny and utilize the friendships and associations she's made as a supervillain to reclaim her true identity and take the "becoming the mask" trope to a whole new level.

      Anyway, on a completely different subject, does anybody know what Spider's "apology favor" referenced in Chapter 8 is? It's completely eluded me, and I'm not sure if it's something that happened in this book or if it's a piece of set-up for the next book.

    12. Ray and Claire are the only ones who know about the Heart of Steal. I just feel like the whole reason that they were written out of the ending of the last book, was so they wouldn't be around through at least most of book 5.

      I would think that the most likely progression would be to have Ray and Claire show up at the beginning of Act 3.
      They show up at the end, when it looks hopeless for Penny, every one else believes Dark Penny is the real one. They show up and figure it out in the first few minutes because that's what friends do.

      They both know they Penny is whole heatedly against the creation of bombs and WMD's. Which seams like the go to for Dark Penny.

      I didn't see any Apology favor in the book. So I would guess it's going to happen in the next book.

    13. This may sound a bit, odd, but I have to say...

      I have determined that I will not make any suppositions on what may occur, or expect any outcome, as what Mr. Roberts has created has been beyond my expectations.

      I will only post my own wistful sorts of ideas that I have had. Some sorts of "it would be interesting if....," things.

      Just a thought.

    14. I read a lot. I also love to write my own stories. I'm also very good at guess the out come of most stories. Be they books, comics, tv shows, or movies.

      Part of the reason I love these books is that they always surprise me. I can guess details about the characters, even the general direction of the story. But man there always something I never saw coming.

      I love to theorize, but I get where your coming from. Most of the time my ideas are just the direction I would take the story.

      You always look forward to the ending of a good story. But you always dread the ending of a GREAT story.

    15. When you're right, your right!

  19. "Criminy, it was only a spiral. I could probably... Wait, no I couldn't. That was insane. And why had it seemed so obvious a moment ago? The certainties faded away, leaving only conclusions."

    This part of the book, as well as various others from all of the books, pretty much confirms to me the multiple power hypothesis. This just perfectly fits in with Penny having a power like her father's, in addition to the mad science power, that isn't quite there yet. She, in all these scenes, consciously makes connections based on principles she already understands, just like her father. In some of them, she suddenly doesn't understand what she was just doing.

    List of scenes I think are pretty suspicious:
    1) The antenna in the beginning, where she starts to understands how it would work, then forgets
    2) The paperclip in the pizza place with mech, where she makes a device based on basic physics, seemingly consciously, then forgets
    3) The power tester scene, where she builds a device made of gears. Given that the power tester was detecting something, this had to have been a power, and probably not the usual one.
    4) This new scene

    I don't know if this is a common theory, or if there's something I'm missing, just writing out my thoughts.
    Also this theory would suggest that Real Penny, as a robot, might have that power. Possible reason is that it appears tied to the conscious mind.

    1. It is a theory that has long been debated since I came to this land.

      One of the most discussed options is that Penny has a normal Tech power, much closer to what her parents actually believed. And The SuperDuper create anything power.

      Of course my question to you is, why can't she have a single power that does multiple things? Claire's power does more then one thing, so do some of the others.

    2. Depends on your terminology, I guess. Are super strength and flight one power or two? But another thing that might suggest multiple is that while the theoretical conscious power seems to come from her father, the power that knows everything seems closer to her mother's. It's possible that people with two superpowered parents typically get a power related to each parent, but the only other character I can think of for whom we know the powers of both parents is Generic Girl, who doesn't seem to have much power similarity with her mother.

    3. Claire has 2 super powers, The Strength and Agility that Penny gave her. And her Inherited powers.
      Just because her Inherited power does multiple things and isn't identical to her mothers doesn't have to mean it is multiple powers.
      Penny's abilities all seem related to each other. Which leads to the simple explanation that she has multiple facets to her single power. Not to mention that while she shows some similarities to her parents powers, she doesn't have the exact powers. If anything a gestalt form of them.

      I don't remember it ever being suggested in the books. Which with Ray and Claire being such big Super nerds, and Penny being Penny, the that was a possibility one of them would of mentioned it at some point.

      Of course this all will become moot within the first few chapters. Once we see who has what powers.

    4. Well, the antenna incident was before the Machine. This could mean that they're two seperate powers, which developed at different times, they're two facets of the same power which developed at different times, or they're two facets of the same power which developed at the same time, but revealed themselves at different times.

      Plus, from a meta sense, the connection power (assuming it exists) hasn't really affected anything. Having it stay with Real Penny in the Robot body gives a reason for it to be in the book.

      Back to the terminology thing, I think Lucyfar is mentioned as having a "power list," and Generic Girl something similar, meaning that they have multiple powers, at least using the in-world terminology

    5. Penny is an intelligent girl, she lives with two geniuses, so she is bound to be smarter then the normal teen. I also don't think her power even sparked with the antenna. It was all her.

      Claudia has a Super Power that gives her multiple powers. It's the same difference between God and god.
      It's mostly a matter of semantics.

      Truthfully I think she is a genius who is only just coming into her full potential. She definitely shows traits that are attributed to her parents abilities.
      Her mother might not even have a power, and I can't believe that in all the years she's been around that she wasn't tested for Super Powers. Her father's is the result of a mutation.

      I would think that Penny's powers is the result of breeding and her Fathers mutation. And that the thing currently in charge of her body is some form of brain mutation. Perhaps had she never developed a Power she would have developed something closer to her fathers power.

      But theories are nice and all, but we will find out more soon enough.

  20. I notice that although Robot Penny exhibits pure-hearted motivations, her understanding of ethics is no better than the Meatbag version. She operates on the principle that the ends justify the means, and figures her best move is the seize control of Penny's body, powers, friends, allies and Machine, because she confidently assumes she can handle all these things properly, while the original Penny couldn't.

    This plan definitely sounds like Penny. All the heart of gold seems to have done is refine and purify her regrets about unfortunate consequences.

    1. Purely good intentions often lead to terrible consequences.

      For the greater good is another justification for someone believing they are doing something good, but they know it's bad.

      I said above that HG is a copy of Penny and has all her inner hopes and desires. She is also still immature and more then a little desperate. Which lead to the horrible not very well thought out plan to begin with.

      So it's not surprising that it didn't take long for HG's desires for all those things she couldn't have, to influence her thinking. She was justifying her selfish motivations with poorly conceived good nature logic.

    2. Robot Penny also plays the role of a typically unrealistic nagging inner voice when she chides Penny for not having set up a fire break better and faster.

      When we find out the robot is more pure-hearted than the original, it called to mind the old short story by Harlan Ellison "Shatterday", where the protagonist ends up fighting a doppelganger that's a better, nobler version of himself.

      I like this version better. More human character, less stylized morality play.

    3. Well it's the typical concept of you have to have opposites. There is no light with out dark, Good without Evil.

      The final battle in The Wheel of Time, brings up this concept. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it. But it comes down to that a world without good isn't that much different from a world without evil.

      Not to mention it kinda takes away the concept of choice and morality from HG. She's not choosing to be good she just is. How can she really understand the concept of good is she can't make the decisions.
      She good so everything she does is good, she can't do anything bad, because she's good.

      Would she understand the difference between someone who steals food to feed their hungry children, and someone who steals diamonds to buy a beach house in the Bahamas?
      She might have the knowledge of it, but doesn't she really understand it. Pretty much any 13 year old has the knowledge of how to drive, that doesn't mean the understand it and can do it effectively.

      It's are flaws that make us who we are. Many great works of art have minor flaws in them, that add to the beauty of them.

    4. That's assuming Robot Penny was meant to be perfectly good. I thought the idea was that HG was an alternative version of Penny with a slightly different personality, influenced more by things like empathy and compassion, and less by things like the "seven deadly sins".

      And she ends up trying to do something immoral, something she actually says feels wrong, in order to further her "good" agenda. That sounds like she has enough free will to screw up badly, same as everyone else.

      I haven't read Wheel of Time, but I'm so glad the Please Don't Tell My Parents series is sticking to the original 5-book plan. By the time I'd heard of Wheel of Time, people had given up hope that Jordan would finish before he died. I understand Sanderson did a good job wrapping up with Jordan's notes, though.

    5. The concept of a Heart of Gold, is based around a person being pure and good. I would have to assume that was Mr Roberts intention as well as Penny's when making the heart out of pure gold. HG is suppose to be the pure good side of Penny. I also think that is because she knows that only a really good person would have gone along with her plan.

      I think she does have free will, but she's always going to be influenced heavily by the drive to do good.
      It's kinda of like those Vegas mentalist. They use subliminal messages and other tactics to get you to do or say what they want. They don't take away your free will, just whisper in your ear long enough to make you think it's your own idea.

      HG wasn't a Robot running a program. She was a human conciseness living in a robot body. So she only has those restrictions a human has, maybe even less.

      Wheel of Time is a great story. But Jordan had a habit of going off on tangents. Sanderson is a fantastic writer, I read almost everything he puts out and haven't once been disappointed. The 3 wheel of time novels he wrote are some of the best in the series. I think this was also because Jordan's Editor (his wife) also had much more control over the final product then when he was alive. If your looking for a nice long read, then pick them up, It's well worth the time i think.

    6. I thought Robot Penny was supposed to be pure, but calling her good is a bit of a stretch. I thought that might be intentional on the author's part. Like that Nietzsche quote, "Be careful when you cast out your demons that you don't throw away the best of yourself." Refining and purifying her motivations might have made her what both of her thought would be a better person, but wasn't.

      It also might be that it's easier to write character behavior that shows us "pure" than "good", and I'm reading too much into this.

  21. So I was right about there being a big throw-down coming between Penny and her back-of-the-head power, but I didn't see an actual physical separation coming at all. I suppose a turn-based fight between time-share personas in one body would risk leaning too far into outright silliness.

    I was wondering if we're going to see a bunch of Mammon's mannequins providing bodies for an invading army of Jovians at some point, but it's possible they've resolved enough loose threads already, what with the statue, the candle, and the Apparition.

    1. Yeah at first I thought he might play a larger role in the book, but he is still an incompetent bungler.

    2. I thought the statue would play a bigger role, too. And the pennies.

  22. OK I am going to have to be quite strict with what I post on this thread, or I could end up typing all day without ever getting to a stopping point, I just have to many thoughts and questions…

    So I am going to ask/post one of the more…tangential questions/thoughts that occurred to me on this; I am I the only one who thinks the incident were the Alchemist turned Penny’s Mom into a villain for three months is going to play a role in the next book? Small or otherwise?

    I certainly think there’s more to that incident than the few small hints that we’ve had can show, and while there have been shout outs to lots of characters, incidents and adventures that we never get to see, there’s something about this one…they way it keeps getting brought up, but only sort of as an aside, the way it plays in the themes being explored in the books, that makes me feel it’s less a shout out or noodle incident and more foreshadowing!?

    Or am I over thinking things and making a big deal about a small detail?

    1. In almost any other series I would say you were right. But this one is filled to bursting with little asides to the world outside of Penny's limited perception. It could just be some flavor text to illiterate that just because Hero's and Villain's are on opposite side, doesn't mean they can't be friends. Which is one of the major threads of this series.

      On the other hand it's timing and placement, and multiple mention, makes it a bit more likely to be foreshadowing then most of the flavor text.

      And I also have been limiting my access to this thread. I get way too into the discussions.

    2. Hi J,

      At least I know I am not totally mad even if nothing comes of it in the end, so thanks for that :-)

      Your right, our intrepid author has woven such a rich world that it’s almost impossible to keep track of all the little tip bits he’s laid down, let alone which ones are going to come back and impact the narrative…

      With me it was the very last mention of the incident just shy of the half way point in the book, before things really start getting hectic, that rang an alarm bell; before that it really was like flavour text/a noodle incident like all those cases that get mentioned but that we never get to see in Sherlock Homes stories, stuff designed to give extra depth to the world, without bogging yourself down in specifics or overcomplications…

      But there was something almost jarring about that last one, it somehow seemed more explisit as well though I can’t really tell you why, but it was almost like the author felt he needed to get it in one last time and make sure people got the point…

  23. *Sigh* Ok can’t seem to stop thinking about this so I might as well post it.

    So Penny’s Powers, there been a lot of discussion on this obviously, but I want to discuss something a bit off to the side of what people have been discussing so far (well as far as I can tell, if I missed someone’s post, I apologise.)

    So that there is something going on with Penny’s powers, and that they might not be what they first appear, I think is pretty much a given as this point; however, I also think our Author has quite skilfully withheld just the right pieces to the puzzle that we won’t really get an answer to this until he’s good and ready for us, at which point he’ll probably blindside us again with something that makes perfect sense but we didn’t see coming :-)

    That having been said I would say that at least some of the peculiarities in Penny’s powers could probably be laid at the feet of Dark Penny!!

    After all, Dark Penny was acting as an interface between Original Penny (OG Penny?) and the power at the back of her head; only this interface was sentient, aware, DEEPLY frustrated and had her own agenda. If it turned out that she was responsible for the odd “Can only build things once” limitation rather than the power itself I really wouldn’t be surprised, and I think she may have been responsible for some of the lack of knowledge OG Penny had over what she’d built, as withholding information would have been one of the few forms of control she could exert and one of the most effect for manipulating OG Penny.

    Another thing, I’d say Dark Penny will have greater control over her power than OG did, it makes sense as she’s directly tied into it unlike OG, and even with only meeting her briefly there are certain indicators in that direction…and that’s a problem, as I think
    Dark Penny might be a bit more indiscriminate with her Super Science than OG Penny was, either due to recklessness/impulsiveness and/or Arrogance and the greater level of control is only going to make that worse.

    Let me lay out an example; if the “only build things once” limitation was imposed by Dark Penny rather than the power itself, that means that Dark Penny could recrate inventions that she/OG has created before, and if that’s the case she’s absolutely going to recreate and use the Super Cheerleader Serum on herself!?

    Penny has been jealous of/frustrated by the physical boost that both Claire and Ray got from the very start, if Dark Penny can make some more of the stuff I literally can’t think why she wouldn’t no matter what her plans might be, in fact it would be weird if she didn’t…

    If it really is the power that won’t make the same thing twice, then it’s still not the end of it, as Dark Penny has already demonstrated that she has enough control to steer the power into making something similar (see the Steel and Gold Hearts as proof of that.)

    The thing is I can see that leading to disaster, as if she can recrate the original formula I can see Dark Penny not being able to stop herself tinkering with it and adding additional enhancements to the mix (like something to “improve” her looks) so undermining what made the original Cheerleader Serum so effective and opening the possibility of the updated version going haywire in a spectacular fashion, just like most Super Serums apparently do in this setting…

    If she can “only” steer the power into making something close to the Super Cheerleader Serum…well just look at the difference between the Steel and Gold hearts to see how badly that could go…

    In either case I can see Dark Penny knowing the risks/potential problems she faces but being confident she can work around them at need and/or she’ll be confident she can beat the odds…

    In either event if OG Penny dose get back into her original body, it very well may not be in the condition she left it, and this is just one scenario that could lead to that outcome…

    1. Cont...

      Dark Penny’s potentially more reckless use of her powers isn’t just a problem for her, obviously, but it’s more than just a worry about run away experiments. For example, how tempted would Claire be if Penny offered to “tune” her powers so they were more like her Mom’s?

      Oh, that reminds me of another point; quite a few people have left comments that seem to indicate they don’t think we’ll see as much of Claire and Ray in the next story, and I don’t think I agree.

      It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the events of the next book DON’T follow on directly from this last one, that in fact we may end up dealing with some level of time skip, either with the first chapter of the next book starting some months later or a chapter or so of Penny dealing with the immediate fallout as setup and then a time skip.

      Ray and Claire had to be absent for Heart of Gold’s ambush to work, they have swooped in and saved Penny one to many times, but I really don’t think they’re going to be as absent from this last adventure as some people seem to think, I also don’t think that they’re going to cotton on to the change as quickly as some people are thinking either, because I don’t think this is really about something like a “fake” Penny replacing their friend, I think BOTH OG Penny and Dark Penny are the “Real” Penelope Justice Akk, no one is more or less Penny than the other.

      There are a number of things pointing in that direction throughout the books, but the clearest indicator we might be facing something like this are Marianne’s words and actions at the end of the book, which means we aren’t really dealing with a nice clean body-jacking with one person stealing the body of another, but rather two Penny’s with equally valid claims to Penny’s life…in a sense I don’t think who the “real” Penny is, is actually down to who was there first/who we the readers met first…we’re kind of dealing with an internal clash within one person, that thanks to Mad Sciences/Superpower weirdness has been externalised in a pretty spectacular manner…

      This is just one of the reasons/scenarios that make me think there’s actually a fairly good chance that OG may never get her original body back; this being a Richards Roberts series, while we may get a Happy Ending what we’re pretty unlikely to get is a Perfect Hollywood Happy Ending, which puts all sorts of things on the table, like OG Penny not getting her body back. It’s not a certainty by any stretch of the imagination, but I can think of dozens of scenarios, all of them coming at it from different angles, so I’d also say it a real possibility here.

      If OG Penny dose get back her original body, expect there to be a heavy price attached; like I said before one way or another it may not be in the condition she left it once she gets it back, or she may permanently lose her powers (all told I think this ones, one of the more likely outcomes, all things considered, through depending on how the story goes it may not be the overwhelming tragedy it sound like) or someone close to her may end up being the one to pay the price for her…

      There is also the possibility that OG Penny might die!?
      I wouldn’t rate this one as being too likely, but it’s a real possibility, much more so that if we were dealing with another series or Author.

      Penny has been avoiding the consequences throughout this entire series, this Fifth Book is where it all comes home to roost, so things could get pretty interesting.

  24. Wow, reading through my post above; that some really tortured English, hopefully people can at least tell what I am babbling about.

  25. I... sort of don't know why I'm writing this right now, maybe I just need to vent.
    So. We all were fourteen year old self-absorbed teenagers with a horribly egocentric view of morals. We just forgot about it.
    I'm afraid I am sounding awfully judgemental here, but for me, Penny creating an A.I. based off her actual personality, stuffing it into a robot body just to elaborately confess she was playing a villain for half a year to her parents is... selfish. Badly thought through. Amoral. Not nice.
    She created a life to serve her a purpose that didn't delve into direct preservation of her own life, and I have great qualms with it, if it makes sense.
    Actually, "Good" Penny's actions were not really better, not because she hurts she protagonist of our story with them, haha, but because she takes a real person's choices out of their hands. She basically does a similar-but-different thing Penelope did to her, which oddly makes sense, since they are both nearly the same person.
    In fact, I sympathize with Evil Penny the most. She knows what she wants. She's an Id who somehow worked her way up to filling all the three positions and all she wants now is maybe go and blow some things up. I can respect that if not actually approve of it.
    Huh. They do fill in the positions of Id, Ego and Superego. Weird.
    Well, Penny did many questionable things before ( mainly in the second book ), and now one comes back to bite her... so maybe she'll take a valuable lesson out of all of it. When I read the next book, I won't be cheering on her, though.
    There will be a reckoning for this, I'm sure. There's hoping to nobody getting out of it with some terrible psychological traumas, hmm?

    1. Your right about what OG Penny did to Heart of Gold and what Heart of Gold did to OG Penny in turn; that OG Penny has been “cruel” to her is practically one of the first things the Heart of Gold say and OG Penny is forced to admit she’s right, and Heart of Gold is admitting she is doing something truly bad even as she is doing it…

      I think though that that’s kind of the point; OG Penny has been making bad choices and mistakes all through the series, and just kind of skating on the consequences of those actions…I’d say getting away with them, but she hasn’t really as they’ve been building, hanging over her head like the Sword of Damocles, waiting to fall on her…and OG Penny’s been aware of that fact at least to an extent.

      OG Penny can be thoughtless, selfish and oblivious, but she isn’t malicious. At no point does she actually set out to do real harm, it’s all just stupid teenage stuff amplified up to 11 by the presence of superpowers.

      Further, OG Penny has an instinct to help people and at least to try and do the right thing; The Inscrutable Machine has actually helped a lot of people, and left a number of situations better than when they first encountered them, and while it wasn’t part of some master plan that is mainly thanks to Penny.

      Claire and Ray didn’t just appoint Penny the leader in the first book, they also set her up as their conscience to insure they didn’t go to far, and they knew what they were doing when they did it; while her career as Bad Penny has lead her into some bad choices, things could have been so much worse so easily.

      While flawed I would say Penny is ultimately a good person, all she really needs to do is grow up, unfortunately before she had a chance to do that she was granted vast superhuman power…

      In any event the whole series has been building to that last scene, and the next book will be all about the consequences of Penny’s actions playing out; we’ll just have to see if Penny learns her lesson and what the price for it will be.

      I’d say that Penny is still worth cheering for (look at how she handled Remmy in the end) and if I had to guess she going to need everyone in her corner she can get…

    2. Oh, and did you know “dumb teenage stuff” actually has a scientific basis?

      A teenager’s brain is actually still developing, one of the areas that hasn’t fully formed yet? The area that allows people to conceptualize the idea that their actions have consequences, which is funnily enough one of the areas of the brain that is dramatically underdeveloped in the brains of sociopaths!?

      That whole teenagers feel invincible bit, is because at some fundamental level they can’t wrap their heads around the idea that the moronic stuff their doing is going to turn around and bite them…

      Not that’s a real world excuse, they all still know their being dumb asses…

  26. So here’s a little “What If”.

    What if “Evil” Penny isn’t evil at all? I’m not debating her nature (the whole Evil v. Id thing…I happen to think the latter by the by) I am saying what if she flat out isn’t the bad guy!?

    Now I know her intro wasn’t promising on that front, however I feel pretty safe saying that brief glimpse of her probably isn’t the best measure of what she actually like…small aside to illustrate my point, if you step back and think on what she’s saying, doesn’t Dark/Evil Penny sound exactly like Bad Penny trying to be tough/intimidating? Without a look at her internal dialogue I don’t think we can really know what’s going on with her there, nor do I think it was really possible for her to give a good impression under those circumstances…

    That’s by the by and beside the point; what I am saying is what if OG Penny set out to save her friends and family from “Dark” Penny and thwart her evil schemes…only to find that no ones in danger and there are no evil schemes!?

    “Dark” Penny loves her friends and family as much (if not MORE as she appreciate them more) as OG Penny does, and having pulled off the only “Evil” Scheme she had (to seize control of the body) she now perfectly content; she’s happily living the life OG Penny in a sense threw away due to her fascination with “Bad” Penny, living as “Plain” Penny (not Bad Penny or even Penultimate) a “normal” teen who just happens to have a superpower!

    This is the biggest mind-scr#w that I think the Author could throw at Penny (and us) and as such I think that that makes it, or something like it, quite likely to turn up :-)

    Even so, even though I am the one who just posted this, I am somehow not quite sold; I think we’ll end up with something different to this, though I wouldn’t be surprised if elements along these lines turned up, along with the dilemmas they’d generate…

  27. Ok, here’s another one that’s been worrying at me.

    I’ am a bit concerned by Penny’s Dad!?

    It has been established over and over again that he has a “thing” about magic, it’s been treated as funny, a weird harmless little foible, but the fact is it’s a prejudice, one strong enough that it has been shown to completely skew his way of thinking; we’ve SEEN him tie his train of thought into frankly ridicules pretzel-like knots just to avoid acknowledging magic…that isn’t actually harmless, and despite it being almost a stereotypical mindset for a Superhero Super-Scientist, it isn’t partially scientific either as he’s letting his own bias shapes he’s conclusions.

    The point is I think this might translate to him being completely unable to EVER see Penny inside the Heart Of Steel; at best he’ll see her as what the Heart Of Gold is, an artificial consciousness BASED on the memories and personality of his daughter, but he will be completely unable to acknowledge the idea that his daughter has been sucked out of her body and stored in a mechanical construct…

    I’ve also realised we don’t know if Brainy Akk can see a robot as “alive” or if for him they are all just hardware…his ability to “understand” technology may actually mean it would be hard for him to have any opinion other than the latter one…

    Funnily enough I don’t see anything like this kind of problem with Penny’s Mom…which could result in a whole other set of problems…maybe a family split by prejudice!?

  28. Whew. Now that I've slept for seven hours, I can drop my judgemental level by over forty percent!😀
    I, too, think Dark Penny isn't evil. That doesn't amount to anything, though. She has violent tendencies that no one restricts in her new situation, because this was the Real Penny's job all the time since she'd acquired her superpowers.
    As Penny demonstrates again and again, you don't have to be a mean person to hurt other people by your actions. Smashing the Heart of Gold wasn't cool, though.
    What I meant by "not cheering" is that I really won't feel to bad for Penny if she, for example, wins only to be grounded until she's twenty. She probably deserves it by now. 🙃
    The weird thing about heroing is that doing good doesn't absolve you from your less savory actions on some huge cosmic scale. You either try to be a hero because that's what you believe in and screw up as little as possible or you don't.
    I think Penny really does believe in helping people, because, as you correctly mentioned, she also demonstrates it time and again throughout the books.
    What I find grating and disturbingly funny is that right before she hatches her plan, she's given an apt demonstration of interaction between an original person and his copies. They weren't exactly one big, happy family. And she went with her plan anyway. I understand, I think. Gold Penny says she's really, really afraid her parents will be so mad they'll disown her. Strangely enough, she seems to agree, even without that driving fear.
    So, let me sum up (again): I don't want Penny to lose. No one deserves to be stuck in a robot body against their will while their Dark Side is running amok, blowing things up, playing your video games and possibly kissing your boyfriend. Or girlfriend. Ahem.
    However, she really stands to learn some lessons, so I don't want her to win, either. In which, by "winning" I mean "return to her body without parents ever finding out and giving her a piece of their minds".
    Hah. Maybe I need to sleep a little more.

    1. Well whatever else happens I seriously don’t think you have to worry about Penny “getting away” with it again, that boat has well and truly sailed and I am pretty sure it only happened in the first three books to give this last one more punch…the first three set the pattern, this one smashed it and the next one is when we’ll really see what’s what ;-)