Rollie Moon expects nothing more than a full tank of gas when he pulls his Saturn into the Flying J truck stop. Instead, he ends up being conscripted to help the inhabitants of Orion's Belt thwart an invasion by Eridanusans. As much as he resents this uninvited interruption to his life, Rollie falls for Silvie, the alien assigned to work with him. Silvie likewise succumbs to Rollie's charms (as well as Earthling consumerism).
With cultures literally light years apart and a mission to fulfill, Rollie and Silvie strive to keep their mutual attraction in check. They face a multitude of outside complications as well, including Alfie Omega, a Fornaxian (and thus an Eridanusan henchman), whose goal is to infiltrate the Belters' plans but whose personal interests center around karaoke. Meanwhile, Cash Cracken — an Alliance hero bitter over being left out of George Lucas' documentaries — serendipitously lands on Earth. His appearance is fortunate because he has the ability to aid Silvie and Rollie but unfortunate insofar as Rollie considers him a rival for Silvie's affections. More importantly, Cash knows a secret about Silvie that changes everything.
Alas, Rollie must decide whether to let Silvie go for the greater good of the galaxy or do everything within his power to keep her in his life.
Of course, Earth itself faces great dangers — everything from a nanovirus and accelerated decline in its magnetic field to an earlier-than-forecast collision between the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies.
Ultimately, it's all about the music.
What happens when the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies merge? An instantaneous conflagration? Not when you can sneak through a black hole. Someone, of course, needs to come to the forefront to lead others who are shaken to their cores when they emerge from the “other end.”
In this “instance,” Mickey Wittgen and Jansky Stein step forward to help guide the planet of Google in the new Milkomeda Galaxy. Helping — or hindering — their efforts are the members of the 5G. Alas, there are wrinkles in any matrix.
Among the sweeping majority of those being led is former Sandia National Laboratories employee Simon Derryberry, who still harbors guilt for having been slow to announce an asteroid hurtling toward former Earth. Could circumstances in the New New World spur him to become a hero? Perhaps, with a little help from his friends, such as neighbor Cregz Liszt and Andromeway receptionist Trending Bluffdale.
Meanwhile, one would be shortsighted to overlook the influence of Google’s poet laureate, Algore Rhythms, who seems to be in tune with (and, thus, find humor in) the machinations that comprise the world as we don’t know it.
With all these forces in play, one could expect an ultimate showdown when Googlicans perceive a betrayal of their trust in Wittgen and Stein. There being no OK Corral on Google, one could further expect the ultimate showdown to take place in a courtroom where the defendants’ lives lay in the balance.
Just like the Old New World, the New New World revolves around “isms,” theories, math and music.
Oh, and let’s not forget the monkeys.
Six years ago, the United States Congress passed legislation requiring counties with populations of 750,000 or more to establish communities in which citizens with age-related cognitive impairment “could live together in a safe and welcoming environment.”
Under the philosophically grounded wisdom of its CEO and culturally nurtured instinct for aesthetics of its curator, Victor and Vanta Black, Cerebelland 7 in Maryland’s Prince George’s County stood out as the premier model for a network of communities stretching across the country.
Taking advantage of the inevitable bureaucracy of all governmental systems, Erich Zomboryzsendovic enters Cerebelland 7 as a resident under “false pretenses.” To his credit, however, he decides to atone for the deception by inspiring and then championing the spirits of Cerebellanders, while entertaining them and himself. Thus he uses Victor Black’s suggestion box to propose an in-house theater company that could explode everyone’s expectations of senior citizens with tau-tangled cerebrums.
Among those whom Erich recruits for a theater crew are (by former occupations) Ellem Enopy, an editor with an undeniably peccadilloish nature; Windsor Poppet, a shoe designer who believes he has been selected by extraterrestrials to negotiate an interplanetary trade pact; Jinky Trueblood, a handyman transferred to Cerebelland 7 after mistaking a fellow resident’s beagle for his own; Laurel Yanni, a chef/restaurateur who harbors guilt over her inability to remember details of life with her late wife; Ophira Oulipo, a homemaker who flourishes her speech with French phrases; and Knox Sheffield, a music producer who kept copious notes even when his memory was fully intact.
All of these individuals come together as a force, and the theater company’s inaugural production gains unprecedented stature — especially when the president of the United States uses the opening-night production to make an announcement that stands to change the lives of Cerebellanders, their families — and everyone else around the world.
Cerebelland presents society’s potential if compassion triumphs over politics (nevertheless acknowledging politics as a force), respect inspires resiliency, and encouragement conquers fear. With a mission to inspire, the novel — at its core — addresses a timely and pointed question: Does loss of memory define life?
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