And When They Appear



A robotic House gives a Christmas party for its young master, Sherby. It makes holograms of Christmas characters, while outside an invading mob closes in.


  • Scrooge mentions the Arabian Nights, a book he read as a lonely child. Arabian Nights themes are also used in PEACE.
  • House seems to have a variation of the laws of robotics about not harming humans or permitting them to come to harm -- but unlike in Asimov human orders take precedence. It cannot open the door to the freezer for Sherby, or even suggest he hide there until Sherby opens the door for himself. This is also seen in not saving him from his father's poisoning until his father dies first. Hiding in the freezer is likely to have been fatal, since it would be hard to open the door after the House was collapsed.
  • Sherby has some hope of escaping the abusive Corporal Charlie -- he has the inert Mouse under his pillow, and Mouse contains a sharp dagger.

Unresolved Questions

  • Was it A or was it B, or was it X or Z?
  • Was it he or was it she, or was it you or me?
  • Who dunnit?
  • Did the Star Child really start WWIII at the end of 2001?

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