Summary[edit | edit source]
Benny is informed by the Assistant Librarian that Jason has several overdue library books. As she leaves the library, a man bumps into her and apologises.
At lunch, Benny tells Jason about the books, but he is evasive. Therefore, she later searches through his belongings and finds the books in question. One of the books, which apparently is not a library book, is by a Dr Jonas Neak. It is a literary critique of Jason's xenopornographic novels. Benny notes that the picture on the jacket is of the same man who bumped into her at the library. Suddenly she hears a noise, and the same man is standing in the doorway. He runs off.
Later, Benny confronts Jason with what she has learned. Dr Neak, as well as a few others, are literary critics of Jason's work, and not only are their names anagrams of Jason's, they all look surprisingly like him. Jason explains.
One day at a reception Jason had been introduced to a literature professor. She was contemptuous of his work. So he created a fictitious literary critic, Dr Jonas Neak, who wrote a paper praising Jason's work. Next thing he knew, his publishers informed him that his sales had gone up slightly. Jason, as "Neak", wrote more articles, and then he invented several other critics and their works as well.
Then Jason faced a dilemma. His critics have been invited to a seminar at the Collection. To solve his problem, he commissioned two self-aware androids, one to play Dr Neak and one to play Professor Arsenio W Cockshaft. The Neak android is the one whom Benny has encountered twice.
At the seminar, moderated by Dr R J Plempth, things are going surprisingly well. Benny thinks the androids are too obviously Jason, but no one else seems to have noticed. Jason is holding his own, when Dr Plempth receives a message that another literary critic, Dr Ken J Aason has arrived. Dr Aason takes the stage, and Benny can see that Jason is flabbergasted to see him.
Dr Aason accuses Neak and Cockshaft of being androids and fakes. They admit to it, and the seminar ends. Jason's publishers hand out a statement denying knowledge of the fraud, and Jason has to cancel his book-signing tour.
A few days later, Benny meets with the three androids. Aason admits that he and the other two were hired by the competitors to Jason's publishers. In return for disrupting Jason's sales, they will be downloaded into permanent bodies. There was also an element of revenge against Jason, for creating self-aware androids that wouldn't be permanent. However, Benny points out to them that they have all of Jason's memories up to the point where he created the androids, so they are responsible for the decision too.
Characters[edit | edit source]
- Bernice Summerfield
- Jason Kane
- Dr Jonas Neak
- Assistant Librarian
- Professor Arsenio W Cockshaft
- Dr R J Plempth
- Dr Ken J Aason
References[edit | edit source]
- Neak's book is titled Towards a Pornographics of First Contact: Probing and Delving the Fiction of Jason Kane.
- Jason got his androids from ProxyMation Corporation.
- Dr Armbruister is the senior librarian on the Collection.
- Benny meets Jason for lunch at Café Vosta.
- Velvet Mandible is Jason's publishing firm. Palp Fiction is their chief rival.
Notes[edit | edit source]
to be added