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Summary

We left Code of the Lifemaker with Karl Zambendorf and his zany team remaining at the Terran base on Titan, awaiting the arrival of the Japanese mission due in six months. The industrial and commercial interests that sought to exploit the race of intelligent, bipedal robots known as the Taloids have been foiled, and the scientific groups are immersing themselves in learning more about the peculiar world of living, evolving machines. In particular, they are eager to find clues to the long-lost alien race that must have originated the technology from which the out-of-control self-replicating jungle proliferating across Titan's surface was spawned.

All goes well until strange blocks of code are discovered in some of the computer banks, which seem unrelated to any of the currently operative "ecological" processes, but have been passed down in a dormant state from generation to generation of machines from the remote, ancient era when it all began. Terran scientists succeed in reactivating the ancient codes, and are astounded to find themselves communicating with cognizant intelligences residing in the alien systems.

The intelligences, however, originating from a very different kind of culture, are not at all pleased with their situation of being confined in machines and seek control of Titan's technical resources as a means of freeing themselves. This leads to conflict with the Terran-Taloid faction, which partly as a result of naivety on the part of scientists disdainful of help from Zambendorf, whom they still regard as a charlatan, culminates in a bizarre invasion of Earth by encoded entities from Titan entering its communications net and effectively shutting it down. Zambendorf saves the day in the end, of course. The alien intelligences might be technically advanced and super-rational. But this makes them also totally materialistic and mechanistic--totally unprepared for the "higher" realms of the spiritual, the mystical, and the transcendental, which are Zambendorf's stock in trade.

 
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