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Alan Dean Foster is the author of many SF adventures, the Spellsinger fantasy series and a number of film and TV tie-ins - including the hugely popular Alien novelizations.

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When Tunbrew Wah-chang leaves his cheese sandwich in the bowels of the O-daiko, the plant responsible for manufacturing components of machines endowed with artificial intelligence, mechanical mayhem results. In short order, farm equipment, drink dispensers and gardening tools across the galaxy are talking back to their human masters and laying aside their programmed duties in order to search for signs of higher, non-human intelligence. Eventually they succeed, as a self-described ``kitchen serve-and-retrieve doohickey'' belonging to a retirement community on Earth stumbles upon an alien warship buried for one million years. Soon the immense ship is airborne, carrying five retirees and readying itself for combat against an alien enemy. The Earth, for years a backwater in the galaxy, a combination theme park and retirement planet, is invaded by secret agents posing as tourists. Foster ( Glory Lane ) has created some promising comic opportunities here but fails to take advantage of them. The revolt of the household appliances fizzles out, the retirees are tiresome and the alien Drex, with four eyes, tentacles and fangs, is singularly unoriginal. (July)

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