The Book That Saved the Earth is an imaginary story that is set in the twenty-fifth century at The Museum of Ancient History. In this story, Boiko cautions the readers against the danger of people who think highly of themselves but have little knowledge about things. The Notes carry here a summary, the possible themes and a chracter sketch of chracters.
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Broadly, The Book That Saved the Earth can be divided into:
- The Era of the Book
- Think-Tank and Noodle
- Space Probe Contacted
- Talk between Think-Tank and his Crew on Earth
- Books as ‘Sandwiches’
- Think-Tank’s Take on ‘Sandwiches’
- Vitamins for Increasing Intelligence
- What ‘Sandwiches’ mean to Think-Tank
- Nursery Rhyme as ‘New Information’
- Think-Tank’s Meaning about Earthlings
The Era of the Book
- The play begins with the historian welcoming the audience to the department of the twentieth century.
- The twentieth century, she says, was also known as the Era of the Book.
- In this era, people read books about everything.
- It was a book that saved the Earth from invasion.
- She, then, shows the audience what had happened.
Think-Tank and Noodle
- The commander-in-chief of Martian forces – Think-Tank – was sitting in the control room of Mars Space Control. He was arrogant and thought highly of himself.
- His apprentice Noodle stood beside him.
- Think-Tank believed that Earth and its inhabitants were nothing compared to his might.
- He was planning to invade Earth before his lunchtime. A space probe had been sent to Earth for a scouting mission and Think-Tank wanted updates.
Space Probe Contacted
- Think-Tank commanded Noodle to bring him his mirror. He asked the mirror who the most intelligent person on their land was.
- The mirror hesitantly replied that it was Think-Tank.
- Satisfied, Think-Tank commands Noodle to contact the space probe sent to earth.
Talk between Think-Tank and his Crew on Earth
- Noodle located the space probe and, on Think-Tank’s orders, initiated voice contact with the team on board. The team comprised Captain Omega, Lieutenant Iota and Sergeant Oop.
- Captain Omega confirmed that her team had landed on Earth and taken shelter.
- She, however, was slightly unsure of their location. Lieutenant Iota believed they were in a storage shed. Sergeant Oop thought it was a clothes shop.
- He, further, added that he had never seen such a place in seven galaxies.
- Lieutenant Omega asks for Think-Tank’s great input.
Books as ‘Sandwiches’
- Think-Tank confidently informed them that they were in a food stall and the object they were holding was a sandwich.
- He asked them to take a bite out of it for confirmation.
- Lieutenant Omega commanded Lieutenant Iota to eat the sandwich who in turn commanded Sergeant Oop who took a bite with great difficulty.
- At this point, Noodle remembered something. He suggested that it could be a communication device.
Think-Tank’s Take on ‘Sandwiches’
- Think-Tank seized upon the idea. He told the space probe team that it could be a communication device and commanded them to listen.
- The team pressed their ears to the book. Nothing happened.
- Noodle, again, remembered something. He now suggests that it could be a form of eye communication device.
- Think-Tank commanded the space team to open a bright, colourful book. The team picked up a book named Mother Goose.
Vitamins for Increasing Intelligence
- The space probe team – on opening the book – believed it was written in code. But they could not understand it.
- Think-Tank thought it was vital for them to crack the code.
- Noodle suggested that the team use intelligence vitamins provided to them at the time of the mission.
- Think-Tank commands them to take the vitamins.
- The team take vitamins. They look at the book and start laughing.
What ‘Sandwiches’ Mean to Think-Tank
- They read a few lines aloud from a rhyme.
- Think-Tank alarmed, believed that the earthlings have invented the technology to combine agriculture with mining. He told Noodle to halt the invasion fleet.
- The team read a few more lines.
- Now, Think-Tank believed that earthlings have taught their pets intelligence. He told Noodle to ask the invasion fleet to pull back.
Nursery Rhyme as ‘New Information’
- The team read the next lines. They showed Think-Tank the picture in the book.
- Humpty Dumpty looked like Think-Tank.
- Think-Tank was alarmed. He believed the earthlings knew of his plan and were coming for him.
- He commanded Noodle to get his ship ready. He advised the probe team to leave Earth immediately.
- The historian smiled with amusement. It was an ordinary nursery rhyme book that saved the earth from being invaded.
Think-Tank’s meaning about Earthlings
- Five hundred years later, Earth made contact with Mars.
- The wise Noodle had by then replaced Think-Tank.
- The Earthlings showed the Martians how to read a book. They set up libraries in Mars. The Martians read many books but there was one book they never opened.
- The historian smiled and bowed out.
The major theme of the chapter is Half-fed Knowledge is Dangerous:
- The author describes the theme of ‘Half-fed Knowledge is Dangerous’ through the character of Think-Tank.
- Think-Tank interprets books in the most unusual and ridiculous ways.
- Considering his incomplete knowledge of things, he calls the library a crude refreshment stand and calls books, and sandwiches.
- Think-Tank and his crew’s mission to invade the earth eventually results in evacuating the Martians themselves due to Think-Tank’s incomplete knowledge and misinterpretation of the nursery rhyme book.
The story provides a brief glimpse into the following characters:
- Captain Omega, Lieutenant Iota and Sergeant Oop
Know-It-All: Think Tank considers himself the ruler of Mars and believes that he is very knowledgeable. He considers books to be communication sandwiches and enjoys praise and authority.
Braggart: Think Tank does not miss an opportunity to brag about his intelligence and power. He needs constant reassurance of the same, and smacks the mirror for it delays in complimenting him.
Intelligent: Although Think Tank’s apprentice, Noodle is more intelligent and possesses better leadership qualities than Think Tank himself.
Modest: Though Noodle is the one to make all the intelligent decisions, he makes sure that Think Tank gets all the praise, because he is Think Tank’s apprentice.
Captain Omega, Lieutenant Iota and Sergeant Oop
Obedient: They are the other members of the crew. They are obedient followers of their captain.
Flattering: The three of them do not fail to praise Think-Tank as he admires flattery.
Dumb: The three of them merely follow Think-Tank’s orders without really thinking.