The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Inter Ice Age 4 is a thought-provoking, futuristic novel exploring the complications brought about by the development of a computer that can predict the future. As the novel begins, a computer that can make political predictions, named Moscow I, already has been developed. Professor Katsumi, at the Institute for Computer Technique (ICT), wants to build a similar machine of his own. He succeeds, and to parallel the Moscow machine, he names his machine ICT I. Frightened of the possible repercussions, the Japanese government bans application of the machine to any questions with political overtones. When Katsumi asks ICT I what to do, it suggests that it be tested on an individual because the government should not object to such a small-scale test.

When Katsumis computer and its program are ready to be tested, the computer gives instructions that the person chosen to test the program must not know that he or she is being sought and that selection is to be random. It is determined ahead of time, by random choice, that the person will be male. Other “standards” dictate someone of “ordinary” appearance, but otherwise the choice, to be made by Katsumi and his colleague Tanomogi, is to be random.

Katsumi and Tanomogi decide on a man they see in a small cafe. When the man leaves, they follow him to an apartment building, where they observe some unexplained shadows of two men and a woman through the window. As the hour grows late, they...

(The entire section is 516 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Hardin, N.S. “An Interview with Abe Kb,” in Contemporary Literature. XV (1974), pp. 438-456.

Kimball, Arthur G. Crisis in Identity and Contemporary Japanese Novels, 1973.

Williams, Phillip. “Absurdity and Kb Abe’s Art,” in Journal of the English Institute. III/IV (1972), pp. 129-143.

Yamanouchi, Hisaaki. The Search for Authenticity in Modern Japanese Literature, 1978.