The Plot

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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.

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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 return home without discovering explanations. The next mornings headlines reveal that the test subject, Tsuchida Susuma, has been murdered. ICT I still can read his mind, however, and the information that it reveals implicates Professor Katsumi himself in the murder.

Meanwhile, other complications develop. Katsumis wife is forced to have an abortion, and a laboratory is found where fetuses are being turned into aquatic beings. The computer predicts a climactic shift, Inter Ice Age 4, that will put Earths surface under water; hence the need for aquatic adaptation of humans. It becomes evident that during this inter ice age to come, humans will be faced with two choices: to resort to something of a reverse evolution—back to fins and gills—or to drown and be obliterated in the process. Neither horn of the dilemma is palatable.

As layers of unanswered...

(The entire section contains 568 words.)

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