Chapter 1 Summary

Twin brothers Sandy and Dennys Murry return home following a snow-interrupted hockey practice. They find no one at home, so they they fix a snack and go out to their mother’s lab. Mrs. Murry is a theoretical biochemist; Mr. Murry is a leading astrophysicist. Mrs. Murry regularly uses her lab to fix dinner so as not to have to interrupt her work. Sandy and Dennys discuss the work load of their sister, Meg. They wonder if theirs will be equally as challenging, Sandy as a lawyer and Dennys as a doctor.

The boys notice their father’s new computer, complete with extra keys to work in Greek, Hebrew, and Cyrillic. Lamenting the cold conditions in their pre-Revolutionary home, Dennys types on the computer: “TAKE ME SOMEPLACE WARM.” Sandy questions the wisdom of messing with the computer but gives in and types, “SOMEPLACE WARM AND SPARSELY POPULATED.” Dennys adds, “LOW HUMIDITY.” They decide to go fix some hot cocoa. As they open the door of the lab, They notice a sign that warns, “EXPERIMENT IN PROGRESS. PLEASE KEEP OUT.” They wonder that they did not see this sign upon entering. They open the door to return to the kitchen, but the kitchen is not there. Instead, they encounter a dense mist accompanied by a blast of heat. Thinking it is a fire, Sandy yells at his twin to get a fire extinguisher, but Dennys cannot see anything because of the fog. They hear a sonic boom followed by silence. They look around and see that the house has disappeared.

Sandy and Dennys find themselves in a desert covered with white sand and blazing sunlight. They wonder if they have been transported to another planet through one of their father’s experiments. They realize that this place fits the criteria they had typed on the computer. The boys strip down to their underwear and begin to travel across the sand toward what they believe is a palm tree.

Suddenly the earth shakes and a cliff rises from the sand. Seeking shelter in its...

(The entire section is 506 words.)