Heinlein's Gay Deciever - In LEGO® Bricks  

"He's a Mad Scientist and I'm his Beautiful Daughter."

That's the way Robert A. Heinlein began The Number of the Beast, my all-time favorite book. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's the story of four geniuses exploring the universes in a suped up Ford. (Okay, that's a gross oversimplicification, but it'll do for the purpose of this page.)

The Ford in question (or, slightly more corectly: The computer/auto-pilot who runs the Ford in question) is named "Gay Deceiver" - and it's quite a ship. The first time we meet her, she's asked to do a lot more than the stuff rolling off the assembly lines today.

    "It says here that duos must stay grounded inside city limits - so I was lifting her nose before she had rolled a meter and she was pointed straight up as we were clearing the parking lot.
     Half a klick straight up while the gee meter climbed - two, three, four - I let it reach five and held it, not being sure what Pop's heart would take. When the altimeter read four klicks, I cut everything - power, transponder, the works - while hitting a button that dropped chaff, and let her go ballistic. I didn't know that anyone was tracking us - I didn't want to find out.
     When the altimeter showed that we had topped out, I let the wings open a trifle. When I felt them bite air, I snap-rolled onto her belly, let wings crawl out to subsonic aspect and let her glide."
- Page 21

Gay Deceiver? God, I hoped not.Exciting, no? But there was a slight problem. I like to visualize what I'm reading - and there was no description of what Gay looked like. I was left with the horrible half-image of a space-age ChittyChittyBangBang - a goofy looking car with wings. Although there were hints here and there of how Heinlein envisioned Gay, he avoided locking in any of the major details.

The book covers were a possible source of relief - the three versions I owned each had an "artist's rendering" of Gay. Sadly, they didn't match up with what little description Heinlein did decide to include. Oh, they sort of looked right - but some of the story details weren't possible with the depictions they chose. Maybe I'm expecting too much from a book cover. Maybe.


Of the three, the 1989 version is truest to the text, but the wings and windows are still questionable.

Then, one fateful day: "I'm reasonably clever," I thought. "Perhaps I could make my own version of Gay Deceiver and finally get over this stupid need to figure out what she looks like."

Thus I had a goal - to uncover the design of the ship - one as true to the source text as I could manage.

My first hurdle was to chose a medium. My drawing skills aren't bad, but I'm no technical illustrator. Paint had the same limitations. Somehow a sucky doodle on a napkin just wasn't going to cut it.

Ah...but what about sculpture? That I could probably do with a level of style.

And I already had several metric tons of LEGO bricks.

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