A huge and bullying software vendor branches into food technology, bringing shrink-wrapped user agreements and techno-menace to outdoor cooking.
The Wholly Grill is just the first of many odious puns foisted on helpless end-users by ThinkSoft, a giant Silicon Valley firm bearing more than casual resemblance to a certain real-life Redmond, Washington, corporation in a mostly amusing sendup of software’s darker side. Flooding the mails with sirloin tips sealed in Saran Wrap like so many CDs, ThinkSoft hopes to hook a barbecue-loving America on a seamless system of hardware and software that includes laser-fired, Internet controlled grills and special crystal-embedded roasts and sausages. The catch? Well, there are many, but the first is most familiar to anyone who has ever dabbled in computing. Just clawing at the he plastic to get your hands on the CD, or—in this case—the brisket, binds the user to an ironclad agreement that he will not even think of using the old Weber Kettle or anything but ThinkSoft’s own sauce on anything but ThinkSoft meat. But, of course, fat, lonely, bachelor and credit-card victim Lenny Milton, when he can’t get his brand-new Wholly Grill to make the modem connection and fire up the lasers, reaches for the charcoal and very quickly incurs the mighty wrath of ThinkSoft. He would be squashed like a bug were it not for the interest of Edwin G. Ostermyer, the quintessence of West Coast Geraldo–savvy legal maneuvering, Ostermyer’s blue-blooded but action craving young assistant Will Swanson, and ravishing technical industry reporter Persi Valentino. While Persi, invisible in janitorial uniform, scopes out ThinkSoft’s HQ, Will frantically works the legal angles, and Edwin works on many levels on his expert witness, a sexy psychiatrist. The action ratchets up when Lenny’s beloved Chihuahua is blinded in a barbecue catastrophe for which ThinkSoft must surely, surely accept culpability. On the way to the climax, there will be an important appearance by Saint Tostada, a mythic force in the South Bay long before Larry Ellison arrived.
The perfect gift for everyone who has ever cursed Windows. A not insignificant market.