A Novella, written February 23, 2012, imagining a more pleasant 2020.

Didier Faux-Nom was born in 1995 in the French village of
Roubaix, just north and west of Lille. To everyone who met the young
boy, it was evident that fate had smiled upon him. This impression
was either the result of his roundish, perfectly symmetric face and jet
black hair with the little flip in front or the magic that was failing to
hide behind his big brown eyes.

Studies at university in France, including some training in
classic French cooking and later engineering graduate work in the
The United States went well but didn’t seem to fulfill the expectations of
Didier, or for that matter, anyone who knew him well. From the time
he was a schoolboy, he was captivated by the idea that he heard
attributed to Bernard of Chartres, the twelfth-century Neo-Platonist
French philosopher and later Issac Newton. “Standing on the
shoulders of giants”, seemed to Didier to be a free ticket to fame and
fortune.

Destiny has a way of always finding its moment, sometimes
delayed although inevitable, like the sound of breaking glass after a bottle
slips from your hand. Early one morning in June of the year 2015,
with the sun shining brightly through an eastern window, Didier
awoke with a vivid image burned into his brain as if he had been
staring at it all night; a device built by a master pastry chef and
master engineer. Didier, or something inside him, had invented the
3D cake printer.

Didier was well versed in 3D printers, devices that create three-dimensional objects from a set of digital instructions. In a process
sometimes call additive manufacturing, objects are made by adding
layers one at a time which fuse together, sometimes using laser-induced changes known as selective laser sintering. Didier’s
breakthrough was understanding that he could formulate special
cake batters and sugary icing particles that his printers could deposit
as needed.

Also, by modulating the power of the laser, his printers
could heat regions of sugar very precisely and cook them to candy
stages of threads, to soft ball, or hard crack providing both decorative
and structural elements to the finished products.

The news media first made famous the name Faux-Nom in
September of 2016 when Didier presented a creation at the birthday
party of a friend’s young son. The PR machinery worked well in
advance, so the party was about 50–50 ten-year-old boys and
reporters. Dramatically unveiled on a table in the center of the room,
was a three-foot-long model of a 1929 Rolls-Royce Springfield
Phantom I. Upon close inspection, it became clear that this detailed
model was, in fact, a cake created by Didier’s new printer.

Jaws dropped, cameras clicked, and forks were lifted in
anticipation. Still, few people in the room could see the greatness
that was Didier Faux-Nom. If they had really looked beyond the
still-around childish face and into those sparkling eyes, they would
not have been so surprised by what happened next. The birthday boy,
who had been coached by Didier ahead of time, walked over to the
Rolls-Royce cake and starting moving parts. The cake was a
“Transformer” and with a few quick moves that could only be
mastered by a ten-year-old boy, the car magically morphed into a giant
four foot tall Mechanical Godzilla. Or, more accurately, a giant
Mechanical Godzilla cake. After another round of jaws dropping even
closer to the floor followed by more photos and videos, boys and reporters devoured the cake. It was, as you may have
already guessed, really good.

Didier’s printer was performing wonders with tasty cake batter,
structural hard sugar elements like gears and joints, and just
the right amount of buttery frosting formulated in some places as a
lubricant and in others for, well, flavor. As Didier was fond of
saying, “Any good and imaginative programmer can make an
interesting, functional, and tasty cake.”

Indeed, fame and fortune came to Didier as he expected. A
charitable man with a good heart, he always looked for ways to
pay back or pay forward. He was generous in his support of
community schools and centers for vocational training. To promote
economic recovery through education, Didier’s publicly-traded
company made a 2018 donation to a Detroit training center
graduation. It was, of course, a cake. A life-sized working replica of a
Chevy twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V-6 racing engine,
complete with see-through windows made from sugar, providing a
clear view of the pistons moving up and down inside.

But that wasn’t the remarkable thing that day. After all,
Didier was on a quest to make Steve Jobs look like a slouch. For on
that day, for the first time, the computer controller running the
model was also a CAKE! Didier’s mega-company had perfected Ptype
and N-type semiconductor cake batters required to make actual
cake transistors. Using primary Sodium and Chlorine compounds
derived from ordinary table salt, and imitating Sodium Channels and
Chloride channels that are common to the neurological systems of all
life forms, the new company starting laying out complete sets of
edible solid-state electronic components and eventually devices
called “Comfooder Processors.”

In 2020, the company was renamed US Bakeries and Robotics,
and started producing a fantastic array of intelligent, fully
functional, self-replicating robots that were quite tasty and not too
high in calories.

By standing on the shoulders of others, Didier had become the
giant that he always wanted to be and proudly announced that his
edible, self-replicating robot race would soon solve the world hunger problem forever.

Well, either that or the robots would turn sinister and take over
the world. But that’s a whole other novel.

Author of "A Musing Read" https://amzn.com/1981402497 Friendly but grumpy, common sense advocate. Mix of math, science, imagination, and humor.