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The hugely powerful and pervasive presence of the Colossus supercomputer mechanically runs Earth and its myriad operations. Managed by its creator, Dr. Charles Forbin, it is incapable of lies and void of human emotion. It is not a robot and not human. As part of its brief to enhance the human race, it runs eerie emotion research centres, authorizing acts of savagery to measure resistance and feeling. Art and abstract creation are banned, and surveillance is constant. No one is free. The power of Colossus is spiralling out of control. The Sect worship it as a God, enforcing its word at every opportunity and seeking out traitors. The Fellowship secretly oppose it as a force of evil, and they risk their lives in a concentrated effort to destroy it and escape its domination. Meanwhile, as Forbin becomes increasingly disillusioned with what he has unleashed on the world, his wife, Cleo, becomes distant, with disastrous consequences.