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At the risk of spoiling the joke, "Klaatu barada nikto" was a password that deactivated the world-destroying robot Gort in the classic science-fiction movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951).
Behind the Curtain: I wanted to go for a gag here with the three books, but couldn't quite figure out how to pull it off. The joke would've been that the first book is some turgid "heavy" tome that most people are reluctant to read--something like War and Peace or Joyce's Ulysses. The second book is a piece of "light" reading--maybe a children's book. The third "just right" book I couldn't come up with anything I liked. To work as a tight gag, the three books would ideally be thematically related, and even better would reflect something about the story or characters--for example, something to do with robots, science or superheroes. So:
CONTEST TIME! In this post's Comments, suggest titles for the three books. They should be actual books that people know, not funny names you make up. I'm the judge and jury, and I'm not obliged to declare a winner. But if anyone comes up with three book titles I like enough to use, I'll send them an original drawing of the Robot and Inventor Sparky, and remember to mention them in the acknowledgements of any future print or e-book incarnations (if any) of "The Last Mechanical Monster."
I'll be interested to see how this goes (or doesn't)!
UPDATE: The contest is over and I think went pretty well! See Page 142 for details, and thanks again.