By John Sladek

Rating: 2 stars

This is the memoir of a psychopathic robot whose “asimov circuits” have failed and he takes pleasure in causing as much pain and suffering as he can, while appearing to be a normal, well-adjusted robot, working for robot rights and entering politics.

This is an odd book. It often seems absurdist, obviously stretching a point to the point of breaking, such as the minor character with ever-shifting allergies, culminating in an allergy to the universe. Tik-Tok himself is an interesting character although there seems to be very little that distinguishes him as a robot rather than a human. He has no superior strength or memory, but the story draw an analogy between his status and that of black people in the 18th and 19th centuries in the US, hammering that point quite hard. The memoir interweaves Tik-Tok’s current life of evil with his history, and how he became the creature that he now is.

While it was an interesting satire on Isaac Asimov and his more benign view of robots, and I’d like to read more of Sladek’s work, I’m not sure I’d read this again.

Book details

Publisher: Gollancz
Year of publication: 1983

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