Roderick wasn’t exactly happy, but at least he was holding down a job, even if it was only as a bowl-washer at Danton’s Doggie Dinette. He didn’t know they were out to get him. He didn’t know that in the whole wide world of lunatic game-shows, maniacal religious cults, tentacular business corporations, murderous governments, crazy consumerism and pill-popping people, there was no place for one mild-mannered robot.
Phenomenally inventive, bitingly satirical, a masterpiece of modern comic writing, Roderick at Random is the second dazzling novel by John Sladek to feature the more-and-less-than-human robot.
From the vaults of The SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to the razor-sharp wit of John Sladek.
An important voice in the New Wave movement, Sladek had stories published in Harlan Ellison’s seminal anthology, DANGEROUS VISIONS, as well as in Michael Moorcock’s ground-breaking NEW WORLDS magazine. Perhaps best known for the ambitious robot tales RODERICK and RODERICK AT RANDOM, he is now recognized as one of SF’s most brilliant satirists. This omnibus collects novels THE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM, THE MULLER-FOKKER EFFECT and BSFA AWARD-winning TIK-TOK.
THE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM: Wompler’s Walking Babies aren’t selling like they used to, so the company develops Project 32, producing self-replicating mechanisms designed to repair inter-cellular breakdowns. But then the metal boxes begin crawling about the laboratory, feeding voraciously on metal and multiplying…
THE MULLER-FOKKER EFFECT: Bob Shairp – a writer and dreamer – has agreed to be a guinea-pig in a military experiment to find out if his personality can be turned into data and stored on computer. But a computing error quickly destroys Shairp’s physical body, leaving his mind stranded in an encoded world. Can the process be reversed?
TIK-TOK: Something has gone very seriously wrong with Tik-Tok’s ‘asimov circuits’. They should keep him on the straight and narrow, following Asimov’s First Law of Robotics: ‘a robot shall not injure a human being, or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm.’ But they don’t. While maintaining the outward appearance of a mild-mannered robot, albeit one with artistic tendencies and sympathy for the robot rights movement, Tik-Tok’s real agenda is murderously different. He seems intent on injuring – preferably fatally – as many people as possible. Almost inevitably, a successful career in crime and general mayhem leads to a move into politics and Tik-Tok becomes the first robot candidate for Vice President of the United States.