The Complete Roderick MOBI Õ The Complete Kindle -

The Complete Roderick MOBI Õ The Complete Kindle -


  • Paperback
  • 624 pages
  • The Complete Roderick
  • John Sladek
  • English
  • 25 August 2016
  • 9781857983401

10 thoughts on “The Complete Roderick

  1. Manny Manny says:

    Hello Roderick HELLO MANNY Tell me who you are Roderick I AM A ROBOT I AM THE MAIN CHARACTER IN A NOVEL BY JOHN SLADEK Okay Roderick and what is the novel about? IT IS ABOUT ME That's true Roderick but what else is it about? IT IS ABOUT HOW MACHINES ARE LIKE PEOPLE AND HOW PEOPLE ARE LIKE MACHINES Very good Roderick Now tell me how you are like a personThe rest of this review is available elsewhere the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons


  2. Ben Ben says:

    I had high hopes for this when I picked it up for a start I had not been disappointed by anything from the SF Masterworks series The blurb gave the impression that I would be reading something along the lines of Isaac Isimov's many books on robots or Brian Aldiss' Supertoys Last All Summer Long Instead what I got was a rather boring story filled with farcical characters making psuedo satirical comments on the state on the state of human nature or our current society in artificial and ridiculous situations Large chunks of the book read as poor imitations of Rober Anton Wilson's Illuminatus' Trilogy particulaly the mishmash of dialogues between recurring characters in social gatheringsSadly for me the humour of the book such as people refusing to recognise that Roderick was in fact a robot and not a strange little boy in some kind of wheel chair and yes he does have cameras for eyes and a metal body is completely ridiculous This would be fine but then Sladek tries to shoe horn pathos and social commentary into the story as well The elements just clashed too much for me and while it did give me a chuckle here and there I generally found the commentary to be annoying and totally devalued by its absurd setting and when spouted by character after character who is essentially insane by our real world standardsPerhaps this is the underlying point and I am missing the hidden genius of this novel but in the end I just largely found it boring and rather irritating


  3. Erik Erik says:

    Roderick is an AI gradually learning and evolving from his original inception in a thinktank and tanklike body to a convincing Turing test ready android Roderick solves one puzzle in each book and they both involve a kind of original thinking The first a Clue like mystery involves a reductio argument from an absurd conclusion and the second again the revision or correct interpretation of an initial assumption in face of incoherent information in one of those LSAT type pairing uestions These puzzles are very much illustrative of what he is learning from absurd humanity throughout the series Rather than making robots who think like rational humans it's robots who are rational and make sense humanity is insane as Sladek amply illustrates I think Tik Tok should be included as a kind of dark epilogue to the Roderick saga


  4. Roddy Williams Roddy Williams says:

    ‘Roderick is a robot who learns He begins life looking like a toy tank thinking like a child and knowing nothing whatever of human ways But as he will discover growing up and becoming fully human is no easy task in a world where many people seem to have little difficulty giving up their humanity and descending to other levels Published here for the first time in one volume the two novels which comprise The Complete Roderick are John Slack’s satirical masterpiece’Blurb to the 2001 Gollancz SF Masterworks edition‘Roderick was in his room reading I Robot wondering when the I character was going to put in an appearance There must be one because otherwise the author would have called it He Robot or They Robots He couldn’t imagine how it would feel being hooked up these three terrible laws of robotics’ p 227Roderick is a robot and has been given a copy of the famous Isaac Asimov book by Father Warren head of The Catholic School in which he has been enrolled The priest hopes that the book will persuade Roderick – whom he believes to be a severely disabled boy – that robots are fictional creatures This develops into a wonderful theological discussion in which Roderick brutally and logically demolishes Asimov’s three laws which is – in some SF circles I am sure tantamount to blasphemy This is only one of the many small jewels in this modern twist on the story of Pinocchio It’s interesting that Sladek’s creation should be a robot rather than an android or An Artificial Intelligence Capital A Capital I Robots as such are rare devices in late Twentieth Century SF The word has become dated rooted as much in a cinematic history as a literary one and is associated with the clanking metal creatures of B Movies and low budget TV series Asimov of course though not the first author to explore the concept is arguably the one most associated with robots The term has acuired an air of absurdity which is why perhaps Roderick fits so neatly into the world Sladek has created for him The novel is about the humans who are woven in a complex pattern around Roderick’s ‘life’ from the outset the absurdity of their obsessions and irrelevancies ruthlessly reflected from Roderick’s child like naivety and inarguable logic It is densely packed with ironies subtle jokes – many of which are genre specific and which are aimed at seasoned SF fans – and observations of actions whose conseuences are often dropped casually into the narrative pages later Roderick’s journey through life is a hectic roller coaster of a ride Created in the University of Minnetonka he is ‘liberated’ by his creator and sent to live with foster parents one of whom he accidentally kills before nailing himself into a crate and getting posted on to his next home from where he is kidnapped by gypsies sold into slavery rescued and so it goes on Postmodernism in some aspects of its manifestation employs the use of icons and conventions of the past given a contemporary twist which is exactly what Sladek does here with the term ‘robot’ lifting a genre convention of SF of the first half of the Twentieth century and making it the centrepiece of a Nineteen Eighties novel If by the Nineteen Eighties the term was unfashionable in SF it was still very much a part of the English Language as it is today though used on the whole to describe the automated devices employed in manufacturing industry something of which Sladek was no doubt well aware There are constant references and examples within the text of our dependence on robotscomputerslabour saving devices and our attitude toward them polarised by the surreal opposed views of Hank Dinks Leader of the Luddite movement and his ex wife Indica Leader of the Machine Liberationist As a novel it is sometimes over complex and demands re reading if only to pick up on jokes and references one might have missed the first time round It’s witty farcical uite brilliant and although listed in Pringle’s 100 Greatest SF Novels is strictly speaking not an SF novel at all Roderick is a literary rather than a mechanical device who like Pinocchio and The Tin Man before him embodies humanity than the ‘meat’ specimens with whom he comes into contact But at no stage is he a fully realised ‘mechanism’ and although Sladek gives us clues as to his appearance the details of his construction are a mystery but arguably an unimportant one Through this device Sladek mercilessly exposes the hypocrisy inhumanity and absurdity of The Military The Church The Media The Art World The Business Community and the Publishing Industry often so subtly that it almost passes one by ‘Maybe he is a priest maybe he ain’t’ the General said to Roderick ‘You can’t hardly tell the clergy from anybody else these days they go around wearing drag and smoking pot just like human beings’ p 435


  5. Nenad Jaksic Nenad Jaksic says:

    Roderick is an auired taste not everyone will appreciate Sladek's kind of humor To me it was hilarious and I kept chuckling all the way throughout the book It reads kind of like watching an episode of Arrested development the jokes are delivered in almost a rapid fire tempo and if you don't pay much attention you'll probably even miss few of them See if you like this and decide whether Roderick is for youlook they found the dead girl with her leg cut off blood all over the place and in her hand was this book covered with his finger prints may not be enough for a court room but it sure as hell works out fine on the front page Forget about did he do it get down to work on why? Why why as our police colleague likes to say He picked a morsel from a back tooth and examined it before flicking it away Listen you try this for a size I'm doing a think piece to go with this story on how all these cybernetics guys are repressed faggots sadists and what have you This am I picked up coupla their magazines got a list here somewhere of some of the kinky words they use strong sex angle running right through it listen to this bit byte RAM how about those? I don't know they ain't got much on him Gang punch flip flop input what do you think that really means huh? Stand alone software how about that? Debugger you can't make it plainer and even the company names how about Polymorphic Systems how about The Digital Group? Or Texas Instruments ever wonder what a Texas Instrument is? Or a Honeywell? IBM says a lot thereIf this excerpt made you laugh then you'll probably like the rest of the book


  6. Sable Sable says:

    Read for the Science Fiction Masterworks Book Club see the full list hereI'm not sure how I feel about this book I think on its surface this was intended to be a New Wave influenced anti Isaac Asimov Sladek wanted to challenge the Laws of Robotics Why should robots help or serve humanity? What reason do we give them to do that? Aren't these laws contradictory by nature? There's a really great section in the book starting on page 232 where the character of Roderick the title robot breaks it down for a priest and causes a crisis of faith It's kinda brilliant actuallyBut there are two books within this book that's how they were originally published and they differ in tone significantly The first one was really hard to read I think it was supposed to be funny but it was a mean funny in the manner of Kurt Vonnegut Further I found the first book struck close to home maybe a little too much For me it was the saga of a neurodiverse kid growing up Everything is confusing people are inexplicably cruel and you constantly wonder why people act like this and what you've done to invite that kind of crueltyI wondered if it was intended to be a dissertation on racism as well in that it deals with how people are treated when they are dehumanized? Roderick has no need for food or water so he won't die from neglect but as a sentient program he has to learn like a child so he is neglected emotionally abused and even enslaved and to me it's just a saga of horrific abuse So if you've ever been abused or if you're neurodiverse this book needs a serious trigger warningIt's also worth noting that this book this classic of science fiction would never be published today It took almost 200 pages to get to the point The readers at Baen might have given the first page a glance through but they'd have tossed it in the recycle bin almost immediately So if you can't handle a slow read don't waste your time I would have given up on it myself despite the fact that I can handle a slow read if it weren't on my list of SF Masterworks that I'm determined to read as a self education exerciseOn the other hand the second book was a very different book one which I found uite enjoyable and you do kinda need the background of the first book in order to understand it This is the part that most positive reviewers refer to as a scathing satire because it is Humanity itself and all the stupid and selfish and crazy things we do are called into uestion Roderick is just trying to get along and be a normal guy but the world won't let him If it weren't for the key conflict stringing it together a government sponsored think tank that believes true AI to be an existential threat to humanity it would seem like a random string of highly unlikely and zany adventures most of which are depressing where the key is to see how a character reacts In fact it does seem like that through much of the book But by the end you do see there is a logical thread that holds most of it togetherI'm giving it a four star rating because it was well written and I see its influence and I also think it's just as relevant today maybe so than it was when it was written in 1980 Also worth noting is that it lacks much of the overt sexism that many books of the period ooze from their very pores and that's a plus But in many far too many places it was hard to read either for its depressing content or for its chaotic storytelling style that maybe has too much going on thus almost obscuring its point Definitely not a book for distracting yourself after work It's a cerebral chew even considering its sense of humour


  7. Stephen Douglas Rowland Stephen Douglas Rowland says:

    Sladek is exactly the kind of author I look for when I'm grabbing up old science fiction paperbacks a truly original voice not simply a competent genre hack He's nearly up there with Philip K Dick Kurt Vonnegut Stanislaw Lem and the brothers Strugatsky creators of the highest caliber producing some of the most profound original fiction of the 20th century who are not always given the due they deserve because they work within the science fiction tradition albeit on the very edge This so called literary science fiction is one of the few things that can actually stimulate my mind any Sladek's voice is satirical absurd misanthropic philosophical His books are often truly hilarious but a deep pathos and emptiness subtly permeates Roderick and it is clearly his most mature work


  8. Kian Kian says:

    Roderick is a machine intelligence and conciousness embodied in a mechanical body Strictly speaking he is a robotMost stories about robots and robotics revolve around the robot themselves and their impact on society Roderick's impact is relatively zero sum he is distinctively a footnote an observer for things that happen to and around himRoderick looks at the early years of Roderick's life from his initial inception from the mind of a deranged genius with a healthy nod to Frankenstein his adoption by Ma and Pa early education later education and eventually reaching adulthood Sladek clearly does not like authority be it education church or government and slaps all with a healthy amount of ridicule Each scene introduces new characters in a new setting and inevitably things go wrong around Roderick Rarely is Roderick the direct cause of the distress although he is often blamed for it Science Fiction itself is not safe and Sladek takes a shot at Asimov in a discussion between a priest and Roderick about the implications of the three laws The book ends on a pleasant high setting up well for the seuelRoderick At Random starts where Roderick left off and we see Roderick leading the typical life of a young adult a low paying job an employer that has some real issues and trying to deal with the direction of his life There's less humour in the seuel and the overall tone is darker As the book progresses we are given the impression that computers are becoming intelligent and developing their own consciousness making Roderick no longer alone But rather than identify with them Roderick is scared by them and at one point performs an act which likens him to a human than a machine Religion is explored and given a heavier treatment than the first book Not content at just ridiculing the Catholic church Sladek turns Zen Buddhism in to a stock trading and gambling sham and takes aim at a celebrity religion which smells not unlike Scientology The darker tone of the book reflects in the conclusion which is enough to make you go away and think for a few hours


  9. Francisco Francisco says:

    Composed of two novels Roderick and Roderick at Random the book tells the story of a robot who is programmed to learn and you see the story often from the machine's point of view as he tries to understand the world that surrounds him and particularly humanity It's a novel take on the Bildungsroman the classic story of the growth and education of a young man which starts off as a really abstract stream of consciousness story and slowly coalesces into sense Still it never makes too much sense this is after all also a deeply satirical novel about the world It's set in an unspecified future and mocks pretty much everything from technology to philosophy through the adventures of Roderick kind of a sci fi Candide This could all devolve into a confusing mess and it often is that but it is never that purposelessly Sladek is a really great stylist and you can go for pages on end of just weird stuff going on in the machine's head from word games to misinterpretations of ideas where nothing really makes sense but the text still keeps you hanging on he writes beautifully often about nothing at all So it's an experience and uite a uniue one at that Strongly recommended


  10. Josiah Josiah says:

    My impression is that the author started with a collection of jokes logic problems and palindromes in one column Then he started another column of modern trends that he wanted to satirise Then he put both columns in random order and attempted to write a plot that somehow linked everything together The author indulges himself further with group conversations where the dialog of one person leads directly into what someone else is saying but in such a way to twist the meaning of both statements for pages at a time A character who gets mentioned in passing at the beginning of the book will be mentioned probably in passing again by the end of the book All these shenanigans make for an incredibly slow read where every line has the potential to have multiple meanings or significance if the reader bothers to attempt to track it all Sometimes it pays off the results are often uite amusing but often it all fails to gel and one gets the impression of having put forth far too much time and effort


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The Complete Roderick❴Download❵ ✤ The Complete Roderick Author John Sladek – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk An alternate cover for this isbn can be found hereRoderick is a robot and this is his autobiography Sladek conveys with great sensitivity and insight the innocence of an artificial intelligence and as An alternate cover for this isbn can be found hereRoderick is a robot and this is his autobiography The Complete Kindle - Sladek conveys with great sensitivity and insight the innocence of an artificial intelligence and asks profound uestions about mankind's right to manipulate others It also portrays how a numerological mind might structure a narrativeInventive funny yet melancholy this is one of SF's greatest creative geniuses writing at his thought provoking best.


About the Author: John Sladek

John Thomas Sladek generally published as John Sladek or John T Sladek as well as under the pseudonyms The Complete Kindle - Thom Demijohn Barry DuBray Carl Truhacker and others was an American science fiction author known for his satirical and surreal novels.


10 thoughts on “The Complete Roderick

  1. Manny Manny says:

    Hello Roderick HELLO MANNY Tell me who you are Roderick I AM A ROBOT I AM THE MAIN CHARACTER IN A NOVEL BY JOHN SLADEK Okay Roderick and what is the novel about? IT IS ABOUT ME That's true Roderick but what else is it about? IT IS ABOUT HOW MACHINES ARE LIKE PEOPLE AND HOW PEOPLE ARE LIKE MACHINES Very good Roderick Now tell me how you are like a personThe rest of this review is available elsewhere the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons

  2. Ben Ben says:

    I had high hopes for this when I picked it up for a start I had not been disappointed by anything from the SF Masterworks series The blurb gave the impression that I would be reading something along the lines of Isaac Isimov's many books on robots or Brian Aldiss' Supertoys Last All Summer Long Instead what I got was a rather boring story filled with farcical characters making psuedo satirical comments on the state on the state of human nature or our current society in artificial and ridiculous situations Large chunks of the book read as poor imitations of Rober Anton Wilson's Illuminatus' Trilogy particulaly the mishmash of dialogues between recurring characters in social gatheringsSadly for me the humour of the book such as people refusing to recognise that Roderick was in fact a robot and not a strange little boy in some kind of wheel chair and yes he does have cameras for eyes and a metal body is completely ridiculous This would be fine but then Sladek tries to shoe horn pathos and social commentary into the story as well The elements just clashed too much for me and while it did give me a chuckle here and there I generally found the commentary to be annoying and totally devalued by its absurd setting and when spouted by character after character who is essentially insane by our real world standardsPerhaps this is the underlying point and I am missing the hidden genius of this novel but in the end I just largely found it boring and rather irritating

  3. Erik Erik says:

    Roderick is an AI gradually learning and evolving from his original inception in a thinktank and tanklike body to a convincing Turing test ready android Roderick solves one puzzle in each book and they both involve a kind of original thinking The first a Clue like mystery involves a reductio argument from an absurd conclusion and the second again the revision or correct interpretation of an initial assumption in face of incoherent information in one of those LSAT type pairing uestions These puzzles are very much illustrative of what he is learning from absurd humanity throughout the series Rather than making robots who think like rational humans it's robots who are rational and make sense humanity is insane as Sladek amply illustrates I think Tik Tok should be included as a kind of dark epilogue to the Roderick saga

  4. Roddy Williams Roddy Williams says:

    ‘Roderick is a robot who learns He begins life looking like a toy tank thinking like a child and knowing nothing whatever of human ways But as he will discover growing up and becoming fully human is no easy task in a world where many people seem to have little difficulty giving up their humanity and descending to other levels Published here for the first time in one volume the two novels which comprise The Complete Roderick are John Slack’s satirical masterpiece’Blurb to the 2001 Gollancz SF Masterworks edition‘Roderick was in his room reading I Robot wondering when the I character was going to put in an appearance There must be one because otherwise the author would have called it He Robot or They Robots He couldn’t imagine how it would feel being hooked up these three terrible laws of robotics’ p 227Roderick is a robot and has been given a copy of the famous Isaac Asimov book by Father Warren head of The Catholic School in which he has been enrolled The priest hopes that the book will persuade Roderick – whom he believes to be a severely disabled boy – that robots are fictional creatures This develops into a wonderful theological discussion in which Roderick brutally and logically demolishes Asimov’s three laws which is – in some SF circles I am sure tantamount to blasphemy This is only one of the many small jewels in this modern twist on the story of Pinocchio It’s interesting that Sladek’s creation should be a robot rather than an android or An Artificial Intelligence Capital A Capital I Robots as such are rare devices in late Twentieth Century SF The word has become dated rooted as much in a cinematic history as a literary one and is associated with the clanking metal creatures of B Movies and low budget TV series Asimov of course though not the first author to explore the concept is arguably the one most associated with robots The term has acuired an air of absurdity which is why perhaps Roderick fits so neatly into the world Sladek has created for him The novel is about the humans who are woven in a complex pattern around Roderick’s ‘life’ from the outset the absurdity of their obsessions and irrelevancies ruthlessly reflected from Roderick’s child like naivety and inarguable logic It is densely packed with ironies subtle jokes – many of which are genre specific and which are aimed at seasoned SF fans – and observations of actions whose conseuences are often dropped casually into the narrative pages later Roderick’s journey through life is a hectic roller coaster of a ride Created in the University of Minnetonka he is ‘liberated’ by his creator and sent to live with foster parents one of whom he accidentally kills before nailing himself into a crate and getting posted on to his next home from where he is kidnapped by gypsies sold into slavery rescued and so it goes on Postmodernism in some aspects of its manifestation employs the use of icons and conventions of the past given a contemporary twist which is exactly what Sladek does here with the term ‘robot’ lifting a genre convention of SF of the first half of the Twentieth century and making it the centrepiece of a Nineteen Eighties novel If by the Nineteen Eighties the term was unfashionable in SF it was still very much a part of the English Language as it is today though used on the whole to describe the automated devices employed in manufacturing industry something of which Sladek was no doubt well aware There are constant references and examples within the text of our dependence on robotscomputerslabour saving devices and our attitude toward them polarised by the surreal opposed views of Hank Dinks Leader of the Luddite movement and his ex wife Indica Leader of the Machine Liberationist As a novel it is sometimes over complex and demands re reading if only to pick up on jokes and references one might have missed the first time round It’s witty farcical uite brilliant and although listed in Pringle’s 100 Greatest SF Novels is strictly speaking not an SF novel at all Roderick is a literary rather than a mechanical device who like Pinocchio and The Tin Man before him embodies humanity than the ‘meat’ specimens with whom he comes into contact But at no stage is he a fully realised ‘mechanism’ and although Sladek gives us clues as to his appearance the details of his construction are a mystery but arguably an unimportant one Through this device Sladek mercilessly exposes the hypocrisy inhumanity and absurdity of The Military The Church The Media The Art World The Business Community and the Publishing Industry often so subtly that it almost passes one by ‘Maybe he is a priest maybe he ain’t’ the General said to Roderick ‘You can’t hardly tell the clergy from anybody else these days they go around wearing drag and smoking pot just like human beings’ p 435

  5. Nenad Jaksic Nenad Jaksic says:

    Roderick is an auired taste not everyone will appreciate Sladek's kind of humor To me it was hilarious and I kept chuckling all the way throughout the book It reads kind of like watching an episode of Arrested development the jokes are delivered in almost a rapid fire tempo and if you don't pay much attention you'll probably even miss few of them See if you like this and decide whether Roderick is for youlook they found the dead girl with her leg cut off blood all over the place and in her hand was this book covered with his finger prints may not be enough for a court room but it sure as hell works out fine on the front page Forget about did he do it get down to work on why? Why why as our police colleague likes to say He picked a morsel from a back tooth and examined it before flicking it away Listen you try this for a size I'm doing a think piece to go with this story on how all these cybernetics guys are repressed faggots sadists and what have you This am I picked up coupla their magazines got a list here somewhere of some of the kinky words they use strong sex angle running right through it listen to this bit byte RAM how about those? I don't know they ain't got much on him Gang punch flip flop input what do you think that really means huh? Stand alone software how about that? Debugger you can't make it plainer and even the company names how about Polymorphic Systems how about The Digital Group? Or Texas Instruments ever wonder what a Texas Instrument is? Or a Honeywell? IBM says a lot thereIf this excerpt made you laugh then you'll probably like the rest of the book

  6. Sable Sable says:

    Read for the Science Fiction Masterworks Book Club see the full list hereI'm not sure how I feel about this book I think on its surface this was intended to be a New Wave influenced anti Isaac Asimov Sladek wanted to challenge the Laws of Robotics Why should robots help or serve humanity? What reason do we give them to do that? Aren't these laws contradictory by nature? There's a really great section in the book starting on page 232 where the character of Roderick the title robot breaks it down for a priest and causes a crisis of faith It's kinda brilliant actuallyBut there are two books within this book that's how they were originally published and they differ in tone significantly The first one was really hard to read I think it was supposed to be funny but it was a mean funny in the manner of Kurt Vonnegut Further I found the first book struck close to home maybe a little too much For me it was the saga of a neurodiverse kid growing up Everything is confusing people are inexplicably cruel and you constantly wonder why people act like this and what you've done to invite that kind of crueltyI wondered if it was intended to be a dissertation on racism as well in that it deals with how people are treated when they are dehumanized? Roderick has no need for food or water so he won't die from neglect but as a sentient program he has to learn like a child so he is neglected emotionally abused and even enslaved and to me it's just a saga of horrific abuse So if you've ever been abused or if you're neurodiverse this book needs a serious trigger warningIt's also worth noting that this book this classic of science fiction would never be published today It took almost 200 pages to get to the point The readers at Baen might have given the first page a glance through but they'd have tossed it in the recycle bin almost immediately So if you can't handle a slow read don't waste your time I would have given up on it myself despite the fact that I can handle a slow read if it weren't on my list of SF Masterworks that I'm determined to read as a self education exerciseOn the other hand the second book was a very different book one which I found uite enjoyable and you do kinda need the background of the first book in order to understand it This is the part that most positive reviewers refer to as a scathing satire because it is Humanity itself and all the stupid and selfish and crazy things we do are called into uestion Roderick is just trying to get along and be a normal guy but the world won't let him If it weren't for the key conflict stringing it together a government sponsored think tank that believes true AI to be an existential threat to humanity it would seem like a random string of highly unlikely and zany adventures most of which are depressing where the key is to see how a character reacts In fact it does seem like that through much of the book But by the end you do see there is a logical thread that holds most of it togetherI'm giving it a four star rating because it was well written and I see its influence and I also think it's just as relevant today maybe so than it was when it was written in 1980 Also worth noting is that it lacks much of the overt sexism that many books of the period ooze from their very pores and that's a plus But in many far too many places it was hard to read either for its depressing content or for its chaotic storytelling style that maybe has too much going on thus almost obscuring its point Definitely not a book for distracting yourself after work It's a cerebral chew even considering its sense of humour

  7. Stephen Douglas Rowland Stephen Douglas Rowland says:

    Sladek is exactly the kind of author I look for when I'm grabbing up old science fiction paperbacks a truly original voice not simply a competent genre hack He's nearly up there with Philip K Dick Kurt Vonnegut Stanislaw Lem and the brothers Strugatsky creators of the highest caliber producing some of the most profound original fiction of the 20th century who are not always given the due they deserve because they work within the science fiction tradition albeit on the very edge This so called literary science fiction is one of the few things that can actually stimulate my mind any Sladek's voice is satirical absurd misanthropic philosophical His books are often truly hilarious but a deep pathos and emptiness subtly permeates Roderick and it is clearly his most mature work

  8. Kian Kian says:

    Roderick is a machine intelligence and conciousness embodied in a mechanical body Strictly speaking he is a robotMost stories about robots and robotics revolve around the robot themselves and their impact on society Roderick's impact is relatively zero sum he is distinctively a footnote an observer for things that happen to and around himRoderick looks at the early years of Roderick's life from his initial inception from the mind of a deranged genius with a healthy nod to Frankenstein his adoption by Ma and Pa early education later education and eventually reaching adulthood Sladek clearly does not like authority be it education church or government and slaps all with a healthy amount of ridicule Each scene introduces new characters in a new setting and inevitably things go wrong around Roderick Rarely is Roderick the direct cause of the distress although he is often blamed for it Science Fiction itself is not safe and Sladek takes a shot at Asimov in a discussion between a priest and Roderick about the implications of the three laws The book ends on a pleasant high setting up well for the seuelRoderick At Random starts where Roderick left off and we see Roderick leading the typical life of a young adult a low paying job an employer that has some real issues and trying to deal with the direction of his life There's less humour in the seuel and the overall tone is darker As the book progresses we are given the impression that computers are becoming intelligent and developing their own consciousness making Roderick no longer alone But rather than identify with them Roderick is scared by them and at one point performs an act which likens him to a human than a machine Religion is explored and given a heavier treatment than the first book Not content at just ridiculing the Catholic church Sladek turns Zen Buddhism in to a stock trading and gambling sham and takes aim at a celebrity religion which smells not unlike Scientology The darker tone of the book reflects in the conclusion which is enough to make you go away and think for a few hours

  9. Francisco Francisco says:

    Composed of two novels Roderick and Roderick at Random the book tells the story of a robot who is programmed to learn and you see the story often from the machine's point of view as he tries to understand the world that surrounds him and particularly humanity It's a novel take on the Bildungsroman the classic story of the growth and education of a young man which starts off as a really abstract stream of consciousness story and slowly coalesces into sense Still it never makes too much sense this is after all also a deeply satirical novel about the world It's set in an unspecified future and mocks pretty much everything from technology to philosophy through the adventures of Roderick kind of a sci fi Candide This could all devolve into a confusing mess and it often is that but it is never that purposelessly Sladek is a really great stylist and you can go for pages on end of just weird stuff going on in the machine's head from word games to misinterpretations of ideas where nothing really makes sense but the text still keeps you hanging on he writes beautifully often about nothing at all So it's an experience and uite a uniue one at that Strongly recommended

  10. Josiah Josiah says:

    My impression is that the author started with a collection of jokes logic problems and palindromes in one column Then he started another column of modern trends that he wanted to satirise Then he put both columns in random order and attempted to write a plot that somehow linked everything together The author indulges himself further with group conversations where the dialog of one person leads directly into what someone else is saying but in such a way to twist the meaning of both statements for pages at a time A character who gets mentioned in passing at the beginning of the book will be mentioned probably in passing again by the end of the book All these shenanigans make for an incredibly slow read where every line has the potential to have multiple meanings or significance if the reader bothers to attempt to track it all Sometimes it pays off the results are often uite amusing but often it all fails to gel and one gets the impression of having put forth far too much time and effort

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *