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The Complete Roderick (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 11 Oct 2001

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (11 Oct. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857983408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857983401
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 304,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

John Sladek was one of SF's premier satirists, and The Complete Roderick is his masterpiece--a dark comedy of artificial intelligence, previously split into Roderick (1980) and Roderick at Random (1983).

Roderick is an experimental robot, a well-meaning innocent who grows up and learns what it is to be human in the comic inferno of modern America. Being human isn't much fun: bullied at school, diagnosed as mentally unstable for saying he's a robot, forever in trouble for applying logic to religion...

Being a robot is tough: a sinister government agency is determined to destroy all AI "Entities". Luckily their agents are hilariously inept--one assassin lying in wait for Roderick gets mugged for his laser-aimed sniper rifle.

Like Voltaire's Candide, Roderick moves wide-eyed through a world of insane commercialism: (Danton's Doggie Dinette, the posh canine restaurant), fly-by-night religions (the Church of Christ Symmetrical), non-art (identical purple squares, meaningless when painted by Roderick, are praised as cutting-edge art), junk science (research into psychic pigeons is faked but generates a bestseller anyway) and--everywhere--people whose fads and tics and rigid prejudices make them more programmed, less truly human, than Roderick himself.

This book is painfully funny, sprinkled with wild ideas and nifty one-liners: a surreal musical called Hello Dali; marketing a dull book on fishing as You Can Master Bait; the lady founder of Machine Lib, dubbed the Joan of Arc-welding; buying your jeans at Denim Iniquity... Beneath the dazzle, there's some seriously comic discussion of artificial intelligence and why it fascinates us.

Applause to Gollancz SF Masterworks for producing the first one-volume edition of this major SF satire. --David Langford

Review

"Superb comparable with early Kurt Vonnegut." "Time Out" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a marvelous story of simultaneous and converging conspiracies and chance events, the origin, life and fate of Roderick Wood, robot, being the central theme running throughout.

The story is very much dialogue driven, with character development and interaction taking precidence over, I felt, plotlines, world building etc. but this creates a fantastic pace and lends real page turning impetus to the progress of the storyline. In some ways I was disappointed with the finish, it seemed to end a little abruptly considering how the story had progressed to that point but it did feature solid conclusions for each of the characters which had been introduced throughout, this is the case with both of the books which make up this single volume.

The book answers many of the questions which have haunted science fiction about why the hoped for "tommorrow" never arrived, doing so well through the dialogue and sequencing of chance events and accidents but also providing summation points which allow a kind of "recap" or "clarification" of the suspiscions anyone would have from reading up to that point. I liked this because between times the reader is allowed to do their own thinking and figure out what is happening but isnt left wondering entirely as to what was happening. There isnt really any surplus content but there are points at which you may be tempted to skip blocks of dialogue from parties or other scenes in which people are talking about intellectual diversions or academic subjects.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Slight gripe here - don't get me wrong, I'm glad to get this book which has been difficult to find. But the picture above is the old cover from the original Gollancz SF Masterworks run (numbered, and with the black spines) - the book you're getting here is the new print with the yellow spines and the 'muted' front cover art. I'm collecting the series and wish it's been clearer which print I was getting.

Won't stop me enjoying the story though, I'm sure!
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Format: Paperback
The Complete Roderick brings together for the two previous collections of Roderick stories. From the earliest stages, where Roderick is a talking program of questionable sentience, through his childhood as a treaded box which becomes fixated by TV, his maturity and eventual departure into the world as a walking android which can pass for human, we follow the stories of Roderick, his creators, his "parents", schoolfriends, colleagues and assorted misfits, along with the tale of a shadowy goverment conspiracy to prevent the existence of Roderick and his kind. Fortunately, this conspiracy is about as effective as most government organisations and Roderick continues to grow and learn. And I think we learn a lot about ourselves as we learn about him.
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