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The Complete Roderick (Roderick #1-2)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  298 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A robot with learning capabilities, Roderick, who was educated by watching television, is adopted by an elderly couple in Kansas and tries to adjust to American society, in an omnibus edition that includes Roderick and Roderick at Random.
611 pages
Published 2004 by Overlook Press (first published January 1st 1992)
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Dune by Frank HerbertDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickThe Forever War by Joe HaldemanHyperion by Dan SimmonsI Am Legend by Richard Matheson
SF Masterworks
111th out of 126 books — 448 voters
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsThe Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas AdamsLife, the Universe and Everything by Douglas AdamsSo Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas AdamsDirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
Best Comedic Sci-Fi Books
149th out of 383 books — 776 voters

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Community Reviews

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- Hello Roderick.


- Tell me who you are, Roderick.


- Okay, Roderick, and what is the novel about?


- That's true, Roderick, but what else is it about?


- Very good, Roderick! Now tell me how you are like a person.

The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)
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 questions ...more
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 ridic
Roderick is a machine intelligence and conciousness, embodied in a mechanical body. Strictly speaking, he is a robot.

Most 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 him.

"Roderick" 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 Frankenstei
First, I must qualify this review with this: I DID NOT FINISH THIS BOOK. I read the first half, which is the first of the two Roderick books, but refuse to subject myself to the second book. I say this because I tend to finish books even if I hate them.

The novel - the story of a robot growing up in the Midwest - is dreadful. Meant to be funny, the jokes feel like the work of a hack pun writer for some D-List comedy show. The novel is disorganized, jumping back and forth between poorly crafted ch
John Sladek really likes brick jokes... plenty of them in this novel. Like Tik-Tok, there's a sort of Vonnegut-tone to his writing and, although the story as a whole isn't a parody/comedy, there's definitely a good humor element there and a few parts I really couldn't help laughing at (and getting funny looks from people nearby).

And then there are some parts that just about killed me. This novel doesn't paint a kindly picture of humankind. My brother felt most of the characters were incompetent;
Roddy Williams
‘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 Gollanc
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 statemen ...more
Apr 26, 2008 Sam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like Vonnegut or Robots
Shelves: sf
This book reminded me of two other novels: Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Sladek has a lot of the same sensibilities as Vonnegut as a writer. They're both great at dark/black humor and they both seemed interested in fake religions, of which this book contains many. It reminded me of Heinlein's novel because of the use of religious matter and an alien entity (in this case a robot pretending to be human) who is introduced into our society and has t ...more
Sj Smalley
Many of us think about the ethics of AI, not least fuelled by TV goodies such as Caprica, BSG et al... I'd not heard of John Sladek before, but was delighted to read this book - the development of AI with the 'robot' himself as the main protagonist - a quick learner, and confused by humanity as would be expected. There's a massive, inter-related, interesting and complex cast - some of the sub-plots reminded me of De Lillo or DFW, sometimes i found it a bit hectic (and felt I'd benefit from a cas ...more
I very much enjoyed this book (books). It is a fun social satire.

I kept comparing the style and feel of the writing to The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid/The Golden Apple/Leviathan and Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy. Almost a light version. Not the best description, I know...

Robert Postill
I wish I liked this book more. It has all the elements that should make a classic:

A dystopian future
Social commentary

But sadly the book didn't work for me. In particular:
(view spoiler)
The authors tendency to call out snatches of conversation detracts from the plot
Roderick is a mushy victim, even though his learning would teach him to be a ruthless, greedy misanthrope

The ending did sway me a little but it jus
Edward Davies
This is an incredibly witty, incredibly touching novel that portrays the life of a robt named Roderick and how he copes with life and essentially goring up. As an allegory for the human condition this manages to be largely successful and really shows us how people treat each other because of their differences. Those who expect thsi to be a serious discussion may be disappointed, in spite of the serious topic the novel attempts to address.
A young robot learns about humanity by watching television shows and commercials while being adopted by an elderly Kansas couple, but his quest to become fully human is put to the test by the inhumanity of the world around him. Cutting social commentary and witty dialogue makes this a classic of the genre and a must-read for Vonnegut (again!) fans and
It's a long time since I read it, but I remember I loved it a lot. But I think I didn't finish it.... Weird.
Jun 23, 2010 Kevin marked it as avoiding
Apparently, this is of a piece with Tik-Tok.
Interesting robot novels.
Desnet Amane
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Apr 14, 2015
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John Thomas Sladek (December 15, 1937 – March 10, 2000) was an American science fiction author, known for his satirical and surreal novels.
More about John Sladek...

Other Books in the Series

Roderick (3 books)
  • Roderick
  • Roderick at Random
Tik-Tok Roderick The Reproductive System The Muller Fokker Effect Roderick at Random

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