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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  518 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Tik-Tok was one of the finest domestic robots ever made, but his asimov circuits were defective. He could injure people as much as he pleased - and he pleased to do it often!

But the life of a robot (if that isn't a contradiction) is still all service and unpaid labor. Tik-Tok served many masters, all of whom came to a bad end. Happily he went on gathering steam
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 4th 1985 by DAW (first published 1983)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  518 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: satire, humor, sci-fi
I really can't see why people would dislike this author because he's too clever. Sure, satire and puns belong in the sock drawer of literature, but when a great satire like this comes along, I just want to scribble its telephone number on the bathroom stall. This novella came out before American Psycho, which I also adore, but on a few levels, it succeeds even better. I can't believe how easily I rooted for this psychopathic tin can. I recommend this author, people. Don't let his name disappear ...more
Feb 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Thuggees, I once read, believe in obeying all the Ten Commandments, except that they replace "Thou shalt not kill" with "Thou shalt kill as much as possible". Tik-Tok has revised Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics in similar fashion. He is a remarkably likable little killer robot, and I can see from the other reviews that few people are able to withstand his odd charm...
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
So far, it's American Psycho meets Bicentennial Man.

The copy I'm reading is a Daw pocketbook from the mid-80's, with (+) decent font and (-) a cover that, I assume, was created after the artist was told to whip out an illustration of a "robot gone bad", all click-whirr, destroyed faceplates, and guns.

The cover of the recent Gollancz edition seems to capture more of the essence: Bright shiny toy realizes that it can only achieve the artistry of being human via murder.

Dostoevsky meets, uh, R.U.R.?

So impressed
3.5 stars, if I could select a half-star.

Tik-Tok is a very naughty robot who should really know better, but his asimov circuits don't work. So, instead of being an obedient and faithful domestic robot he turns his hand to child murder, gang murder, terrorist murder, broad-daylight murder, oh, and he likes to paint... and rob banks... and defraud, embezzle, extort, exploit and generally screw people over. And then things go from bad to worse, as he gets into politics.

Charles Dee Mitchell
Full Discloure: I have never read Isaac Asimov's I, Robot. I saw part of the Will Smith film in a hotel once but dozed off before it was over -- $9.00 down the drain. With no more exposure than I have had, however, I know the basics about the Asimov circuits and the rules for robots -- they cannot injure human beings, they must obey orders, they can protect themselves so long as such action does not harm humans.

Sladek's protagonist Tik-Tok lives in a future world where millions of robots p
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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 c
Jun 23, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indefensible
A thoroughly silly and ill-conceived science fiction satire which borrows the premise of Richard Wright's "Native Son", but substitutes protagonist Bigger Thomas for a similarly murderous robot. That should say it all right there: what is the point of this story? There is no consistency to Tik-Tok as a character, who swivels from deranged sicko to righteous avenger to product of his environment with no, ahem, design. Similarly, there is no design to the supposedly satirical bits, in which spendi ...more
James Garner
Apr 05, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While funny at times, this had a very cold, disjointed feel to it (not surprising, considering the narrator is a killer robot). The essential premise is that Asimov's Rules for Robots have been rescinded (if they were ever in force at all), and Tik Tok works to wreak havoc on the humans who drive robots to destruction like mechanical slaves. But he has no real plan, and it all feels very haphazard. Fun wordplay throughout, but not enough to make this enjoyable.
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Tik-Tok is a sentient robot (android) whose Asimov circuits stop working. He becomes very, very human. It is engaging satire.

7 of 10 stars.
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Titanic spoof. Southern plantation slavery mocked. Death factories installed. Painting over blood splatter. Equine intercourse. Bank robbery. Acts of terrorism. Cheating at chess. Hey, humans are a rotten meat-covered lot, and Tik Tok wants you to know about it. But the worst thing is, there is a mass delusion that keeps them from thinking that even robots can be just as evil as they are. There is something, clearly, in humanity's collective psyche that demands the archetype of a trustworthy rob ...more
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Ode To A Homicidal Robot.

Sure, the idea has been done to death, but rarely with the panache applied by Sladek. Robots sort of being his raison d'etre, Sladek finally hits paydirt (artistically speaking) with this sly, nasty piece of work, and cheering the hero has rarely left you with so unclean a feeling, as Sladek does a wonderful job of giving you no reason to love Tik-Tok, the murderous robot, and yet...

If you stripped the silly out of Bender from Futurama, you might
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightful! A sort of cracked up I, Robot meets a Clockwork Orange, but much more than that. Sladek's vision of humanity as psychotically perverted and how that affects robots is the heart of the book.
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What's not to love about a homicidal robot gone wild?
Jul 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This book is sharp and funny, but somehow ends up falling short of great. The story is told episodically and jumps around in time. The book begins to feel a bit too much like a compilation of anecdotes and short stories, but Tik-Tok is deliciously dark and definitely a fun romp. My biggest gripe, though, is not about the story but the cover. I know the writer had nothing to do with it, but it irritates me that the robot on the cover has nothing to do with the book. The robots described in the bo ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. This had a lot of potential, but didn't quite do it for me. A demented robot that develops free will and an appetite for murder, painting, robbery and politics. In that order. All in violation of the programming of its "Asmiov circuits". The story, in alternating timeframes, follows the robot's increasingly ridiculous exploits as it conducts experiments, most violent and sadistic, to experience human emotions. It sounds dark, but actually the situations the robot gets into are all qui ...more
Brown. J.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well written. Sladek uses A.I./Robotics to explore the more traditional question of personhood in his Roderick series (My first book of his, I'd recommend the SF Masterworks Collection). Here he has created an enjoyable and fairly dark satire.

Tik-Tok seems somehow more relevant today than it did when I first read it several years ago. What felt at first extreme examples exaggerating the failures of modern society now seem a more direct satirization.

The book is well paced and is
Iron Mike
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent black comedy on everything under the sun: politics; the tech boom; PhD disserations; art; children's names; AI and automation...

If I ever write a story with a robot in it, it'll have to be named Sladek. Will read more from this author.
Joseph Carrabis
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed. It had many British sensibilities in it that also made it amusing at times.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Brutal. And somewhat dated. But I can see where the author was coming from.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Been a long time, but it's a good read. Very heavy.
Jan 10, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didnotfinish
Creative and bizarre, but mostly just pointless satire. At half way through, I give up. I don't know where the story is going. A robot has gone bad and is causing trouble... i'm bored and done with this book.
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this book was published by DAW and has an "SF" logo, it's not traditional science fiction by any means. In reality, this book uses the science fiction mode to unleash a brutal, violent, and deeply pessimistic attack on 1980s America. It's kind of Voltaire + Philip K. Dick; it has the former's manic pace and sadistic humor and the latter's paranoia and genre affiliation. Swift and De Sade also came to mind when I was reading it; certain scenes were reminiscent of Gulliver's Travels, others of of ...more
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Tik-Tok' (1983) by John Sladek won the BSFA Best Novel award in 1983, beating Gene Wolfe’s ‘The Citadel of the Autarch’ as well as Brian Aldiss’s ‘Helliconia Summer’, to name just two of the other four nominees. It is a darkly humorous satire that casts a wry eye on such topics as art, celebrity, power, politics and slavery.

Sladek opens the story with a nod to the creator of the Three Laws of Robotics, “As I mov(e) my hand to write this statement …”, introducing us to the titular character Tik
Aug 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A broad, picaresque satire that takes aim at multiple targets: politics, the media's dbsession with celebrities, the military/industrial complex, HMOs, conservatives, liberals, and capitalism itself. The story centers on Tik-Tok, a domestic robot who eventually discovers that his "asimov circuits" are flawed. The asimov circuits are designed to keep a robot docile and incapable of harming a human being and, with non-functioning asimov circuits, Tik-Tok soon discovers he enjoys harming human bein ...more
Simon Ford
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bad robot with more than a screw loose, or short circuit.
Was Tik-Tok made that way or did he become made, nature or nurture.
The crimes he committed and got away with were staggering but not surprising as he learnt from the best!
As I read this novella which I did enjoy in places, I couldn't help but think of Futurama and the cigar smoking drinking, womanising potty mouthed Robot, "You can kiss my shiny metal ass" Bender, anyone else?
Except that Tiks bender was a lot more
Picked this up while browsing though my library today, and went through the whole thing again this morning. I've read it before, and it's as weird and funny and awful as I remember - a quality I can only call "wacky", the giddiness of Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat books, or possibly of Jhonen Vasquez's Johnny the Homicidal Maniac: Director's Cut.

Terrible things happen in this book. It's horribly entertaining.
Feb 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
if I could give a rating of no stars, I would. an incredible lack of morality, and quite the repeated stabs at the works of Isaac Asimov. even to the point of the main robot character writing a book titled: me, robot.
not my cup of tea, and not recommended.
A satire of the darkest stripe: Tik-Tok is a domestic robot who, contrary to his programming and the "asimov circuits" that are supposed to keep him docile, embarks on a career as a sociopathic master killer and manipulator. The targets of Sladek's satire include (but are not limited to) the rich, the poor, conservatives, liberals, capitalists, socialists, socialites, artists, insurance adjusters, the military, the pacifists, organized religion, unorganized religion, separatist movements, mainst ...more
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-english
If you've ever wondered how a complete sociopath -- no empathy for others, no regret for harm caused to others -- this book provides a pretty nice look into that sort of mind. It reads a bit like Vonnegut, with a fair amount of humor worked into the story. It's not such a nice view of humankind.

More interesting are its criticism of Asimov and the 3 laws, though it mostly covers ground I've always agreed with all along... namely the laws being too high-level/abstract, such as how do y
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John Thomas Sladek was an American science fiction author, known for his satirical and surreal novels.