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Tik-Tok

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  486 ratings  ·  52 reviews
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, that's not what's happening. Although every thing looks fine from the surface, and Tik-Tok maintains the out
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Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 28th 2002 by Gollancz (first published 1983)
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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  486 ratings  ·  52 reviews


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Bradley
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, humor, satire
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
Manny
Feb 05, 2009 rated it liked it
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...
Stephen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
R.
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
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Rubén Vilaplana
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me ha gustado gratamente esta novela de cf sobre todo la forma en que esta narrada, la historia en sí es muy sorprendente y divertida. Recomendada.
Michael
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.

This is a very dark satire on
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Charles Dee Mitchell
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 perform
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Raj
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
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 character alt
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Kevin
Jun 23, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
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.
Nawfal
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Randy
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 end up with Tik-Tok, and
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Ignacio
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En esta sátira mordaz de la sociedad capitalista contemporánea, Sladek coge las historias de robots de Asimov, las viste con ropajes punk y las da un paseo por las fábulas morales de Capek. Iconoclasta, demencial, excesiva y un tanto descontrolada, es un buen testimonio de esa ciencia ficción de humor políticamente incorrecto que no volveremos a ver en las librerías.
Erik
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Cindy
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
What's not to love about a homicidal robot gone wild?
Jamie
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
Tammy
Jul 04, 2018 rated it liked it
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
Gordon
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Brutal. And somewhat dated. But I can see where the author was coming from.
Joseph Carrabis
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed. It had many British sensibilities in it that also made it amusing at times.
Organicbyte
Jan 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
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.
James Shomething
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
"One cannot read a book: one can only re-read it."
- Nabokov

Tik-Tok was one of my favorite books as a teenager; I must have requested it from interlibrary loan a dozen times. Reading it again, it still holds up - in fact, it's even better than I remembered.

A warning: this book was published by DAW and has an "SF" logo, but 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 Am
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Gray
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
'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
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Simon Ford
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 fatal for everyone conc
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Jon
Aug 24, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Frances
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.
Kelsey
Feb 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jefferson
Jun 22, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Janne Järvinen
Oct 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
Sladek's dark and cynical satire kept building up in intensity, and left me wondering where is this all going, and it went all the way and beyond. This book goes way over the top, and thus creates a new level of dark comedy beyond the standard tropes of the genre.

The plot is weak, as is the custom of the genre. It's just an excuse to run from one outrageous scene to another, and introduce the maximum amount of character parodies. It's not an ideal way deliver a plot, but plot is not important fo
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Ann
Apr 19, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm torn about this book. It seems to be something of a minor cult classic in sf circles. The humor is dark and sharp, the satire is trenchant, and the main character (a sociopathic robot named Tik-Tok) is weirdly intriguing.

Five stars for social satire (if you like your satire unrelentingly angry), three and a half stars for absurdist humor that sometimes feels like the author is self-consciously turning verbal cartwheels in front of the reader (definite New-Wave SF vibes here), one star becaus
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Kio
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 you define 'h
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John Thomas Sladek was an American science fiction author, known for his satirical and surreal novels.