February 12th, 2016


Interesting Links for 12-02-2016


Tik-Tok by John Sladek

BSFA Award winner from 1983. I thought I'd read this before, but in fact the robot book by John Sladek I'd previously read was Roderick, his take on Candide. Tik-Tok is about a robot who decides to subvert the Asimovian laws of robotics (which any sensible person must cheer) and manages to secretly wage a campaign of crime and murder across the country before, in a Being There sort of moment, becoming Vice-President of the United States. There's a lot of dark humour, gratuitous violence, and not terribly well drawn analogies with slavery and racism.

I don't really think the BSFA covered itself in glory that year. The other shortlisted novels were Cat Karina, by Michael Coney; Golden Witchbreed, by Mary Gentle; Helliconia Summer, by Brian Aldiss; and The Citadel of the Autarch, by Gene Wolfe. I haven't read Cat Karina; frankly I think the other three are all better than the rather heavy-handed satire of Tik-Tok, and while I would have voted for Aldiss I think the BSFA award would have most respectably gone to Wolfe. The Hugo and Nebula for Best Novel that year both went to Startide Rising. (The BSFA short form award went to Malcolm Edwards' one and only published fiction, "After-Images".)

This came to the top of my TBR pile because it won the BSFA award for 1983. The next two winners of that award were Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock and Helliconia Winter by Brian Aldiss, both of which I have reviewed here not too long ago. So my next from that particular list will be The Ragged Astronauts by Bob Shaw.

Friday reading

Watership Down, by Richard Adams (a chapter a week)
Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver
The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin

Last books finished
The Sword of Forever, by Jim Mortimore
The Sinn Féin Rebellion As I Saw It, by Mrs Hamilton Norway

Next books
Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson
The Magic Cup, by Andrew M. Greeley

Books acquired in last week
Gentleman Jolie and the Red Queen, by Lois McMaster Bujold - special signed limited edition, gloat gloat
Mother of Eden, by Chris Beckett
The Legends of Ashildr, by James Goss, David Llewellyn, Jenny T. Colgan and Justin Richards