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John Sladek
Gollancz paperback £9.99

review by Ceri Jordan

Gollancz continue their selection of the world's best with this delightful satire - proving that, however odd the American electoral process has been recently, it still hasn't matched the dark ironies of the late John Sladek's imagination.
   Tik-Tok is everyone's best bet for the next Vice-President. Of course, as the first robot challenger, he has the newly enfranchised robot vote in his pocket. He was the first robot artist, a vocal robot-rights campaigner, and darling of the media...
   Unfortunately, there's a small matter of some murders - a lot of murders. And some armed robberies, a medical care scandal, a bit of terrorism - and did we mention the South American death factories?
   Anyone forced to suffer through the recent cinematic Bicentennial Man should be given this book on prescription. A jet-black satire on US civil rights with a hero who could give Hannibal Lector a run for his money, it refreshes the clichés of slavery and emancipation with irony and a dash of surrealism. Despite its procession of throwaway jokes and grim observations, the novel still finds time for searching questions about right and wrong, freewill and social programming - and, of course, politics... A good, guilty belly laugh with a hidden agenda, highly recommended.

Related pages:
tZ - a profile of John Sladek, by Rhys Hughes, is published in The ZONE #2
Tik-Tok by John Sladek
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