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 KarinaTik-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.