Mockingbird by Walter Tevis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I chose not to read this based on an allegorical bent, and instead chose to enjoy the oh so clear voice of the Robot Who Would End Humanity. Of course, he'd do so only because it seems to be the only way to circumvent his programming to live to serve humanity, but them's the breaks, right, humans?
Lol, no, this isn't a biting satire of us like the inestimable Roderick, but it does have some wonderful punches built right in to the text.
First of all, don't let the whole christian reading (or non-reading) experience get us down. The later portions of the novel are full of pretty heavy-handed character surrogates of bible-thumpers minus the bibles, but that's just a thin veil to the real issue.
No one reads. At all. Humanity has lost the knack and is pushed along the pasture by the robots that tend them.
It first looks like a utopia, but of course it isn't, despite all the sex and drugs you might want, all your wants, satisfied. Hey... wasn't this all set up so all you proper christians can study the scripture? Ah well, human nature is what it is.
Too bad that our poor MC, an android designed to serve and make all the executive decisions happens to have no greater wish than to die. His long game is very impressive, but things don't always turn out the way it is planned. He falls in love with one of the last women.
In 1980, when this was published, marks a rush of a brand new torrent of SF focused not only on hard-hitting ideas, but great combinations of plot, characterizations, and interesting worlds. The quality is on the rise. And this one is pretty awesome when it comes to the quality. Very readable, very strong voice for the narrator.
My problem with it is pretty simple, unfortunately. I don't agree with the premises. *shrug* I don't think that we'll ever stop reading. :) Oh, and I don't think that any religion can maintain itself without it, and that's including all the help from the substandard robots. Not every robot is built quite like the MC, after all. :)
Otherwise, I loved it. :) This is my second Walter Tevis and it was kinda surprising to learn that, since I had read The Man Who Fell to Earth years and years ago and loved it, primarily because I saw the movie with Bowie and loved it, too. :) It's odd how these things turn out. :)
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