Roderick

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These are notes for the Roderick novels by John Sladek. Telling the picaresque story of a well-meaning but naive artificial intelligence finding his way in a ridiculous human world, they were written as a single work but published in two parts in 1980 and 1983, and finally reissued together in 2001; see Editions. This was the first novel-length science fiction he had written since The Muller-Fökker Effect (1970).

The "Summary" section on each page gives away some plot details, so avoid it if you're reading the book for the first time. The rest of the notes don't discuss any significant events that haven't already happened at that point.

Major characters

  • Roderick: learning system.
  • Dan Sonnenschein: young computer science genius.
  • Lee Fong: head of the Roderick project.
  • Ben Franklin: assistant on the Roderick project.
  • Leo Bunsky: researcher on the Roderick project, presumed dead.
  • Allbright: poet and addict, friend of Dan.
  • Professor Rogers: sociologist, committee manipulator, bad person.
  • Jane Hannah: anthropologist with an encyclopedic knowledge of mythology.
  • Aikin, Dollsly, Fethers, Tarr: pseudoscience scholars competing with Fong for funding.
  • Lyle Tate: Minnetonka dropout, painter.
  • Mister O'Smith: bionic cowboy assassin.
  • Ma and Pa Wood: elderly meta-hippies in Nebraska, sometime performance artists and inventors.
  • Indica Dinks: former dancer, Ben's ex-wife, Machine Liberation activist.
  • Hank Dinks: Indica's second husband, friend of Allbright, freelance journalist, neo-Luddite.
  • Mr. Kratt: robotics dabbler, "fun food" entrepreneur, maker of unsafe products.
  • Luke Draeger: retired astronaut, Skid Row factory worker, joiner of religious groups.

Other reading