Review: Adam Robots / Author: Adam Roberts / Publisher: Gollancz / Release Date: Out Now
Adam Roberts is a frustratingly talented man, as this collection of 24 short stories proves without a doubt. Though nominally a collection of science fiction stories, the scope of these tales is very wide and what we have is a highly entertaining collection which is perfect for those looking for a quick fix of fiction to fit in between the gaps of their busy lives.
Each tale is in a different science fiction sub-genre and written in a different style. Robert’s distinctive talent is present in each and it is hard to shake the feeling that he is showing off. For example, Man of the Strong Arm is a take on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and it not only questions the nature of this sort of pulp work, it also emulates it very effectively. The World of the Wars skewers HG Wells' classic tale and yet keeps the original’s anti-war message intact, and we have no idea what The Cow is actually driving at but we can’t shake the feeling that it’s either very clever or deeply dumb. And Tomorrow is a surrealist parody of Macbeth that also doubles as a commentary on the sort of wacky nonsense that fans of the likes of Robert Rankin will recognise.
Overall, Adam Robots is a tour de force of the genre and an extremely clever work that can be read very casually and enjoyed very easily. They are some stories that are little bit clever simply for the sake of showcasing talent and this does weaken the overall effect slightly. Mostly though, this is a great example of intelligent and fun science fiction done extremely well.