Thursday, May 30, 2024

Mini-Review: Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Hardcover. 384 pages.

About Service Model:

"A humorous tale of robotic murder from the Hugo-nominated author of Elder Race and Children of Time

To fix the world they first must break it further.

Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose."

Service Model is an incredibly inventive and humorous sci-fi from one of the masters of the genre, Adrian Tchaikovsky.

What I liked: The narrative voice of our robot "protagonist," Uncharles, was brilliantly crafted and effective. I'm not sure how Tchaikovsky managed to get into the mind (?) of a robot so well for the story, but he absolutely executed it perfectly (not that I should be surprised from the author who created narrative perspectives of a spiders in a different series). I laughed a lot in this book due to the witty and clever dialogue between Uncharles and the various other robots (and occasional humans) it interacts with as it navigates a world where it is no longer strapped to its primary roles and routines. I really did enjoy that this book explored so many different ethical and moral dilemmas, and at times it felt a bit more like an allegory or philosophical discourse of sorts than a general story, which meant that many of the themes explored were done in great depth, which I both liked and disliked. I also enjoyed getting to explore a bit of this future world and see what's been happening with humans and all the technology that has proliferated over the years. It's always interesting to see how authors interpret these ideas, and Tchaikovsky is always an author that I trust to have some compelling commentary and ideas.

What I didn't like: I'll be honest: as entertaining as much of the dialogue and narrative voice were, Service Model is also quite repetitive. While I didn't mind some of the repetition because it served a purpose that I think was executed well, I did find other parts of it dragged on too long or just didn't work as well. There were also a lot of moments that honestly felt a bit dry, and this is something I've had a problem with in other books from Tchaikovsky, so that could just be more of his style. The plot itself also felt a bit loose and disorganized and loosely structured to where I didn't feel overly drawn to it at times, which made me not quite as engaged with the story as I'd have liked. I think that all of these issues I have with the storytelling are largely due to the philosophical exploration aspect I mentioned in the previous section, which, although interesting, did affect some of the storytelling elements. 

Overall, I've given Service Model four stars! This was a fun and entertaining tale with some strong exploration of various ethical and philosophical themes that I think would appeal to most sci-fi fans–or anyone who enjoys an interesting experiement. 

Buy the book: Amazon |

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading this soon, and I'm curious about some of your negatives. I haven't read a lot of his books, but this one sounds so good!