Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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.

There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions his programming comes up with, and an understanding that everything will be okay. It's utterly sweet and he is such a lovely protagonist. A lot of the drama of the narrative comes from his relatively simplistic view of things and how sharply this contrasts with the reality as the reader can understand it. 

Because there's also a cynicism here. The world is ending, or has ended, or will end, the exact chain of events and current situation is something that is only slowly revealed throughout the story, and the robots are still going about their duties for the most part. It's a cynicism that comes from engaging with chatbots when trying to contact companies online, or automated phonelines, or any other aspect of our current society where we're left at the mercy of trying to communicate with something that unwaveringly follows its programming regardless of whether or not it is actually efficient of helpful. It's an end of the world that contains so much that is scarily familiar, taken to understandable extremes.

At its heart, Service Model is about the search for meaning and purpose. The Wonk is on a quest for meaning. Why did the world end? Who's fault was it? What meaning and lessons is there to be found? It's the impulse to look for a narrative, an explanation, a neatly tied up lesson in what mankind did wrong. Meanwhile, Uncharles is looking for purpose, a place to fit into the world. Which isn't easy when you're a valet in the apocalypse and there's a shortage of clothes to fold and tea to make.

Despite the sci-fi setting and often fantastical cast of characters, this keeps the whole thing beautifully grounded. These are very understandable aims and desires, and I couldn't help but root for the protagonists on their quests.

Service Model is a fascinating story, packed with humour and drama and some outstandingly beautiful and lyrical prose. The end of the world has never been so good!


Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky is out now from Tor UK.

I was given a review copy in exchange for an honest review and participation in this Black Crow PR blog tour.


Popular Posts