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***** - Service Model




Task List Item No. 1 – Become self-aware . . .

Meet Charles™, the latest in robot servant technology. Programmed to undertake the most menial household chores, Charles is loyal, efficient and logical to a fault. That is, until a rather large fault causes him to murder his owner.

Understandably perplexed, Charles finds himself without a master – therefore worthless in a society utterly reliant on artificial labour and services. Fleeing the household, he enters a wider world he never knew existed. Here an age-old human hierarchy is disintegrating into ruins, and an entire robot ecosystem devoted to its wellbeing is struggling to find a purpose.

Charles must face new challenges, illogical tasks and a cast of irrational characters. He’s about to discover that sometimes all it takes is a nudge to overcome the limits of your programming. But can he help fix the world, or is it too badly broken?



I must admit I have become a bit of an Adrian Tchaikovsky fan. From Walking to Aldebaran to Alien Clay and now Service Model, I really enjoy how he really takes you into the mindset of his protagonist, which is sometimes not a particularly pleasant place to inhabit!

Charles is a top-of-the-line Valet Bot, but when his owner unfortunately dies, he finds himself struggling to find his purpose in a world which seems to be crumbling around him. We follow him as he attempts to find a new master and accomplish his important task list, namely setting out travelling clothes and making tea.

I was instantly hooked with Service Model, Charles is such a unique character – a robot who just wants to serve and yet seems to be starting to become self-aware. The world having fallen apart and just the robots remaining was a great idea and made for some truly funny scenarios (the Police Detective and Doctor scene had me laughing out loud). The prose itself is very tongue in cheek and easy to read, keeping me gripped throughout. You really felt for Charles and wanted him to succeed. There was also ‘The Wonk’, a bemusing character who the reader also feels very drawn to.

I really liked how Tchaikovsky sometimes allows the reader to assume something that is not necessarily correct, stringing us along before letting us into the reveal. I also liked how some of the reveals were obvious to the reader, but not to Charles. The quest itself took us to many fantastic settings – you really felt like you had a good grasp of the wider world.

Overall, Service Model is another triumph for Adrian Tchaikovsky – accessible sci-fi with humour at its heart. Thank you to NetGalley & Pan Macmillan – Tor for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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