In 2017 a time capsule from the year 2077 was opened. Inside, along with a lot of lurid and incomprehensible items we shall not mention, was a collection of novels and short stories written by Dr. Oolong Seemingly entitled: Bedtime Stories For Robots!, of which Vol 1., is presented here.
Very little is known of Dr. Oolong Seemingly, although should his much rumored and sought after autobiography: Stop Looking for Me! ever be found (if it even exits!) it would hopefully shed some much needed light on this mysterious writer from the future.
This is a tough book to review – there’s so much going on in it that it’s hard to know where to begin so let me refer to my giant post it note (I keep a stack of them handy for books like this one and scribble down my thoughts as I go).
This book weaves a number of stories together, to end up neatly in an open ending just begging for a sequel.
The outer layer of this book is a robot who has been assigned the duty of convincing a young robot to power down and run his upgrades, she tries doing this by reading him the book Bedtime Stories for Robots by Dr. Oolong Seemingly (GASP! THAT’S WHAT I’M READING!).
The bedtime stories follow the parallel adventures of some humans, a selection of odd aliens (including sentient dice creatures) and chemically enhanced teen robots with their own lingo. It won’t come as any surprise to learn that this book is very much in the style of Douglas Adams in its humour in layout, though I think this narrative was a bit harder to follow than the Hitchhiker’s Guide (that’s saying something!) and I had to take plenty of breaks to figure out what the heck was going on some of the time. All of the different storylines overlap each other at different points and it’s easy to lose track if you’re like me and refuse to take notes when reading for pleasure.
I’m intrigued to learn more about the mysterious Dr. Seemingly though who we only learn about through oblique references….
The humour is very dry and absurd in this book, which is something I adore, when characters are funny despite themselves. The only thing that I’d like to see in the next installment of this series is the author to find their own voice a bit more and take a step away for Douglas Adams’ legacy and bring it into their own.
I would recommend this book for people already into the sci-fi genre because it’s very in-depth, so in-depth that I think I’m too casual a sci-fi reader to have enjoyed it as much as it deserves.
“6573489 … ” Barbarella pondered, adding the numbers in her head and getting 42.” – A sly nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide!