Oct 25

Iron Side got a lot better when they replaced him with a robot.

SteveAsat Comments: You know what robots really don’t need? Polio. For more than three decades I have wondered whether anything even remotely resembling this scene appears in the novel. But it’s Saberhagan, so the mere thought of flipping through the actual text induces naptime.
Published 1981

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 6.47 out of 10)

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34 Responses to “Octagon”

  1. A.R.Yngve Says:

    DID YOU KNOW that many robots are crippled in their prime, by illnesses that could have been prevented with regular maintenance?

    Give, and give generously, to the Robot Maintenance Foundation — so that other robots won’t suffer the fate of this poor machine.

  2. A.R.Yngve Says:

    I’ll bet you a tenner, that if I send this pic to FOX News, and tell them it’s “photographic evidence of Obamacare’s Death-Panel Wheelchairs”, they’ll show it!

  3. Tom M Says:

    “His name is Octagon, and he’s out for blood. Even though he doesn’t have any.”

    I actually think this cover is pretty cool! I like the colours. This one is worse:

  4. SI Says:

    “And who ever has the gun… is the killer…”

    “That’s right! It was me! RoboChair! And I would have gotten away with it to, if it wasn’t for the lack of this buildings disabled access!”

  5. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “Part Machine, Part Wheelchair, All Cop – ROBOCHAIR.”

  6. A.R.Yngve Says:

    – Don’t you mean “out for oil”? 😉

  7. THX 1138 Says:

    You tell kids today that this was what video casette recorders were like back in 1981 and they don’t believe you! They were dangerous, man!

  8. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Despite Governor Perry’s enthusiastic approval, the State of Texas did not approve the new Electric Chair design.

  9. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    I’m not such a fan of the cover. It’s as if the illustrator were going for a Devo-esque juxtaposition of the familiar and the violent, but the moody colour-scheme ruins it. It’s as if, just off-panel, someone’s saying, “Oh, look, Bob! Box-Bot found your gun on the shop table.”

  10. Tom Noir Says:

    “Look boys, I love all the new features you’ve put into the Chair-o-Tron 3000. The ‘Action Grip Cup-holder’ and the self-defense system in particular are genius. But the fact is that the thing is damned uncomfortable to sit in!”

  11. Michael Toland Says:

    After Bob recovered from his broken leg, he used his wheelchair to haul his old computer equipment to the curb.

  12. AceofSpace Says:

    So robots who need a wheelchair are made into one instead?
    That’s efficiency if I ever saw it.

  13. Phil Says:

    The early Dalek designs were something of a disappointment.

  14. fred Says:

    The Berzerker who went trick or treating as Billy the Old Man.

  15. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    Portions of your murder have been prerecorded, and strangely enough, every one of those portions seems to take place near handicapped-accessible ramps

  16. Scott B Says:

    I agree with Tom M that his alternate cover is actually worse. It’s just a robotic version of the Count from Sesame Street: “One… Two… Three… Three murders! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!”

  17. Ian Says:

    Clever. The robot chair has hands so it can
    wheel itself around. What will engineers think of next?

  18. Jami Says:

    Wait, Saberhagen wrote books about stuff other than Dracula and magic swords?

    (I actually happen to like his Dracula books, especially since he puts a different spin on the Dracula VS Sherlock Holmes thing. But still…. this is a bit like finding out Piers Anthony wrote stuff other than the Xanth books.)

  19. Scott B Says:

    Saberhagen also did a lot of Berserker books. More than one have been featured on this fine site — clicky on the Saberhagen tag on this post.

  20. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    I wonder how the robot chair deals with a situation when the six shooter runs out of bullets?

  21. Smith Says:


  22. GK Says:

    Raymond Burr was amazing!

  23. Anna T. Says:

    @Phil: Brilliant. Davros eventually did realize that that design was in absolutely no way intimidating or dangerous, so he changed it.

    Does anyone else just think “SCHIZO TECH! SCHIZO TECH!” and “THAT IS ONE BADLY DESIGNED WHEELCHAIR” upon seeing this?

  24. GSS noob Says:

    This is the original cover — the one Tom M linked to is the original British cover (4 years later), and then of course, there’s the BAEN cover. Which as you might guess is florid and has nothing to do with the contents.

    The current ebook cover seems to have said “Screw it. Here’s an octagon.”

  25. B. Chiclitz Says:

    “I am a super intelligent robot chair! I will shoot you both with my two pistols. Now, both of you, prepare to die! Oh, er, um, ah—wait a second. Ok, you, just stand over there for now, and you, prepare to die!

  26. Bruce A Munro Says:

    “Well, the whole subtle and diabolical manipulation of events over the wires to bring about your death having failed to pan out, I’m just going to shoot you. Yeah, i’m kinda disappointed too. ”

    I wonder if the book confused people looking for martial arts entertainment?

  27. THX 1139 Says:

    Given what the movie Computer Chess told us, maybe it should be holding an umbrella.

  28. fred Says:

    I wonder if CGI James Dean would agree to be the voice of the chair.

  29. NomadUK Says:

    [email protected]: That video’s blocked by NBC. Here’s Quincy Jones in an awesome extended version (a brief advert at the beginning):-

  30. MisterBob Says:

    Perhaps what the NHS will look like if the Trump / Lord Sugar pact goes ahead ?
    Otherwise where is Chuck on the cover ?
    answers on a postcard ,kids .

  31. Tat Wood Says:

    There’s no sign of any propulsion unit on the wheels so maybe the pistol is there to propel the chair backwards towards the shelf with all the missing components.

  32. JuanPaul Says:

    @TW I’m thinking he would spin around in a circle before he could fire another shot.

  33. Bruce A Munro Says:

    IMHO the very human hands are what take it from merely silly-looking to Sladek-ish absurd.

    @Tat Wood: perhaps it uses its hands to push the wheels, Special Olympics style? (Speaking of robots with polio…)

  34. GSS ex-noob Says:

    That wheelchair looks heavy enough that the recoil from the gun wouldn’t budge it a bit, and no means of propulsion. So you’re perfectly safe as long as you stand out of reach of the one arm. The other appears to have no articulation, so you’re even safer.

    Maybe it’s just there to record the murder, and someone/thing off screen is doing the actual deed?

    @NomadUK: Thanks for the link. Forgot Q did the theme. Funky!

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