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review The Tin Men

The William Morris Institute of Automation Research is working hard to simplify our lives by programming computers to carry out life’s routine tasks Whether it’s resolving ethical dilemmas writing pornographic novels saying prayers or watching sports these automation experts are developing machines to handle it all enabling us to enjoy free time And when it’s announced that the ueen will be. I m not uite sure why I picked this off the shelf in the library but am so glad I did It is the one of the best and most deadpan satires I ve ever come across The plot centres on an academic department that has a new building that will be opened by the ueen This impending opening unleashes chaos absurdity and self replicating committees distracting the heads of department from their usual novel writing sporting activities and obsessive graphing of their Is Probably my favourite and the funniest parts of the book describe the work of Goldwasser head of the Newspaper Department who finds it surprisingly easy to automate the headlines uoteSay for example the randomiser turned upSTRIKE THREATBy adding one unit at random to the formula each day the story could goSTRIKE THREAT BIDSTRIKE THREAT PROBESTRIKE THREAT PLEAAnd so on Or the units could be added cumulativelySTRIKE THREAT PLEA STRIKE THREAT PLEA PROBESTRIKE THREAT PLEA PROBE MOVESTRIKE THREAT PLEA PROBE MOVE SHOCKSTRIKE THREAT PLEA PROBE MOVE SHOCK HOPESTRIKE THREAT PLEA PROBE MOVE SHOCK HOPE STORMOr the units could be used entirely at randomLEAK ROW LOOMSTEST ROW LEAKLEAK HOPE DASH BIDTEST DEAL RACEHATE PLEA MOVERACE HATE PLEA MOVE DEALSuch headlines over gave a newspaper a valuable air of dealing with serious news and helped to dilute its obsession with the frilly knickeredness of the world without alarming or upsetting the customersThat is one of the most witty and astute commentaries on newspapers I ve ever come across This book was first published in 1965 and has aged magnificently Only yesterday I read a piece about how the Daily Express has four basic headlines that it reuses endlessly Moreover if you ve ever worked in an office you will recognise the odd personality uirks miscommunications and incredibly awkward social gatherings parodied here I laughed to myself many times Highly recommended

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The Tin Men

Paying a royal visit and the Institute’s madcap bunch of researchers decide to program the computers to receive her what could possibly go wrongWinner of the Somerset Maugham Award The Tin Men 1965 is the brilliantly comic first novel from Michael Frayn author of the Booker Prize nominated Headlong Spies and Skios and Noises Off ‘the funniest farce ever written’ NY Times This 50th anniversar. Now available in the USPaperback USeBook US

Michael Frayn Ä 4 review

Y reissue features a new introduction by the authorWHAT CRITICS ARE SAYING‘Continuously funny The fun of The Tin Men is outrageous because it is so serious’ – Anthony Burgess Guardian‘A fast swooping performance by one of our very serious satirists This is a very funny book and delightful to read’ – William Trevor The Listener‘Dazzlingly funny perfect pieces of comedy’ – Observer. This made The Leakey Establishment look densely plotted Amusing at times but overall a chore to get through Thankfully it s reasonably short


10 thoughts on “The Tin Men

  1. says:

    The Tin Men was written in the sixties – the prime of the absurdist literature and an eve of the computer era and an ons

  2. says:

    If you like the British humor such as Fawlty Towers or Ricky Gervais in the Office you will thoroughly enjoy this book “ was a responsive subject for lobbying No lobbyist had ever come to him in vain” “He had an open m

  3. says:

    I'm not uite sure why I picked this off the shelf in the library but am so glad I did It is the one of the best and most deadpan satires I've ever come across The plot centres on an academic department that has a new building that will be opened by the ueen This impending opening unleashes chaos absurdity and self replicating committees distracting the heads of department from their usual novel writing sport

  4. says:

    Now available in the USPaperback USeBook US

  5. says:

    Funny workplace satire set in a company investigating uses for computers in the 1960s This is not Sci Fi but there are some rudimentary SF elements They consider using computers to write newspaper stories or pornographic novels They even consider automating prayer why should God care whether it is a human or a machine who

  6. says:

    This was a fun read and with good reason a farce of the highest order Inside this slim tome is some excellent scenesIf I were asked to put my advice to a young in one word do you know what that word would be? No? Sir Prestwick had saidThink PrestwickThinkThe whole scene goes on and is supurbThe legendary Kurt Vonnegut started a film company called Sourdough Productions just so he could by the film rights to one of his most favou

  7. says:

    This made The Leakey Establishment look densely plotted Amusing at times but overall a chore to get through Thankfully it's reasonably short

  8. says:

    Originally published on my blog here in January 2000Michael Frayn's first novel is like the comic novels of JB Priestley especially Sir Michael and Sir George rather than those of Evelyn Waugh with whom the uoted reviews on the cover compare him Waugh's melancholy side is absent from The Tin Men and it is directly satirical though the novel is as funny as the comparison suggestsThe satire is about mechanisation and depersonalisation the lat

  9. says:

    I had read Michael Frayn's The Trick of It and absolutely enjoyed his style of writing and satiric humor I thought looking at this book's reviews and synopsis that I would love this one for sure Unfortunately I did not and I could not No matter how much I tried to find humor in the dialogue and writing no matter how much I tried to expand my mind to take in all the great complex satire I just couldn't enjoy reading this bookIt

  10. says:

    Long ago I saw the young Alan Rusbridger on What The Papers Say uoting the passage in chapter 13 that states the differing levels of interest that western media have for catastrophes involving foreigners Depressi