The Automatic Detective and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $7.99
  • Save: $0.80 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Family owned since 1989. Selling online since 1995. Exceptional shopping experience, 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed!
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Automatic Detective Mass Market Paperback – February 3, 2009


See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Library Binding
"Please retry"
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
$7.19
$4.41 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"


Frequently Bought Together

The Automatic Detective + In the Company of Ogres + Gil's All Fright Diner
Price for all three: $21.57

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on selected titles, including the current pick, "What If?" by Randall Munroe.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reissue edition (February 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765357941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765357946
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Martinez (In the Company of Ogres) tickles the funny bone in this delightful, fast-paced mishmash of SF and hard-boiled detective story. Mack Megaton drives a cab in the mutant-infested technotopia of Empire City. It's a step down for a massive killing machine created for world domination, but kindhearted Megaton has bucked his programming, and when his secretive neighbors, the Bleakers, go missing, he begins a search. Young Holt Bleaker has something in his mutant blood that makes him valuable to aliens poised to invade Empire City, and only a giant robot—a robot like Mack Megaton—can break him out of the fortress where he's held prisoner. Soon plans go awry when sinister psychic Grey subverts Megaton's programming, but he finds an unlikely ally in Lucia Napier, an outrageously beautiful and talented media star and roboticist. Eccentric characters, all of whom are clever twists on stereotypes, populate a smart, rocket-fast read with a clever, twisty plot that comes to a satisfying conclusion. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Martinez tickles the funny bone in this delightful, fast-paced mishmash of SF and hard-boiled detective story. . . . A smart, rocket-fast read with a clever, twisty plot that comes to a satisfying conclusion.”---Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Automatic Detective

“Martinez crafts a private eye in the best tradition of hard-boiled futuristic detection, with plenty of beautiful babes and evil geniuses, and written in classic wise-cracking first-person narrative.”---Booklist on The Automatic Detective

"Reformed warrior robot Mack Megaton searches for a missing family---and a moral purpose---in a city of exotic mutants. . . . Mack's smash-and-grab mission acquires some satisfying philosophical heft."---Entertainment Weekly on The Automatic Detective

“A terrific debut. The fast-paced plot is full of memorable incidents and wonderful observations.”---Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Gil’s All Fright Diner


More About the Author

A. Lee Martinez was born in El Paso, Texas. At the age of eighteen, for no apparent reason, he started writing novels. Thirteen short years (and a little over a dozen manuscripts) later, his first novel, Gil's All Fright Diner was published. Since then he has published or is about to publish five additional novels, including the forthcoming Divine Misfortune. His hobbies include juggling, games of all sorts, and astral projecting. Also, he likes to sing along with the radio when he's in the car by himself.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
37
4 star
13
3 star
3
2 star
1
1 star
0
See all 54 customer reviews
Funny, original, well written, and a very good story.
MyrnaLynne
There's also a little girl genius, thugs both robot and human, little green men, aliens, a shrink for robots... lots of great characters.
R. Kelly Wagner
Too many of the action scenes seem repetitive, though the briefer ones are exciting the first time through.
Acontius

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By R. Kelly Wagner on March 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
Martinez is back in top form! I had been rather disappointed in "In the Company of Ogres" for its lack of plot although it had plenty of wisecracks, and disappointed a bit in "A Nameless Witch" for being a bit too solemn - but here in "Automatic Detective" we are back to having novel characters, a fast-moving plot, AND all the wisecracks, in a book as original as Martinez' first, "Gil's All-Fright Diner."

Saying that it's original doesn't mean there isn't any history to it. In order to get the most possible fun out of reading this book, you have to read some of the inspirations behind it. Most obviously, Isaac Asimov's "Caves of Steel" and any Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler - but also Asimov's "I, Robot" stories. For the Hammett, seeing the movie will do; for the Asimov, you definitely need to read the books; the movie called "I, Robot" will NOT cut it. One of the things to note in the robot stories is the sexism of the times back then implicit in the characterization of Susan Calvin, the robot engineer - so that you can see just how much fun Lucia Napier really is! Also, besides those, you should read Alfred Bester's story "Fondly Fahrenheit" (it's been anthologized lots, for example here: Virtual Unrealities: The Short Fiction of Alfred Bester). All reet!

I can detect other influences here - classic Harry Harrison and Larry Niven, including Gil the ARM, for example - but I don't want this to sound too much like an academic analysis, so I'll leave you to do those comparisons yourself.

As the editorial and other reviews mention plenty about the plot, I won't repeat it all here.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on July 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
This fun and offbeat novel is not necessarily unique because of its mix of sci-fi and detective noir, which has been done before. It's unique because of Martinez's unconventional milieu and setting, as this book takes place in a world that could only be described as retro-sci-fi. The story is set in a near-future based on the 1940s or 50s and harkens back to the sci-fi pulps that were actually written in that era, when even the most adventurous authors could have never imagined our modern wired world and instead concocted clunky flying cars and huge fightin' robots. Thus Martinez has grounded the novel in the true era of detective noir and its weirdly outdated future. The story features a super-advanced robot named Mack Megaton who becomes a reluctant detective in order to find some human friends who have been kidnapped in a bizarre conspiracy, while hanging out with pulpy characters like criminal masterminds, streetwise molls, and grizzled cops.

The best parts of the story concern Mack's thoughts on moving from cold robot logic to slippery human sentimentality, and Martinez does a great job with this subtle philosophical theme. Meanwhile, the action is fun and fast-moving, and fits perfectly within the pulpy world that Martinez has created. But the novel is also a bit monochromatic as the retro-sci-fi backdrop can't quite hold together an ambitious conspiracy among aliens, mutants, norms, and robots; and there are a few plot holes here and there that do some damage to the storyline, particularly regarding Mack's run-ins with the cops. But readers who are willing to forgive a few lapses in focus will still find a fun and very unique story with cool characters and a lot of rip-roaring action. [~doomsdayer520~]
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. St Onge on February 19, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I mean, we all know that every science fiction writer sooner or later does a humorous novel about a wisecracking, hard-boiled robot detective in a city full of mutants whose shape changes unpredictably, but this one is better than any other humorous novel about a wisecracking, hard-boiled robot detective in a city full of mutants that you've read in the last year. Trust me on this. It has a street lights made of glowing industrial waste, AND a gorilla. Go read it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Librarian VINE VOICE on December 21, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The premise of THE AUTOMATIC DETECTIVE lured me with the promise of sci fi noir. I was looking for bot smashing action and mutant shenanigans. I was not disappointed.

I also found much more in the pages of this novel.

The author manages to imbue Megaton with the divine spark. Mack is created as a killing machine; he chooses to be greater than the sum of his parts. Although his shell is a facade of indestructible alloy, his psyche is as vulnerable as his fragile core.

After his neighbors are kidnapped, Megaton develops into a complex, flawed being. With each choice and confrontation, the Automatic Detective grapples with existential conundrums. He becomes more human than most of the biologicals he meets in Empire City. He is a paradox made up of ones and zeroes; a bot possessing both guts and a soul.

Yes, the book is funny and full of witty plot twists. But THE AUTOMATIC DETECTIVE has more than laughs. It has heart.

This is the third offering I've read by Mr. Martinez. It's also my new favorite. Pick it up. If you're like me, you'll wish the story wouldn't end.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 7, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have a penchant for crime stories featuring unusual protagonists, and the faux-pulp period cover of the book, with its robot gumshoe, caught my eye. It's certainly not the first blend of the science-fiction and detective genres (I suppose Assimov's Caves of Steel takes that honor), but it's a fairly enjoyable example. The story takes place in the retro-future "Empire City" -- imagine a kind of sprawling Los Angeles meets Seattle by way of '50s pulp magazine covers. Lots of flying cars, robots of all description, and distinctive city sectors (some with climate control domes, others cesspools of toxic waste, it brings to mind the Luc Besson film, The Fifth Element. One of the flying cars is piloted by Mack Megaton, a combat robot prototype who has been granted probationary citizenship after passing a test demonstrating free will comparable to humankind. (Come to think of it, The Fifth Element's protagonist is also a cab driver....)

One morning, Mack rescues his neighbors from a menacing thug, and when they disappear soon thereafter, he decides to play detective and track them down. Soon, he is tangled up in a larger conspiracy involving mutants and who knows what else. But Mack had friends -- a gorilla fellow cabbie, an understanding therapist, a white mouse police detective, and a tasty blond genius who seems to have a thing for robots. His attempt to track down the missing neighbors with a little help from his friends is a nice update on pulp fiction conventions. The story zips right along with snappy pacing, plenty of banter, and as several very inventive fight sequences. If you're looking for a light sci-fi read or an unusual detective caper, this should do the trick -- it's not jam packed with ideas, but it is diverting.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?