A book with a supporting character who hears NASA voices in his head?
March 16, 2013 8:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to remember a book I read a long time ago in which a bitter supporting character complained about the fact that he was an ex-astronaut and he had a chip in his head and every moment of every day he received encouraging commentary from NASA engineers about whatever he happens to be doing. From memory the character might be homeless, or unemployed etc, and as the story progresses I think you just assume he's a little mad and the voices are imaginary.

So, some extra, possibly entirely fictional details. I have a memory that something happens towards the end of the story that possibly leaves you thinking that this bitter guy has been telling the truth -- he really was once an astronaut and he really has been hearing this constant chatter of engineer voices in his head all this time.

I think the main character of the story was an escaped, humanoid robot? And I think I think that at some point he had to get a job, and worked as a dish washer in the kitchen of a restaurant. And that's about it.

And overall, I think the book was humorous.

Any ideas, Metafilter?
posted by planetthoughtful to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Are you thinking of Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut?
posted by TheCavorter at 8:15 PM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

TheCavorter: no, that's not it, but it does sound like a book I'd enjoy, so I'm extra glad you answered! :)
posted by planetthoughtful at 8:19 PM on March 16, 2013

The Hated by Frederik Pohl?
posted by Silly Ashles at 8:24 PM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Silly Ashes: another great contender, but that is not the story I'm trying to remember.

If my memory can be relied on at all, the ex-astronaut is not the main character of this book, the oddly neutral escaped robot is. I have this idea that the robot and the ex-astronaut met at a bar, and that there were other supporting characters, but the ex-astronaut is the only one I can remember.

There was a reason, I believe, why the robot had to hide and blend in, but I can't remember that either.

I'm being super helpful, aren't I? :)
posted by planetthoughtful at 8:38 PM on March 16, 2013

Okay, I think I may have tracked this down -- it's very likely "Roderick At Random" by John Sladek. Unfortunately, I can't find a synopsis that mentions the character who hears NASA voices. I'll have to get a copy to confirm, but I am about 90% confident this is the book I was trying to remember.
posted by planetthoughtful at 9:11 PM on March 16, 2013

We have resolution! It is definitely "Roderick At Random" by John Sladek! Thank you to those who gave this some thought.
posted by planetthoughtful at 9:22 PM on March 16, 2013

It sounds similar to "Fat Men From Space"
posted by beau jackson at 10:41 PM on March 16, 2013

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