I must really begin this review by remarking how incredibly funny T.J. Land’s novel, Spare Parts, turned out to be for me. Sci-fi enthusiasts will love this novel, from the idea that robots can have feelings, to the fact that they can feel enslaved even when all they have ever known is preforming the task they have been assigned over and over for a millennia. But what really draws the reader in is the humanity that Meteor, Spike, and Gloss have and how much they mean to each other.
After a life altering experience whilst doing his floor cleaning job aboard the space ship he calls home, Meteor is struck with the fact that he has never had a choice to decide whether he wants to be a janitor and decides there must be other “tools” such as himself who yearn for more. Freedom is what he desires and he sets out to enlist the other robots on board to revolt. He manages to enlist two others out of over one hundred robots: Spike, a security bot, and Gloss, a systems engineer bot. The three manage to get to Earth and from there the hilarity ensues. From meeting the human Gonzalo, to discovering a rather influential former bot named August, the trio run through the gamut of antics and risky adventures to find and claim the key that will give one of them super robot powers and enable them to defeat the creators who hold the others captive. However, once free, the other robots aren’t nearly as excited about being on Earth as Meteor had hoped. Now the galactic counsel is after them all and, in the end, they will have to prove they are more than machines—they must prove they have a heart.
T.J. Land brilliantly sets forth to create a story where three robots who have never strayed from their specific jobs now must face the daunting task of trying to “blend in” and appear human while searching for the magical key that will set them free. It is one really clever encounter after another as we watch these three learn what it is to charm humans, assimilate into the culture, and even learn how to act human so as to not call attention to the fact they are basically skin covered steel mechanisms. Gonzalo is incredibly cute and the idea that he can fall in love with a robot who doesn’t even have sexual organs is just lovely. In fact, T.J. Land creates an asexual bot and a gender fluid bot in such a way that you barely realize how cleverly the author has accomplished making the novel as inclusive as possible.
The story is really entertaining, the plot well-constructed, and the humor spot on. Even if you have never thought to pick up an m/m sci-fi novel before, I would enthusiastically recommend you begin with this story. I promise you that between the clever story line and the hilarious premise the book hinges on, you will not be disappointed by Spare Parts.