Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book Review: Robopocalypse

All your handy networked computerized devices are coming for you. Your car, your domestic and mil spec `bots - if it's controlled by a computer and can receive outside communications you're dead.

Daniel Wilson, author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising, takes us into the near future. A future when cars can drive themselves, when many people have domestic robots for cooking and cleaning, when smart-buildings can tell you it's necessary to evacuate, and the military uses robots to interact with and apprehend insurgents, and where a scientist, after a series of trial and errors, accidentally let's an AI loose into the world. That AI, Archos, decides humanity must destroyed in order for the machines to live.

Robopocalypse tells the story, in short vignettes, about several groups of the human resistance slowly coming together to end the New War. It's a series of short stories, all interconnected by one group leader and featuring recurring characters all building to the final battle and aftermath. of the war against the machines. People you don't want to care about and don't like grow into heroes against the machines. Children change the tide. A common married couple with no survival skills become valued leaders.

At first, I thought Robopocalypse was going to be a collection of unrelated short stories about the robot uprising, but it's so much more than that.  It's a moving documentary of the lives of several people - men, women, children- shortly before and throughout the Robot Uprising. You thought zombies were bad?

Did no one learn from Asimov? These machines certainly aren't governed by the Three Laws of Robotics. Sure, some of the machines have programming that prevent harming humans, but it's easily bypassed or overridden. Archos makes use of this and the pervasiveness of global networking and communications to take over all roboticized elements in our world, take over or jam satellites, shut down television and radio, impersonate humans using voice and data communications, and eventually uses humans against humans in a most horrific way.

I loved the entire ride! 

Robopocalypse was provided to me by the publisher for review. I gave it 4 of 5 stars on GoodReads.

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