They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies… Now they’re coming for you.
In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans - a single mother disconcerted by her daughter’s menacing “smart” toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a ‘pacification unit’ go haywire - but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.
When the Robot War ignites - at a moment known later as Zero Hour - humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us…and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.
Daniel H. Wilson earned a Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of such nonfiction works as How to Survive a Robot Uprising. Wilson lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter.
©2011 Daniel H. Wilson (P)2011 Random House Audio
“Things pop along at a wonderfully breakneck pace, and by letting his characters reveal themselves through their actions, Wilson creates characters that spring to life. Vigorous, smart and gripping.” (Kirkus)
"A brilliantly conceived thriller that could well become horrific reality. A captivating tale, Robopocalypse will grip your imagination from the first word to the last, on a wild rip you won't soon forget. What a read…unlike anything I’ve read before." (Clive Cussler)
I couldn't seem to dedicate myself well to a full review of this audio book. Not to say anything was wrong with this book, it was just a hard one to review. One of those middle ground books, there was nothing that stands out EPIC about it, but there was nothing in general wrong with it. The book took a historical narrative in regards to it's plot. The book opens with end of the robot wars and the “main character” finding a robot that had monitored the entire war. He then transcribes the video and audio recordings from a historical perspective. First thing wrong with the book was that it opened with the end of the war and the fact that humans had triumphed. There went any anxiety I might have had about the outcome of the book. Then with the historical narrative that they book encompassed it dropped any character attachment that could have been formed. There was plenty of plot, there were plenty of characters to become attached to...but the “All Seeing Eye” of the narration didn't allow this. Overall this was just a book that had an unoriginal idea, robots taking over the world when AI is invented, that was paired with a non-compelling literary device. If it wouldn't have been an audio book I would have stopped reading. But the narration by Mike Chamberlain was well done and it kept me listening.
I have dozens of books in my audible account and this my new favorite. I enjoyed this book every bit as much as On The Beach and the many Asimov stories I read in my younger days. I selected this novel more for its content, as the author had a previous non-fiction work covering basically the same subject, but I was pleasantly surprised with how this author did on his first try at a novel. The author creates a much more plausible scenario for a robot uprising than the Terminator franchise. I also found the brotherhood themes interesting since I never had one. I highly recommend this book, not only to sci-fi buffs but anyone who is fascinated with the trajectory of the digital age.
I will recommend, if you haven't picked them up already, "Daemon" and "Freedom" by Daniel Suarez and "The Crossing" from Justin Cronin: these books treat an "apocalyptic vision" expertly and in a riveting fashion. So, if you really want to enjoy some good escapism, try those books. Robopocalypse, sadly, isn't doing it for me. it's a mix between a writer who could be a lot more economical with his words and precise in his descriptions and a narrator who doesn't sound that polished. The combination is hard to listen to and endure, which is a bummer because I like these kinds of escapist books, especially in the summer. Another good series to look at: "The Strain" trilogy.
I was hooked by Comac Wallace and his narrative excerpts of accounts on humanities struggle with Rob, as the machines are called in the robot war depicted in this book. Then I heard that it would become a movie by Spielberg and Dreamworks and knew I had a hit book in my hands. Just an hour into this excellent listen and the narrative of the "Big Happy" loosing his mind and attacking an average ice cream and yogurt jerk made me me cringe and laugh. I immediately starting telling my friends about this book. It is an excellent read. Daniel Wilsons intimate knowledge of robotics (He has a PhD in Robotics) gives a first rate sci fi adventure full of all the cool stuff we sci fi heads are looking for. Savor the book, dont waste a chapter and get it now you wont be dissapointed.
No new ideas, really. Computers attain self-awareness, decide to wipe out all humankind. Lots of sci fi books written on this subject. Whole concept requires widespread use of servant humanoid robots. One interesting chapter was from the point of view of the robot. If you haven't read any of the old classics on this subjects, it might be more interesting.
Robopocalypse is in the same genre as the Terminator series, Heinlein's The Moon is Harsh Mistress, or Asimov's I, Robot. The assumption is that at some point, machine intelligence will become sufficiently advanced and complex so that "consciousness" will emerge. Typically at that point, machine intelligence will decide that humans are too illogical and contradictory to maintain their dominance of the planet.
Rather than focus on the lone rebel who must defeat the machines, Robopocalypse interweaves multiple story lines from around the world of various individuals playing a role in overcoming the machine menace. There are tales of lost love, lost childhood, lost innocence, and lost anti-social personalities. Of course, humans are triumphant in the end, but it's the process that we enjoy, not the ending that makes the tale worthwhile.
This is not hardcore sci-fi; rather, the emphasis is on the struggle to preserve our humanity in the face of technological superiority that is the real message.
At first it was hard to listen to the novel and not think of all the previous sci-fi novels/movies that have came before it. However, it did develop into a plot of its own as you became more intimate with the characters. In the end, it quickly had to cover ground and close the story, leaving a few questions without answers.
The premise of this book is well worn. The characters in this book, men and machines, are a little mechanical. But it's the details, the ideas, the technologies and the sinister machines themselves that provide the surprises and suspense. If you can overlook the books shortcomings, you will enjoy it as I did.
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