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 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.
Think about the kind of movie that substitutes tension and dramatic scenes for plot. Now imagine that instead of viewing the movie, you are reading the script. That's how this book reads. It's written as series of increasingly scary and violent scenes, each involving different settings and people. The premise - "What if we made really good robots that went bad on us?" - is tired, and there's nothing fresh or inventive about this treatment of it. Lots of graphic, gory descriptions though. Not my cup of tea. To be fair, I gave up when I was half-way through; maybe it redeems itself in the end, but I lost patience. I'd call this more thriller than sci-fi. Maybe it will make a better movie than book.
After listening to a few hours of this book you are going to go into epileptic fits if you hear Cormac Wallace, Mill Number GHA213 one more time. After the original idea this book gets boring fast, and the story delivery mechanism - a series of recorded snippets from ... you guessed it ... Cormac Wallace's journals gets old. Unless you are interested in hearing a series of battle vignets over and over pass this one by.
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