Thursday, March 8, 2012

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
2011, Doubleday

Synopsis: 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.

Why read: Picked up a copy at BEA.

What impressed me: I was warned that Robopocalypse was essentially World War Z with robots instead of zombies and the comparison was spot on. The format was the same, but Robopocalypse did better when looked at from an emotional standpoint. The human characters conveyed their emotion better. We returned to the same characters over and over again, allowing the reader to care about their welfare. Since the characters were followed more closely, we witnessed more of their personal stories. 

What disappointed me: Archos could have been a more deadly menace. It seemed to toy with the humans when it could have easily destroyed them all. While it tried to maintain its own survival, it never seemed set on wiping out the humans completely. This made the story slower and less intense than it really should have been.

Recommended: Yes. Robopocalypse seems perfect for readers looking to get into robotic science fiction stories.

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