Saturday, 10 September 2011

Book Review: ROBOPOCALYPSE BY DANIEL H WILSON

Genre:  Science Fiction
Published:  Simon & Schuster  (June 2011)
Pages:  347  (Paperback)
Source:  From the Publisher
My Rating:  8/10




About the Book:

Two decades into the future humans are battling for their very survival when a powerful AI computer goes rogue, and all the machines on earth rebel against their human controllers. 
The machines believe that the planet would be better off without humans, and that robots would be better caretakers of the earth's ecology.
Twenty minutes afer the war ends, Sergeant Cormac 'Bright Boy' Wallace is exterminating robots in the Alaskan wilderness when he finds a machine containing a an information cube - the robots' black box on the entire war. Inside are thousands of accounts of humans designated 'heroes' by the machines; from children to soldiers - those who fought, and those who died. A few individual robots also rejected the super-AI's homicidal campaign and join with human forces to save their collective freedom. 
Robopocalypse tells the story of humanity's battle to survive, with fry cooks and ordinary citizens battling rogue smart cars and independent-minded kitchen appliances, while government scientists take on murderous supercomputers.

(Taken from Simon & Schuster website)

I don't read a great deal of Science Fiction books as sometimes I find them a little too 'heavy' and long-winded with lots of scientific jargon that I find difficult to follow ....... but I'm happy to say that this book doesn't fall into that category.  It was quite an easy read with some likeable characters.

As the blurb above mentions, the story starts just after the War has ended and we are introduced to the main protagonist who finds a black box that's showing holograms of the robot uprising and he writes it all down as he thinks everyone should know about it from beginning to end ......... and this is how the story starts.

The first chapter details how and why the uprising began and each chapter from then on is narrated by a different character - we meet most of them before Zero Hour (this is how the uprising is described) and they are a fascinating mix - including a soldier in Afghanistan, a little girl in the US who's dolls suddenly start talking to her, an elderly man in Japan who's a machine expert with a doll robot for a companion.  An interesting mix that we also meet during and after Zero Hour.

I really liked how each chapter deals with the way each person has coped with the uprising and how they survived it.

There are lots of descriptions of different kinds of robots who do all sorts of jobs from domestic robots in the house to Army soldiers, we know what they're made of, their size, shape etc. and I did have difficulties sometimes visualising these robots.
In the first months after Zero Hour, billions of people around the world began a fight for survival. Many were murdered by the technology they had come to trust: automobiles, domestic robots and smart buildings. 
This isn't a gory story of fighting, though there is some of that, but there are human stories and tales of survival and heroism and this is what makes it so interesting and gripping.

A well-written and steady paced novel that was scary in parts (I even think the cover is scary!)
Daniel H Wilson's very informative website is here where he mentions the new film of Robopocalypse by Steven Spielberg.

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