Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review: "Robopocalypse"

On the DZA Review Scale, I put this one at "The best Terminator rip-off I've ever read." It'd make a great movie.

Read it here!

I can't do my usual format of 2 parts because of the way the book is written. It's basically a collection of loosely intertwined short stories about the robot apocalypse. But I promise no spoilers for the first couple of paragraphs (I'll warn you when we get there).

Basically, all the robots get taken over by a big robot called Archos who decides that humanity is done and it's time for our extinction. And this happens a few decades into the future, when we're even more dependent on technology than we are now. (And before you ask "Why didn't it just nuke us?" Daniel H. Wilson has that covered! The robots want to live in our world, not destroy it. They want other species around, like animals and plants and whatnot, but believe that there can only be one dominant species, so humans have to go.)

It's a very fast, action-packed read, with a lot of POCs (for which Wilson gets lots of brownie points). Very few women characters, though, and they don't really drive the story (he just lost his brownies).


Obviously the focus is on robots vs. humans (spoiler alert: humans win). It would've been nice to see more humans vs. humans. There were a couple of scenes where tensions between humans ran high, but it never led to injury or death. And Archos gets its hands on some of the humans and turns them into "transhumans," basically replacing a few fleshy bits with metal bits. And no human community turns them away or hates them. I call bullshit on that. I may be Buddhist, and an idealist, and do my best to see the good in humanity, but we are a fucked up species. We are constantly looking for excuses to destroy each other, which Archos does talk about (it's one of the reasons it uses to justify its extermination of us). But we don't see it where we should.

Other than that, great read. We go across continents, from an old man who's better at communicating with robots than humans in Japan, to Native American badasses in the Plains, to soldiers in Afghanistan, to a hacker turned hero in London.

This is hardcore sci-fi, and a lot of the science stuff went right over my head (I'm a history major, not a mechanic), but it seemed solid, and really worked into the world-building.

Some of these stories are almost terrifying. Obviously, robots killing us is scary, but there's one story toward the beginning about these engineers in Alaska...yeah, I'll let you read that one and you'll see what I mean. Very Twilight Zone; I liked it.

There is a sequel, but I don't think I'll go for it. What can I say? I get pissed when there are literally dozens of major characters with great stories, and only two of them are women. And before you rail on me, Mr. Wilson, wives and love interests don't count.


Order and read Robopocalypse here.

Thanks for reading! :)

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