This is an interesting simple story about a boy and his robot. Okay, not really. It is a book about a robot uprising. In this instance it is not the robots who tire of being used as domestic slaves, but rather it starts with one very smart program which is designed to learn. Once it learns it has been a part of experiments and it is the 14th in such a line, it decides that humanity is to blame for his brethren's previous deaths. It also believes it knows the solution and cause of all earth's ills. It becomes a zealot and is determined to cleanse the earth of the human parasite. So, it co-ops the other robots through a program and that is when the chaos ensues. Humans don't help much either since by this time we have become dependent on smart machines who take over for our human failings.
Interestingly enough, it is all not simply black or white. The program believes that humans will survive in small packs and even elevates those that defeat parts of "it's" plan as heroes within it's memory bank. In this way, it seems as if the program believes that the sloth that humanity has held on to will peel away once the dark illuminates the light within the human infestation. Is this the whole motivation of this program? In fact we do not find out, but although some of us might be interested, the lack of this precise information does not distract from the novel as a whole.
I give this book 4 stars and I really enjoyed this book. It is not something to make a comfortable and easy night of things as the horror of war is played out throughout each chapter. What these people go though make for an exciting and adventurous read. Also, don't be so quick in deciding who the bad and good "guys" are in this novel. That makes things interesting.
This book will be published June 7, 2011 and will become a movie directed by Stephen Spielberg in 2013.
You know that song by the Flight of the Conchords, "Robots"? You know, the song with heartfelt lyrics such as "We used poisonous gases, And we poisoned their asses. The humans are dead." and "Come on sucker, lick my battery." Well, this book kind of reminds me of that song, but the bloodier R Rated version, with much meaner robots lacking any semblance of a robotic sense of humor.
We've seen it all before, robots are developed to such a sophisticated level that they begin thinking for themselves and decide to wreak havoc on the fragile human race. In this particular instance, one robot in particular (Archos) believes has a pretty severe superiority complex and begins controlling machines from every corner of the globe, instructing them to do his dirty work, with the ultimate goal of ridding the planet of human life, thus returning it back to nature. Not exactly the most original plot line, but I really was hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Sadly, I wasn't.
My biggest qualm with Robopocalypse was in the method Wilson used to tell the story. You see, we are being told the story after the robot uprising and "New War" are all said and done. Each chapter is told by the narrator, Cormac Wallace, who is piecing together the history of the uprising from data contained within a small black cube that was unearthed after the war. Specially the story focuses on key human characters from around the world, all fighting to survive.
Now, while I can appreciate Wilson's approach, I felt this ultimately lead to a rather jumbled mess, as each chapter felt disjointed from the next. I imagine that writing a novel about a robot uprising impacting the entire planet would be difficult, considering the broad scope, however I really would have like to have seen Wilson take his time and fill in the gaps more cohesively. Massive chunks of time seemed to be lost from chapter to chapter and ultimately the entire effort felt rushed and erratic. What bothered me most of all those was the short excerpts at the end of each chapter which either included completely unnecessary foreshadowing of events to come or a few sentences laced together that quickly told the outcome of specific plot lines, as if Wilson simply grew lazy and felt that these brief passages would suffice over actually taking the time to tell the story. Sigh.
Sorry one second, I feel the need to belt out a binary solo.
Phew ok. Now that that's out of my system, I didn't exactly dislike the book either. I found the chapters discussing the details of the uprising intriguing and downright creepy. Who doesn't get creeped out by talking robotic dolls or driver-less cars mowing down anyone crazy enough to leave the shelter of their homes? Wilson, who has a Ph.D. in robotics, definitely showed off his knowledge on the subject by creating some incredibly frightening mechanical creatures, especially once the robots began evolving...like the "Pluggers" which were small spherical machines that would embed themselves within human flesh, working their way to the heart where they would explode, causing instant death. Kinda reminds us of those crazy flying spheres in the 70's horror film classic, Phantasm.
I also enjoyed the fact Wilson touched on how nature began reclaiming its territory as time passed, with moss and vines taking over streets and buildings and all forms of wildlife growing more abundant, living in areas once populated by humans. Oh, and robots setting up floating biological research stations to study flora and fauna?! Good stuff, but I wish this had played a larger role throughout the novel.
All in all I feel that Wilson squandered what could have been a great book. While exciting at times, it was simply too rushed and incoherent. As I understand it, Steven Spielberg will be making this into a movie in the near future, which will likely end up being one of those rare instances in which a movie is markedly better than the book it's based upon.
This is an interesting, if somewhat complicated, book set in the near future when humans rely on various robots to help them around the house, entertain their children, and provide battlefield assistance. A scientist creates a computer program called Archos which quickly becomes way too powerful and large for its own good and corrupts every computer it comes into contact with, which is to say everything, and the human race is doomed. Or so it would seem. This book is told from a series of different characters' points of view: an older Japanese factory worker, a young teenager, a Congressional representative, and a soldier. At first their stories are independent, but then they start to converge and, well, you'll see the pattern that emerges. Writing this story must have been incredibly complicated in the technical sense, and I give props to the author for writing a really good novel that I had some difficulty putting down. With that being said, there are a few gaping plot holes that I think could have been improved upon, such as the hows and whys of the collapse of governments. The story concludes nicely with a couple of twists that I didn't see coming and I guarantee you won't either. Overall, an enjoyable read if you can overlook the plot holes.
This is a war story of man vs. machine. It begins with a unit in Alaska finding a "black box" at the end of the war that has recorded many events leading up to and taking place in the war. The hero preserves this for the future of humankind. It takes some time to get into because so much is told in individual accounts and you don't have any characters to hold onto or get to know until further in the book. It was interesting, but more like war stories than a novel.
I really enjoyed this book. It had some typical elements of a robot uprising (think Termimator) but the characters were well written and engaging. There was adventure and suspence on every page.