#815: Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Robopocalypse 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.

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Review

Terminator ruined me for robots. Now Robopocalypse has only reinforced my wariness of them. Robots must be avoided. They take over everything! Sure, they look cool, but then a robot apocalypse happens and you are left lamenting the day you brought home the newest robotic device. I’m glad I don’t have my robotic tyrannosaurus rex anymore. I wouldn’t be able to look at it the same way.

Don’t get me started on dolls either. Creepy! Just creepy!

I read World War Z before this and, I’ll admit it, I couldn’t help comparing. Robopocalypse is delivered the way of recorded experiences. It’s not necessarily an oral history, it is a man recounting the information he has seen via recorded device he comes across, but it reminds me of one.

Unlike World War Z, I found Robopocalypse’s form of writing not as dry. Along with new characters sharing their point of view, there are several repeat point of views. I grew to love some of the characters and couldn’t wait to get to their part of the story again.

I did take some time to become absorbed in the story though. It wasn’t until around the 150 – 200 page mark when I felt the pace really hit its stride. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t engaging to begin with, it had to be, or else I wouldn’t have made it so far. Once I got there though, I couldn’t put it down. On the Sunday I finished reading Robopocalypse, I had planned to do some grocery shopping in the morning. I didn’t leave the house until after 4pm.

I would have loved more detail with certain arcs. I would love to know more about the urban survivors in the story and to read Mathilda’s journey. I did feel at times some things were glossed over, but then again the story itself may have ended up being convoluted, so who knows? It would be awesome to read side stories, even if they were short, of the character’s lives in amongst the main storyline.

I’m glad I read Robopocalypse when I did. After having one of the longest reading slumps I’ve experienced, the novel has given me a thirst to read more. I also recommend Robopocalypse if you like the idea of World War Z, but want to have more of an emotional connection to the characters. World War Z has its own merits, of course, but Robopocalypse is more about humanity and life, rather than societal conflicts.

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