Sci-Fi Saturday Early Review: Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: June 2011
Review copy courtesy of Book It Forward Tours

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.

Every now and then I discover a new author, and I get really excited. This happened with Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series and now with Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse. I’m not quite sure what I expected. Maybe just run of the mill postapocalyptic dystopian fare, with robots run amok? Well, in Robopocalypse, robots certainly do run amok, but run-of-the-mill it is not. Told in snippets of gathered intelligence by Cormac Wallace, a leader of the human resistance, Robopocalypse covers the period of time just before the robot uprising to almost 3 years after, and details, in particular, the struggles of a small group of heroes, from New York , to the Great Plains, and even Japan. The author turns on the creeps full force in this book, and I was reminded at times of early Stephen King. There are truly horrifying moments as the virus, spread by the powerful AI that calls itself Archos, systematically takes over robotics all over the world. I did say there were some creepy bits, yes? Especially spine tingling are scenes where our heroes interact with Archos, who uses a little boy’s voice to communicate. There’s a scene involving a child’s doll that will make the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It’s scary enough that robots are rising up and killing humans, but what’s even worse is they are also herding people into work camps in order to build stronger, better, smarter killing machines. This novel isn’t just runaway robots killing humans, although I was reminded of Maximum Overdrive (remember that one?), especially when the cars with smart chips start killing people (and that’s most cars in this world). I fell in love with the characters, and one of my favorites isn’t even human. This book has fairly short chapters, and I found myself thinking “just one more” until I realized I’d read 50 pages. 
Yes, there’s tons of action in this book (Steven Spielberg movie in 2013!!), but truly, Robopocalypse is about bravery in the face of staggering horror, and unfathomable circumstances. Like any good exploration of artificial intelligence, it will make you question what it really means to be human, and likens what we choose to do in moments of crisis as the closest we can get to fate, and who we truly are at our core. And the humans aren’t the only ones rising up against Archos…

The author has a Ph.D. in robotics and it certainly shows. Terrifying robots and gadgets abound, and I had no trouble putting myself into the story, right in the middle of the action. Mr. Wilson also deftly handles several different points of view and creates an immediacy that makes the events even more terrifying. This novel takes off like a rocket and bullets you through the story like a runaway train! I loved it!

Pre-orderRobopocalypse:Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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  1. As the Crowe Flies and Reads

    This is not a typical book for me to pick up to read, but I also said that a couple of months ago about The Last Werewolf. Like that one, Robopocalypse seems to rise above its genre and it's likely that I will eventually get around to reading my copy of it. Thanks for the review!

  2. I will find and read this one for sure – thanks for a review that makes me even more determined to do so!

  3. As the Crow Flies and anachronist-glad you liked the review! It's a great read!

  4. Wow, great review. This book sounds brilliant! I've tended to steer clear of cyber-dystopia, but this one I think I'll be trying to get my hands on 🙂

  5. may not be something I would normally go for…but it really does sound good. Thanks for the great review! :0)

  6. Rachel Star-It's pretty awesome, and reads like a really good action movie!

  7. I love early Stephen King so I will definitely be picking this up. Short chapters as well is a sneak way of getting me to read so many more pages…really excited about this book now! Thanks for the review!

  8. The cover looks gorgeous! And the summary does sound interesting… It kinda reminds me of Gone 🙂

  9. Offbeat Vagabond

    So with Bethany, the cover is incredible. Really would love to read this. I like that it isn't the run-of-the-mill kind of robots stories we see in movies and stuff. Really can't wait to read this, sounds like something up my alley. Thanks so much hon 🙂

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