Book Review: ROBOPOCALYPSE by Daniel H. Wilson

RobopocalypseRobopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The author of Robopocalypse, Daniel H. Wilson, has a unique perspective on the novel’s subject because he’s a Carnegie Mellon trained PhD-level roboticist. His unique insight makes the book an interesting read despite the fact that the concept will be familiar to anyone who’s watched the Terminator movies. An artificial intelligence (AI) decides that machine life requires that humanity die, and soon thereafter our mechanized helpers begin to turn on us.

The book is organized as a series of records pulled together by a survivor of the war. Said survivor is the protagonist –to the extent there is one (it’s really an ensemble piece.)

The cast of characters is introduced in the first part of the book through a series of what seem like machine malfunctions, which turn out to be harbingers of the war to come. These malfunctions include a military robot, the air traffic control system, and a “robotic wife.” The book follows these human characters through the beginning of the war and the development of centers of human resistance. The resistance ranges from Japanese man who fights fire with fire to Native American tribesmen who survive in part owing to their limited exposure to technology. It all culminates in a fight in Alaska to gain control of the buried server in which the AI resides.

It’s an old concept, humanity replaced by the species it spawned. However, it’s much less outlandish than the Terminator series which relies heavily on time travel. Wilson’s vision is much scarier because it’s much easier to imagine coming to fruition.

Robopocalypse is being made into a movie by Steven Spielberg that is due out on April 25, 2014

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