Book Review: Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson
August 23, 2011 23 Comments
When I first heard about this book, I was very excited: this seemed a really good book. You know I love dystopia and this looked like a great story.
Pam, of bookalicious Pam, on my panel of the Speculative Fiction section of the Indie Lit Awards, heard me going on about the book, and was so kind, very kind indeed, to send it to me, all the way to the Netherlands (she’s in the US). Thank you very much, Pam!
People had meanwhile warned me that they didn’t think the book was quite as good as they had expected, so I was a little worried.
I found the beginning of the book absolutely wonderful, but the story did dwindle down to just “OK” for me nearer the end. I did enjoy reading the book, though, and I am looking forward to the movie (Steven Spielberg, 2013)!
Robopocalypse: What it is about
Cormac Wallace of the Gray Horse Army presents in short chapters the transcripts of witness accounts, camera recordings and other digital records of people who have been part of the recent robot wars in some way.
Robots are taking over the world. The transcripts show unconnected cases in which a robot (previously harmless) has attacked human beings. Before people realise, all robots have taken over and start harming people (this includes household robots, cars, etc.).
Several people are followed through time: first attack cases, zero hour (when it all really starts), fighting back, etc. These read like separate stories within the same post-apocalyptic world, but eventually these all come together into an attempt to damage the robot brain behind the war.
Robopocalypse: What I thought
I loved the beginning of the book and I was convinced this was going to be a great read. In the end, I must say, it became a bit boring and I became disinterested. So on average, it was a good read.
I am not a keen short story reader and because of the way the book was set up, it seemed as if I was reading several short stories, of which an instalment was added in each main section of the book. Later on, these story lines came together, but before that happened, I began to be impatient with it.
I liked the human interest parts of the story (a couple surviving in an apartment building, a family escaping town, etc.), but the ending was more like a military story, which I enjoyed less.
The idea was interesting, and, given that the author is an robotics PhD himself, probably also possible: robots/machines being so intelligent that they take over from the humans. It wasn’t quite clear why so many humans needed to be killed, though.
In all, an interesting idea, with some great situations in the beginning, but with a somewhat boring ending.
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got this book: from Pam at bookalici.us because she knew I was keen to read it (ARC)
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 368
First published: 2011 (June)
Genre: dystopia, science fiction
A disappointed reader: Dead Trees and Silver Screens (review)
A happy reader: Under My Apple Tree (review)
I enjoyed this book a lot. If you read it and absolutely loved it, consider nominating this book for the Independent Literary Awards under Speculative Fiction. Any book blogger can nominate titles! (nominations open September – December)