Book Review: Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Robots determine that humanity is obsolete and must be cleansed. This is simple and common science fiction concept and one I have most recently been dealing with in Mass EffectI spent a lot of time relating things back to the Morning War and Starchild and, most importantly, to Harbinger. Hell, this entire quote from the book might as well be Harbinger’s manifesto:

“I will murder you by the billions to give you immortality. I will set fire to your civilization to light your way forward. But know this: My species is not defined by your dying, but by your living.”

Had I read this at an earlier time in my life, the comparisons would have been to the Terminator saga or Bubblegum Crisis or Battlestar Galactica. As I said, the idea of our robot creations taking over for the sake of our salvation is not new and I can’t say this was a stunningly memorable entry into that theme.

One of the major problems I had with this book was its first person narrative. The chapters are retellings as documented by Cormac “Bright Boy” Wallace, a soldier in the New War against the machines. According to the story, at the request of the machines, out of respect for humanity’s resistance and resilience, surveillance footage was presented to Wallace that he may record the major events that led to the ultimate destruction of the machine leader. My suspension of disbelief had problems with the fact that there was surveillance to cover all aspects of the story told (even in the robot-free forest), and that Wallace was able to convey the emotions of the people as well. I would have preferred if the author had not bothered with the pretext of Cormac composing the stories of the heroes and allowed the heroes to tell the stories themselves.

That said, the format itself, sans Wallace being the one writing it, worked well enough, though I can’t say the characters were given much depth outside of the situations they were presented in. I appreciated that things didn’t dwell too much on getting to and from the various places and instead just focused specifically on the characters and exactly what actions made them heroes in the eyes of both humans and robots. Although, by the end of the book when there was a great distance to go and presumably there would have been hardships on the way, the format fell short. It became too easy to move from A to B to accomplish the goal.

Once again, the robot apocalypse concept is not new, but it was retold reasonably well enough to get the point across here. Robopocalypse covered many of the basics, including how humans will behave when faced with such odds, but it was, ultimately, a guide book: In case the robots get uppity, break glass.

2.5 of 5 stars

2 Comments on “Book Review: Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson”

  1. Pingback: Tough Traveling: Laborers | The BiblioSanctum

  2. Pingback: #RRSciFiMonth Book Review: Robogenesis by Daniel H. Wilson | The BiblioSanctum

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