#RRSciFiMonth Book Review: Robogenesis by Daniel H. Wilson
Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow this year, created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction! From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it is intended to help science fiction lovers share their love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.
“It’s hard to guess how smart the machines are, but a good rule of thumb
is that they’re always smarter than you think.”
Series: Robopocalypse #2
Genre: Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday (June 2014)
Author Info: danielhwilson.com
Wendy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Robopocalypse did not impress me and I had no intention of reading on, but hey, I needed another book from my apocalyptic stories reading challenge at Worlds Without End, and the library happened to have a copy soooo…
Previously, on robots take over the world, the AI, Archos-14, was defeated by plucky humans and a few free robots. But, as it turns out, Archos-14 wasn’t exactly the bad guy, despite its decimation of the human population and the physical alterations it made to some of the survivors. It was, as it promised, doing this for humanity’s own good. Because it knew that there had been 13 other attempts at creating an AI before it, and that the results had not simply been destroyed as they should have been. The True War that must be fought now is against Arayt Shah, an AI that cares only for power and survival and knows how to use humanity’s desire for the same to orchestrate further genocide. This isn’t simply a battle of AI vs AI. Both have to convince the surviving humans — as well as the surviving free robots — to build their armies and to fight their battles for them. As often occurs in stories where AIs determine humanity’s fate, the AIs failure is in its logic and lack of understanding of human emotions. This time, things are a little bit different, because it can be said that both Archos-14 and Arayt Shah understand human nature very well, albeit in different ways and for different purposes.
This is a much more grim story that reminds us that war never really ends, even for the survivors. They either have to continue struggling to rebuild what was lost and adapt to the new, or worse, they discover that there’s still another battle over the horizon. It’s not a book for anyone looking for a happy ending, or even hope for the future. It is bleak. It is harsh. It is ugly. It is realistic in its portrayal of war and how easily people can be used and discarded for the whims of those in power.
One of the things that I disliked about the previous book was the format of retelling each of the many characters’ first person accounts. Wilson discarded the impractical piecing together of the tales here. There are still many characters, some of whom we met previously, but the third person, straightforward format used this time more effectively and sensibly tells the story.