Thursday, August 18, 2011

Robopocalypse a review

As if I didn't have enough to worry about with the eminent zombie apocalypse, I now have to add a possible robot uprising to the list.

It's hard to read Robopacalypse without thinking about the most pervasive techno nightmare in popular culture, the Terminator franchise. Daniel H. Wilson's robot/computer uprising story, in reality, draws few comparisons. He begins in such a benign place, turning everyday computer controlled appliances against us, a stark contrast to the nuclear holocaust unleashed in the Terminator universe. Instead of a horrible unknown future for humanity, in Robopocalypse we know the final outcome of the struggle within the first dozen pages but it's getting the characters there(in an unforeseen way) that makes this a great read.

I love the Terminator movies but while the premise is creepy there is something unbelievable about the whole thing. Robopocalypse seems like a more likely scenario. Instead of a murderous Skynet we have Archos who we aren't completely sure isn't somehow bent on helping it's human creators in the long run. While killing humans at an astonishing rate, Archos is also revitalizing the natural world. Instead of specifically creating killing robots, with Archos we see the evolution of common everyday robots modified for a new purpose.

There are several threads that due to the structure of the novel are never wrapped up. Why were humans being experimented on? What will happen to the freeborn as a species? What happened to Takeo Nomura and Mikiko? These threads could easily result in more novels something I'm hoping for.

I'd be remiss in not mentioning that while he currently lives in Portland, Oregon, Daniel Wilson is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma and his background is heavily reflected in the book.

I really enjoyed this book. It's the type of work that fires the imagination, go read it, or you can wait for the movie. Wilson sold the movie rights to the novel before he even finished writing the book. I'm excited to see what ends up on the screen.

Daniel H. Wilson gave a great interview to The Geeks Guide to the Galaxy.

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