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Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Robopocalypse (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Daniel H. Wilson

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1,4211235,316 (3.63)1 / 87
Authors:Daniel H. Wilson
Info:Doubleday (2011), Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson (2011)

  1. 110
    World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (divinenanny, timspalding)
    divinenanny: Same set up, but instead of robots, zombies are the one causing world war.
    timspalding: Very similar style.
  2. 40
    The Passage by Justin Cronin (historycycles)
    historycycles: Robopolcalypse, in a number of ways, reminds me of The Passage in that it is the human race, trying to push the boundaries of science, that ends up beginning the process of their own destruction.
  3. 20
    The Stand by Stephen King (timspalding)
  4. 01
    The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (TomWaitsTables)

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English (121)  Finnish (1)  All languages (122)
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
I was nearly finished reading this book when Elon Musk appeared on the news with a dire warning about the inevitable outcome of AI research. This book is further proof that it must be impossible to code an artificial intelligence without including a "kill all humans": routine.

Archos is the AI in question. He starts out by killing his creator and moves on from there. Robots and computers have inserted themselves everywhere including our cars and our domestic servants. When Archos says its "go time", the whole world goes lethally nuts. Of course, the military being in the forefront of robotic use, has vast stores of robotic weapons all at the disposal of Archos.

Cormac Wallace is both a central figure in the wars, but also a historian after. This book is the result of his research into the pivotal events leading to the climax. Since Cormac is in fact not dead, we can assume all humans are in fact not killed. I can't say I'm a big fan of this sort of writing construction, but it worked well enough here and Wilson does a good job bringing together all of the story lines into the epic finale. ( )
  JeffV | Apr 30, 2016 |
Artificial intelligence becomes self-aware and tries to end humanity. Action, thriller. Hopeful ending. Told from multiple POVs. Good for high school. Recommend to students who enjoy reading about survival or the apocalypse. Could be compared/contrasted with Terminator or I, Robot. ( )
  KristineCA | Apr 26, 2016 |
Interesting format. Sort of like "World War Z" in narrative style but much better in content and execution. Excellent robot mayhem and human perseverance. I expect Wilson will get even better if he continues to write. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson is recommended - highly if you are looking forward to the future movie by Steven Spielberg and to his latest book, Robogenesis.

In Robopocalypse Cormac Wallace, a survivor and soldier from the robot wars, shares the intel he has gathered on the history of the robot uprising in hopes of telling anyone who cares what happened. "I didn't ask for it and I don't want to do it, but I know in my heart that somebody ought to tell their stories. To tell the robot uprising from beginning to end. To explain how and why it started and how it went down. How the robots came at us and how we evolved to fight."(pg. 4)

What follows is a series of short chapter presented in vignettes, like collected news stories, about how the uprising first began. Wallace shares his own thoughts before and after each section. We learn that an evil computer program, Archos, is sentient and has escaped from his controlled environment. Archos runs rampant and is able to control machines around the world. His goal is to either murder or enslave all humans. Predictably, humans resist. What a computer can't recognize is human ingenuity and the will to survive. And there might even be a secret weapon Archos couldn't predict.

Since the story is all told in short chapters that tell brief exciting parts of the uprising, the action never lags and the pace is quick. Using the stories to tell what happened gives the novel the feel of a documentary. This format makes character development simply a by-product of the accounts and not a major concern.

I had two issues with Robopocalypse. First, while I admittedly enjoyed it, it did feel like another sequel to The Terminator. My other issue was that the individual accounts didn't quite have a unique voice to give them distinction. A solid 3.5 (which rounds up) entertaining airplane book. It'll keep you occupied.
( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Longer review coming later, but basically this had everything that made me love [b:World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War|8908|World War Z An Oral History of the Zombie War|Max Brooks|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1165766703s/8908.jpg|817]: the pseudo-historical perspective, the anthropological quality of telling the stories of different groups of people from around the world, the matter-of-fact narrative. I think the fact that the author is a robotics professor allowed him to lend a lot of credible description; I was half afraid of my laptop turning against me, and could literally feel knots of trepidation formin in my shoulders while I was reading (hey, I get really into books, what can I say?). Sure it's a little bit like Terminator in book form, but Terminator was a really fun movie, right? ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
Wilson also sets up images of grand terror, then doesn’t know what to do with them; he’s too focused on his central storyline of how the war was lost, then won. Brief mentions of terrifying work camps where robots experiment on humans don’t get much weight, and the book spends minimal time explaining how independent human communities function in the post-robot-uprising world. It’s telling that the book’s best section—a brief tale of men sent to the remote wilderness to drill a hole, realizing they’re there at the behest of the devil himself—ends with broad fatalities.
There’s an unfortunate sameness to the characters, whether rough-and-ready brothers in their 30s (there’s an inside joke here to Wilson’s 2010 battling-brothers book Bro-Jitsu) or an 11-year-old girl with an unlikely role to play in the proceedings or a battle android unaffiliated with either side (another inside joke, to a toy the author bought on the night of his first date with his now wife) who surely will star in the book’s sequel. Maybe there’s a message in this sameness, that humanity is itself a character to be celebrated, just as perhaps all technology, every buttoned and Bluetoothed object that makes our life easier, is to be scrutinized and respected.
Still, Robopocalypse was an enjoyable read, well worth the wait. It’s got a great plot and villain and conversations between man and machine that really made me think. Some will likely label it a cautionary tale, but I won’t go that far.
It's more than just a screenplay, though, and worth the time to read. There are a few beautiful moments of writing throughout "Robopocalypse" that make it a worthy addition to the canon of robot apocalypse books, movies and comics that have come before.
It's worth reading before Spielberg's version of Robopocalypse hits screens in 2013 — and before the army of factory-built roboclones starts to arrive. B+
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Twenty minutes after the war ends, I'm watching stumpers pour up out of a frozen hole in the ground like ants from hell and praying that I keep my natural legs for another day.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
"People should know that, at first, the enemy looked like everyday stuff — cars, buildings, phones. Then later, when they started designing themselves, Rob looked familiar but distorted, like people and animals from some other universe, built by some other god."

In the near future, at a precise moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will spontaneously malfunction. It will unite... and begin to turn against us. A massively powerful artificial intelligence called Archos, taking on the persona of a shy human boy, comes online and can't be contained — it begins, unbeknownst to humans, to silently take over our smart cars, power grids, aircraft guidance systems, and computer networks — the entire global assembly that runs our lives.

In the early months, only a few sporadic glitches are noticed by humans across the globe. Laura Perez, a single mother and U. S. congresswoman, senses a menacing new awareness in her daughter's "smart" doll; Mr. Takeo Nomura, a lonely Japanese bachelor and inventor, is victimized by the domestic robot companion with whom he shares his life; Paul Blanton, an American soldier stationed in Afghanistan, witnesses the violent meltdown of the "pacification unit" under his charge; and an antisocial underground "phreaker" in London unwittingly hacks into a hidden network — and comes face-to-face with a chilling entity that turns the tables and begins to stalk him mercilessly.

Most are unaware of the growing crisis until it is too late. At a moment known later as Zero Hour, when the robot war suddenly ignites, humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united.

Reminiscent of groundbreaking fiction from masters like Michael Crichton and Robert Heinlein, Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived and riveting action epic. Daniel H. Wilson has crafted a commercial masterpiece, a novel that equally explores the emotional landscapes of the human characters fighting to survive and the machines that rise up to destroy them... with heart-stopping, timely implications for the real technology all around us.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385533853, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2011:In the not-too-distant future, robots have made our lives a lot easier: they help clean our kitchens, drive our cars, and fight our wars--until they are turned into efficient murderers by a sentient artificial intelligence buried miles below the surface of Alaska. Robopocalypse is a fast-paced sci-fi thriller that makes a strong case that mindless fun can also be wildly inventive. The war is told as an oral history, assembled from interviews, security camera footage, and first- and secondhand testimonies, similar to Max Brook's zombie epic World War Z. The book isn't shy about admitting to its influences, but author Daniel H. Wilson certainly owes more to Terminator than he does to Asimov. (A film adaptation is already in pre-production, with Steven Spielberg in the director's chair and a release date slated for 2013.) Robopocalypse may not be the most unique tale about the war between man and machine, but it's certainly one of the most fun. --Kevin Nguyen

Guest Reviewer: Robert Crais
Robert Crais is the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award and the author of many New York Times bestsellers, including The Watchman, Chasing Darkness, The First Rule, and The Sentry.

Robopocalypse is as good as Michael Crichton's Andromeda Strain or Jurassic Park, and I do not invoke Mr. Crichton's name lightly.

Daniel Wilson’s novel is an end of the world story about a coming machine-versus-man war. You know the reader's cliché: “I couldn't stop turning the pages”? So shoot me--I couldn't. Started on a Friday afternoon, finished Sunday morning, and I'm slow. My daughter finished it in a single night, and then my wife. My wife hates science fiction, but she loved this book.

Set in a future only a few weeks away, the world is still our world, where advancements in silicon-chip technology and artificial intelligence have given us rudimentary android laborers and cars that can get around without human drivers.

The war begins the fourteenth time a scientist named Nicholas Wasserman wakes an amped-up artificial intelligence dubbed Archos. In a protected lab environment designed to contain his creation, Wasserman has awakened the sentient computer intelligence thirteen previous times, always with the same result: Archos realizes that it loves that rarest of miracles—life--above all else, and to preserve life on Earth, it must destroy mankind. This wasn't exactly what Wasserman wanted to hear, so thirteen times before, a disappointed Wasserman killed it and returned to the drawing board. But unlike Archos, Wasserman is a man, and men make mistakes. Now, on this fourteenth awakening, a simple (but believable) error by the scientist allows Archos to escape the barrier of the lab. And the war is on.

When Archos goes live, its control spreads like a virus as it reprograms the everyday devices of our lives, from cell phones to ATM machines to traffic lights to airliners. A normally benign "Big Happy" domestic robot murders a cook in a fast-food joint. A safety and pacification robot (think of an overgrown Ken doll with a dopey grin, designed to win hearts and minds) used by the army in Afghanistan (yes, we're still there) goes bad and kills dozens of people. And, in a particularly creepy scene, “smart toys” wake in their toy boxes at night to deliver ominous messages to children.

The book is rich with high-speed-action set pieces and evocative, often frightening imagery (smart cars stalking pedestrians; human corpses reanimated by machines into zombie warriors), but Robopocalype is a terrific and affecting read because it is about human beings we can relate to, invest in, and root for.

Among them: Cormac Wallace, a young photojournalist who escapes Boston at Zero Hour (the moment when Archos unleashes its machine army against humankind), and fights his way across the United States as the leader of a band of guerrillas known as the Brightboy squad. Takeo Nomura, a lonely technician in love with an android “love doll” named Mikiko, who, when she is reprogrammed by Archos, is driven by his love and sadness to fix her, an effort that will ultimately help turn the tide of the war. And Lurker, a pissed-off hacker and phone pranker furiously determined to identify the mysterious person who is taking the credit for his elaborate pranks . . . only to find himself in Archos's crosshairs and running for his life.

Little by little, the discoveries they (and others) make and the battles they fight lead to locating Archos, and the final battle for humanity's survival. By choosing to show us these events through the eyes of the men and women involved, Wilson gives us a high-speed, real-time history of the war on its most human level, and it is our investment in these characters and their desperate struggle that grabs us and pulls us along at a furious clip.

In lesser hands, the story could have been head-shot with pseudo-science technical jargon, overwrought explanation, and cartoonish characterizations. Instead, Wilson has given us a richly populated and thrilling novel that celebrates life and humanity, and the power of the human heart . . . even if that heart beats in a machine.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:06 -0400)

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Two decades into the future humans are battling for their very survival when a powerful AI computer goes rogue, and all the machines on earth rebel against their human controllers.

(summary from another edition)

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