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Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Robopocalypse (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Daniel H. Wilson

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1,2211016,528 (3.65)1 / 80
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 (one-horse.library)

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Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
Very good book but the ending was disapointing. ( )
  dom76 | Jan 7, 2015 |
I never intended to read ROBOPOCALYPSE, believing it would bring nightmares to my already overly impressionable mind. The movie version would suit me just fine. But then I found it again among a folder of ebooks and the mood was perfect to give it a whirl. I'm a sucker for the idea of sentient robots and the probability of an A.I. future. It did begin with some truly creepy scenes and crazy-but-believable ideas— which led me to reading only in the light of day. :-) But within 4 chapters I was thoroughly hooked. After that I did nothing but read on and on till the satisfying conclusion. My initial thoughts were so wrong, and I think this book will move into my all-time top ten. I cannot recommend it enough!

Though I am not much for sci-fi novels, the dystopian themes set against a truly plausible future make this book compelling in its own right. Don't let robots or the science fiction genre turn you away. Let yourself be enveloped in the possibilities. The author has a PhD in robotics, after all! Give yourself over to the construct and ride it till the end. You won't be sorry. (But you will be creeped out at times. In the very best way.) ( )
  phrenetic.mind | Dec 30, 2014 |
I particularly liked that the first robot to go off its tracks did so in my and the author's hometown, Tulsa. I was amazed at how well the author presented this detailed and epic story. It beat Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" by a mile. But it compares very well with Heinlein's best books, too. ( )
  TulsaTV | Dec 22, 2014 |
2014-10-21/3.4%: Wow. One chapter in, or maybe that was the prelude, and I think I'm going to love this. Language just odd enough to feel different but not confusing. Gritty, not the language but the imagery. I wonder if Big Rob didn't kick off the dance just to make humanity better? The quotes at top-of-chapter and the fact that the archive box files all the hu-mans under Heroes makes me think that might be the case. And sadly, it would probably take something like that to get humanity to take its head out of its ass and starting like humans instead of just mildly bright apes.

2014-10-23/100%: That was disappointing. The AI was either incompetent or it was playing to lose. I kind of like the idea that the AI decided that the only way humans and AIs could live together was with some serious housecleaning of the humans and a nice ego boost for them (by letting them win). That would have been an interesting story. Without that we get an AI so who's so incompetent that it can't set up lines of fire to keep an 11-year old from escaping it's prison camp. Lines of fire are suppose to overlap, no gaps, but a super-intelligent AI leaves gaps. See, that only makes sense if it's intentional, which I'd be willing to buy if it was done right but, assuming that was the author's intention, it wasn't done right.

I hated, HATED, HATED the BT building in London. That made no fucking sense whatsoever. How the fuck is a building in London jamming satellites on the other side of the planet? Why is the fucking AI so stupid that it's routing all of it's comms through ONE FUCKING BUILDING?!?! Seriously, communications are all about redundant paths. The fucking internet was created for the express purpose of creating multiple paths to insure communications even if an entire city was nuked. So in the 50's and 60's humans could already design comms better than the AI? That shit just made no sense at all.

It was also implied that there was direct communications between Afghanistan and Alaska which ignores the small object called Earth that lies between them. The normal way of getting AROUND the Earth is via satellite or cable but the book says it's using "tight beam" communications which generally means RF or maybe light. You can't bend those around the Planet. Maybe relay stations were assumed by the author and maybe I'm nitpicking at this point. Maybe the book had just so disappointed me by then that I wouldn't cut it any slack, but Afghan-Alaska "tight beam" really annoyed me. Also, the location of the receiver of "tight beam" communications can't be located the way it was depicted. All you could find is the direction of the beam, not where the far end is, especially if the far end is over the curve of the Earth.

Now, some of the issues may make sense if there was a movie company involved in the writing of the book. Hey guess what?! There was! Dreamworks was apparently involved and it seems likely that it's their fault that the book sucked. Movie companies should stay the fuck out of book writing. Their job is take a good book and ruin it like they did World War Z. Speaking of which. I loved WWZ and this book attempted a very similar format. I think that was a big mistake on the author's part both because it makes him look unoriginal and because it sets a really high bar for comparison. Regarding originality, I was disappointed to learn that Wilson wrote a "how to survive the robot apocalypse" book (that might even be the title) before writing this. That's exactly what Max Brooks did before WWZ which again, makes Wilson look unoriginal. I can understand that he had to do all the research so that book was almost a necessity, but it still looks unoriginal. Maybe publish it after?

Regardless, I think I've vented enough. It had an awesome opening and if Wilson has enough clout now he should rewrite it without the negative influence of Dreamworks. Fuck... the singing! I forgot to vent about the stupid fucking singing robot. I guess I'm not done. So the old Japanese dude makes his robot self-aware and that robot then "sings" the magic code to make other robots self-aware. But only the humanoid ones. Oh fuck, I just... wow. Maybe that was a scene designed for a movie? Fucking stupid bullshit.

I also had issues with the Hero Archive supposedly getting it's info from security cameras and Robs (I also had problems with people all over the US using the same language for everything, weren't comms out?) and interviews BUT, then it was written in the first person. WWZ avoided that issue by being an "oral history". I really don't see how Robopocalypse could have avoided it, but it made no sense to me that we got internal dialog, thoughts, that were recorded by the computer.

So, trying to wrap this. I had a LOT of problems with the book. The first 3.4% was FIVE stars, easy. Loved the language, loved the set up, was prepped for an amazing ride. Sadly, the ride was straight down and I think by half way I was done cutting it any slack. A huge disappointment and I really believe that the involvement of a movie company had a lot to do with ruining it. Books aren't movies and movies aren't books. You can make one from the other but you shouldn't try to make a book that's also script (or a script that's also book), that just doesn't work.

Would be one star but I did love that first chapter. ( )
  Awfki | Nov 14, 2014 |
I completely enjoyed this book - a fast paced & fun read. Rather brutal & graphic and not overly optimistic for much of the story. I am looking forward to "Robogenisis" ( )
  labdaddy4 | Oct 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 100 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:48 -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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