Posted by : Wendy B Saturday, 15 December 2012

RobopocalypseRobopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book may be worth a higher rating, but several personal issues caused me to have problems with it. The first issue was that I read it directly after The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and I was (am) still on an obsessive high with that book.

The second issue was that Mass Effect ruins everything, consequently, I spent a lot of time relating things back to the Morning War and Starchild and, most importantly, to Harbinger. Hell, this entire quote, as digitaltempest pointed out, might as well be Harbinger's manifesto, and I imagined him with his reading glasses hovering over my shoulder saying "I told you so."

“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.”
Buddy read with you? Sure. What could
possibly go wrong with that?
In fairness, 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. Obviously, the idea of our robot creations taking over is not new. I can't say this was a stunningly memorable entry into that theme, but more on that later.

Finally, I've been having issue with first person narratives lately. My suspension of disbelief has been thrown off a bit because really, who remembers all that stuff so perfectly? This issue relates back to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which was also in first person narrative, but followed train of thought in a more natural manner. In Robopocalypse, the chapters are retold by Cormac "Bright Boy" Wallace, a soldier in the New War against the machines. My narrative suspension of disbelief issues were heightened in these chapters because, not only was Wallace writing down what people said in some case, he managed to convey their feelings too. All pieced together mainly from surveillance recordings. It's a nitpick, I suppose, but I would have preferred if the author had not bothered with the pretext of Cormac composing the stories of the heroes.

That said, the format itself, sans Wallace being the one writing it, worked well enough. I appreciated that it didn't dwell over 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.

As I said, the robot apocalypse concept is not new, but it was good enough to get the point across here. It covered many of the basic dystopian future tropes, including how humans will behave when faced with such odds. It was, ultimately, a guide book: In case the robots get uppity, break glass.

View all my reviews

One Response so far.

  1. I appreciate your review. I had been wondering about this book for sometime. I'm not so keen on the first person narratives either so I'm still undecided.

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This is my mindspill. Mostly about comics, books, video games, movies of the science fiction and fantasy leanings. Sometimes recipes and parenting stuff will sneak in, along with a real world rant or two.

I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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