Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Robopocalpyse, by Daniel H. Wilson (hardcover, $25) (due 6/7)

Robo=robot, pocalypse=apocalpyse. Ooooh, yeah! This is doomsday with gadgets and more fun than a barrel full of nanomonkeys!

In the not-too-distant future, Robs, or robots, are everywhere. The human-shaped ones are domestics, the others run vehicles, are toys, manufacture products, and serve the military. Until they aren't and they don't. One day a malevolent awareness develops in an experimental artificial intelligence project. Archos names itself, takes on the visual and auditory persona of a little boy, gets really upset, and then tries to eradicate all human life. Because robots have an underlying worldwide communications network, Archos has no problem reprogramming them all. Cars begin running over people, domestics sweep out their human owners along with the trash, toys turn to the dark side, and machines designed to help the military begin to destroy it instead.

In the best cinematic fashion, we have human heroes and heroines who overcome extreme odds to save humanity. There's also an unexpected alliance between humans and free-thinking robots.

We learn in the first chapter that the human-robot war is over and that the humans appear to have won. The rest of the book is a flashback presented in stories told or re-told by Cormac "Bright Boy" Wallace, a human. About six or seven other characters appear in these stories, and we follow their progress over a couple of years.

This is a fast-moving story with lots of action, with plentiful information given about robotics by Daniel H. Wilson, a Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, according to his biography. Not surprisingly, the story apparently will be turned into a movie by Steven Spielberg! Wilson is the literary grandchild of Isaac Asimov, but with a lot more booms and bangs.

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