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By Daniel H. Wilson

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/robopocalypse/

 

Plot

In tomorrow’s world, more of society is computerized. From robot domestic servants to humanoid peacekeeping soldiers, mechanical, computer controlled weaponry, and vehicles capable of networking to avoid accidents. However, in an underground laboratory, a scientist has created Archos, computer life, that learns. Archos soon has access to the world and initiates a war with humanity. Starting with small incidents seen as glitches, mankind soon finds itself fighting for survival as Archos takes control of modern technology. Smart cars and computerized tanks are only the beginning as Archos designs hordes of robotic soldiers and human mutations to insure control of the world.

 

Near the end of the war, Cormac Wallace, photographer turned soldier, and his team find a strange cube hidden underground in Alaska. The cube is an archive of the beginnings of Archos and the entire subsequent world war. Chronicling the adventures of many of the war’s heroes, Cormac creates a document for humanity’s future survivors.

 

With a salute to West World, The Forbin Project, and a touch of 2001: A Space Odyssey with HAL 9000, get ready for the next story in the battle of man versus machine. In Robopacalypse, it’s technology gone haywire as, once again, mankind rues the day for overstepping the limits of artificial intelligence. Excellent!

 

Characters

Archos: The intelligent computer that initiates the war.

 

Cormac Wallace: Soldier in the war against the machines. Narrator, per se, of the history of the New War

 

Lonnie Blanton: Osage Indian, police officer. Helps start the resistance movement in North America

 

Mathilda Perez: daughter of a congress woman

 

Takeo Namura: Japanese computer repairman, elderly, has an android for a companion.

 

Paul Blanton: Militarized humanoid robot repair person in Afghanistan. He handles the peace-keeping robots in Kabul.

 

Lurker: 17, A Londoner who pulls phone and computer pranks. He is hounded by Archos after he ‘discovers’ a IP address is false.

 

Very memorable characters who evolve and develop and change as the story progresses. They have to because of the circumstances.

 

Dialogue

Minimal. Not quite as Spartan as 2001 but it’s not a talk-y book. Much of it is narrative.

 

Writing

Detailed narrative in chronicle form. Good research, realistic technology. The ending was a little disappointing, not quite what I expected, but interesting nonetheless and I think it says something about base humanity.

 

My ranking:

 

Black Belt

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