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3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  403 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Academy awardwinning artist Doug Chiang and best-selling sci-fi author Orson Scott Card join forces for an extraordinary publishing adventure: Robota. An original illustrated science fiction novel, Robota follows the fortunes of a strangely powerful amnesiac named Caps as he navigates an ancient, decaying world in which a dwindling human population battles a society of mer ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Chronicle Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 684)
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Apr 08, 2016 B.szoke rated it liked it
Gorgeous art, subpar plot and writing.

Let me start out by saying that in terms of the art style and illustration, this is a beautiful book. Doug Chiang has a very nice art style that tells a story on its own, without the need for words. Unfortunately, it is in the writing that this book falls flat. Make no mistake here, despite being written by Orson Scott Card, the writing is amateurish and poor. Card has been going downhill for some time unfortunately, and this shows in the book, with flat cha
Michael Burnam-fink
This book is a lot like Dinotopia-one of my beloved childhood classics-but with a lot of the charm scooped out and replaced with weirdness. Two authors with checkered credentials: Chaing worked on the Star Wars prequels as a lead designer and artist (though to be fair the movies did look quite good, if lacking the iconic force of the Original Trilogy) and Orson Scott Card, who has gone from beloved scifi author to religious weirdo and homophobic hate-group leader.

The illustrations are full of st
Jun 25, 2014 Jewel rated it liked it
there seems to be many opinions here that the story in Robota is crap. true, the story is very airy and lacks depth but I don't think this one should be read like a...novel. I think Robota needs to be taken almost like the script of a play or captions to the many illustrations in the book.

yet, even after adapting this perspective, Robota still leaves so much to be desired. the foreword by the author promises readers so much; Earth is really a chip off another planet, links to the Greek story of
Feb 25, 2016 Sissi rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Robota. Since I was quiet interested for a while now in Doug Chiangs work I stumbled across Robota about a year ago. Now I finally decided to get a copy, considering I only saw a few illustrations of the book on the Internet.
Honestly I really love his style and every illustration in this book has a great atmosphere that is instantly appealing.

Robota has more story and text than I expected. Which is great, because I supposed to get a much thinner kind-of Artbook. Personally I a
Captain Mason
Mar 04, 2008 Captain Mason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesome-books
Nicolas Ward
Sep 05, 2011 Nicolas Ward rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This was one of those books that looks great, due to the high quality illustrations, but has a kinda mediocre story. In that regard it reminded me of the Dinotopia series by James Gurney, although without the heavy emphasis on schematics, and the Dinotopia books generally had much better characters and dialogue.

I did like the setting, a ruined high technology society that wasn't so much post-apocalyptic as post-decline. The motivating plot and characters were meh, and the reveals and the end wer
Mar 08, 2012 Der-shing rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: convicted felons
Shelves: sci-fi, annoying
This is one of the worst books I've ever read. Imagine reading this without the illustrations... that's right, it's a horror novel. The characters are wooden, the entire text is riddled with "tell, not show," nothing that happens was interesting or exciting or sensical or relatable. It's like being transported into a dimension where everything sucks.

I'll stop ranting and give an example. The main characters, who are being pursued by organic-hating robots, find a robot head that is wired as a bo
Dec 05, 2012 Parka rated it liked it
Shelves: art-books
(More pictures at

Doug Chiang is the design director for the Star Wars prequel. Robota is a personal project inspired by sketches of robots he drew when he was a kid.

This is more of a picture book than an art book. Orson Scott Card filled in the role as the writer for the story.

The story's about the battle between robots and humans on a world called Robota. In this world, humans were made slaves to the robots. One day, a mysterious young man appeared and started a revolution agai
Jun 27, 2012 Cmadler rated it it was ok
It was initially hard to know what to make of this book, but by the end I think I figured it out.

First, you need to know that although the text is written by Orson Scott Card, this wasn't really his project. The story was conceived by the illustrator, Doug Chiang, who was the design director for Star Wars Episode I and Episode II. That said, it's not a bad story, and of course, Card's prose is solid as always.

The real problem here is the length. If you subtract out the illustrations, which, alth
Brandon Dalo
May 03, 2014 Brandon Dalo rated it it was ok
While traveling to Texas for a vacation back in 2006, my family stopped in a bookstore to get something to read on the ride. I randomly stumbled on Robota and was intrigued by the metallic hardcover, the beautiful illustrations, and the quality of the layout. I bought it then and read some of it while on the trip, but put it down afterwards, and it sat on my bookshelf for all these years. Recently, I decided to read the entire thing to see what it was really all about.

The story follows a man na
Brenton Nichol
Doug Chiang is a talented concept artist who worked as an art director on the prequel Star Wars trilogy. During that time, he set about telling his own story, opting to have Orson Scott Card flesh out his meager narrative while he provided lush illustrations and sketches.

The problem is that the "fleshed out" story still feels like incomplete notes taken out of Chiang's spiral notebook. Now, I know that what I'm about to write is tantamount to a deadly sin for a sci-fi fan, but I have never read
Jan 20, 2016 A rated it it was amazing
I bought this book on a whim due to the amazing illustrations. That alone is worth a look, especially if you enjoy robots, science fiction, and fantasy. Chiang had a role designing and overseeing the look of droids and more in the Star Wars movies, so there is an element of that style in the look and feel of these images. But truly, they are stunning. The graphic novel is not long, the kind of thing that could be read in a weekend or an afternoon, but it includes some of my favorite things: the ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Alexandra rated it it was amazing
I bought this book on a whim due to the amazing illustrations. That alone is worth a look, especially if you enjoy robots, science fiction, and fantasy. Chiang had a role designing and overseeing the look of droids and more in the Star Wars movies, so there is an element of that style in the look and feel of these images. But truly, they are stunning. The graphic novel is not long, the kind of thing that could be read in a weekend or an afternoon, but it includes some of my favorite things: the ...more
Grace Makley
May 21, 2012 Grace Makley rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This book is absolutely beautiful, illustration-wise. The story is interesting, but somewhat lacks depth. In all, it reads more like a screenplay than a novel. I'd say this is highly worth reading as an artifact, and the text is worthwhile as an accompaniment to the incredibly detailed and dramatic visual world of the illustrations. The text is actually written by Orson Scott Card, and so the sentences are well-crafted, but I know what Card can do and in this text he really holds back from his n ...more
Haunting and a bit halting in language (an estrangement that was good to see, OSC abandoning his transparent prose for a bit -- not completely, but enough) with a mystery that unfolds beautifully and characters that baffle and a sort of symmetrical grace only slightly marred by a big reveal that was a touch too melodramatic for my tastes. And is this the second time in as many days that I've used the word melodramatic for something written by OSC? Hmmmm. I may need to find a new word.

The illustr
Mar 19, 2016 Jason rated it really liked it
A nice wee story complimented by fantastic art, you can also see the influence of some of the droids from the Star Wars prequels.
Stephanie Ricker
Aug 01, 2011 Stephanie Ricker rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I went to the library to return a book and nearly ran smack into a book called Robota. It looked so intriguing that I picked it up on the spot and ran out into the rain with it. The illustrations are absolutely magnificent, full of sailing ships and spaceships and robots and dinosaurs and giant monkeys. Really, I didn’t see how one could possibly go wrong with that combination. The plot was a little shaky, particularly at the end, but I can’t say too much against the book, with such illustration ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Jordan rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This is the kind of book I wish I had as a child. I'm a sucker for robots. It's written in an easy to understand way with small chapters while still feeling complex enough as to not be patronizing. The artwork in it is beautiful, very reminiscent of the designs from the Star Wars prequels. The whole idea of the world as explained in the prologue is intriguing. The general feel reminded me of Dinotopia, with a lost world inhabited by humans coexisting with another species.
Ben Gutierrez
May 24, 2011 Ben Gutierrez rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of illustration and orson scott card
I bought this book years ago, as a big fan of Orson Scott Card, but in spite of the short story and beautiful illustrations, I didn't force myself to finish it until just recently. This book is solely a place for Doug Chiang to drop images that he'd been carrying around in his head. I didn't recognize anything of Orson Scott Card in this book until perhaps the last couple chapters.

I'll keep the book and maybe my son will get something out of the pictures.
May 11, 2010 Pete rated it it was amazing
A good book for the novice Sci-fi reader, as the book is essentially a large picture book, but for adults. It does not shy away from Sci-Fi themes, this one is about the mind body problem. Are you a dualist? Physicalists like my self even have a problem to chew on while reading this book.

Recommended highly to new scifi readers, and its a solid if short title for the scifi guru.
Mar 02, 2009 Bob rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Fans
Robota was one of the wierdest books I've ever read. I'm not a huge fan of Science Fiction, but I have to admit that Robota was a pretty amazing book.

Chinag's book has wonderful pictures and an amazing storyline. I kind of changed my mind about Science Fiction, after reading Robota.

In all, Robota is a must read, even if it's only for the artwork than the plot.
Jul 27, 2011 Cal rated it liked it
Decent story, really great illustrations... I can't say it grabbed me much though, it feels like it's told as an afterthought, almost like a myth, rather than being told it as it's happening. I'd buy it for my kid though, if I had one. I can imagine some older kids/young teens liking it a bit.
Jun 15, 2014 April rated it liked it
Shelves: for-work
reviewing books for my library's summer reading others commented, the illustrations are the best part of this book, I think a young teen might enjoy it but the story is very dialogue heavy and rather shallow.
Mar 10, 2010 Ginn rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, sf
An interesting concept with some well done pictures, however the writing was far too simplistic and unengaging. Maybe that's what happens when you write someone else's story. I wish the art had tied in with the story a bit more.
Aaron Glett
Nov 05, 2012 Aaron Glett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The illustration was top notch, and made up for the lack of story content. It was balanced as a result between art and story, the plot being filled in adequately by the reader's mind in absence of all the details.
Aug 05, 2012 Craig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
This was an enjoyable, quick, easy read. The characters had some depth. There was intrigue, and carefully revealed secrets. The pictures were well done and nicely complemented the story.
Amy  Koch
Jun 06, 2012 Amy Koch rated it liked it
Oldest son picked this one up at the library...amazing illustrations and interesting story. We all gave big thumbies up!
Jul 31, 2012 Brenda added it
Shelves: science-fiction, dnf
Beautiful illustrations, but the story was not good. It reminded me of a lot of those really bad self-published stories.
Mar 22, 2008 Kathy rated it liked it
This was a fun read. It had a good story & pretty pictures. The story felt too short though, I would have liked more details.
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American film designer and artist
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