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Day Zero

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  43 reviews
"From critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and film critic C. Robert Cargill comes a harrowing apocalyptic adventure that explores the relationship between humans and robots, and the fight for purpose and agency in a crumbling world"-- ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Expected publication: March 15th 2022 by Harper Voyager (first published May 18th 2021)
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Average rating 4.30  · 
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 ·  60 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-release
4.5 Stars
This was a fantastic piece of science fiction told from the unique perspective of an artificial intelligence animal companion.

This book was technically the prequel to the author's previous novel, Sea of Rust. However, this one truly read like a standalone, providing the reader with all the information necessary to understand and enjoy the story. Personally, I thought the rise of the robot revolution was far more interesting than the aftermath so I was much more interested in the events
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
**I received an advance galley from the publisher because I am a librarian and librarians are awesome**

First book of 2021. A FIVE STAR robot uprising book, you say? This seems ridiculous! But perhaps when I tell you there was a time in my life where I really, really liked the movie Con Air you will understand a bit more.

This is not fine literature, but it is a pitch perfect action adventure movie.

The Pitch: (as I imagine it...)
Author: So, it's like Calvin and Hobbes. But Hobbes is a robot. A GO
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I won't rehash the plot of the book because you can get it from the back cover, or your bookseller, or the other reviewers. Let me just say instead that you must get this book and you must read it and you must be prepared to cry. It's honestly the best book I've ready in a long time.

The Plot: A nanny bot tasked with taking care of an eight year old boy suddenly finds himself having to learn what that really means on Day Zero, the day the world (as they knew it) ended. The plot then takes robot
Apr 19, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Day Zero, as the name suggests, starts at the beginning — well, the beginning of the end — of the human race. See, technology has advanced to the point of true AI, with androids serving most basic functions in society, with the exception of a few that are solely left to the realm of man. For instance, teachers are still human, as are the military, which brings us to the laws of robotics. In this distant future, robots are governed us
La La
I am going to have to think on this rating. It was an enjoyable story which focused on existential crisis as its underlying theme, BUT the gun ownership element, especially that of military style firearms, was written in a way that both sides of this issue could think the author was supporting them. I have come across this in a couple of other books I have read recently, and honestly, I see it as a pandering copout to expand readership.

I did like that it emphasized not exposing children to viole
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

Spoiler free.

This is the second installment of one of my favorite books, SEA OF RUST. However this is absolutely something that could be read as a stand alone. This book covers the origin story of Pounce and how he went from a Nanny bot to what we see in SEA OF RUST...and its AWESOME.

Cargill has an ability to write in a way that makes the pages fly by and this is no exception. The reader quickly experiences a future world where androids are an integral part of the human experience a
Jon That was amazing!

Ok, I'm part of the HarperVoyager Super Reader program, so that means I get to read books early (free books in return for a review, win/win far as I'm concerned). Usually not this early, but for whatever reason they added Day Zero to our wiki in the last email and when I saw Cargill + Sea of Rust prequel, I mean, I didn't Squee. Much. But I sure as hell punched that Download button as quickly as possible.

My first review for the HVSR group was also my first intr
May 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Isaac Asimov once explained that he was inspired to create his famous Robot stories because he didn’t like what he read in the pulps. In those pages, he said, there were basically two types of mechanical beings – “Robot as Menace” and “Robots as Pathos”.

His robot stories were a response to that – factory robots with inbuilt safeguards which we now call The Three Laws of Robotics.

I was reminded of this as I read C. Robert Cargill’s latest, a prequel to his excellent Sea of Rust (which was one of
Traveling Cloak
Apr 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read my full review at

Day Zero is a prequel to Cargill’s 2017 release Sea of Rust (which I did not know until my cohort Justin pointed it out in his review). Though not a perfect read, I found this to be worthwhile: definitely entertaining and a little thought-provoking.

Look: various robots revolt against humanity, leading to a war that finds a few robots on the side of the humans – some of which are made to look like animals. Just putting that picture in my mind makes me think,
Jessie (Zombie_likes_cake)
Let's start with the shallow part of this review, shall we? I love this cover. One of the reasons why I would love for this to become a movie (besides me honestly thinking this would make an awesome movie) is the look of this cover which I want all over a giant screen, these colors, and most of all this tattered tiger robot.

I am leaning myself far out of my comfort zone in reading a robot uprising novel. In movies, I quite enjoy these kind of plots but in books it is not really my thing (anothe
May 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review:

A world in the near future turns to chaos where robots turn evil and take over the world (Terminator anyone?), you’re left alone to take care of an eight-year-old kid as his parents were both executed by a robot-nanny-turned-evil. But wait, there’s one more thing, you are a robot too. That is the premise of Day One by Robert C. Cargill. A dystopian story of survival and the relationship between an eight-year-old kid and his best friend who tur
I received a free copy of this ebook via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

First off, I liked this book. I had previously bought and read Sea of Rust and this is a worthy prequel to that story.

We follow the events surrounding Pounce, a Nanny Bot, one of the expensive ones, an anthropomorphised tiger, owned by a middle class family out in suburbs, who's charged with the care of an eight year old boy, Ezra. And then the robot revolution happens, Ezra's parents are murdered and the apocalyps
Paul Harmon
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I was sent a copy for review by Netgalley
Pounce is a Nannybot, A four foot tall robot that looks like a stuffed tiger. His programming tells him his soul job is to raise, protect and love the boy Ezra for whom he was purchased. Now 8 years old Ezra loves Pounce and Pounce feels the same, but questions arise on the day The A.I. Robot Isaac is set to open Isaactown a city for free robots with no masters to live in peace, But things take a turn and the world drastically changes. Now Pounce has to d
Kayla (krakentoagoodbook)
Ok wow, this was fantastic. I haven't read Sea of Rust (and I absolutely will now), but I didn't feel lost at all jumping into Day Zero. This feels like it would be fine as a standalone, but I'm certainly curious about the aftermath of these events!

This was such an intense book. It would actually make a fantastic movie (or show) as well - I could easily picture everything happening! This also makes sense because the author is a screenwriter. The book really doesn't let up, and I was obsessively
Apr 04, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cargill’s “Day Zero” gives us a fine setting for understanding his “Sea of Rust”.

Both novels are told from the points of view of their AI robot characters, and both manage to — surprisingly — have us empathize with these well-drawn characters.

In Day Zero, Pounce is the robot tiger nanny of a small boy in an affluent household in the suburbs. While its is the future, it is a future we recognize, save for the ubiquitous robot helpers that have become maids, nannies and other helpers of their human
S. A.
May 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I knew I had signed up for a post-Robot-Apocalypse story by reading the blurb for this novel, but I didn’t realize that this was the post-Apocalypse Calvin and Hobbes fanfic I had always dreamed of until I started reading it. And that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

Pounce, the robot nanny, is a wonderful, humane, and sensitive narrator and observer of others. He’s self-aware on a very deep level, though he hasn’t thought much about his feelings until he’s forced to make hard choices. Ezra, his char
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review describes Day Zero as Calvin and Robot Hobbes and sjsksks YES!

Day Zero is a fast-paced post-apocalyptic Robot Dystopian. Robots are companions, pets, nannies. They're the work force. Pounce is a cuddly tiger and a nannie who loves his charge with all his heart. It's the only thing he thinks or cares about. Until, the day he finds his box in the attic. And starts to realize he's actually disposable. There's a Robot rebellion also brewing and once it explodes, he has to make
May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars--This wildly creative and unique sci-fi novel imagines a future in which we have created robots to be sentient entities—“persons” in every way--yet they remain human property, with no distinction from other appliances.

Pounce, the main character of this book, is a nannybot—a cuddly plush tiger who was purchased to be the best pal to a little boy named Ezra. He is utterly content in his role as playmate and caretaker, but then something terrible happens. Resentments between humans and r
Montzalee Wittmann
Day Zero
By C. Robert Cargill
Avon and Harper Voyager

This book NEEDS to be on the big screen! I rarely think this but this is one of those books that needs to be shared to all, readers and movie goers! The book made me feel like I was there, experiencing the suspense, horrors, the fears, the hope, and friendship of my last friend on Earth.

This book is about a far distance future where robots are common and in every home. They do the shopping, cooking, cleaning, and some are personal nannies. A to
Dimitrios Kandylas
Thank you to NetGalley, Avon and Harper Voyager for providing an ARC to review.

C. Robert Cargill is fast becoming one of my must reads. In addition to his wonderful work for the big screen, he has some great short fiction collections and novels, like Sea of Rust, and it’s prequel, Day Zero.

For fans of Sea of Rust, this is a must read. But it’s not necessary to have read it, because Day Zero stands on its own just fine as well. The story takes us through struggles of a robotic animal companion
Cargill's prequel novel is set thirty years before his excellent post-apocalyptic Sea of Rust, beginning on the very day the robot - human war begins. Pounce is an anthropomorphic tiger nanny-not, whose job is to take care of his best friend, eight year old Ezra. On the same day that Pounce finds the box he came in up in the attic (leading him to question his disposable nature) the worlds first city of free robots is about to be launched with live media coverage and speech by Isaac, the first ro ...more
Jacqueline Simonds
An apocalyptic novel narrated by a thoughtful nanny robot as the robot revolution explodes on the globe? Oh, yes please! And not just veiled references to Asimov's creation of everything we read and write about robots, but a full embrace of Dr. Asimov's laws - and how they can be destroyed.

The writing is fluid and engaging. Pounce the nanny-bot is entirely believable, empathetic, and clearly sentient. The reasons for the war between humans and AI are complex - the robots make choices to join the
William Bentrim
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Day Zero by C. Robert Cargill
Many articles have been written about the value and danger of artificial intelligence, hereafter known as AI. This novel shows the danger of bringing silicon to life without clearly seeing that intelligence may decide it wants to live its own life. Pounce shows that if actual AI is developed that emotions and passions may also develop.
Pounce is a nanny and an AI robot. Sentience has arrived but has it been enslaved is part of the premise of the book. Mankind has dev
Kim McGee
Mar 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a new day in futuristic Austin and another day of fun for 8 year old Ezra and his A.I. tiger nanny Pounce. But when a law decries setting the A.I. free and a tragic event takes place, humans and their machine help are suddenly at war. Pounce loves Ezra and is programmed to protect him no matter what against any danger. Ezra feels the same towards Pounce but he will be forced to grow up very quickly if he wants to stay alive. This is a fresh take on the subject of family vs. employee and A. ...more
Mr Cargill how dare you get me crying over a robot. This is the most fantastic book. It was so creative and engaging. Ezra is lovely. Pounce and all the bots are so relatable. When he went into mama bear mode all I kept picturing was a Terminator style Tigger doll. Beautiful writing, it really made you root for their survival.

This is going on my 5 star favorites list. Thank you so much for allowing me to review it early. I'll be posting this review on my Bookstagram (AprilsBookishLife) and on t
Sarah Smith
I loved this book. It took me right back to Sea of Rust feels. This is the story of how the world ended and a nanny-boy that chose her charge over the revolution. I love the voice and style of Cargill uses. Pounce is really a great character and is love for Ezra brings a humanity to the AI’s.
A part of me wishes this one had been written first, but I have already decided to re-read Sea if Rust with this new perspective fresh in my mind.

*I received this book as an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) thr
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, netgalley
There's something hugely cinematic about this 'simple' tale of surviving the end of the world, as a nanny-bot is forced to choose between protecting its charge or joining the robot uprising.

I haven't read Sea of Rust, which this is a prequel to, but it stands perfectly on its own and bonus - I now get to go read that and find out what happens after the end of the world!

Full review is up on my blog.
David V.
Apr 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Received as an ARC via my employer Barnes & Noble. Started 4-5-21. Finished 4-6-21. Wonderful, marvelous, touching, couldn't put it down, wished for more to read, terrific characters, and would make one hell of a movie!!!!! I don't often read 288 page books in one 24-hour period, but this one is exceptional. Cover art is spectacular too. The closer the world gets to AI with emotions, the more the philosophical questions in this book will become important. The visions in this super-charged thrill ...more
Karen Anderson
Apr 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway
Fact paced and lots of action, feels like you're there. Day Zero is full of good characters. Pounce's development is great throughout the book. Wish there was a bit more humor like with Indiana and being told she's a good girl. My ARC is under 300 pages and looks like originally the book was going to be over 400 so maybe a lot was cut?
I should re-read Sea of Rust soon.

This was another giveaway I won.
Apr 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty fabulous. At first I thought it was going to get all political, but it didn't. Probably the best modern science fiction I've read in years. My only complaint is that there were a few things I would have liked to see further explored, but now I see it's a prequel so I guess I need the first book. Absolutely worth reading. I did get this book for free from goodreads. ...more
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A veteran of the web, C. Robert Cargill wrote as a film critic for over ten years at Ain't it Cool News under the name Massawyrm, served as animated reviewer Carlyle on and freelanced for a host of other sites including tenures at and He is the co-writer of the motion picture SINISTER, and lives and works in Austin, Texas. ...more

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