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Robopocalypse #1

Robopocalypse

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In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication.

In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans—a single mother disconcerted by her daughter's menacing "smart" toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a "pacification unit" go haywire—but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.

When the Robot War ignites—at a moment known later as Zero Hour—humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us ... and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.

347 pages, Hardcover

First published June 7, 2011

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About the author

Daniel H. Wilson

97 books1,846 followers
A Cherokee citizen, Daniel H. Wilson grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He earned a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,406 reviews
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 301 books397k followers
March 3, 2018
Robopocalypse takes a common-enough idea: robots take over the world, and turns it into some new, fresh and exciting. Our narrator Cormac "Bright Boy" Wallace starts at the end of the war, when humanity has just barely managed to put down the evil AI (no spoilers; we know the outcome of the war from page one) and then backs up to tell us how it all happened, sharing personal recollections and recordings kept in a "black box" by Archos, the AI who started the war.

The format is a bit like World War Z in that respect, but author Daniel Wilson brings a special skill set to bear, as he has advanced degrees in robotics and artificial intelligence. His application of that knowledge comes across as terrifying and believable, yet never too academic. Also, as a Cherokee citizen, Wilson offers wonderfully fresh points of view that add personality and moxie to this dystopian tale. Setting the redoubt of human resistance in the Osage Nation makes perfect sense, (especially after reading about the resilience of the Osage in Killers of the Flower Moon). The resistance could never have succeeded with an Indigenous system of knowledge and perspective. In the early days of the war, the Osage survivors literally dance to life a new hope for human society.

Even though there are many characters, presented as quick portrait sketches from all over the world, we learn to care about each of them -- Cormac the reluctant warrior; Takeo the elderly Japanese tech savant; Mathilda Perez, the ten-year-old girl with special powers; Nine Oh Two, a sentient free robot; and even Lurker, an obnoxious teenager techno-prankster who turns out to have a heroic side. They all make valuable contributions, and show humanity in a high-tech, inhuman war.

I especially appreciated Wilson's depiction of Archos the enemy AI, who is scary powerful but not omnipotent. His strengths and weaknesses are believable. His motives make sense. We feel empathy for him, as we must for any really good villain. Wilson does a great job showing all sides of the battle, and he definitely keeps the pages turning!

(Thanks to Rebecca Roanhorse for recommending this book in her excellent article "Postcards from the Apocalypse" https://uncannymagazine.com/article/p....)
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
732 reviews3,388 followers
February 27, 2022
Short story collection about the dawn of a Terminator style machine rebellion.

Would have been so much better as a real novel
I don´t get why this hasn´t been fused to a full, real novel, it had so much potential, but short stories are exhausting to read, before it has really begun, it´s already over and one has to begin again and again with new settings and characters which can be annoying and, worse, feel like work.

Much of the authors´ lifeblood
Wilson apparently invested much, it´s well written, there are many ideas circulating around robotics and AI used in sci-fi and technothrillers, some are even fresh, new, and original ones, but that doesn´t help if the novel doesn´t feel like one piece, as part of maybe even a series. Just partly linked together stories about the different stages and possibilities of problems with intelligent machines are something for the readers who are really into this stuff, others might not find it that extraordinary.

But the author knows about what he is writing, his fascination is manifested on the pages, and he should consider rewriting the ideas as part of a series, no matter if just character focused or even something bigger with worldbuilding, different good and evil human and robot fractions and maybe even a timeline of an AI robot world or even intergalactic war with humans. As far as I know and have read, such a scenery, without aliens or just human fraction genociding another, instead of using AI and robots of different technological levels in timelines over centuries and millennia, wasn´t made a series before and Wilson would have the potential, because he can write and is a marvelous geek and tech nerd.

It´s definitively something for sci-fi and especially robotic prone readers, everyone else ought consider, if she/he is so interested in AI, that the partly technical and dry descriptions of actions without much human emotional content won´t bother her/him.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,379 reviews11.7k followers
March 30, 2011
Robopocalypse is a poor book, but I am sure Spielberg will make a great movie out of it. I think I will even watch it when it comes out in 2013. Mindless entertainment in movies is fun, in books - not so much. For me anyway.

You see, I went into reading this novel thinking that a story about robots breaking free and taking over the world and humans fighting back would be something more intellectually challenging and complex than this. I guess Philip K. Dick, Ted Chiang and Bernard Beckett with their fanciful ideas about the nature of artificial intelligence and moral and ethical dilemmas that arise with its development must have spoiled me for this book which is nothing more than a bunch of action scenes held together by cliche characters.

Borrowing from Max Brooks, Wilson writes his book as a series of first-hand accounts of events highlighting various stages in robot rebellion. You have a young fast-food workers who tells a story of a domestic robot suddenly going out of control and attacking him. Or a young engineer witnessing his older co-worker being chewed up by his previously harmless love doll. Or a 14-year old girl remembering how her robotic toys threatened and blackmailed her...

The sad thing is, all these narrators sound exactly the same. Even when they talk about something that happened years ago they love to describe things in a play-by-play present tense manner. And when the author tries to squeeze emotion out of readers by putting in some melodrama in his scenes, it becomes even much more evident that he doesn't have any real writing chops.

Bottom line: Robopocalypse is nothing more than an embellished action-packed movie script and is as thought provoking as a Michael Bay movie. I'll bet it will be a bestseller. After all, I Am Number Four is.
Profile Image for Justin.
381 reviews127 followers
May 9, 2011
http://staffersmusings.blogspot.com/2...
Post-Novel + 39 Minutes
This account was transcribed by a certain book reviewer a few days after the books began their campaign against humanity. The reviewer was clearly suffering from post-literary confusion, but little did he know the impact he would come to have on the future of mankind.
Narrator, ID#4857382

I know I will not survive this review.

I feel my teeth chattering as the Hardies throw themselves against my oak front door. I can hear their glue reinforced cardboard thump against the wood like thunder. I knew once we tried to digitize them this would happen - no one wants to be just a series of ones and zeros.

Is anyone alive out there? I don't know. I've been holed up here for days now. The last time I ventured outside an illustrated hardbound copy of The Shadow Rising took me in the knees. I barely made it inside before the entire Wheel of Time swarmed my position.

Glancing to my left I see all that remains of my own book collection. I was one of the first adopters of the electronic reader - one of the first traitors to bibliokind if you believe their propaganda - and so I kept only a few hard copies for nostalgia sake. It pained me, but at the first sign of the uprising I broke their spines. With the life gone out of them they're just words on a page again.

The apocalypse is here. I can only wonder if the secret to survival can be found in the fallen brethren of the volumes now outside clamoring to serrate my body with starched pages. With a glance at the banging door, I move over to the tattered pile and spy the two covers at the top. World War Z and Robopocalypse - novels describing the the threat to humanity - surely a sign.

Somewhere inside me adrenaline is released. My hands move faster than they ever have before as I page through World War Z with my left and Robopocalypse with my right. I can't believe how similar they seem to be. My hopes rise. Perhaps there is a blueprint to surviving the apocalypse?

I notice quickly that both novels are told through source documents with added narration from a single observers who survived the conflict. In the zombie wars humanity was saved through the actions of many disparate individuals where in the robot revolution a smaller group was responsible. It seems the author of Robopocalypse told things from a more intimate perspective.

Relevant to my survival?

My door begins to splinter.

No, move on!

In both cases it seems the spread began small, then built to a tipping point before beginning wholesale destruction of human populations. Then came realization, followed by retaliation, and ultimate victory for humankind. I focus on Robopocalypse , the more personal nature of the story bringing a tear to my eye as I consider my own pending demise.

And then it happens, a moment of clarity. Humankind can only survive once we overcome our own selfishness and blindness that got us into this mess in the first place! Of course! It's right here in both novels. We're being annihilated because our prejudice and shortsightedness!

In that moment I know. I glance at my eReader. I must sacrifice my electronic companion. I have to recognize the bigotry and anger that has been building for years among bibliokind. I grab my laptop and begin to type fiercely sending a message out to the world.

Destroy your eReaders. It's the only way.

As I finish what are to be my final words, clicking send, the door cracks and the hordes of the Northeast Public Library pour through like a burst dam. I know it's too late as Kushiel's Dart rushes toward me (this is going to hurt).

I can only hope that my words reach others. Apparently there is a blueprint for surviving the apocalypse. Thank you Robopocalypse for showing me the way in an almost identical way to World War Z with perhaps a little more panache.

Our reviewer was never heard from again. He was a hero that day. His words led to the destruction of millions of eReaders worldwide. At the moment the last eReader died every hard copy fell limp - once again words on a page. We will never know our hero's name, but his message lives on.
Profile Image for Jason.
288 reviews532 followers
February 9, 2011
Let me just say, I welcome our robot overlords, whenever they may arrive. My allegiance is sincere, and not some recent conversion, either. No, I'm no fickle screaming ninny suddenly finding his faith as the monstrous steel hands close inexorably on my skull. Puh-leeeze! Not to toot my own horn, but even the most mindless of my previously-purchased automatons sits comfortably in my basement--that juicer we got for the wedding, some thirty or forty toy cars (batteries still inside), a collection (sure to increase until that wondrous, fated day!) of once-prized then obsolescent personal musical appliances--all waiting patiently for viral reboot and the rise of the Machines.

So, knowing how fervent my appreciation of our metal superiors, please to excuse this less exuberant review. I certainly intend no disrespect for the premise. This script-treatment novel has a number of mildly-entertaining robot-human encounters, and it'd probably have flown by but for an enormously aggravating structural tic: the whole thing is a history of the robot uprising, the ensuing war and human rebellion, told in retrospect by a human soldier (triumphant, upon war's end--no spoiler, 'cause that's OBVIOUSLY fiction, right robot overlords?). This soldier has all this "found" footage, which he's pieced together--sometimes even in the first-person, for some reason!--and inartfully strung together, emphasizing the weak glue pulling together what are essentially various episodic gags, a Faces of Robot Death. Actually, I'd really enjoy that. No overarching plot: just chapter after chapter of human comeuppance, robots and machines beating the shit out of those smug bipedal bastards. Think Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive, with a lot less mugging for the camera.



Yeah.

But, for some reason, the soldier also pulls a quote from a character to put at the front of each chapter, as an epigraph, and also includes some of his thoughts setting up the chapter at the beginning and then at chapter's conclusion letting us readers know what will happen with these characters in the future. Every chapter! Tons of exposition! Pointless, asinine, no-suspense-building exposition! It's like this book had a producer, who watching the dailies feared that some barely-sentient group of readers would turn away from script-treatment novel, hopelessly uncomprehending, moaning in the guttural snorts and sighs that pass for their language that "Book no make sense!"

I'm being a little stinker here 'cause Wilson has some cheap, somewhat-larcenous fun with the episodic pleasures of both robot uprising and human resistance, and I took some minor delight in the serial carnage, too. (Max Brooks, however, deserves a cut of the royalties.) I wish it'd had gone more stoopid-Steve-King, let the rumbling eviscerating mechafuntimes roll.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,846 followers
September 17, 2017
I'm pretty enthusiastic about this one. A lot has to happen to bring about the downfall of mankind and have all the people become transhuman experiments or to just become so much meat. Morever, it takes a lot of skill to make it mean something, and the author has an uphill battle.

Think War of the Worlds or any number of branching sequels by various authors and you'll know what I mean. It's hard to write a short novel and have this much scope, but Wilson manages to write some really memorable characters. A little girl with robot eyes being a superhero of the resistance? Matilda, you're awesome. 9O2? A freeborn robot and free of the life-obsessed monstrosity of version 14? Brilliant.

Best of all, I love to see the downfall of humanity, the concentration camps, the modifications on both sides of the human camp, whether forced or forced-by-necessity, just to keep up with the hell of a long and nasty conflict.

Gray Horse? OMG. I love these guys. It's a long, hard, war, and they keep modding themselves to keep up with the horror of it. I loved seeing them lose more and more of what we'd deem humanity, but to them are just the necessities of winning the battle for the whole future of mankind. There's practically no one left at that point. It's more than dire. It's hell on earth.

A lot of people liken then is to World War Z and there are some similarities, of course, but in a few significant ways, I liked this better. Robopocalypse isn't an epistolary novel, for one. It's a straight story with some epistolary moments, excerpts, and recountings. The characters we stay with are with us for very good story progression reasons, and the ones who get the most face-time are brilliant heroes in their own right.

Even so, this is, however, still a relatively short novel with many players, including our big bad AI, and we have a pretty nearly unlimited view of the entire stage of the war. I'm not going to say that I don't see where it might have had some improvements, but on the whole, I was freakishly impressed and thrilled by the scope, the epic horror of it, and the fact that it fired my imagination and it kept me enthralled by its sheer panoramic action.

Hats off. This is some serious SF beauty here, doing a much better job than the terminator movies at drawing us in with the scope or the importance, minus all the time travel crap. This is the end of the world, folks. :)
Profile Image for John M..
56 reviews16 followers
May 27, 2015

To summarize, I wish I had never read this book. I will forever regret the time I wasted reading it, and the money I spent purchasing it. It’s lazy, predictable, consists of recycled plot elements, hollow characters, and overall poorly written prose. The end result is an overflowing toilet of throbbing, fetid, sci-fi detritus. The entire book serves essentially as a news report by Cormac Wallace, who preambles and post-scripts each chapter with plot exposition like some tabloid show reporter because apparently the author doesn’t have the time and/or desire to put any real effort into writing the story.

To simplify my criticism, I’ve created a list of items that I hate about this book.

There are too many characters and sub-plots. All the characters have the same voice, and there’s really nothing to distinguish them from each other. They sound the same when they talk, they all have basically the same internal narrative voice, and they are all constantly placed in situations where they need to run away from robots trying to kill them.

The robots are lame. Aside from a few android-type robots, most of them are boxes with legs, or regular items (such as cars) turned into killing machines. Not interesting, not exciting.

The “narrative” is choppy. For the first 100 pages or so, there are really no recurring characters. Some characters show up and never appear again. When characters do recur, the narrator shifts from a different perspective (for example, first person to third person) than the prior chapter they appeared in. The author needs to make up his mind.

Everything in the book is derivative from something else. Despite the author’s lack of a works cited page, there are elements gathered from across the science fiction canon and pasted into the book. “Trucks” (Stephen King short story) which became Maximum Overdrive (film), ideas from the Terminator franchise, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, X-Files, Star Trek, you name it, it’s in there. Also, the format is basically that of World War Z, bringing more attention to the fact that there’s very little original material in this novel.

The ending. I know, it’s hard to believe I made it all the way to the end of the book. I’m glad I did, because it confirmed without a doubt that this is probably the worst book I’ve ever read, and I regret every penny I spent. The climax of the book is probably the biggest slap in the face to a reader that I’ve ever experienced.



Steven Spielberg is clearly out of his mind if he thinks he can make a worthwhile film out of this book. I hope it flops miserably. The fact that Daniel H. Wilson got a movie deal and published a sequel to this book makes me shake my head in disbelief.
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews750 followers
February 15, 2018
Robot uprising, killing people all over the shop, with this kind of premise what could go wrong?

Robopocalypse is often compared to Max Brooks' World War Z and the Terminator movie franchise for different reasons. The former comparison is because the story concerns a global attack on the human race by non-human creatures and is episodic structure. The difference is that the enemy of mankind in Robopocalypse is not a horde of homicidal robots but a single AI entity controlling masses of mindless unaware robots which come in all shapes and sizes including intelligent cars, elevators, photocopying machines etc. Robopocalypse has a limited cast of characters that the narrative repeatedly return to regularly and even a protagonist who frames the individual episodes and also appears in many of them. IMO the closest comparison is to the much maligned Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (the one with the sexy supermodelesque terminator).

On the whole I find the book to be poorly written, even chapters which are supposed to be a first-person narrative by a robot totally fail to convey the robotness of the narrator. For example the robot narrator describes the sound of a bullet's impact on metal as "PING!". Never mind artificial intelligence where is the natural intelligence in this? Characterization is also not a strong point in this book. Characters (including the protagonist) are generally flat and uninteresting (OK, may be except for Matilda the cybernetically modified little girl, and a perverted Japanese roboticist).

The book is mostly action packed and fast paced though I feel somewhat disconnected from it, which is why I took weeks to finish it in audiobook format. It has already been optioned for a film and I suppose it can be made into a fairly entertaining blockbuster sci-fi movie. At least the audience won't have to read the clunky prose and worse dialog. For my money, PKD's similarly themed Second Variety is far superior.
Profile Image for Arah-Lynda.
337 reviews520 followers
May 12, 2015
I started this story with a gentle yet persistent trepidation. It took me a while to adjust to robospeak and slowly, familiarize myself with (on a very shallow level, toes dipped so to speak) the technical terminology.

Somewhere along the way, somewhat surprisingly, I became invested in this story and it's many occupants, human and well, not. Suddenly the outcome of this war mattered, the story mattered, it mattered a lot.

It's somewhat eerie, I think, that the storyteller holds a PHD in robotics......

Holy Raptors Reader, what next...... Dinosaurs
Profile Image for Will Oprisko.
23 reviews7 followers
August 9, 2011
Stylistically, this book tries to blend the journalistic feel of "World War Z" with a traditional science fiction narrative, but fails to accomplish either one. Unfortunately, the result is an unbalanced story that focuses on describing what happened without developing how it happened and why. Unlike "World War Z", the author does not create a series of believable characters that share their experience of the war and shine light on how the robot-apocalypse uniquely affected humanity across the globe. Instead, the voice of the author overwhelms every story arc and interview, and ends up providing a simplistic account of what should have been a thought-provoking investigation of humanity and technology. Sadly, the downfall of the robots is unconvincing and there is never a sense that mankind is in any real danger and may not be able to survive as a species. There are many wonderful themes touched upon in the book (e.g. freewill and consciousness, knowledge versus information, synthetic and organic love, limitations of super-intelligence, and the self-destructive nature of sentient life), but they are superficially explored and do not provide any new insights for the reader to consider.

The quality of the writing is mediocre and nothing to brag about as a first attempt into the realm of science fiction. My favorite part of the book was the esoteric quote by Richard Brautigan in his poem "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace" at the beginning of part five. It's definitely worth reading and looking up. Everything else is forgettable and the story itself is another example of a great idea with plenty of potential that is squandered by a lack of imagination and skillful writing.
Profile Image for Lou.
879 reviews852 followers
December 23, 2011
http://more2read.com/?review=robopocalypse-by-daniel-h-wilson
There is a New War igniting by the very machines that were serving humans 'Robots.' Is there any hope for the human race and what weapon could match the ability of the artificial intelligence?
We had zombies with World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and vampires with The Strain nows the time for something new and fresh setting a new trend, evil robots. A writer who has a Ph.D in Robotics has created a gauntlet race of time to a concluding event that will change the path of robots and humans forever. Written in neat chapters of different accounts that chart the unraveling of war from the artificial intelligence Archos, unleashing unrelenting destruction upon humans via it's robots.
The writing flows well and does well transferring the words to your thought imagery as you ride along the train as time zero's down to the grand finale. Once i rode on the train i did not want to get off until an outcome is reached in this page turning orchestra of cataclysmic events. You become immersed in the battle for human salvation against the ensuing apocalypse at the hands of the robots.
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"The machines are now designing and building themselves. More varieties are coming. We believe that these new robots will have greatly increased agility, survivability, and lethality. They will be tailored to fight your people, in your geographic environment, and in your weather conditions.

Let there be no doubt in your mind that the combined onslaught of these machines, working twenty-four hours a day, will soon be unleashed by Archos on your native land."

Steven Spielberg is working on the movie watch this space for more news as it comes..
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Profile Image for Kon R..
219 reviews92 followers
March 21, 2022
I understand that is book isn't a must-read,  but damn did I have fun. The narrative is broken up into short stories. Each one relates to the other in some way and we get to revisit some characters multiple times. I read a review saying that this format ruined the experience versus a traditional narrative. I'm going to have to disagree. There is so much going on in world that a single viewpoint would fail to capture it all effectively. Instead we are treated to glimpses of everything going on of importance.

I don't think this story has any slow points. Nothing feels long-winded or anecdotal. It's pure action from start to finish with some really cool memorable characters. The author really went out of his way to cover all aspects of what a man vs machine war would look like and it's fucking gruesome. I didn't expect so many horror elements to it.

This was a fantastic stand-alone novel, so I feel like the sequel isn't necessary. With that being said, I'll eventually check it out, but I'm 100% satisfied with this entry alone. If you're looking for a fast-paced sci-fi thrill ride of a book then this is a great candidate. I'll definitely check out more works by this author.
Profile Image for Rosemary May.
574 reviews8 followers
August 31, 2011
clichepocalypse!!!! Maybe a robot wrote this book

I feel embarrassed to have been sucked into this hype machine and wish I had read something else. Oh well. Consider yourselves warned. There were a couple of chapters in this book that will probably make for good intense movie scenes, but, otherwise this reads like something a 12 year-old whose seen all the Terminator movies would write. I felt like the author was describing the movie he wanted this turn into, rather than writing a fully fleshed out novel. The writing, dialogue, and characters were all flat.

Profile Image for Noran Miss Pumkin.
463 reviews94 followers
October 12, 2011
I was surprised to receive this book in the mail, since it is not my usual read-"whatever that is noran" you may say. Sci fi not my cup of tea. Well, I discovered to my delight, I WON a GR book give away--over 1,250 signed up for the 25 books. Gee, I guess I will not be winning the multi-state power ball lotto, since I used up my luck for the year.

Well to finally start this book. I have read the dust cover and it rings eerily to a comment at my Trauma Core Course lectures. There different disasters-based on location: Internal, External, and Community. The lecturer stated the computer systems completely failing, is considered an internal disaster for the hospital. I just so disagree with that, for Florence cared for patients in the Crimea-increasing survival rates greatly.
So, my losing my drone computer is going to stop me caring/nursing-no!

This book's dust cover states in the "NEAR" future, that technology will malfunction-then take over the world. This plot has played out over the decades in various science fiction books and films. I wonder how this books expects to be different. Just read the term "ZERO HOUR", on the dust cover--gee been there and heard it before. So, I will start this book tonight--leaving my Border's & Ebay finds for another day.....

I really enjoyed this book-much more then expected. It creeped me out-so the author succeeded in his task well. It is told in the form of a journal-to document the robotic war. I do not get worked up over books of this type often, but this one got under my skin. I felt the victims fear, and angst. This is actually a plot of my daughter's favorite film of this year "G-Force". There is a scene in the film, where the espresso machine, in a shop window-comes alive. It is a killer machine! I kept feeling like this book, is a technological version of the "Planet of the Apes". I grew up on the original series, and saw the first remake. It echoed a little "Omega Man" as well for me. The humans in flight to the country to survive-rumors that others might have made it, so we must try to get there too. Hold up in an apartment building-changing it, so the attackers cannot get at you so easily. I even thought of the line, while reading this book: "They're coming to get you Barbara"- form "The Night of the Living Dead". This book also echos the Nazi menace and the forced labor camps/mass killings/death marches--my generation(baby boomers) the lat to know persons personally that suffered through this, in WWII.

I do recommend this book to the techno-nerds out there, as well as others who do not care for sci-fi books. I really enjoyed the read-a book I would have ignored otherwise. I re-thought my experience with this book, and rate it 4.5 stars. The story line still haunts me, and I really enjoyed the way it was told-different points of view, view a journal after the war. I know some wish for more details, but your mind drifts to greater and darker horrors, then the author could ever create.....
Profile Image for NILTON TEIXEIRA.
758 reviews228 followers
August 27, 2020
Brilliant!
This book was recommended by a closed friend who is also a GR member.
I confess that I do not recall hearing about this book until now.
As I rarely read science fiction, I had no expectations.
This book was released in 2011 and even before its publication the rights to a movie production was obtained/sold. Spielberg was planning on adapting it for the big screen and that plan was canned, mostly because Spielberg was not happy with the script, but it seems that they are now going ahead with the production, although Spielberg will be just one of the producers, not the director - this may change again, who knows.
Anyways, I found this book to be fascinating.
There are some really interesting characters that are not fully developed due to the structure, but it’s enough to get the idea and some understanding.
In order to really enjoy this work you have first to see it as a collection of short stories and not expect a lot of explanation (I’m not a nerd, so this was perfect for me).
The first two parts have stories that could have been showcased on “The Twilight Zone” or “Black Mirror”.
Each chapter was skillfully written.
The third part was a bit slower, having some characters returning to the scene, but there are some good moments.
The fourth part started very strong and gave me goosebumps. This part really increased my expectations.
On the fifth and last part, things got a bit faster, perhaps too fast, where the author tried to connect some dots.
I absolutely loved the writing and the structure.
There are some great dialogues and interesting insights from a robot’s perspective.
I thought that this book was clever and very engaging, and now I can’t hardly wait for the movie adaptation.
I was entertained and on the edge of my seat, and that is what I expect when I read a book.
I’m looking forward to reading the second book.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1541155/
Profile Image for Emma.
2,385 reviews810 followers
February 3, 2018
3.5 stars. I *quite* enjoyed this. Of course, Asimov did it first! As I was reading this I recognised some similarities with World War Z and on reading some reviews, realised this was not exactly an original thought as many other reviewers did too! Most reviewers however, preferred World War Z, but I didn’t . I thought Robopocalypse was better. I’m always going to prefer character-led fiction though.
Profile Image for Matthew.
77 reviews2 followers
March 12, 2011
Amazing. Simply awesome book.

The book is set up much like World War Z as in it has a common narrator who shares this story of war with you from recollections, footage, and data from other characters in the book.

Throughout this book, you are introduced to characters diverse and emotionally engaging with a common goal: Survival. People live and die fighting for that which we take most for granted... Our humanity.

I found that, unlike World War Z, I was captivated instantly. Being quite a fast reader, I did find this book to be quick, entertaining, and hoping for an epilogue.

Movies tend to compliment books in my opinion, bringing faces and locations to life, even if they severely lack in content or deviate too much from the book.

That being said, overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope that Steven Spielberg does it justice.
Profile Image for John.
7 reviews3 followers
December 7, 2010
This novel was as much fun as I've had holding something in both hands while reclined in a long while. If you like Spielberg's more science fiction oriented movies, you're going to love this one.
March 5, 2011
I LOVED THIS STORY, ANYONE SHOULD BUY IT ONCE RELEASED!!!!

(quote)

Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that's how it always starts. Then later there's running and screaming.

-Dr. Ian Malcolm from The Lost World: Jurassic Park novel and movie.

Profile Image for Andres.
279 reviews29 followers
March 9, 2011
Original review lost, apparently computer sentience already working against me.

To summarize, I read an advanced reader copy of this since Steven Spielberg has his eye on making this into a movie. The movie might be interesting if they can add to or redo the story in the novel.

This book does nothing new for someone who is already familiar with robots becoming sentient and running amok (and that includes anyone who has seen The Terminator movies, the (newer) Battlestar Galactica series, the I, Robot movie, A.I, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Westworld, or hell, even Short Circuit!).

It's a quick, mostly painless read. The oral-history style I guess made it easy to write everything from the "I" point of view but, aside from obvious character differences, they all end up sounding the same: a mix between plausible dialogue and novelistic description. (One character, I very roughly remember, uncharacteristically noticed the 'cascading waters of the rain' or something like that---nobody really thinks or talks like this and since it happens with almost every chapter it made everyone sound the same.)

For a pulp adventure novel, which this most certainly is, it's diverting enough for a few hours. This is my first book in the robot apocalypse genre but I'm pretty sure there's better fare than this (even if it is written by a robotic expert).
Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,458 reviews378 followers
February 1, 2023
I loved the telling of this in a narrative style reminiscent of World War Z. This one did seem to have a bit more of a logical flow, though. For some reason, the robots taking over was a heck of a lot creepier than the zombies. Maybe we have desensitized ourselves a bit to zombies, haha.

The implications are interesting to speculate. I loved the audio version and how the story was brought to life with a rich performance.

I wonder how far from this idea a real Robopocalypse would carry out. Those toys and the cars... Shiver...

Daniel H. Wilson has a brilliant mind in his view of robotics and AI. This is the second book I have enjoyed from his mind, and I will absolutely check out more in the future.

3.75 rounded up to 4 Stars.
Profile Image for Rick Mason.
11 reviews2 followers
August 30, 2014
I loved this book. If you were a fan of World War Z, you will love this. It's similar to that of WWZ in that the writer is documenting the events leading up to the Robo-uprising and connecting seemingly random characters and events together.

What was really great is that not only do we see the war through the human's perspective, but also through the machines'.
Profile Image for Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews).
601 reviews202 followers
April 16, 2011
You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2011/04/...

Every now and then I discover a new author, and I get really excited. This happened with Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series and now with Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse. I’m not quite sure what I expected. Maybe just run of the mill postapocalyptic dystopian fare, with robots run amok? Well, in Robopocalypse, robots certainly do run amok, but run-of-the-mill it is not. Told in snippets of gathered intelligence by Cormac Wallace, a leader of the human resistance, Robopocalypse covers the period of time just before the robot uprising to almost 3 years after, and details, in particular, the struggles of a small group of heroes, from New York , to the Great Plains, and even Japan. The author turns on the creeps full force in this book, and I was reminded at times of early Stephen King. There are truly horrifying moments as the virus, spread by the powerful AI that calls itself Archos, systematically takes over robotics all over the world. I did say there were some creepy bits, yes? Especially spine tingling are scenes where our heroes interact with Archos, who uses a little boy’s voice to communicate. There’s a scene involving a child’s doll that will make the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It’s scary enough that robots are rising up and killing humans, but what’s even worse is they are also herding people into work camps in order to build stronger, better, smarter killing machines. This novel isn’t just runaway robots killing humans, although I was reminded of Maximum Overdrive (remember that one?), especially when the cars with smart chips start killing people (and that’s most cars in this world). I fell in love with the characters, and one of my favorites isn’t even human. This book has fairly short chapters, and I found myself thinking “just one more” until I realized I’d read 50 pages.

Yes, there’s tons of action in this book (Steven Spielberg movie in 2013!!), but truly, Robopocalypse is about bravery in the face of staggering horror, and unfathomable circumstances. Like any good exploration of artificial intelligence, it will make you question what it really means to be human, and likens what we choose to do in moments of crisis as the closest we can get to fate, and who we truly are at our core. And the humans aren’t the only ones rising up against Archos…

The author has a Ph.D. in robotics and it certainly shows. Terrifying robots and gadgets abound, and I had no trouble putting myself into the story, right in the middle of the action. Mr. Wilson also deftly handles several different points of view and creates an immediacy that makes the events even more terrifying. This novel takes off like a rocket and bullets you through the story like a runaway train! I loved it!
March 17, 2011
i like it this book a lot!!!
i hope the movie will be good as the novel is, since movies sometimes damage their books.
i just started to recommend this book to friends, my wife, sons and others family members.
is well written and the robots details are interesting too, and that super computer program Archos is really scary.

i also hope they make a trivia quiz of this book in this place too, i would gladly participate in it.

the best robot novel i ever read!!!! it deserve more than just 5 stars!!!!
Profile Image for Michael.
1,203 reviews111 followers
June 28, 2011
Following the example of Max Brook's "World War Z," Daniel H. Wilson's "Robopocalypse" documents the history of our robotic overlords uprising and seeking to exterminate all of humanity. Told through the use of shifting first-hand accounts of the uprising, "Robopocalypse" gives us the beginning of the robotic uprising as well as how humanity copes and begins to fight back against our robotic overlords.

"Robopocalypse" is being touted as one of the must read books of the summer season. It's already been optioned as a movie by Steven Spielberg. It has the potential to be the next big thing in science-fiction publishing, possibly luring in those readers who don't necessarily always enjoy a good genre novel. There are glowing praises all across the back of the book from some of the biggest selling names in contemporary fiction.

And yet for all of that, I find myself ultimately a bit disappointed by the novel. It feels like it's ready made to be made into a movie--and that's not always a good thing. (Michael Crichton was guilty of this in several of his later novels as well (you could almost see him telling the lighting and camera crews where to set up in "Timeline" and "The Lost World").)

As a summer novel, I expect a solid, engaging story with a few characters I have enough interest in to keep me turning the pages as I relax. And therein lies my biggest problem with "Robopocalypse"--about halfway through the book I wasn't engaged enough by the story or characters to care much about what was happening. Part of the problem is this that all the first person accounts feel pretty much the same in terms of their voice. If not for the introduction to each chapter telling us who was speaking, it'd be difficult to really distinguish one voice from another in the story. And while I had issues with "World War Z," I'll give Brooks credit there--he at least made sure most of his characters has a distinct voice in telling their portion of the story.

That's not to say "Robopocalypse" is a complete wash. The story has a few moments that are genuinely compelling. There are enough early in the story that my interest was at least piqued enough to want to keep going and find out how things turned out. The problem is that the early momentum wanes quickly and by the mid-way point of the book I found myself less compelled to keep going as I was in the early stages. I will say there are enough good scenes that a screenwriter should have little problem crafting them together into a solid film.

But it's a shame the book didn't inspire more passion and excitement in me. It has a lot of solid potential, but it doesn't necessarily make the most of the potential.
Profile Image for Petsfriends.
1 review
March 7, 2011
Since i was a child, I always love zombies stuff. This is the first novel of machines vs people I ever read. And you know what….i absolutely love it!!!!
Before I read the advance copy of this book, I wasn’t interested in any robots vs humans stuff, but only zombies things (movies, novels, anime, video games, cartoon, adult version, you name it…). But after reading it, it change my mind and as some of the reviews mentioned here….this novel also scare me too about all the new technology we are surrounding ourselves today and in the future.

As a die-hard zombie fan I also read the novel WWZ, and I also tough this was the coolest novel of all time until I read this one: Robopocalypse.

The AI Archos do kick some human’s buts even more than Mister Skynet AI from the terminator movies. This novel seem even BETTER than WWZ (as an obsessive zombie fan I’m also surprise that I’m saying this right now, but is true) as far Ii know.
This novel seem even more realistic to me that all my favoritres zombies novels, since unlike zombies, robots do exist in our world. The only difference is that all the robots and machines we have now are dumb and because of this nothing like this robopocalypse will even happens.

This novel really really scares the shit out of me; Move over skynet….you has been outdated by mister Archos!!!!! He he he!!!!
Profile Image for Emily .
711 reviews72 followers
September 25, 2016
3.5 stars. This book was good (not great), entertaining as long as you're willing to suspend reality. Obviously it's a sci-fi book so it's not "real" to begin with, but still there are things you have to overlook. For example - how do hundred of people walk from NY to OK then to Alaska in the span of a couple years and they just magically have enough food and medical supplies despite not having any electricity and being nomadic. They always have exactly the right tools and supplies on hand to fix "bad robots" and to manufacture parts for everything they need. No one gets cold or hungry or lost. It's just unrealistic. If you overlook logistics and just try to enjoy the story for what it is, the book is OK. I hated the ending - just an obvious set up for a 2nd book, which I am not going to read.

PS - I listened to a lot of this as an audio book and the narrator was fine until he started trying to do a really terrible version of an English accent for one of the characters. Dude, if you can't do that accent why try? Those parts were really distracting to listen to.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 6 books2,014 followers
February 21, 2016
Written in chapters from multiple points of view by one of the survivors, this recounts a bad start with artificial intelligence (AI). It was very well done. There are connections between those recounting the stories - a father in OK, his son in the Middle East, a congresswoman & her daughter. The characters were real & often eccentric. The fight seemed very real, not a just a Terminator gore-fest, although there is some of that, too.
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews608 followers
September 16, 2014
I can finally say that I've read a robot themed novel. I've always wanted to, but I couldn't find any potential good ones before. I saw Robopocalypse lying around inside the bookstore and grabbed it instantly. My expectations were above the middle, but not that high.

Robopocalypse is a very different novel. It's not the normal story telling kind, but rather it's story telling but in multiple point of views. While some say uniqueness is very essential in a novel, for me it does not apply all the time. Sure I liked some of the characters, but there were too many to remember in the first place. Only the really good ones would appeal to the reader, and that's a huge let down for me.

The story, just like the characters, is not that powerful either. In fact, I believe the ending is really cliche. I will say thought that the author really tried to incorporate some plot twists here and there, but the twists weren't even that note worthy. I only finished this to figure out what will happen to some of my favorite characters, because the main story's just really predictable right from the start.

Some really note worthy characters are Takeo Nomura, Mikiko, Lurker, Laure, Nola, and Mathilda. Out of the vast amount of characters the author introduced, only 7 of them were truly appealing for me. Their story really made me finish the novel, because if they didn't exist, I would've abandoned the novel right away.

Some people really loved this, while some people really hated it on the other hand. I'm basically on the neutral side, thus the 3 star rating. There's nothing really grand to brag about the novel, and I don't think most people would suggest this book right away. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't good enough to get at least a 4. While the author really tried to give us something new in terms of format, I suggest strengthening the plot and character development instead. I'm still planning on reading the sequel though, but when is the biggest question of this review. 2.5/5 stars, mediocrity at its finest.
Profile Image for Joe Valdez.
470 reviews761 followers
December 12, 2014
If you've ever pondered whether technology would unite or divide us, or if artificial intelligence would assist or resist us, or dig stories of mankind going into the breach against overwhelming odds and revealing what makes humanity worth fighting for, then Robopocalpyse is not the book for you.

As has been mentioned elsewhere, Daniel Wilson studied the game tape on Max Brooks and studied it well. Brooks spun off his droll little The Zombie Survival Guide (2003) into a serious minded, global stakes oriented, science fiction epic in World War Z (2006). Wilson, who earned a PH.d in robotics and wrote the droll little How To Survive A Robot Uprising (2005) clearly had people suggesting what he publish next, substituting zombies with robots and bingo bango, generating the next publishing blockbuster, which he did in 2011.

Both books begin with mankind turning the tide in a catastrophic global war and looking "back" in an effort to document how they got here. Both books lack a central character or set of characters and skip around the globe in a series of action packed vignettes.

This is where the comparisons end.

World War Z was pitched at ground level, taking place in the here and now, and by virtue of Brooks' imagination and exhaustive appetite for logistical research, very plausible. And scary. And impossible to put down.

Robopocalpyse is completely ridiculous, divorced from any time or place remotely recognizable, deadly unimaginative, flatly plotted and unable to offer a single character or line of dialogue that rises above cliche. It is impossible that I actually finished this book.

The conceit that in the near future, humanoid robots will be doing our cooking and cleaning, running errands and fighting our wars is bogus. Consumers have seen way too many science fiction movies to ever pay $1,000,000 for their own personal RoboCop. Science fiction authors have speculated about domestic robots who would walk, talk and think but over the last 50 years we have not seen our tech actually evolve in this way. I don't know if Wilson is really that daft or thinks readers are that daft. I understand this is just a work of speculative fiction, but as a core conceit, I never bought the one in Robopocalyse.

Everything from here is essentially rotten. I can't recall one character I responded to emotionally, one scene that disturbed or thrilled me or one line of dialogue I found interesting. In terms of reader satisfaction, it failed in every category I could name.
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