Jason's Reviews > Robopocalypse

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
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's review
Feb 05, 2011

did not like it
Read from February 05 to 08, 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.


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.
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Comments (showing 1-21)

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message 21: by Krok Zero (new)

Krok Zero

message 20: by David (new)

David It's so refreshing to see you hate something you should love.

Sarah Bronte Connor i read the novel of Steven king called Trucks and also saw the 2 movie version and i like all 3 of them, so i don't think this novel would be bad.

Sarah Bronte Connor why did you don't like this novel? i have't read it but i hope is as good as Computer One novel by Warwick colleens and Gurps Reign of Steel. if this novel was chosen for a movie before it was released...then is must be a good story, i guess.

message 17: by Jason (new) - rated it 1 star

Jason Robot17 wrote: "why did you don't like this novel? i have't read it but i hope is as good as Computer One novel by Warwick colleens and Gurps Reign of Steel. if this novel was chosen for a movie before it was rele..."

Robot17! Sorry, I missed your comments. You may indeed enjoy this novel--and I think your awareness of the field of robot-uprising fictions far surpasses mine.

message 16: by Jason (new) - rated it 1 star

Jason My opinion is worth about .3 cents on the international market. So I don't think you should let my opinion affect you at all. If you're a fan of these stories, I bet you enjoy it.

message 15: by Jason (last edited Feb 14, 2011 03:26PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Jason Well, robots destroy much of the world, and humans fight back. There's not a lot of explicit entrail-eating, but there's a bit of violence kind of built in to the premise here.

Do you like violence, Robot17? How about gladiator movies?

What is it about robots fighting humans that you enjoy? Who do you root for? Oh--and my apologies if I'm treading on traumatic ground--have you been the victim of robot on human violence? If so, please forgive my flippant reactions to robot on human violence. Obviously, I deplore real robot on human violence, and I think we need to work hard to educate people about its real dangers. Saturn 3 seems to me as important a cultural document as Dateline: Predator.

message 14: by David (new)

David This is great.

message 13: by Jason (new) - rated it 1 star

Jason Ha! Robot17, you tricky deleting lovable scalawag!

message 12: by David (new)

David Robot17, what makes you tick?

Sarah Bronte Connor thanks for the compliment, MIKE!!! >:-D

Meels Uh oh...I won this on First Reads.

Jason Amelia wrote: "Uh oh...I won this on First Reads."

But it's free! Almost anything is nice if it's free. I've entered 136 giveaways, and won once*. I've started entering for things that do not interest me--a guide to abstinence for Mormon youth, an array of romance novels with buffed barechested men staring plaintively right at me--just to try and get a better batting average.

*Admittedly, I won a really great book.

message 8: by Meels (last edited Jun 03, 2011 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meels So far I have won 6. Three haven't arrived yet. Book one was okay, just not my thing. Book two was rather poorly written to be honest, but a cute idea (YA...Harry Potter wanna-be). So far (only 25 pages in) book three is less than stellar. I thought it was going to be funnier. It's informative, and the idea was cute, but it lacks a little in the execution. Your Teacher Said What?!: Defending Our Kids from the Liberal Assault on Capitalism. Honestly the best free book I've read was one that was randomly mailed to me from Crown Publishing (I have no idea how I got on that list) Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life.

Ryandake oh! can i have the little cars, please?

very fun review :-) especially love the crossed-out "script treatment". did you notice, in the back of the book, he thanks some of the fine folk at Dreamworks for their timely advice on the book?

it'll make a ripper movie. if you like that sort of thing. i do, sometimes.

Jason Thanks!

Rosa I wish I had enjoyed the book even 1/4 as much as I enjoyed reading your review... and don't you think your juicer's going to be one of those that ends up fighting valiantly by mankind's side?

Jason Thanks, Rosa! I don't trust my juicer. That bastard's always been suspiciously prone to clogging.

message 3: by David (new)

David Damn. I thought the renewed activity on this page meant that Robot17 was back...

It's just you, Mike Reynolds.

Rosa Clogging = too much data?

Jason I do miss Robot17.

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