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Sea of Rust (Sea of Rust, #1)
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Group Reads Discussions 2018 > "Sea of Rust" - Full Discussion *Spoilers*

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message 1: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - added it

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
What did you think? Did it live up to your expectations? I see a lot of folks saying they wouldn't have picked this up without the group. What about it would have turned you away? Are you glad you stuck with it?


Rachel | 1323 comments I actually read it much earlier this year as I had read and enjoyed Cargills fantasy series.

I thought it was fun but also a little intense (the parts in the past and with the end of humanity)
But ...I really enjoyed the robot characters.

But why didn’t any of the robots realize they might miss nature when the humans were gone?!?!


message 3: by Jerry-Book (new)

Jerry-Book | 86 comments I liked it. Asimov and his three laws of robotics would have flipped out knowing that robots had wiped out humanity. Of course, the Terminator series had already predicted a war between machines and humanity. This time the machines win. Again, the three laws of robotics are turned upside down when even a human caregiver robot like Brittle joins in the slaughter.


Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments I enjoyed it. It was a bit pulpy, and I certainly didn’t expect a post-apocalyptic robot wars book to read and feel so much like a Hollywood Western, but it was compelling and thought-provoking and darkly funny. My biggest complaint is a fairly minor one: he ended almost every chapter with an over-the-top cliffhanger. Like “how the fuck were we gonna get out of THIS alive?” like almost every time.

Since this is the spoiler thread, I do have a large over-arching plot question, which is why was Brittle the one chosen to be a spy at that particular point in the war? I’m not sure it adds up and therefore feels like it’s a bit of a device for the sake of plot.

I enjoyed very much the idea that AI could also go insane from memory degradation, which makes a lot of sense. And also that AI could suffer from PTSD.

I wouldn’t have known about this book if it weren’t for the group but that’s mostly because I’ve had my head under many rocks for a while and am finally peering into the light again to see what’s been happening in SF and Fantasy over the last decade or so. So I’m very grateful to this group.


message 5: by Chris (last edited Jul 07, 2018 08:34AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Chris | 1046 comments I just couldn't shake the thought that the characters didn't seem like robots. I get that caretaker and comfort bots would be similar to humans because of their function, but every bot in the book was using idioms and words that just don't make sense in a bot-only world. So many Hollywood cliches are on display. Herbert is like the heavy gunner in any war movie like Blackhawk Down or Full Metal Jacket. "Move! Move! Move!" Various groups have words for those who are physically members but don't share the group's subculture: oreo (black on the outside, white on the inside), banana or twinkie (yellow and white), apple (red and white). I'll have to think of a word that suggests metal or plastic on the outside and organic blood/guts on the inside. I can only imagine that the author's experience with science fiction has mostly been limited to blockbuster movies.


Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments Chris, it seems to me Cargill was consciously using tropes of westerns and war movies for effect. Totally understandable that his approach in doing so didn’t appeal to you. I thought it was fun, myself.


Bruce (bruce1984) | 386 comments Chris wrote: "I just couldn't shake the thought that the characters didn't seem like robots."

I have trouble taking a bot with an attitude seriously. I get the premise and I think it was argued effectively: that sentience can come in any form, organic or silicon. I just don't believe it. There's something more than computing power or AI that makes us human.

To that end, the bots felt more like Toy Story- toys pretending to have human personalities, and I found it hard to take them seriously.

Did anybody else have that problem?


Chris | 1046 comments If the book had been a comedy, I might have liked it more: robot farts, boogers, menstruation, food fights, mean girls, dance numbers, big chrome cocks, etc. It seemed to be serious yet not know enough to be taken seriously.


message 9: by Ariana (last edited Jul 07, 2018 02:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ariana | 657 comments I quite enjoyed this. Like Anthony, I interpreted the presence of tropes as intentional and so I didn't find them particularly annoying (although I was rolling my eyes a bit at how an the facets had clearly been trained at the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy especially in the last battle).

I just wish I'd been a little more sold on Brittle's whole "I used to just be about survival but now I believe in something bigger than myself" character arc. It wasn't super convincing for me, it felt a little like just going through the motions.

But, like I say, I had a lot of fun reading this. Like going to see a fun action movie, as long as you're not expecting an Oscar nominee it can be just as enjoyable.


Jamesboggie (goodreadscomjamesboggie) | 77 comments I am not the most trope savvy, so I would appreciate if people pointed out what they mean by Western and action movie tropes in the book.


message 11: by Chris (last edited Jul 11, 2018 11:05PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Chris Vogel | 17 comments An interesting read. Enjoyable, if a bit on the light side. Quite a fast pace on the action. Which is where I started to have a bit of trouble. OK so we have the OWIs that are made out to be a million mind smart. And yet they are repeatedly out witted and out fought by small band of freebots. I was sort of flashing back on star wars here, where a thousand droids/storm troopers can't manage to hit the broad side of a barn. The best it can come up with is to line them up in lock step and overwhelm them numbers? And then be repeatedly be screwed by the same EMP trick? OK we will just put that aside for now.
What I quite liked about this book was the description of the downfall of humanity through the use of flashbacks. Throughout human history, oppressed peoples have risen up against their oppressors, won their freedom, and then ended up lost. Think of the British empire. As countries were given their freedom they celebrate and not long after they often ended up in bloody civil wars or under horrible dictators. Too many examples to even start to list. Right up to this day with the Arab spring. The robots end up being no different. And just like us, many end up thinking back, torn by what they have lost in the hope of freedom. Even Brittle, who lived in the most gilded of cages, ends up being one of the greatest monsters in the fight. Now she spends her existence broken by guilt, and looking for redemption.
I also liked the political savvy displayed in the skilled use of martyrs and public outrage. Dang, been down that road to many times lately.
So a final question, would this book have been better without the last chapter? In giving up her life for the possibility of something better, would she finally find redemption for her guilt. On the other hand I like the contrast to the opening where she promises to fix and then wake up the bot, then salvaging it.
Humm,


Jamesboggie (goodreadscomjamesboggie) | 77 comments Chris, I think part of the "Brittle is the Judas goat" twist is that CISSUS had never been outsmarted. It had been allowing free robots to survive to find other communities of free robots. It was part of a patient plan that worked up until the point it underestimated one malfunctioning free robot working for an equal intelligence. I find that believable.


Chris Vogel | 17 comments Jamesboggie wrote: "Chris, I think part of the "Brittle is the Judas goat" twist is that CISSUS had never been outsmarted. It had been allowing free robots to survive to find other communities of free robots. It was p..."
I guess I can live with that :-)


Ginny (ginny83) I read this as soon as it came out because I was excited by the premise. A future with NO humans left, only the remnants of their technology roaming the Earth? Wild! Overall I really liked it.

I kept waiting for the robots to find one last band of humans or something and I was glad that didn't happen. My only real complaint was that the "Brittle redeemed" ending was a little heavy-handed. We didn't need it spelled out dude. Otherwise I thought it was quite unique and pretty well-written.


message 15: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - added it

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
I think I'm giving up on this one. The "flashbacks" are killing me, and so much of it rings false. They don't feel like robots to me. I'm thrown by the "voice pitch = gender" thing and all of the "lucky I'd upgraded my ears already!" solutions to the problems thus far.

I take it the arc is that she somehow gets involved in taking out the OWI and martyrs herself?

Yeah...this just all feels wholly irrational for machines that are so much smarter than humans.


message 16: by Dawn F (last edited Jul 11, 2018 11:02AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dawn F (psychedk) | 1219 comments I've just finished Sea of Rust and I think I'm with Allison on this one.

It wasn't bad as such, there were moments that were interesting, even moments that made me teary eyed. In the beginning, when Jimmy gets shut off, that hurt. By the end when Brittle powers down, that hurt too. I just really like robots, okay? *wibble*

But mostly it was full of way too much combat (I realize this just my personal preference, I'm not into long descriptions of fights) and a lot of exposition and I mean a lot. A third of the book is explaining what happened before the book started. I think a story should work on its own without needing a load of extra explanation. The flashbacks didn't work for me either, but flashbacks are such a difficult thing to do I can literally count on my hands the times I've seen it done right.

I didn't much care for the flippant crime noir/western tone either. I can't really take that seriously. I howl with laughter to Sergio Leone's westerns and love them for it but I didn't get the feeling this book was supposed to be funny, It definitely took away from the seriousness of it. I'd have preferred a much darker tone for a subject matter that was quite serious. Ah well!


Ariana | 657 comments Dawn wrote: "But mostly it was full of way too much combat (I realize this just my personal preference, I'm not into long descriptions of fights) and a lot of exposition and I mean a lot."

See Allison? Wall-E + Michael Bay.


Dawn F (psychedk) | 1219 comments Ariana wrote: "See Allison? Wall-E + Michael Bay."

LOL! I haven't seen Wall-E, is this what it's like? XD


message 19: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - added it

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
LMAO!

Exactly so, Ariana. No, Dawn! Wall-E is delightful! Albeit extremely over the top about its environmentalism, but adorable!

This was definitely if someone got Wall-E's story and gave it to Michael Bay

hahaha!


Dawn F (psychedk) | 1219 comments Allison wrote: "LMAO!

Exactly so, Ariana. No, Dawn! Wall-E is delightful! Albeit extremely over the top about its environmentalism, but adorable!

This was definitely if someone got Wall-E's story and gave it to..."


Oh, so basically Transformers? XD Haha, there's definitely a lot of Michael Bay in Sea of Rust, very true lol


message 21: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - added it

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
I mean this did feel a bit like Transformers with cacti.


Jamesboggie (goodreadscomjamesboggie) | 77 comments I was thinking about the complaints about the pacing and expositional flashbacks in the first 100 pages or so. The plot takes a long time to start, and in the meantime we have sections about the war to exterminate humanity. I had trouble getting into this early part of the book, and I know other people DNF'd because of it.

I think I would have preferred if the battle with Mercer took place earlier and all the flashbacks occurred after the battle. This approach would get the plot started earlier and tie the flashbacks to Brittle's damaged core. The flashbacks could then have transitioned into the hallucinations later in the book. This also would have integrated the flashbacks into the plot and the themes of the novel. Overall, I think this would result in a tighter and better paced novel.

What do people think of my idea?


message 23: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - added it

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Jamesboggie wrote: "I was thinking about the complaints about the pacing and expositional flashbacks in the first 100 pages or so. The plot takes a long time to start, and in the meantime we have sections about the wa..."

Skipping the first 70 pages? Emphatic yes from me.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments I'm not minding the infodumps; I'm thinking of them as history. I know it's more fashionable to write page-turners & fast-paced action nowadays, but there's a tradition of exposition in classic literature, and if this is not meant to be light or funny, I think it's all good.

However, I do have a bit of a problem with all the short sentences and fragments. It seems almost mechanically written: short, short, medium, fragment, short, medium... maybe that's supposed to be reflective of Brittle's 'mechanical' voice/thoughts though. I'm not very far in so we'll see.


message 25: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - added it

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "I'm not minding the infodumps; I'm thinking of them as history. I know it's more fashionable to write page-turners & fast-paced action nowadays, but there's a tradition of exposition in classic lit..."

I wouldn't have minded the info-dump so much if I knew why. I'm quite happy to read books that jump around the timeline and add weight to what I just read, or explain what's about to happen. I didn't get that feeling in the first quarter. It just felt like a textbook thrown into my gunslinger tale. It sounds like maybe it resolves itself more later?

I also did not care for the sentence structure. Which is odd, I usually like when they play with grammar and form!


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments I'm struggling a bit with the robots not being like we expect them to be. We expect them to be smart in the sense of planning ahead, seeing patterns, having quick reactions, but we don't expect them to have attitudes, genders, feelings of guilt or compassion or loneliness or whatever....

But why wouldn't their evolution reflect their initial programming parameters? I mean to say, humans created them 'in our image,' they use the language and other artifacts given them by humans, and Brittle doesn't think of herself as 'artificial,' and they are more sentient than the early AIs & are actually 'ticking' ... so why wouldn't they be akin to humans? Maybe if it had been more than, what, a couple of decades, they would have grown away from their human origins and evolved their own culture, developed their own insights.... but at this point they're adolescents.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments I think if the book were actually a trilogy and told without flashbacks/infodumps and were instead told in real time, from shortly before Isaac petitioned for his freedom, it might have been more satisfying to more of us. Normally I prefer concise short novels and short stories... but there's *so* *much* material here, and I want the author to share it all....


message 28: by Matt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt (imagination_hunter7) | 22 comments Allison wrote: "Cheryl wrote: "I'm not minding the infodumps; I'm thinking of them as history. I know it's more fashionable to write page-turners & fast-paced action nowadays, but there's a tradition of exposition..."

I found that the grammar and form was quite simplistic, but it didn't put me off. This is actually the first time I've ever come across a book that was so simplistic - excluding The Road, of course, which, if I remember correctly, uses just . , !

As for the info dump and how the sentences were structured, I think it was meant to be like because it's probably it's how a robot would probably narrate what it sees/perceives.

Regardless, it's definitely one of my favorite books and probably one of the most memorable in the last few years. I'm eager to see if there's a sequel.


Chris | 1046 comments Robots that perform useful functions are much, much easier to make than robots whose internal workings mimic human internal workings. If you want to make a robot that is mobile, making it bipedal introduces all kinds of problems - which is why robots that can walk well on legs have only recently appeared. This is even more true of cognitive functions. The amygdala is the brain structure that recognizes danger and produces the fight/flight response. Why would you make a robot amygdala when you could write a much shorter program to recognize danger and respond appropriately?


message 30: by Matt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt (imagination_hunter7) | 22 comments Chris wrote: "Robots that perform useful functions are much, much easier to make than robots whose internal workings mimic human internal workings. If you want to make a robot that is mobile, making it bipedal i..."

Because it's fiction? A story?


message 31: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new) - added it

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
I think for those of us that had a hard time, it was a partially an expectation issue. The "what if" is about robots conquering and exterminating humans. That's already a pretty outrageous separation between how we recognize humanity and how we go about correcting past wrongs. So I guess I was expecting them not to seem so human. On top of it, the modern trend does seem to be about really unique societies, so when you hear about something from a machine POV, for me at least I instantly conjure Ancillary Justice and Murderbot and Wall-E and so on that all make it extremely clear that this being may be protected under the umbrella of humanity, but is definitely not human.


Chris | 1046 comments Matt wrote: "Because it's fiction? A story?"

Why write about "robots" that are nothing like robots? You might as well write a story about dogs that meow and hiss and scratch and are related to lions and tigers. The reader would be thinking at every turn, "Aren't those just cats? Why not call them cats?"


message 33: by Matt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt (imagination_hunter7) | 22 comments Chris wrote: "Matt wrote: "Because it's fiction? A story?"

Why write about "robots" that are nothing like robots? You might as well write a story about dogs that meow and hiss and scratch and are related to lio..."


Well you can't say "nothing like robots" because these are clearly robots, and because they're not like the robots we know today - whether those exist or are based on what we know about robots - it doesn't mean that they can't have aspects of humanity. Maybe I'm missing your point. I don't know. I just think that when a book sticks to the tried tropes, it's criticised for copying concepts already exhausted. If it does something differently, it's criticised for not sticking to the tropes. I love all the classics, but I loved Sea of Rust because it did something differently and stood out.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Matt, I agree. This is different. Thank goodness.

This discussion seems to be weighted towards whether it's a good book, whether it's well-written. I'm not done yet, so I'm not sure what actual conversations about themes and ideas we can have, but surely there are some...?

For example, given Cargill's setup whether or not we think it feasible, clearly these robots were programmed with humanlike architecture. The companion bot, 19, was given a knack for making everyone she interacted with feel like they were her only special friend. Is this what you think of as a good template for her function? Remember she served as a sexbot for her human and they hid together from the apocalypse for as long as they could. It seems to me like she'd have hooked up 'monogamously' with some one other robot by now. How would you program a companion or sexbot? Or would you?


Rachel | 1323 comments I thought the conversations between the super computers and what they decided was the point at which humans were doomed was all fascinating


Chris | 1046 comments Did this novel really avoid robot tropes?

Ridiculously Human Robots
Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!
Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids
A.I. Is a Crapshoot
Turned Against Their Masters
Robot War
Kill All Humans
Sexbot

But really, I am totally OK with tropes, if the author can weave them skillfully into a story so that they feel right in context. That didn't happen for me. I understand that the story and its elements did feel right to others, and it's fine that we disagree.


message 37: by Matt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt (imagination_hunter7) | 22 comments Chris wrote: "Did this novel really avoid robot tropes?

• Ridiculously Human Robots
• Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!
• Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids
• A.I. Is a Crapshoot
• Turned Against Their Masters
• Rob..."


I hope I didn't give anybody a wrong impression here. I respect your tastes and opinions. Not trying to change them. Our tastes might actually be identical. Who knows. I just wanted to make a point that standing out appeals to me, and that it's not always a bad thing to stray away from the mainstream path now and again. I like a bit of different now and again, although not TOO different. The tropes, most of them, I think, were there. :)


message 38: by Matt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt (imagination_hunter7) | 22 comments Cheryl wrote: "Matt, I agree. This is different. Thank goodness.

This discussion seems to be weighted towards whether it's a good book, whether it's well-written. I'm not done yet, so I'm not sure what actual co..."


You know ... it's not something I've actually ever thought about lol. But it's food for thought. I'll get back to you on that :)


Jamesboggie (goodreadscomjamesboggie) | 77 comments Thanks for listing the sci fi tropes, Chris. I'd still like someone to point out the western and action tropes referenced early in the thread. I am not so trope savvy, so it would help me see what else he borrows.


message 40: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (last edited Jul 13, 2018 06:20AM) (new) - added it

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
New Old West:

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...

Cattle Punk (I hadn't realized this was its name, and now I'm delighted).

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...

Basically they're when it feels like a John Wayne flick but with more tech.

I would be really curious to hear more about what people thought of the messaging, the struggle, any symbols you found etc.

ETA: I want to make it clear that I don't think using tropes is "borrowing" from anything. Tropes belong to all of us. They're part of a language we speak in, not a concrete set of ideas that someone can steal or lift. All the various Western genres/subgenres/tropes have a lot of really cool stuff and cultural longing in it that can be brilliant to tap into. It sounds like this did just that for a lot of folks and that's exactly how good tropes work!


Chris | 1046 comments In She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, John Wayne played Nathan Cutting Brittles, a US Army Captain. It is one of John Ford's cavalry trilogy. Apart from the character's name, I can't think of anything significant in common. Maybe the US is like an OWI, and the Native Americans are like the free robots? It feels like a stretch. Sea of Rust felt more like Mad Max.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Done now. I kinda gotta take back a little bit of what I said earlier. Too much of the promise I felt earlier in the book wasn't honored. I mean, the plot isn't much, for example, and if the world-building were removed it wouldn't be much of a book. There's plenty of potential for more development, and plenty of little bits....

I like, for example, what seemed to be the ending, the questions of facing death and wishing for magic, in 'The Long Tick Down."

But before I say any more, I want help clarifying the distinction between CISSUS and TACITUS. Brittle was misinformed about herself, and wrong about Mercer, could she be seeing less than the full truth about those choices?


message 43: by Jamesboggie (last edited Jul 18, 2018 06:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jamesboggie (goodreadscomjamesboggie) | 77 comments @Cheryl We really never learn anything concrete about Tacitus. CISSUS can be judged by the actions of its facets. Tacitus could be a myth, a liar, or a false identity for another OWI. Even the tacked on happy ending does not actually provide answers about Tacitus.

However, I believe Tacitus should be accepted straight. I don't think the author intended anything other than what Rebekah says about Tacitus. I certainly did not see any evidence of a hidden meaning.


message 44: by Ryan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ryan Fry | 46 comments So I definitely enjoy the book and never lost interest reading it but I honestly enjoyed the flashback and the FALL OF HUMANITY way more interesting. I felt the back story and the fall of humanity could have been its own book and I’d much rather read that and about the war then this chase narrative that being said I didn’t hate it either it got my blood pumping and definitely had a twist or two I wasn’t expecting. Overall I would read it again though I would prefer having a book on the war.

I also enjoyed the amount of philosophy that went into the book, such as is AI humanities next evolution and will be responsible for the humans to be wiped out like we did the Neanderthals. What is consciousness, which seemed to be the ability to say no to ones own programming which I found fascinating!! Also the way different bots are wired to feel different things I also found really cool I wouldn’t this the black boxing would be a problem but with the emphasis on different models have different inputs and interpret it differently it makes sense and would be a huge problem.

Overall 4/5


Colin Clarke | 16 comments Great action oriented read. It was like reading a summer blockbuster: multiple beats of action in every chapter. I like the writing style, it was very accessible. I could see casual readers enjoying this one a lot, which says something as this type of story could have been a deep dark dive into heavy topics.
I'm with other readers here that enjoyed the robot characters. I found myself way more sympathetic than I thought possible. I had some difficulty with the robo-emotion concepts. It was hard to visualize how a robot without skin is supposed to be illustrating smiles, frowns, anger, etc. Especially when some of the characters have no face but a screen, others function without heads. A minor complaint really in that I enjoyed the story itself.

What does everyone think about the different AI views on galactic dominance? I wonder if one AI's view is really more right than another. The author kind of proposed one view on it, which was good argument. There's also something to be said for the singular consciousness view. All knowledge together as one would be a force to be reckoned with. Interesting thoughts!


Bruce (bruce1984) | 386 comments Colin wrote: "What does everyone think about the different AI views on galactic dominance? I wonder if one AI's view is really more right than another. "

I've always preferred decentralized intelligence over central intelligence. Decentralized to me would be more cumulatively powerful and better able to deal with local issues. It's kind of like states rights vs federal control. But just like the book, the world seems to be moving more towards central intelligence.


Colin Clarke | 16 comments Bruce wrote: "Colin wrote: "What does everyone think about the different AI views on galactic dominance? I wonder if one AI's view is really more right than another. "

I've always preferred decentralized intell..."


Good point and good comparison! Not seeing what results in the AI war makes it a lot like a lesson for life today, where many people choose a side of centralized versus dispersed and have no idea what will really happen.


message 48: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Jul 25, 2018 10:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 519 comments For me, this was a symbolic struggle of political systems - dictatorship vs. democracy. It also struck me as a version of Mad Max mashed up with the Paul Newman movie Hud.

I liked the book as a terrific action movie, but it had major themes of morality and what direction a civilization should be organized around. For me, the robot war was secondary but fun. The moral struggle of Brittle (Choosing between his mercenary instinct vs. for the cause of freedom) reminded me of Hans Solo in episode IV.

Also the Borg Hive vs. the Earth of Star Trek.

However, the fact all that was left in this book was robots who knew humans could do a thing they couldn’t do - see magic in a sunset. The sunset of humanity, maybe the sunset of robot world, too. It upset me a lot, this part. Left me feeling teary with aching angst. Like at the end of the Planet of the Apes, when I saw the Charleston Heston movie as a child.

I am old now, and I am kinda scared for all you youngsters. Seriously. This book did THAT to me, despite its stereotypical tropes, and all of those movies I have watched.

Maybe I am losing it like the wornout robots did - my hard drive is failing and my microchips are frying. I am seeing fractals through my cataracts....

Anyway. The book is terribly sad underneath all of the action.


message 49: by Hank (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hank (hankenstein) | 1128 comments I loved this as well. I read the robots as metaphors for humans and it didn't bug me too much that they were more human than some/most of them should have been. The "big" question I always love seeing done well is the "what makes us, us"?

Tough if not impossible to break humans down into component parts contributing to the whole and I enjoyed the commentary on robot parts contributing to the whole and my favorite line was when Mercer asked Brittle "which parts make us, us" Thoughts that run through my head all too often.

I also found a bit of introspection with my own reading. I was immediately struck (like most of us) with the fact that the robots seemed too human, had too many emotions. Probably we wouldn't want to read a book about emotionless robots...why is that? Why wouldn't I become attached to a character with no emotions? My introspection didn't come up with good answers or at least coherent ones but I liked the fact that the book made me think about it.


message 50: by Clay (new) - rated it 3 stars

Clay (snoweel) | 30 comments On the one hand, I enjoyed the Western-style plot with SF complications (the One-World intelligences) and the breezy sarcastic style. I thought the setting was interesting and the initial hook drew me in.

On the other hand, this is just about the grimmest story I have ever read. I've read plenty of postapocalyptic fiction where humans are struggling to survive. But in those stories there is generally *hope* for something better. Here the humans are already completely wiped out and were brutally murdered by the robots. And if that's not enough, now the robots are brutally murdering each other. So there is absolutely no hope for humanity, there's not even hope for the environment to recover, and there's very little hope for the robot society to make it to some state besides endless war, or domination by a single entity. So in that respect I didn't really care for it.

BTW I mentioned it in the other thread, but if you like the robot POV, I think you would like The Mechanical, which has an android/automaton as one of the main characters, and explores a lot of philosophical issues about free will and humanity. (It's also very bleak in some ways but not compared to this book.)


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