Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Robopocalypse is set in the near future where humanity has become even more reliant on technology. Households have robotic servants, cars drive themselves, smart homes watch over the elderly and the military makes extensive use of robotic drones for both peacekeeping and warfare. An experimental AI, Archos, kills his creator and escapes the laboratory he was created in. He has one goal in mind - the destruction of the, now obsolete, human race and the creation of his own robot progeny.
The story is told in the same style as World War Z. Through a collection of incident reports, eyewitness accounts and transcribed surveillance footage, the progression of the robot uprising unfolds. The major difference from World War Z is that Wilson follows a core group of characters and relates their experiences and exploits over the extent of the war. This allows you to get attached to the characters in a way that wasn’t possible with World War Z.
This is a fast-paced thriller that had me gripped from the first chapter and kept me spellbound until the very end. There are some great descriptions, some frighteningly disturbing moments, and memorable passages that will stay with you for a very long time. One such scene plays out in a home for the elderly where the elevator turns into a deathtrap. One of the characters remarks, “There is a soul inside every thing, a mind that can choose to do good or evil. And the elevator seems bent on evil.” Beautifully written and poignant.
The premise might not be original (Terminator and countless other science fiction novels/movies got there first), but it still makes for a thrilling and thoroughly entertaining read. It might be easy to dismiss Robopocalypse as World War Z with robots instead of zombies, but you will be missing out on a great read if you do. Robopocalypse can comfortably stand on its own and I actually enjoyed it more than World War Z. It tackles some big issues and envisions an all too probable future. I’m just glad that we still have quite a way to go before this could ever become reality (who says clashing standards and incompatible formats are a bad thing?). I can see why Dreamworks grabbed the movie rights before Robopocalypse was even released. If they do things right this will make one amazing movie!
I absolutely loved Robopocalypse and rate it as one of my most entertaining reads of 2011 so far. Personally I found the robots and AIs far more frightening than zombies could ever be. It has some flaws, but in the end this is a thrilling read that takes you on an emotional journey through humanity’s darkest hour and leaves you breathless thanks to the frenetic pace.
Get this, even if it’s only for the stunningly creepy cover!
The Rating: 9/10 (Excellent)
Thanks to Claire and Andrea from Jonathan Ball Publishers for providing the review copy.