Thursday, February 09, 2012


Earlier today, I finished reading Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson. Imagine if a computer program gained sentience and then unleashed never-before-seen destruction on humanity and . . . wait, that's the plot for Terminator, isn't it?

Okay, so it's a bad joke and this book is actually pretty good. It tells the story of said computer program, Archos, that retaliates against humanity by turning smart cars and helper robots against their masters. The whole story of the "New War," as it's called, is told in a series of flashbacks, detailing how humanity managed to survive the initial blitz and then went on to defeat Archos.

In many ways, this book reminded me of World War Z. It's the same basic premise: a retrospective look at an apocalypse that nearly wipes out humanity. Except I think the zombies were better.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book, but Wilson's tale fell a little short. Z felt a lot more epic. When I read it, I got the feeling that the entire world was fighting the marauding zombies. With the robots, not so much.

Part of the problem, I think, was that Wilson focused his tale on just a few survivors, using them to tell the whole story. As a result, the story felt a lot smaller. Worse, the individual tales felt somewhat disconnected. I mean, I know they were all part of the larger plot. They each had a role to play. But none of them seemed as "epic" as they should have been.

And that, right there, is probably the most problematic part of the book. Wilson spent about two thirds of the book setting stuff up and then resolved it all in a rush. What should have been an epic struggle for the future of humanity never really gelled for me.

Like I said, I enjoyed the book for the most part. I just wish there could have been a bit more.

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