The Book Catapult

2011 Catapult Notable List – #9

#9: Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
For a guy who claims to not read science fiction anymore, I always seem to have at least one title on my year end Notable list. The Brief History of the Dead (2006), The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (2007), The Gone-Away World (2008), Super Sad True Love Story (2010). And now this – the Robopocalypse is upon us.

Daniel Wilson’s novel is definitely sci-fi, make no mistake, but please don’t let that deter you like some book-snobby jerk. Reading this thing is like stepping in front of a subway train & getting pushed down the tunnel for an hour before you’re tossed aside in the grass on the other side. You’re bloody and covered with soot and garbage, but you’re alive, man. I wrote a full review back in May, but here’s a rundown:


In a near future of ours where humanity has mastered the art of robotic machinery – from the smart chips in our cars to simple, scurrying Death Star droids and domestic bipedal robots, there are engineered helpers all around us. In the presumed safety of a secure lab, one scientist finally creates the ultimate thinking machine, Archos, whose intelligence reaches unchartable levels in just 15 minutes of existence. Much to the fatal dismay of its physicist/father, Archos quickly figures a way out of its secure environment and starts in motion its plan to logically erase humanity from the planet. By Archos’ calculations, humans were put on earth to create our evolutionary successors and once we have done that, we may be dismissed. Archos, of course, considers itself that  successor, which means that some bad shit is coming down the pike toward us. 

Archos, now plugged in and in a secure location, quickly begins to spread its message of world domination to all the electronic devices around the world capable of being manipulated. At first, isolated incidents are reported: a nonviolent, “humanoid safety and pacification robot” stationed in Afghanistan starts killing people; a domestic bipedal robot rips the face off a Frogurt employee; a “Baby-Comes-Alive” doll does just that, spouting robot propaganda at a Senator’s daughter; the onboard computers of two domestic airliners chart a collision course before being overridden at the last second. Then all hell breaks loose. It’s mostly the cars – any automobile with an “intra-vehicle communication chip” either runs humans down on the street or drives the ones on board to their deaths. Imagine the chaos in the cities…  Bipedal robots go door-to-door, “removing” human occupants – definitely not safe to stay inside. So what do you do?! After much death and madness, humanity regroups a bit, in the first incidence of true global solidarity, and tries to salvage what’s left of our societies in an attempt to stop whatever the hell is happening to our world. 

That battle – to rescue humanity from the clutches of the mad, near-omniscient robot we created – is what Robopocalypse is all about. Easily hitting the #9 spot on our countdown. (PS: Spielberg is hard at work on the film, on your screens in July 2013.)

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This entry was posted on December 21, 2011 by in Daniel H. Wilson, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, review, Robopocalypse.
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