Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ROBOPOCALPYSE by Daniel H. Wilson

A war against robots is as ludicrous to me as time travel.  The Terminator had both, and for some reason that appealed to me, but there's no Schwarzenegger equivalent here.  The juggernaut-robot in this novel is buried in Alaska and has no personality.  The humans seem pretty vanilla also, and I had some difficulty keeping them straight.  Each chapter is a video transcript, diary entry, or other document from the war, and I wasn't wild about this format, either, which reminds me of the Star Trek captain's log voiceover. Three characters, however, did stand out.  One is Cormac Wallace, who has assembled all these snippets and ultimately has an argument with his brother that bears consideration:  How much like the machines do we have to become in order to survive?  In other words, do we have to sacrifice our humanity?  Another key character is Mathilda, a child whose eyes the machines have replaced so that she can see into the machines themselves.  This experiment seems ill-advised on the part of the machines, since she uses her power against them.  My favorite, though, is a Japanese man whose "wife" is a robot.  When she turns on him during the robot uprising, he has to take her offline and then misses her terribly.  I get that.  I also like the fact that the humans are not warring with each other and are united in their efforts against a common foe.  Why are the machines waging war?  Here's my favorite line in the book:  "It is not enough to live together in peace with one race on its knees."  Doesn't that succinctly describe the cause of most of history's rebellions?

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