Review: Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Published by Doubleday
Released June 7, 2011
347 pages
Where I got it: book received from publisher at BEA
Rating: 4 stars

In the aftermath of the Robot War, a soldier on the front lines makes a discovery that allows him to create a history of the events that changed the world forever. Robopocalypse recounts the first creation of the robot mind Archos, and intelligence that decides that life is amazing, and humans destroy life, so humans must be destroyed. The events unfold as more robots are infected by Archos, and heroes, both human and robot, rise to try to stop Archos from taking over the world.

While reading Robopocalypse, I constantly found myself comparing it to Max Brooks’ World War Z. One of my first thoughts about the book was: are robots the new zombies? Creatures that can somehow pass on an infection that changes the hardwiring to want to kill humans, while remaining nearly unstoppable? Another similarity was the way that the story was told through past events that chronicled how it all went down. While not as global in scope as Brooks’ book, that kind of storytelling was still effective here.

This book is a war story, pure and simple. There is exposition about the nature of the enemy, its tactics, and the defensive strategy of the humans. Parts of the book take place in Afghanistan, where there is a much more familiar war already happening. Other characters must arm themselves to stand up to the much stronger machines. There was something kind of macho about this book: it’s all about robots at war, and there is almost no romance at play. It was actually refreshing for me to read something that was so unapologetically┬ámasculine.

Heavy on the action, and jumping from narrator to narrator, Robopocalypse kept me highly entertained, and would probably transfer well to the big screen. I recommend it to fans of the zombie genre who want to branch out and read something a bit different, but not too different.

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