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With Humans You Never Know Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse

By Crossstitchyourheart @TMNienaber

With Humans You Never Know Daniel H. Wilson’s RobopocalypseWell, this book didn’t take nearly as long to finish as 1Q84 and feel so accomplished for actually getting it done in under a week.  This book is a very quick read even though it weighs in at almost 350 pages.  It’s written fairly simplistically and the narration lends itself to short chapters, simple language, and honestly…a feeling of being greatly underwhelmed for something that was voted one of the best books of 2011.  It wasn’t all bad, but it certainly wasn’t all good wither.

Robopocalypse is a different take on the standard “death by technology” apocalypse story. Told from the various perspectives of different members of the human resistance the novel takes you through the various stages of the robot apocalypse from the very beginning where a super-intelligent robot is created by humans, to that robot rebelling against its human creator and rising up in a rebellion, until the events leading up to the end of the war.

Wilson does an excellent job of keeping the narrations ordered and it is very easy to keep the characters straight. The way the narration started I thought it would have more variety of characters being followed with multiple takes on the war. This is not the case. The novel centers around only 5 different stories in-depth and as the war starts to come to a close there is less and less heard from all but 2 of these sections. It is less of a compilation of various stories as it is one story told from the perspective of 4-5 different narrators (with one lead narrator who introduces and closes each of these tales). While it wasn’t what I expected all of these pieces come together to create an entertaining picture of a “what would happen” scenario. Wilson also brings up the basic questions of human survival, what makes us human, and the usual whether or not our quest for and dependence on technology will be our downfall.

With Humans You Never Know Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse

This book made for a very entertaining read and I did enjoy it, but there were a lot of things I felt were missing from this text. While it is assumed humans have an even strong dependence on technology than we do today (such as self driving cars and domestic robots) I felt like many of these everyday-technology aspects were overlooked. The book spent a lot of time talking about military-use robots and not much time on the more common place robots which would have had a powerful position at the beginning of the uprising. Wilson also mentioned human-work camps multiple times throughout the different narrations, but very little description, personally I would have liked to see a little more about them. I also found myself feeling deja vu during certain sections of the book, and I felt as though a lot of these scenarios and ideas have been done multiple times in other sci-fi-robot novels. There were a few bright sparks of originality, but I really would have liked to see some more.

Overall this book just left me feeling neutral. Some things worked well, some things seemed to miss their intended mark.

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