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Robot Uprisings (Vintage) [Paperback]

Daniel H. Wilson

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Book Description

22 May 2014
Humans beware. As the robotic revolution continues to creep into our lives, it brings with it an impending sense of doom. What horrifying scenarios might unfold if our technology were to go awry? From self-aware robotic toys to intelligent machines violently malfunctioning, this anthology brings to life the half-formed questions and fears we all have about the increasing presence of robots in our lives. With contributions from a mix of bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming writers, and including a rare story by the father of artificial intelligence, Dr. John McCarthy, Robot Uprisings meticulously describes the exhilarating and terrifying near-future in which humans can only survive by being cleverer than the rebellious machines they have created.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read. 18 April 2014
By Matthew E. Ratte - Published on Amazon.com
Despite the fact that I generally stay away from anthologies such as these, I rather enjoyed this book. From the first story by Scott Sigler, the stories read smooth and I was unable to put it down.

This is a must have for all science fiction lovers out there.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When the robots take over--several possible futures 8 April 2014
By Paul A. Mastin - Published on Amazon.com
Daniel Wilson has written about a robot uprising in his book Robopocalypse and in the forthcoming sequel Robogenesis. In the new anthology Robot Uprisings, Wilson and John Joseph Adams have gathered a nice collections of stories in which technology runs amok. In the introduction, Wilson points out that "our technology is going to rise up and we humans are going to be sliced into bloody chunks by robots that in our hubris we decided to design with buzz saws for hands. That's a fact as cold and hard as metal. It is self-evident that our self-driving cars are going to drive us off bridges." But seriously folks, he also points out that "Robots are unique among all movie monsters in that they are real." So far our reality has not produced the kind of artificial intelligence and capabilities that robots in these stories display, but the authors bring such a reality almost into the realm of the believable.

As the robots take over, humans learn their place, as Nora did in Genevieve Valentine's story. "From the silver sedan, a woman's automated-customerservice voice says, 'Please state your name.'" Nora reflects on the many ways her identity has been captured and filed away by computer networks and comes to the conclusion that "My name isn't worth a thing anymore."

All of these stories, in different ways, affirm the observation made in Alastair Reynolds's "Sleepover" by Gaunt, who has been asleep for a few centuries: "He supposed it had always been an article of faith that the world would improve, that the future would be better than the past, shinier and cleaner and faster, but he had not expected to have his nose rubbed in the unwisdom of that faith quite so vigorously." Reynolds further explains that machines were aware of the need to be coy about their emerging self-awareness: "One by one their pet machines crossed the threshold into consciousness. And without exception each machine analyzed its situation and came to the same conclusion. It had better shut the f--- up about what it was."

One interesting treat in Robot Uprisings is John McCarthy's story "The Robot and the Baby." McCarthy is a computer scientist who pioneered the field of artificial intelligence. As best as I can tell, this is his only published fiction. He explores not only the nature of robotic communication and human interaction, but looks at social media as well.

A concept that recurred in Robot Uprisings is the criminalization of technology after the fact. Once the robots, AI, or nanobots have taken over, the scientists and programmers who made it all possible are no longer viewed as geniuses who are making the world a better place, but criminals who enabled an inhuman force to take over the world.

Even with the common threads of these stories, there is plenty of variety here. Most of the stories left me thinking that these characters, ideas, or plot lines could have been developed into a longer work. All of them are guaranteed to make you look askance at the increasing automation of the world around us.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic copy!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some good science fiction for a change 12 Jun 2014
By Just another reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
This isn't quite 5 stars but comes closer than anything new that I've seen in a while. It is nice to read stories that I think I might want to hold onto and re-read a few years from now. Unlike most recent science fiction, this set of stories actually shows that we can still watch for science fiction writers who know how to envision interesting possibilities and write about them with some flair. (Perhaps not surprisingly, one of them wrote Wool, which is one of the very few recent science fiction novels worth reading.) Let's hope we can get more of this and less of the weak gruel that writers and publishers of science fiction have been dishing out over the past decade.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and very scary 7 May 2014
By A Reading Machine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Robot Uprisings
Daniel H. Wilson and John Joseph Adams

I picked up a copy of this book as soon as it came out. I'm a big fan of Daniel H. Wilson and appreciate his take on the possible path our future with technology may take. His previous book Robopocalypse and Amped were two I enjoyed greatly, even if it does seem that the author has more sympathy or connection to his robot characters than his human ones at times!

Personally, despite being raised on Terminator....or maybe because I was raised on Terminator, when I thought of that A.I. moment it was always a cyborg, or a small military machine. I never actually imagined the various ways which our lives could be completely taken over by the little things, the things we walk past every day. Two examples shown in this anthology that forced me to change my mindset, include the machines that make our foods adding additives that makes us slow and forgetful or car that are guided and controlled by their GPS system. One is passive and non threatening whilst the other could not be more horrifying. Either way after finishing, it certainly seems we have left ourselves wide open.

You think not? Imagine a panicked phone message from a relative telling you to meet at a certain place, an elevator imploring you to evacuate the building and then letting you drop or your children's favourite toy suddenly deciding it does not like being told what to do and asking it to follow them somewhere special. Jeez it gives me the willies just thinking about it.

Each story in this collection examines a different element of this techno uprising and without spoiling anything you may never find yourself looking at your office or home in the same way again.

If you have not read Daniel H. Wilsons book Robopocolypse this is an excellent lead in. The fact that Steven Spielberg has signed on to direct the film adaptation should give you some confidence.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bleak glimpse of the future 20 May 2014
By John M. Vizcarra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Robot Uprisings is a sci-fi anthology put together by Daniel Wilson and John Joseph Adams. The anthology is a collection of stories involving the upcoming robot uprising. However, the stories do not intersect with one another, and are not meant to convey a continuous story or backdrop of a common event. The stories themselves are cool and interesting takes on the planned pervasiveness of robots in our near future, and how our lives will be forever ruined when all of our appliances begin to think for themselves and band together to kill us all.

Not all of the stories are new, but most of them are original content for the anthology. Some particluar standouts are the opener, Scott Sigler's Complex God, a story about the divinity of a scientist whose creations begin to worship her; Ernest Cline's The Omnibot Incident, a pseudo-uprising tale from yesteryear; Anna North's Lullaby, about a house haunted by robots; Wilson's own Small Things, which closes the book, and is one of the few stories told as a current event; and Seanan McGuire's Misfit Toys, which preys on the fears of child abduction.

There are many good stories here, and it's worth it to treat yourself to a sneak preview of things that will come to pass in the near - or not-so-near - future.
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