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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 November 2011
'Robopocalypse' is a fast-reading science fiction adventure set in the near future. Humanity succeeds in creating the first viable artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, the AI's ideas about human-AI relations are rather different from those of its creators; the resulting struggle threatens humanity with subjugation or extinction.

Daniel Wilson has a background in robotics, and he seems confident in extrapolating from the current state of the art to this disastrous fictional scenario. Unfortunately, he isn't so able a writer as a scientist. 'Robopocalypse' reads like a less subtle version of Max Brooks' 'World War Z', with sentient and semi-sentient robots replacing the zombies in a very similar narrative structure, with multiple narrators.

Oddly, Wilson seems more comfortable when dealing with action than with the science, and the book has considerable pace - which is useful, in that the reader is carried rapidly past the numerous implausibilities. The author's grasp of character never develops much beyond stereotypes, and he seems frankly uninterested in some of the people he creates; a number of them simply drop out of the story, never to be heard from again. His grasp of politics and foreign affairs is minimal: it won't surprise the British reader to learn that this is yet another parochial American SF thriller in which a well-armed American citizenry saves the world (with a token tip of the hat to a solitary Japanese).

The premise itself is not contemptible - put simply, nobody has any real idea of what a human-created machine intelligence would be like - but Wilson never convinced me that he had considered the issues raised in any depth. His imagination seems heavily dependent on popular movies (spot the 'homages' to The Terminator, Star Trek's 'Data', 300, and Bladerunner along with the horde of generic 'apocalyptic survivalist' films) and a handful of fictional sources: Max Brooks in particular, but also Philip K. Dick ('Second Variety' and its film versions) and Vernor Vinge. The result is a page-turning but disposable book that reads less like a novel and more like a screenplay for one of those adequate but uninspiring SF movies that spring up in the wake of something more original. In fact, Wilson explicitly thanks DreamWorks SKG at the end of the book - the film rights were sold before the book was completed - and 'Robopocalypse' is at the time of writing to be filmed by Steven Spielberg, with an adapted screenplay by Drew Goddard of Cloverfield fame.
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on 19 February 2012
I so wanted to love this book. I thought that the writers background, Spielberg's buying of the movie rights from Foley's, and all of the great reviews, would guarantee a technological & emotional roller coaster, a magnificent world striding tour de force - in short, a modern sci-fi classic. What we got instead was a small, largely badly written, jingoistic, borderline racist, "isn't America the greatest country on Earth" movie treatment; and not a very good one at that!

Admittedly, the robots are far more imaginative than anything the Terminator movies dreamt up, but it all feels very small and lacking in any real jeopardy. With the whole world to write about the entire story involves a small handful of people whose lives are intertwined in the most contrived ways possible - then written about in the most mundane way possible. The writing is so poor that at times you can't decipher what's being described.

Oh, and if you're British, prepare for a London where Trafalgar Sq. has FIRE HYDRANTS and hoodies say things like "see you in the funny pages". You can tell where all of the writer's research went!

The final straw for me was reading about how the Indian, Chinese, Russia & Eastern European armies failed in their attempt to destroy the AI because they didn't wait for a handful of American's (the world's saviours, yet again - YAWN!) to show them how to do it. Not that it's any old Americans - no, it's Indians being led by cowboys! (Note: America, your history may seem like a long time ago to you, but to us it's a blink of an eye ago to the rest of the world and has been done to DEATH! Get over it. It's now very, very tired to the rest of us.)

If you want to read a book of true worldwide conflict and human suffering, adversity and courage, then do yourself a real favour and read World War Z.
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on 7 February 2013
Robots trying to take over the world, sounds familiar.
The book follows several intertwining story's of the humans battle with Archos the master computer and the technological advancement of the robot world, although the end game of the robots is never clearly revealed
This will apparently be made into a movie and it certainly reads like a film, the story hops around half a dozen characters as each does something significantly important enough to aid in the final outcome of the war.
Forget character exploration, world building etc - this book is mainly a collection of action sequences that achieve an end goal of an American strike force beating all odds to destroy the master computer housed in Alaska. The task itself is completed by a sentient robot who chooses to fight for the human race of his own free will.
There are some outrageous liberties taken by the Author, as a result the story cannot be taken to seriously.
In conclusion this is a page-turning novel that reads quickly but is more of a screenplay than a novel, there is definitely hints of the Terminator films and this has the makings of another Hollywood blockbuster
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on 7 August 2014
I can't really criticise this book too much as I did read it all the way through in a short period of time so it must be good, right? Well I hate to be overly critical but there are just a few niggling things which mean I haven't given it four or five stars. Firstly, I knew it was going to be a trashy read and I love a good trashy read. However, this book could have been written a little better and pitched itself just a bit higher in terms of vocabulary etc. It is quite simple.
Another criticism is that it's very similar to World Wide Z but unfortunately this similarity only serves to highlight just how much more superior WWZ is. I bought this as an eBook at £1.99. Book two is £6.50 and I don't think it's worth it. I suppose that says a lot really.
This said, I enjoyed the story and it should make a great movie. It wasn't bad, just not amazing.
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on 20 September 2011
I loved this book and couldn't put it down, my Kindle has taken a battering with this one!

The book is very neatly arranged and flows well in bite-sized chunks, my only criticism would be that some of the grander story elements (and character development arcs) are implied rather than explained fully (which I would prefer as I didn't want it to end), and time frames seem to jump very quickly with barely any acknowledgment of what has happened up until that point. (Maybe that's just me being lazy and not using my imagination)

I'm glad that this story has (apparently) fallen into the hands of Mr Spielberg and not Mr Bruckheimer. I wonder how he will handle the gore when bringing this to the big screen.

All in all this is a great tale of terrestrial threat, and hints at our volatile species being the best we can be when under those conditions.

We have all grown up watching films about this sort of thing happening, (Matrix, Terminator, I Robot etc) yet we still work towards creating this super AI. Science fiction has foretold these events for years, yet we will still show surprise in 30 years when our gentle kitchen Servitor turns to us, wielding a knife, red lights pulsing!

Just don't say Daniel H Wilson didn't warn you.
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on 22 January 2015
Terrible. How this got close to being a Spielberg film is beyond me. The idea was completely unoriginal but the writing, total lack of actual development.....the lame rip off of what was in my view the weakness within WWZ i.e the short story after short story, meaning you develop no attachment at all to anyone just showed it up as the derivitive tosh it is. I abandoned it between being stuck with lazy Indian reservation characters, and the Japanese techy guy holed up in a factory with his switched off sex bot. I was bored and angry ended up wondering if I should actually wipe my ass with the pages or just give the book to the charity shop. Probably kinder if I don't inflict disappointment on someone else tricked into buying this waste of carbon. Damn you Spielberg !
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on 2 February 2013
Whilst the story was exactly what I thought it was going to be (and an excellent concept of a story I should add) the format of delivery is slightly disappointing. It is delivered in a series of logs which although related (chronologically) do not gel as well as they should - I should advise i have not got that far into the book but that is partly because of this issue (hard to read).

This book also suffers from a similar issue I have had with a lot of books recently in that the Characters are not adequately described to enable you to picture them in your mind - I often find being able to picture a Character helps with the realism of the story (perhaps this is because of watching too much Television) and therefore can not bury myself into the book.
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on 26 July 2014
Having just finished the zombie novel Zone One, this seemed like the natural second feature in a literary double bill. It cracks along at a fair old rate and maintains a fairly lightweight approach to the end of humanity and although some sections are satisfyingly gory it never drifts into out and out horror.
It is no surprise that the novel has been picked up by Dreamworks as it has that filmic feel to it, which is not a bad thing it just means that there is an overall lack of substance to the entire book, although as the author is apparently an expert in robotics, the driving concept does have a genuine air of possibility about it.
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on 19 June 2011
There is a New War igniting by the very machines that were serving humans 'Robots.' Is there any hope for the human race and what weapon could match the ability of the artificial intelligence?
We had zombies with World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and vampires with The Strain nows the time for something new and fresh setting a new trend, evil robots. A writer who has a Ph.D in Robotics has created a gauntlet race of time to a concluding event that will change the path of robots and humans forever. Written in neat chapters of different accounts that chart the unraveling of war from the artificial intelligence Archos, unleashing unrelenting destruction upon humans via it's robots. The writing flows well and does well transferring the words well to your thought imagery as you ride along the train as time zero's down to the grand finale. Once i rode on the train i did not want to get off until an outcome is reached in this page turning orchestra of cataclysmic events. You become immersed in the battle for human salvation against the ensuing apocalypse at the hands of the robots.

"The machines are now designing and building themselves. More varieties are coming. We believe that these new robots will have greatly increased agility, survivability, and lethality. They will be tailored to fight your people, in your geographic environment, and in your weather conditions.

"Let there be no doubt in your mind that the combined onslaught of these machines, working twenty-four hours a day, will soon be unleashed by Archos on your native land."
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on 9 January 2013
I wanted this purely because I had heard Spielberg is making a movie of it. Although I usually don't care much about whether the movie differs from the book, this time the plot synopsis intruigued me enough to hook me in. I'm glad it did. Robopocalypse is a rewarding read in more ways than one.
Firstly, it's a dramatic and lean thriller. I never felt like I was reading filler or a badly paced chapter.
Secondly, it's inventive and makes you think - the gift of all great sci-fi.
And thirdly, simply structurally, it's brilliantly clever. The novel doesn't follow a traditional structure of following a cenral character. Rather it initially introduces key characters, each in a self-contained mini-tale of their own, chapter by chapter, and then begins to link them, believably and intricately weaving the story strands together and reintroducing them as they become more prominent in the tale.
It's also a lot of fun. As Artificial Intelligence 'Archos' becomes self aware, it turns on its creator, but although such an idea is far from original, the way the tale evolves and grows IS handled with originality. Wilson cleverly uses technology that already surrounds us to introduce a sense of unsuspecting unease as everyday gadgets begin to suffer apparently random and unconnected blips, until the pace of the disaster accelerates rapidly and becomes something so dangerous that the survivors have to un-learn their modern ways of life and embrace skillsets they never thought they'd have to use.
One scene of a simple family journey is so tense and daringly shocking that it's a masterpiece, and should form a prominent part of any competent screenplay.
A brilliant read that any fan of Michael Crichton's style of technothrillers will likely find easy to enjoy and should readily embrace before the movie arrives.
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