Book Review: Robopocalyps

Books rarely get much media attention, but one release this winter has caught the attention of reviewers everywhere. I decided to check it out for myself, and it met and surpassed all expectations I had. Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson is a book with a name that almost kills it. I heard the title and had no interest whatsoever, but the hype saved it and introduced me to one of my favorite contemporary works. 

The novel is set in the vague near future, in a society that is different from our own in only a few ways. The governments of the world have mandated certain safety features in cars, making them “smart” by allowing them to communicate before crashes to minimize damage. People have robot servants and military operations are mainly handled by unmanned drones, but other than that the fictional world is very relatable to reality.

The entire book takes place relative to “Zero Hour,” which is the starting point of the New War that pits all of humanity against the machines. I’m sure you can imagine the hell that would break loose if every bit of technology we rely on in our daily lives turned on us in one instant, but the novel tells it to you in amazing detail that only an author with a Ph.D in robotics could deliver. What’s even more impressive is that he does it in a way that won’t alienate anyone, even those who don’t even know how to use any of the devices he talks about. Not to mention the writing skill is impressive for most popular contemporaries, let alone one with no writing background.

This is a page-turner in the best way. Every time I started reading I didn’t want to put the book down, but this book should be savored. It provides solid entertainment and food for thought at the same time.

Basically, the events of this novel could happen in our lifetime. That’s what raises this tale of the apocalypse brought on by the technology we created from a simple sci-fi action thriller to a truly chilling tale of what could befall us. Combine this with a deep commentary on human nature, and you get a riveting and accessible read. I give this an enthusiastic five stars and encourage everyone who can read this review to go and read the book.

-Nick Minarik

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