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by Daniel H Wilson
read by Mike Chamberlain
2011 Random House Audio
12 hours 43 minutes unabridged
Genres: science fiction
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
4 out of 5 halos
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies… Now they’re coming for you.
In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans - a single mother disconcerted by her daughter’s menacing “smart” toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a ‘pacification unit’ go haywire - but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.
When the Robot War ignites - at a moment known later as Zero Hour - humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us…and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.
Daniel H. Wilson earned a Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of such nonfiction works as How to Survive a Robot Uprising. Wilson lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter.
©2011 Daniel H. Wilson (P)2011 Random House Audio
AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Deep in the Antarctic a new life is born. This is no creature of flesh and blood, however, but a coldly calculating machine mind. For years a particular computer scientist has been striving to create the first truly sentient artificial intelligence. All of his previous attempts failed and had to be destroyed, but this time he has perhaps done his job a little too well. This time Archos was clever enough to escape his containment and join with a computerized network that spans the globe. Archos believes that humanity is outdated and now that they have accomplished their purpose – creating him – they can be replaced with more advanced technology. Unless of course Arnold Schwarzenegger can take Archos down and free humanity! No wait, that’s a different story. Well, someone’s going to have to step up or the human race is finished!
The story begins in the not too distant future when Archos is in control of everything and humanity survives only in isolated pockets of resistance fighters. During one skirmish, a resistance leader named Cormac Wallace finds a data cube. Upon inspection it is discovered that the cube contains a detailed history of the robot uprising and the resulting war. The history on the cube holds everything, from the birth of Archos, to Zero Hour when Archos took control, to the New War itself.
What follows is a series of vignettes detailing the various stages of Archos’ creation, his takeover, initial skirmishes between man and machine, to all out war. Taken individually, the stories mean very little, but put together they show a terrifying picture of how our own mechanical and computerized creations rose up against us: personal service robots suddenly attacking their masters, smart-cars on the rampage, and humans being herded into something like concentration camps to be experimented on. For the most part the vignettes follow a handful of humans who play key roles in the resistance, including one young girl who managed to escape from one of those camps after the robots had operated on her. If robots could feel any emotions they would soon be sorry they messed with her and as it turns out they gave her something that will be key in the resistance. My only real complaint about Robopocalypse is that some of these individual stories are written in an awkward kind of first person, where the storyteller is describing past events in the present tense. As a professional writer, Daniel Wilson should know better than that.
Narrator Mike Chamberlain did a good job with Robopocalypse. He differentiated the characters well enough and reads at a comfortable pace and most importantly he didn’t bore me. Chamberlain has recorded many titles in addition to Robopocalypse and the sequel Robogenesis as well as young adult audiobooks for Listening Library.
FILM ADAPTATION: According to Archos, I mean the internet, Stephen Spielberg signed on to direct a Robopocalypse movie. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Anne Hathaway (Princess Diaries, The Dark Knight Rises) were cast in leading roles for a film originally slated for an April 2014 release. However, in 2013 Spielberg put the whole project on indefinite hold saying that the script was not ready and it would be too expensive to produce. Personally I hope this things gets back on track because this could be an awesome movie, especially in the hands of Spielberg.
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Special thanks to Random House Audio for this review copy. Audiobook review by Steven Brandt. This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook. Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.