So, as I said yesterday, I’m looking at posting more often maybe about those odd bits that I’ve noticed while reading maybe just about books in general. Who knows. On to the review though.
The robots took over. They knew where we lived and how we acted. They knew how much we relied on them and how vulnerable we were. They didn’t count on us putting up a fight when our backs were to the walls. The robot war is over, we won. But what happened leading up to zero hour? Who struggled to survive a world run by machines gone mad? These are stories of those who fought for humanity as recorded by big Rob itself and transcribed by one of the heroes of the robot war.
I wanted to review Daniel Wilson’s Robopocalypse because it sounded a lot like Max Brooks’ World War Z but with robots and I do love a good end of the world party. Wilson’s concept is fairly solid, let’s tell the world about what happened before, during, and at the end of a robotic apocalypse. He gives a good lead up to the actual stories, Cormac and the rest of Bright Boy company find what is apparently Archos’ memory box and Cormac tries to talk to it. The stories themselves are fairly well written, though more could have been done with each set of characters. This is where I start having problems. Even with the brain box, how does Cormac know everything that he does about the other survivors whose stories he’s telling? He shouldn’t be able to know the contributions made by the little old Japanese guy or what the British punk was doing before contacting Archos if he’s talking to the brain box right after it’s dug up. He shouldn’t be able to speak for the other survivors in first person either, it’s sometimes unclear whether he’s using interviews or just working from the box. What about the timeline? He can’t have the interviews used if the box just came out of the ground. Cormac also made a number of references to things that don’t seem to have happened yet, or rather things that were mentioned once and then ignored. These should have been covered before the last page ended. The tense used was also rather awkward, why is so much in present tense? I can’t see the woman running to save her kids narrating everything she does and why for the robot that’s chasing her, but apparently she does. Wilson seems to contradict his timeline a good deal by having Cormac know things that shouldn’t have traveled that far or that quickly. I can understand that many of the less plausible bits of information are important to the main story, but how does Cormac know about them beyond hearsay? He’s in a tent in the Alaskan wilderness, not in one of the survivor settlements, and traveling for large parts of the book. How can he know anything beyond his own sections of the plot and exactly what the brain box showed him? This is too big of a logic bomb for willing suspension of disbelief to hold. Also, why does the robot think and info-dump like the humans? According to Cormac there were “dozens” of people that Archos decided were good enough to remember, what happened to them?
The good news is that I enjoyed most of the book despite its messed up logic and shaky tense use. I really only started having the problems I did after I stopped to think about it for an hour or so. Robopocalypse is definitely a book to read and enjoy but not think about too much. Because of that and how easy it is to over think, I give Robopocalypse a three out of five.