Doubleday, $25.00, 248 pages
Portland author Daniel Wilson, has written a heck of a yarn. Robopocalypse tells the story of a near-future robot uprising, where our smart phones, cars, military drones, and friendly domestic robots, all hanker for our blood. Robopocalypse is a literary mash up of classic 80’s sci-fi Maximum Overdrive, and Tom Selleck’s Runaway, with a healthy dose of Max Brooks’ zombie epic World War Z thrown in for good measure. Admit it, the best part of the Terminator movies, was the future battles, after SkyNet destroyed everything, they had robot on human battles, skeletal terminators crunching human skulls under foot, IT’S AWESOME! The book is exciting, moves from scene to scene quickly, with expert pacing, a thriller bound to be a Hollywood blockbuster. The press release that accompanied the review copy even states that Steven Spielberg is aiming for a 2013 release date.
Robopocalypse is written in a style identical to Brooks’ World War Z, a rolling diary of events, written from multiple perspectives. A hacker/phreaker from London, a brilliant robotics engineer from Tokyo, a soldier in Afghanistan who flees into the hills to fight alongside the local Taliban against “Rob”, a Native American sheriff in central Oklahoma trying to keep his tribe together. We don’t get to spend enough time with any one character, the book moves along way too quickly for something as prosaic as character-development. Oh boy, how it moves along. One negative was that Wilson seems to have difficulty with dialogue. In an early scene an 11-year-old girl faces off against her sinister toys. Mathilda’s speech patterns too descriptive, her vocabulary florid and too educated. I decided to just go with it. Who cares if a little girl owns a thesaurus, it’s the freakin’ ROBOT APOCALYPSE!!!
Reviewed by Bradley Wright