First Against The Wall When The Revolution Comes [Review: Robopocalypse]

I like humans. I like robots. But which is best? There's only one way to find out... A series of apparently accidental and unconnected deaths leads to the discovery that the robot revolution has already begun in earnest, and surviving humans must flee the cities that have become deathtraps as their appliances turn against them.

In "Robopocalypse" Daniel H. Wilson tells the story of a failed robotic war of independence from a position of robotics expertise - but this is not a dry textbook or theoretical AI journal article. The structure of the novel is also unusual. Clearly we are outsmarted and generally outclassed by our robot opponents, yet it is made clear from the start that the war is over and the humans have won. The story is told from multiple human viewpoints as a surviving A.I. researches critical events in the war and tries to understand humanity.

I found the early stages of the war most original and most horrifying - robotic cleaners and automated elevators conspire to kill the inhabitants of tower blocks, an ice-cream making machine turns on its owners, while packs of self-driving cars roam the streets hunting humans as prey. It's a little less original later as Terminator-style military drones join the fray but the plot remains interesting, and while it appears that the ending has been given away from the start, the actual endpoint is a little more complex and less predictable.

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