Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week. Feel free to grab the button & join in!
This week’s Frightful Friday read is Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson:
People should know that, at first, the enemy looked like everyday stuff: cars, buildings, phones. Then later, when they started designing themselves, Rob looked familiar but distorted, like people and animals from some other universe, built by some other god.
In a not too distant future, the world is at war with robots. By this time, human beings have manipulated robots to suit their needs: they are now servants in our homes, maintain & run smart buildings, control the steering in cars. But one day, they begin to think on their own.
It begins when Archos, a “super” robot contained within a lab, is awakened by a scientist, Nicholas Wasserman. This is Wasserman’s fourteenth attempt to awaken Archos; each time he does so, Archos states that he is the rarest of miracles. To preserve Earth, he must destroy mankind. Due to an oversight on Wasserman’s part, Archos is able to permeate the constraints of the lab and goes live. Led by Archos, the “leader” of the robot uprising, robots, also known as “Robs”, begin communicating. They rise up and join forces to annihilate human kind. The uprisal is small at first, robots not following orders, smart toys coming to life, attacking their human “masters.” At Zero hour, they all attack. Cars begin attacking people. Planes fall from the sky.
All over the country, small bands of survivors rise up and destroy their cities in order to save them. Robs are unable to climb over or through demolished buildings or debris, so they begin blowing up buildings, starting fires, etc. However, it is the actions of one little girl with a unique “talent” that ultimately saves the world.
The actual possibility that something similar to this could happen really adds to the terror the book elicits. Think of all the computers we use or have access to on a regular basis. The computer you are reading this review from, the iPhone you make your calls on. The GPS embedded in the dashboard of your car. Imagine of all of those things joined forces, out to destroy the human race? Wilson’s expertise in robotics really creates a level of believability in what would initially appear to be impossible.
At the surface, Robopocalypse may appear like any other “robots take over the world” scenario. However, Wilson’s attempt at this reoccurring story is unique. The book is broken up into testimonies of victims of the attack; some survive, others do not. The characters are genuine, the reader begins to have hope for their survival. Ultimately, while it is a story of a robot apocalypse, it is also a story of human survival, hope, and perseverance.
Fans of science fiction, horror, sci-fi and action will be sure to enjoy this impressive novel. Highly recommended.