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Book Ramblings

Long winded reviews

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Kiln People
Beth Meacham, David Brin


Robopocalypse - Daniel H. Wilson Robot uprising, killing people all over the shop, with this kind of premise what could go wrong?

Robopocalypse is often compared to Max Brooks' World War Z and the Terminator movie franchise for different reasons. The former comparison is because the story concerns a global attack on the human race by non-human creatures and is episodic structure. The difference is that the enemy of mankind in Robopocalypse is not a horde of homicidal robots but a single AI entity controlling masses of mindless unaware robots which come in all shapes and sizes including intelligent cars, elevators, photocopying machines etc. Robopocalypse has a limited cast of characters that the narrative repeatedly return to regularly and even a protagonist who frames the individual episodes and also appears in many of them. IMO the closest comparison is to the much maligned Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (the one with the sexy supermodelesque terminator).

On the whole I find the book to be poorly written, even chapters which are supposed to be a first-person narrative by a robot totally fail to convey the robotness of the narrator. For example the robot narrator describes the sound of a bullet's impact on metal as "PING!". Never mind artificial intelligence where is the natural intelligence in this? Characterization is also not a strong point in this book. Characters (including the protagonist) are generally flat and uninteresting (OK, may be except for Matilda the cybernetically modified little girl, and a perverted Japanese roboticist).

The book is mostly action packed and fast paced though I feel somewhat disconnected from it, which is why I took weeks to finish it in audiobook format. The book has already been optioned for a film and I suppose it can be made into a fairly entertaining blockbuster sci-fi movie. At least the audience won't have to read the clunky prose and worse dialog.