Top critical review
One person found this helpful
on April 8, 2016
Daniel H. Wilson has a bunch of degrees in computer science, robotics and very importantly, in machine learning. In addition to this, he also spent a semester (according to Wikipedia) studying philosophy in Australia.
That stated, I have to ask; was he dumbing down for the mindless action flick crowd or is he just a bad writer? Since the film for this book was optioned before it was written I would naturally assume that the former and not the latter was the case, but his writing here is so awful that I really don’t know for sure. I want to believe that he saw Robopocalypse as little more than a detailed film treatment and not as a book.
I have no degrees in computers or robotics or related fields but I don’t need any of that stuff to spot a villain that is so cartoonishly evil that I didn’t know whether to laugh or feel insulted as a reader, and anyway, I’ve read other books involving smart machines that didn’t come anywhere near the cheesiness of this mess.
Other than ARCHOS (the villain), Wilson presents machines that are more or less realistic, but the problem there is that he doesn’t flesh them out sufficiently advance enough to keep the transition of a select few from mindless to sentient, (and who value freedom) from seeming schlocky, unwieldy and pulled out of thin air.
The human characters are barely any better. It takes a certain kind of bad writer to keep me from caring that a little girl was experimented on and had her eyes replaced with mechanical eyes.
There is no tension in this book and at no point did I get the impression that the human character’s fears were genuine. There was no real attempt at existential dread on even a high school freshman level or any other philosophical explorations on man’s impending doom; my guess is that probably would have gotten in the way of the cheesy action sequences and schmaltzy heroics.
The only part I did like was the plight of the arctic workers in the beginning; that part in itself could have made a good book or movie on its own.
I really wanted to like this book.