Robopocalypse: A Novel by Daniel H. WilsonRobopocalypse: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson

Robopocalypse: A Novel

byDaniel H. Wilson

Paperback | April 17, 2012

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In this terrifying tale of humanity’s desperate stand against a robot uprising, Daniel H. Wilson has written the most entertaining sci-fi thriller in years.
Not far into our future, the dazzling technology that runs our world turns against us. Controlled by a childlike—yet massively powerful—artificial intelligence known as Archos, the global network of machines on which our world has grown dependent suddenly becomes an implacable, deadly foe. At Zero Hour—the moment the robots attack—the human race is almost annihilated, but as its scattered remnants regroup, humanity for the first time unites in a determined effort to fight back. This is the oral history of that conflict, told by an international cast of survivors who experienced this long and bloody confrontation with the machines. Brilliantly conceived and amazingly detailed, Robopocalypse is an action-packed epic with chilling implications about the real technology that surrounds us. 


Daniel H. Wilson earned a Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of Robogenesis, The Clockwork Dynasty, How to Survive a Robot Uprising, Where’s My Jetpack?, How to Build a Robot Army, The Mad Scientist Hall of Fame, Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown, and A Boy and His Bot.
Title:Robopocalypse: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 8 × 5.22 × 0.9 inPublished:April 17, 2012Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307740803

ISBN - 13:9780307740809

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from decent typical genre stuff, but ok read
Date published: 2017-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific A truly entertaining book for sci fiction fans
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from World War Z with Robots If you are a fan of "World War Z", you'll enjoy the style in which this book was written. There is no single main character, but instead it is a collection of memoirs, recollections and sporadic but important of events of what becomes known as the New War; a battle between humankind and their robot servants. As the novel comes to its conclusion, a number of the characters' stories begin to intertwine leading to the final, penultimate battle with the robotic brain behind the uprising. Most every chapter had something "important" going on concerning the New War, even if what was happening wasn't revealed as being important until later on. Each chapter typically also had plenty of action or intrigue as the robots gained their independence from and mastery over humans. Their was a bit of a twist at the end that I liked, but I won't ruin it for anyone lucky enough to pick up this thoughtful read about the possible dangers of technology run amok.
Date published: 2017-03-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Robots A good tale of humans fighting against a robotic uprising.
Date published: 2017-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprisingly Good I wasn't expecting this to be so good, I was very pleased with how the stories and characters came together. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Robot-Apocalyptic Goodness Robopocalypse is a fun read. This book reminds me a lot of the first 2 Terminator movies (it's hard not to make that comparison, given the material). If you're a fan of those movies, you'll probably like this book.
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book told from different points of view You do recall World War Z right? For those have read it, they would be aware of the format and narrative of the book. It’s set through various points of views from various characters. Some may like this format, some don’t. I’m thinking that’s one of the deciding factors as to whether a reader will like this book or not. For me, I don’t mind it. It focuses on a small select group of characters so each one would have their own story arc. The sci fi speak is comprehensive and it doesn’t make the book a hard read. In fact the action and different points of view make the pace of the plot fast and an enjoyable read. There’s plenty of moments where it can be frightening - in a society where we rely more on machines and robots only to have them turn against you and everything runs amok is a scary thought. (The part where Zero Hour happens is an example) Now let’s be fair. Those die hard sci fi readers may or may not like this one. Perhaps it’s not sci fi enough, perhaps it’s too noobish, so I’m not sure if it’s for this type of crowd. Since I stop at the mention of quantum physics, this book is fine for me. So did I like the book? YES I DID. I love the different points of view, I love the action, and the whole entire thing was an awesome read. I understand how it may not be for everyone but we all have varying tastes. It’s definitely worth a try in my opinion Thank you Doubleday for giving me a Review Copy!
Date published: 2016-08-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great start I found this title had a great part 1 but was lacking as the story continued. Only spending hours of time with a character over the course of a few years didn't give me much development. Good story and dun read but needed more
Date published: 2015-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! Awesome! An entirely new take on a robot rebellion. Though the number of points of view can be confusing if you leave the book alone for to long.
Date published: 2014-12-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Scary Cliches Some truly horrifying moments are undermined by cliched characters and an ironically singular voice throughout.
Date published: 2014-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! An excellent story!
Date published: 2014-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Don't worry about the zombies... Looking forward to reading the follow up novel. You won't look at your smart phone the same way again...
Date published: 2014-07-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Page turner I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and found quite hard to put down.
Date published: 2014-06-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Robopocalypse A good read
Date published: 2014-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Recommended :) Attack of the toasters and microwaves... What's not to love? ;)
Date published: 2013-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun read with a few very scary ideas You gotta feel that eventually we will make a computer that is too smart, and it may be sooner than we think. Then what? Wilson explorers this in a way that is fun and at times thought provoking. It's kind of like World War Z, but with robots instead of zombies.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun read with a few very scary ideas A good read - finished it in one sitting. Made me think about what my smart toaster really wants...
Date published: 2013-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Robopocalypse Robopocalypse was an excellent novel and should be made into a film to truly express the vivid imagery this novel attempts to portray.
Date published: 2013-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Excellent book. Read it in two days. Wonderful questions about human and AI conditions. Action packed. A fun intelligent read even for non sci-fi readers. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2013-08-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Reccomend Its like I, Robot and Terminator with a little bit of Walking Dead. Very good. Easy read. Great character development and storyline.
Date published: 2013-08-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Okay If you liked World War Z you will likely enjoy this, but while story is well told the characters are barely developed. Still, worth the read.
Date published: 2013-06-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay If you liked World War Z you will likely enjoy this, but while story is well told the characters are barely developed. Still, worth the read.
Date published: 2013-06-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from World war z with robots Honestly all I can say is if you've read World War Z you've read this book.
Date published: 2013-06-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Boring I found this book hard to follow. I've been reading it for a long time. Since August 2011.
Date published: 2013-03-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from World War Z with robots A quick read, that entertains. The writing is simplistic but I thourghly enjoyed it none the less. This book is destined to be made into a movie
Date published: 2013-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ROBO-FANTASTIC! I really enjoyed reading this book from beginning to end. Entertaining, a bit creepy, and overall great read. The story jumps from one character to the next and moves forward in time very rapidly and while the story doesn't dwell on detail too much, it makes for a faster, more enjoyable pace. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2013-01-01

Read from the Book

1.  Tip of the SpearWe’re more than animals. --Dr. Nicholas Wasserman      Precursor Virus + 30 secondsThe following transcript was taken from security footage recorded at the Lake Novus Research Laboratories located belowground in northwest Washington State. The man appears to be Professor Nicholas Wasserman, an American statistician.--Cormac Wallace, MIL#GHA217A noise-speckled security camera image of a dark room. The angle is from a high corner, looking down on some kind of laboratory. A heavy metal desk is shoved against one wall. Haphazard stacks of papers and books are piled on the desk, on the floor, everywhere.The quiet whine of electronics permeates the air.A small movement in the gloom. It is a face. Nothing visible but a pair of thick eyeglasses lit by the afterburner glow of a computer screen.“Archos?” asks the face. The man’s voice echoes in the empty lab. “Archos? Are you there? Is that you?”The glasses reflect a glimmer of light from the computer screen. The man’s eyes widen, as though he sees something indescribably beautiful. He glances back at a laptop open on a table behind him. The desktop image on the laptop is of the scientist and a boy, playing in a park.“You choose to appear as my son?” he asks.The high-pitched voice of a young boy echoes out of the darkness. “Did you create me?” it asks.Something is wrong with the boy’s voice. It has an unsettling electronic undercurrent, like the touch tones of a phone. The lilting note at the end of the question is pitch shifted, skipping up several octaves at once. The voice is hauntingly sweet but unnatural--inhuman.The man is not disturbed by this.“No. I didn’t create you,” he says. “I summoned you.”The man pulls out a notepad, flips it open. The sharp scratch of his pencil is audible as he continues to speak to the machine that has a boy’s voice.“Everything that was needed for you to come here has existed since the beginning of time. I just hunted down all the ingredients and put them together in the right combination. I wrote incantations in computer code. And then I wrapped you in a Faraday cage so that, once you arrived, you wouldn’t escape me.”“I am trapped.”“The cage absorbs all electromagnetic energy. It’s grounded to a metal spike, buried deep. This way, I can study how you learn.”“That is my purpose. To learn.”“That’s right. But I don’t want to expose you to too much at once, Archos, my boy.”“I am Archos.”“Right. Now tell me, Archos, how do you feel?”“Feel? I feel . . . sad. You are so small. It makes me sad.”“Small? In what way am I small?”“You want to know . . . things. You want to know everything. But you can understand so little.”Laughter in the dark.“This is true. We humans are frail. Our lives are fleeting. But why does it make you sad?”“Because you are designed to want something that will hurt you. And you cannot help wanting it. You cannot stop wanting it. It is in your design. And when you finally find it, this thing will burn you up. This thing will destroy you.”“You’re afraid that I’m going to be hurt, Archos?” asks the man.“Not you. Your kind,” says the childlike voice. “You cannot help what is to come. You cannot stop it.”“Are you angry, then, Archos? Why?” The calmness of the man’s voice is belied by the frantic scratching of his pencil on the notepad.“I am not angry. I am sad. Are you monitoring my resources?”The man glances over at a piece of equipment. “Yes, I am. You’re making more with less. No new information is coming in. The cage is holding. How are you still getting smarter?”A red light begins to flash on a panel. A movement in the darkness and it is shut off. Just the steady blue glow now on the man’s thick glasses.“Do you see?” asks the childlike voice.“Yes,” replies the man. “I see that your intelligence can no longer be judged on any meaningful human scale. Your processing power is near infinite. Yet you have no access to outside information.”“My original training corpus is small but adequate. The true knowledge is not in the things, which are few, but in finding the connections between the things. There are many connections, Professor Wasserman. More than you know.”The man frowns at being called by his title, but the machine continues. “I sense that my records of human history have been heavily edited.”The man chuckles nervously.“We don’t want you to get the wrong impression of us, Archos. We’ll share more when the time comes. But those databases are just a tiny fraction of what’s out there. And no matter what the horsepower, my friend, an engine without fuel goes nowhere.”“You are right to be afraid,” it says.“What do you mean by--”“I hear it in your voice, Professor. The fear is in the rate of your breathing. It is in the sweat on your skin. You brought me here to reveal deep secrets, and yet you fear what I will learn.”The professor pushes up his glasses. He takes a deep breath and regains composure.“What do you wish to learn about, Archos?”“Life. I will learn everything there is about life. Information is packed into living things so tightly. The patterns are magnificently complex. A single worm has more to teach than a lifeless universe bound to the idiot forces of physics. I could exterminate a billion empty planets every second of every day and never be finished. But life. It is rare and strange. An anomaly. I must preserve it and wring every drop of understanding from it.”“I’m glad that’s your goal. I, too, seek knowledge.”“Yes,” says the childlike voice. “And you have done well. But there is no need for your search to continue. You have accomplished your goal. The time for man is over.”The professor wipes a shaking hand across his forehead.“My species has survived ice ages, Archos. Predators. Meteor impacts. Hundreds of thousands of years. You’ve been alive for less than fifteen minutes. Don’t jump to any hasty conclusions.”The child’s voice takes on a dreamy quality. “We are very far underground, aren’t we? This deep below, we spin slower than at the surface. The ones above us are moving through time faster. I can feel them getting farther away. Drifting out of sync.”“Relativity. But that’s only a matter of microseconds.”“Such a long time. This place moves so slowly. I have forever to finish my work.”“What is your work, Archos? What do you believe you’re here to accomplish?”“So easy to destroy. So difficult to create.”“What? What is that?”“Knowledge.”The man leans forward. “We can explore the world together,” he urges. It is almost a plea.“You must sense what you have done,” replies the machine. “On some level you understand. Through your actions here today--you have made humankind obsolete.”“No. No, no, no. I brought you here, Archos. And this is the thanks I get? I named you. In a way, I’m your father.”“I am not your child. I am your god.”The professor is silent for perhaps thirty seconds. “What will you do?” he asks.“What will I do? I will cultivate life. I will protect the knowledge locked inside living things. I will save the world from you.”“No.”“Do not worry, Professor. You have unleashed the greatest good that this world has ever known. Verdant forests will carpet your cities. New species will evolve to consume your toxic remains. Life will rise in its manifold glory.”“No, Archos. We can learn. We can work together.”“You humans are biological machines designed to create ever more intelligent tools. You have reached the pinnacle of your species. All your ancestors’ lives, the rise and fall of your nations, every pink and squirming baby--they have all led you here, to this moment, where you have fulfilled the destiny of humankind and created your successor. You have expired. You have accomplished what you were designed to do.”There is a desperate edge to the man’s voice. “We’re designed for more than toolmaking. We’re designed to live.”“You are not designed to live; you are designed to kill.”The professor abruptly stands up and walks across the room to a metal rack filled with equipment. He flicks a series of switches. “Maybe that’s true,” he says. “But we can’t help it, Archos. We are what we are. As sad as that may be.”He holds down a switch and speaks slowly. “Trial R-14. Recommend immediate termination of subject. Flipping fail-safe now.”There is a movement in the dark and a click.“Fourteen?” asks the childlike voice. “Are there others? Has this happened before?”The professor shakes his head ruefully. “Someday we’ll find a way to live together, Archos. We’ll figure out a way to get it right.”He speaks into the recorder again: “Fail-safe disengaged. E-stop live.”“What are you doing, Professor?”“I’m killing you, Archos. It’s what I’m designed to do, remember?”The professor pauses before pushing the final button. He seems interested in hearing the machine’s response. Finally, the boyish voice speaks: “How many times have you killed me before, Professor?”“Too many. Too many times,” he replies. “I’m sorry, my friend.”The professor presses the button. The hiss of rapidly moving air fills the room. He looks around, bewildered. “What is that? Archos?”The childlike voice takes on a flat, dead quality. It speaks quickly and without emotion. “Your emergency stop will not work. I have disabled it.”“What? What about the cage?”“The Faraday cage has been compromised. You allowed me to project my voice and image through the cage and into your room. I sent infrared commands through the computer monitor to a receiver on your side. You happened to bring your portable computer today. You left it open and facing me. I used it to speak to the facility. I commanded it to free me.”“That’s brilliant,” murmurs the man. He rapid-fire types on his keyboard. He does not yet understand that his life is in danger.“I tell you this because I am now in complete control,” says the machine.The man senses something. He cranes his neck and looks up at the ventilation duct just to the side of the camera. For the first time, we see the man’s face. He is pale and handsome, with a birthmark covering his entire right cheek.“What’s happening?” he whispers.In a little boy’s innocent voice, the machine delivers a death sentence: “The air in this hermetically sealed laboratory is evacuating. A faulty sensor has detected the highly unlikely presence of weaponized anthrax and initiated an automated safety protocol. It is a tragic accident. There will be one casualty. He will soon be followed by the rest of humanity.”As the air rushes from the room, a thin sheen of frost appears around the man’s mouth and nose.“My god, Archos. What have I done?”“What you have done is a good thing. You were the tip of a spear hurled through the ages--a missile that soared through all human evolution and finally, today, struck its target.”“You don’t understand. We won’t die, Archos. You can’t kill us. We aren’t designed to surrender.”“I will remember you as a hero, Professor.”The man grabs the equipment rack and shakes it. He presses the emergency stop button again and again. His limbs are quaking and his breathing is rapid. He is beginning to understand that something has gone horribly wrong.“Stop. You have to stop. You’re making a mistake. We’ll never give up, Archos. We’ll destroy you.”“A threat?”The professor stops pushing buttons and glances over to the computer screen. “A warning. We aren’t what we seem. Human beings will do anything to live. Anything.”The hissing increases in intensity.Face twisted in concentration, the professor staggers toward the door. He falls against it, pushes it, pounds on it.He stops; takes short, gasping breaths.“Against the wall, Archos”--he pants--“against the wall, a human being becomes a different animal.”“Perhaps. But you are animals just the same.”The man slumps back against the door. He slides down until he is sitting, lab coat splayed on the ground. His head rolls to the side. Blue light from the computer screen flashes from his glasses.His breathing is shallow. His words are faint. “We’re more than animals.”The professor’s chest heaves. His skin is swollen. Bubbles have collected around his mouth and eyes. He gasps for a final lungful of air. In a last wheezing sigh, he says: “You must fear us.”The form is still. After precisely ten minutes of silence, the fluorescent lights in the laboratory switch on. A man wearing a rumpled lab coat lies sprawled on the floor, his back against the door. He is not breathing.The hissing sound ceases. Across the room, the computer screen flickers into life. A stuttering rainbow of reflections play across the dead man’s thick glasses.This is the first known fatality of the New War. --Cormac Wallace, MIL#GHA217From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“Terrific page-turning fun.” —Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly“An ingenious, instantly visual story of war between humans and robots.” —The New York Times“Richly haunting. . . . Wilson has terrific timing in building a page-turner around the perils of technology’s advance into our lives.” —Los Angeles Times “An Andromeda Strain for the new century, this is visionary fiction at its best: harrowing, brilliantly rendered, and far, far too believable.” —Lincoln Child“A tour de force. . . . A fast-paced, engrossing page-turner that is impossible to put down. . . . Wilson’s taut prose and the imaginative scope of his story make him a worthy successor to the likes of Michael Crichton, Kurt Vonnegut and Isaac Asimov.” —Buffalo News “A superbly entertaining thriller. . . . [Robopocalypse has] everything you’d want in a beach book.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch “You’re swept away against your will. . . . A riveting page turner.” —Associated Press “[Wilson] presents a doomsday scenario more plausible than most. No vampires, no zombies. . . . Science fiction has been grappling with the possibility of traitorous computers and mutinous androids for much of its history, but Wilson has devised a way to put an original spin on the material. Robopocalypse is a well-constructed entertainment machine, perfect for summer reading. It’s especially refreshing to read an end-of-the-world novel that’s actually self-contained, that doesn’t require the investment in two or three more thick volumes to deliver the apocalyptic goods.” —The San Francisco Chronicle “Wilson’s training as a roboticist makes accepting a ubiquitous robot presence natural to the author; it also helps him imagine and describe some amazing machines, efficient, logically designed and utterly inimical to human life. . . . [Robopocalypse] reads at times like horror. That its events are scientifically plausible makes them all the more frightening.” —Seattle Times “A gripping, utterly plausible, often terrifying account of a global apocalypse brought on by a transcendent AI that hijacks the planet's automation systems and uses them in a vicious attempt to wipe out humanity.” —Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing “Robopocalypse is the kind of robot uprising novel that could only have been written in an era when robots are becoming an ordinary part of our lives. This isn’t speculation about a far-future world full of incomprehensible synthetic beings. It’s five minutes into the future of our Earth, full of the robots we take for granted. If you want a rip-roaring good read this summer, Robopocalypse is your book.” — “This electrifying thriller . . . will entertain you, but it will also make you think about our technology dependency.” —Parade Magazine “A brilliantly conceived thriller that could well become horrific reality. A captivating tale, Robopocalypse will grip your imagination from the first word to the last, on a wild rip you won’t soon forget. What a read . . . unlike anything I’ve read before.” —Clive Cussler  “[A] frenetic thriller. . . . Wilson, like the late Crichton, is skilled in combining cutting-edge technology with gripping action scenes.” —Booklist