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Original Essays | September 4, 2014

Edward E. Baptist: IMG The Two Bodies of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

My new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, is the story of two bodies. The first body was the new... Continue »
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The Lost Entwife, July 14, 2014 (view all comments by The Lost Entwife)
I have to admit something right now. I am a bit of an addict when it comes to shiny, interesting, unusual, eye-catching book covers. I love them. Honestly, if the walls to my house were covered in dust-jacket art I would be a very, very happy woman. There's just something about it...I know, I know, the marketers and artists know what they are doing but still, it's addicting. What does this have to do with ROBOPOCALYPSE by Daniel H. Wilson? Well... take a look at that shiny cover. It's even prettier in person (is prettier the right word to use here?). Unfortunately, what was spectacular on the outside didn't quite make the cut on the inside.

Until about halfway through ROBOPOCALYPSE I thought this book would be a four-star from me. It was gripping, interesting, the premise was horrifying and fascinating all at once. I thought I was enjoying the little snippets at the beginning and end of each chapter, but unfortunately those snippets were also the nail in the coffin of that 4 star rating for me. You see, I am a fan of classy foreshadowing in books. But when each chapter ends with the narrator talking about the great works the person did later just takes some of the surprise and fun out of the story. By the time I got to the climax of this first book, all the surprise element was sucked out. The ending was absolutely, dead-on predictable and I felt cheated as a result.

Don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with the bare bones of the story. The whole idea of a robot-uprising is one that's interesting and still fairly unique in these days of vampire/werewolf and/or religious uprisings. And I really liked how Wilson formed the consciousness of the robots doing their work in ROBOPOCALYPSE - but it was the packaging that just did not work for me at all.

Will I pick up ROBOGENESIS? I probably won't buy it like I did ROBOPOCALYPSE. I do have an advanced copy that I'm looking at picking up in the next few weeks, but I'm not very hopeful and kind of dreading it. What would you do if faced with this predicament? Liking the story but hating the way its told? I guess time will tell for me.
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JPS Nagi, January 1, 2014 (view all comments by JPS Nagi)
Remember those classic Sci-Fi stories you used to read as a kid where robots are alive and they have turned evil.
Robopocalypse brought those memories back for me!

Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse is man-versus-machine tale - " the story of how the robots turn against the humans. The author weaves a modern and plausible tale, which can happen in next 20-30 years, considering how many smart machines we have in our lives.

The robotic apocalypse is orchestrated by a single central super computer, Archos, who takes humanity by surprise all around the world. Archos takes control over the entire ensemble of machines in the world - "smart phones, smart cars, bi-peds, domestic robots, telephones, satellites, machines" anything that has a computer or controller in it. And they start to work against human civilization and start evolving (the learning bots).

The entire novel is in flashback and told from points of views of several survivors from across the world. These survivors start to work on their own in Tokyo, Afghanistan, London, New York, and Oklahoma. As the story progresses, homo sapiens find ways to collaborate against the single enemy that they have created.

The story works at many different levels. Part 1 is grim as humans start to suffer, but engaging. As the story progresses, the action starts to come in. Then the survival instincts kick in, and finally collaboration. But more importantly, it is a tale of humanity and how pressure brings the best (mostly) and worst in people.

I enjoyed the book, because it brings back memories of the Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, the stories I grew up with and stories that fired my imagination as a kid.

This is also the first book I have read that is written in this style" each chapter is written in first person perspective of different characters. You can open any chapter in part 1 or part 2 of the book and read it. It is later, that all these threads start to come together. Many reviewers mention that this style has been used in few other books, but this was my first book in this style, and I enjoyed it a lot.

Daniel H. Wilson is a Robotics Engineer, a television host and a PhD. So many of the robots used in Robopocalypse are based on (or variant of) real world robots that exist today.

The audiobook is read by Mike Chamberlain who takes the book to whole another level. He changes accents based on the character being a Texan oil driller, a British telephone hacker, or a Native American from Okhlahoma among the few. A very well done audiobook. Available from

I enjoyed this book a lot, a fun to read, and to listen. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of science fiction or to anyone who enjoys reading.
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teddie7, January 4, 2012 (view all comments by teddie7)
I think this is one of those books that you either love or hate. Basic story is a very smart computer goes on a mission to destroy the human race by using robots. The book starts as the war ends. The "hero" (Cormac Wallace) tells the story of the fight by using tales of various different groups battling all over the world who ultimately unite to protect mankind. It's not until almost the end that you find out how Wallace learns about all the different groups. As a sci-fi thriller, I feel the book gives good value.
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Amy Bruno, January 3, 2012 (view all comments by Amy Bruno)
Even though I am a Librarian and an avid reader(despite what people think these two things do not always go together) I rarely read end of the world scenarios from sci-fi, in fact I consider Asimov's "I Robot" series to be the definitive and seminal works in robot apocalyptic literature. So reading the reviews for Wilson's Robopocalyse, I was surprised to even be interested. This book is a Great Read, and very fun to recommend to my patrons. Like a strong female protagonist? There's several in here. Like the under-dog to win? Got that. An uplifting ending? Yep it's there, in a dark, end of all we know kinda way. Always liked that creepy talky Tina is gonna get you, what's lurking under the bed feeling? Got that too. A little afraid that your kids spend way to much time on their game slaves? Apparently Wilson thinks so too. For 20 years people have been asking me what my favorite book is. (This is a very common question to librarians) My answer has always been that picking a favorite book would be like picking a favorite child, I love them all equally, if for differing reasons. Daniel H Wilson and Robopocalpse have changed my tune and I admit that Archos is my favorite.
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(4 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Paul Gregory, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Paul Gregory)
A sharp and engaging story written with cinematic clarity. It will translate well to the big screen.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

Wilson, Daniel H.
General Fiction
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.57 x 6.45 x 1.32 in 1.38 lb

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Robopocalypse Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Doubleday - English 9780385533850 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Robopocalypse is mesmerizing and explosive. Underlining the uncertainty, violence, and fear surrounding cataclysmic events involving rogue technology, Daniel Wilson has skillfully incorporated a tenderness and fragility into the robot monstrosities. This disarming touch ultimately enhances the overall grip of absolute terror and helplessness. The future may well have been written here, and, buoyed by such knowledge, we dare to hope for survival.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Roboticist Wilson (How to Survive a Robot Uprising) turns to fiction with this bland and derivative series of connected vignettes describing a rebellion by humanity's robot helpers. Looking back on the war, Cormac Wallace, soldier in the human resistance, offers portentous framing commentary for recordings taken by evil computer program Archos. Many of the accounts were obtained under torture or other extreme circumstances, yet the narrators are curiously devoid of feeling ('As I watch my blood smearing behind me on the tile floor, I think, shit, man, I just mopped that') as domestic robots kill, soldier robots go haywire, airplanes attempt to collide, people fight to survive, and a resistance forms. Steven Spielberg has optioned the property; perhaps the melodrama will play better on the screen than it does on the page. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Things pop along at a wonderfully breakneck pace, and by letting his characters reveal themselves through their actions, Wilson creates characters that spring to life. Vigorous, smart and gripping."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "An Andromeda Strain for the new century, this is visionary fiction at its best: harrowing, brilliantly rendered, and far, far too believable."
"Review" by , "Robopocalypse reminded me of Michael Crichton when he was young and the best in the business. This novel is brilliant, beautifully conceived, beautifully written (high-five, Dr. Wilson)...but what makes it is the humanity. Wilson doesn't waste his time writing about 'things,' he's writing about human beings — fear, love, courage, hope. I loved it."
"Synopsis" by , A major thriller for the summer of 2011...the harrowing and epic tale of how humanity battles the robot uprising that is on the near horizon. These damned machines knew us and loved us, even while they were tearing our civilization to shreds.
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