Robopocalypse

Feb 25th, 2013 | By | Category: 24-3: The Science of Place, Media Reviews

ROBOPOCALYPSEBy Daniel H. Wilson
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (2012)

Review by Ryan Winn

Cherokee writer Daniel H. Wilson puts his doctoral degree in robotics to good use by imagining a terrifyingly plausible future world where robots that were designed to improve human life rebel and attempt mass genocide and enslavement.

Robopocalypse is speculative fiction at its best: its premise is appalling but not fantastical. Wilson tells the stories of a supercomputer named Argos who manipulates technology to reprogram common robots to attack their owners and designers. What makes the novel so compelling is the detail Wilson invests in his narratives, as the robots transform from docile childhood toys, simple servants, surgical assistants, warzone peacekeepers, and sexual partners into literal killing machines. The book is free from all unnecessary exposition and thereby is engaging to read. It is also filled with firstperson narration by rich characters who have distinct voices and vivid stories to tell. Fans of Michael Crichton and Stephen King will love Wilson’s terrifying attention to science and the macabre and scholars of literature should mark this work as a triumph of a Native voice in genre fiction.

Ryan Winn is the humanities department chair at College of Menominee Nation in Keshena and Green Bay, WI.

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