Harlan Ellison hasn’t sued Daniel H. Wilson-at least not yet, but it’s hard not to think of The Terminator while reading Robopocalypse. More precisely, it bears a striking resemblance to S. M. Stirling’s trilogy sequel to Arnold’s T2. I really loved the T2 books and I’m pretty impressed with Robopocalypse, though I do pretty much hate the name.
As in The Matrix, mankind is happy in the not too distance future when a mad scientist invents AI in a secret lab. This supercomputer calls itself Archos and it is pissed because the Mad Scientist keeps killing it and bringing it back to life. The Artificial Intelligence is super smart and in short order takes over all the smart machines that people have come to rely on. Things like self driving cars, self flying planes, and a wide assortment of robots of one kind or another. After a few months of mindless slaughter, Archos starts to modify machines and create new and more efficient ways to kill people.
The story is broken into short chapters where we follow the rise of Skynet-I mean Archos and the young hero John Connor-er uh, Bright Boy who will go to battle in this New War. At first the chapters seem random and disconnected, but over the course of the book a cast of characters emerges and we have people to root for and care about.
Stephen Spielberg has already bought the movie rights and is looking at a 2013 release date. If they throttle back the special effects just a bit, it could be a great film. Otherwise I’m thinking it will look a lot like Will Smith’s I, Robot. Not good.
One major difference between Skynet and Archos is that Skynet really, really wants to kill everyone. He starts off with nukes and then works his way down to infiltration units and land mines and the like. Archos doesn’t really want to kill everyone, he keeps telling us how much he loves life and even mentions in passing that he has not used nukes on the surviving humans. This doesn’t stop Archos from creating all kinds of robotic horrors for our heroes to battle.
I really enjoyed reading Robopocalypse: A Noveland I am looking forward to the movie.