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Robopocalypse
Cover of Robopocalypse
Robopocalypse
Robopocalypse Series, Book 1

They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies...Now they're coming for you.

In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans – a single mother disconcerted by her daughter's menacing "smart" toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a 'pacification unit' go haywire – but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.

When the Robot War ignites — at a moment known later as Zero Hour — humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us...and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.


They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies...Now they're coming for you.

In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans – a single mother disconcerted by her daughter's menacing "smart" toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a 'pacification unit' go haywire – but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.

When the Robot War ignites — at a moment known later as Zero Hour — humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us...and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.


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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    1. Tip of the Spear

    We're more than animals.
    —Dr. Nicholas Wasserman

    Precursor Virus + 30 seconds

    The 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#GHA217



    A 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...
About the Author-
  • Daniel H. Wilson earned a Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising, Where's My Jetpack?, How to Build a Robot Army, The Mad Scientist Hall of Fame, and Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine ROBOPOCALYPSE is one of the best robot versus man novels you're likely to hear. You can almost hear the whirs and clicks as humanity's former servants come to deadly sentience. Wilson's style is impressive, starting off with seemingly unconnected anecdotes about individuals reacting to the threat. The stories slowly congeal into a novel about the world's battle with machines that have become intelligent enough to challenge mankind for sovereignty of the planet. Narrator Mike Chamberlain is a master at allowing the suspense to build with faithful interpretations of the characters and their foibles. It's a little hard to tell his women from his men based on his readings, but genders become obvious with context. The story is set in the near future and is quite believable considering the amazing advances in robotics we see every day. M.S. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 14, 2011
    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.

  • Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

    "It's terrific page-turning fun."

  • Janet Maslin, New York Times "Daniel H. Wilson's Robopocalypse is...an ingenious, instantly visual story of war between humans and robots."
  • Wall Street Journal "It'll be scarier than "Jaws": We don't have to go in the water, but we all have to use gadgets."
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch "A superbly entertaining thriller...[Robopocalypse has] everything you'd want in a beach book."
  • io9.com "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."
  • Associated Press "You're swept away against your will... a riveting page turner."
  • Lincoln Child, New York Times bestselling author of Deep Storm "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, New York Times bestselling author

    "An Andromeda Strain for the new century, this is visionary fiction at its best: harrowing, brilliantly rendered, and far, far too believable."
  • Robert Crais, New York Times bestselling author of The Sentry
    "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."
  • Jack DuBrul, New York Times bestselling author "Futurists are already predicting the day mankind builds its replacement, Artificial Intelligence. Daniel Wilson shows what might happen when that computer realizes its creators are no longer needed. Lean prose, great characters, and almost unbearable tension ensure that Robopocalypse is going to be a blockbuster. Once started I defy anyone to put it down."
  • Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional "The parts of this book enter your mind, piece by piece, where they self-assemble into a story that makes you think, makes you feel, and makes you scared."
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Robopocalypse Series, Book 1
Daniel H. Wilson
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