Monday, 2 February 2015

Book Review - Robogenesis by Daniel H. Wilson

"In its last days, the thinking machine known as Archos R-14 was trying to know humanity. It mastered the art of capturing a human mind. When it died, it left behind the tools. I found stories trapped in patterns of neurons. Using scavenged hardware, I took three accounts straight from three minds and I lined them up from beginning to end and back again. Three times to tell it. Three times to understand. They say history is written by the victors, but this right here is told by its victims. My name is Arayt Shah, and this is the story of how I won the True War."

Daniel H. Wilson stormed onto the scene in 2011 with Roboapocalypse, a tale of the war between humanity and robots. In this followup, entitled Robogenesis (Simon and Schuster, RRP $29.99), we learn that the war is not over, and that Archos-14, the supremely intelligent A. I. who started the war, has in fact survived. Lines of Archos' code exist in caches around the world, and they are starting to wake up. We also discover that an earlier version of Archos, calling itself Arayt Shah, exists. This sets the scene for a titanic conflict not only between robots and humans, but also now new robots, freeborn robots, and the parasitic dead. 

Robogenesis takes us on an epic journey of conflict and intense action. Wilson has again set a cracking pace, and this novel unfurls at a rapid rate as events spiral out of control for all of the players. Divided into three distinct parts, and focusing on the three characters of Lark Iron Cloud, Mathilda Perez, and Cormac Wallace, Wilson explores how the robots start to fight back and how the lines between humanity and the robots has become very blurred and grey. 

Darker and more grim then its predecessor, Robogenesis explodes with intensity whilst also posing the question of what actually does it mean to be human? Humans have started to resemble machines in Robogenesis, and the machines have started to resemble humans. In fact, Wilson's exploration of these blurred lines is one of the highlights of the book. Like in Roboapocalypse, Wilson is again technically very rigorous (as you would expect from someone with a PhD in Robotics) and on point in regards to the different AI's and their functions. 

The battle sequences (and how the robots would behave) were incredibly vivid, fiery and entertaining, and I adored the pervasive sense of hopelessness that oozed from the human protagonists in this book. Their narrative and dialgoue, as they attempt to adapt to the growing threats around them and from within, was brilliantly fascinating. Their backs are literally against the wall, and things are not looking bright for the future. 

Overall Robogenesis is a great read, and Wilson has definitely stepped up his game for this instalment. Robogenesis does feel like a middle book at times, and Wilson obviously has his eyes set on the third book with some of the events set up in this story. However this did not detract from my overall enjoyment, and I would recommend this book for any fan of science fiction or apocalyptic fiction. 

A cracking read! 

4 out of 5 stars.

A review copy was provided.

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