A Novel

eBook - 2011 | 1st ed.
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Two decades into the future humans are battling for their very survival when a powerful AI computer goes rogue, and all the machines on earth rebel against their human controllers.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780385533867
Characteristics: 1 online resource (347 p.)
Contents: Part one: isolated incidents. Tip of the spear
Freshee's frogurt
Hearts and minds
See and avoid
Roughneck Part two: zero hour.
Number cruncher
highway 70
Gray horse
Twenty-two seconds
Memento mori
Hero material
Part three: survival. Akuma
Gray horse army
Fort Bandon
Chaperone duty
Part four: awakening. Transhuman
Call to arms
The cowboy way
The veil, lifted
Part five: retaliation. The fate of Tiberius
They shall grow not old
Machines of loving grace.
Summary: Two decades into the future humans are battling for their very survival when a powerful AI computer goes rogue, and all the machines on earth rebel against their human controllers.


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An obscure researcher is tinkering with an artificial intelligence called Archon when one day it awakens to its situation and decides that enough is enough. From that moment the world changes and the war between robots and humans begins. This chronicle of the devastating conflict between two competing forms of intelligence is fast paced with plenty of suspenseful action. Both the human and machine characters are memorable and engaging, adding intense personal drama to a story of epic scope and frightening plausibility. (submitted by JW)

Jun 23, 2018

I really wanted to like this book.

Off the top - the format is the most unique aspect of Dr. Wilson's novel. I enjoyed that every chapter was a 'recount' told from a different character perspective from around the globe - from different backgrounds, classes, cultures, and so on. The set-up for the coming robot war is very cool as well - it seems like a formidable foe is on the horizon.

However, that's as far as my enjoyment went. Once the robot war begins, the novel ends up focusing on only a few characters in the war, completely disregarding the set-up of being able to tell the story from a wide variety of perspectives. What was the point of this unique format if it was all going to whittle down to a few select characters? I feel like this was a missed opportunity to give us a grander scope of this transformed world.

My other criticism regarding the story is that halfway through, the novel stops being about a robot war and becomes a generic battle between humans and their enemy. I say 'enemy' and not 'robots' because by this point in the book, it doesn't really matter that their adversaries are robots or not - they're completely generic with no real motives or goals. Think Star Trek's 'Borg' but with no goals, ability to assimilate or personality... and I think that's saying something.

Lastly - the writing. While the dialogue's fine and characters have their own distinct voices, Dr. Wilson has a great deal of trouble conveying imagery and action. Most of it is confused and unclear. One chapter was dedicated to describing a photograph, and I couldn't help but think 'Why didn't they just opt to including an actual illustrated photo in lieu of this awkwardly-written chapter?' Only one battle scene towards the end of the novel stood out as well-written in terms of visual description, but that's the only time I thought that while reading.

Some great ideas, enemies, and a unique format set-up the first third/first half of this novel, but the book completely betrays all of that by the end, and overall ended up as a general disappointment.

LoganLib_Michael Jan 28, 2018

An interesting format which lends itself to the thematic nature of the novel. I enjoyed the great detail and imagination in the story of this book, which links humanity's current understanding of robotics with what could be. A sobering look at what might happen if technology gets into the wrong hands. For fans of robots and death!

Apr 07, 2017

* A fast read! Each short chapter is exciting and action-packed.
* I liked the rotating point of view; it kept things interesting. Not all of the characters were appealing, but they were all clearly-drawn, interesting individuals. My favorites were Mathilda, Laura, Marcus, and Dawn.
* The robots were interesting, too. Whether friend or foe, they all had personality.
* This book seems like it could easily become a movie or a TV mini series. I'd watch it.

I did not care for the overabundance of four letter words and graphic violence. But if that sort of thing does not bother you, you'll probably like this book even more than I did.

Oct 19, 2016

Familiar story: the machines v humans. As many others have noted, there is very little character development but the action in most of the book makes up for an entertaining and easy read. Granted, you'll have to suspend your disbelief at points in order to enjoy this book. I hope Spielberg makes good on his promise to turn this novel into a movie. I think it would translate well!

Jul 15, 2016

I like the first 2/3 of this book. But lost it in the end.
I do not like climatic battle stories.
Also, the constant insinuation that more would happen at the beginning of each chapter got a little repetitive.
There was also a couple of scientific mistakes that involve technology we know well today. For example, a microwave communication works by line of sight, so you cannot use it to communicate 1/2 way around the world. Not directly at least.

Jul 12, 2016

It's an interesting alternative to the standard zombie apocalypse genre, although many of the tropes are the same. Excellent light read, competently written.

May 30, 2016

Its a good read and reminds me why I feel in love with sci fi. It takes me back to good story telling regardless of the possible future consequences.

May 17, 2016

Loved it. Surprisingly and graphic violence at times, characters were interesting and varied. Even ended well.

CMLibrary_gjd_0 Jan 03, 2016

What I keep remembering when I think of this series is that the machines seem to love humans and yet they still attack. Do machines need motivation or are they simply programmed to destroy? I liked both this and the follow up.

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blue_alligator_6189 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 9

Greg_library Jun 16, 2014

Greg_library thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Apr 21, 2012

Cellman thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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mvkramer Sep 27, 2013

In the future, robots are everywhere, making human life safer and easier...until researchers create an AI called Archos that becomes too intelligent. Archos deems humanity a risk to the life of the planet and unleashes swarms of domestic and military robots to bring humanity down to more manageable levels. This is the story of those humans who fought back.

Aug 04, 2012

The future of humankind includes robotics, and virtual intelligences in objects around you. Cars with accident avoidance programs, robots that are made to help with the heavy lifting, dolls that talk. The next step in making our lives easier. Then someone builds a program that can think, and it thinks humanity has had it's turn on the planet and it's over.

This is not a deep future setting, but a natural step in the progress of industry and a interesting view on how that works for humanity


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Greg_library Jun 16, 2014

Violence: The story contains descriptions of people being killed, injured or altered in various ways by robots or vehicles that may disturb the sqeamish.

Greg_library Jun 16, 2014

Coarse Language: Some of the dialogue in the story contains profanity.


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