Our group met on Wednesday evening to discuss Robopocalypse. We had (as usual) a great discussion, so I’ll try to highlight some of what people had to say:
- Hola started out by saying that she liked the book, and found it to be a quick read. She thought the story was something that’s been done before, but she still liked reading it. She also liked that there were characters who found redemption, and turned into better people. Other readers agreed, and we had some general discussion about some of these characters.
- aNon said he found the story to be too predictable. He felt the theme is old, and if the book were written as short stories, it would be better. He also found there to be some big flaws in the story, like how you know everything that’s going on, and can anticipate what’s going to happen.
- Theresa mentioned that she got tired of how the same few people kept coming back, and having the story centered on them, which made it seem like things were very simplified. Other readers, however, liked that there were only a few characters to keep track of, and cited other books where there were so many characters that it was hard to remember who was who. We had some general discussion about the merits of having only a few characters, and how this focused or limited the perspectives in the story.
- Derek said the book was okay, although it seemed very much like World War Z with robots. Comparing the two, as far as reasonable concepts, he felt it was more reasonable to have a robot apocalypse than a zombie one. He said that with science fiction, you agree to suspend your belief — but at times in this book, he felt things were unrealistic. However, he agreed that a story like this can be refreshing, compared to heavier reads. He mentioned that he was surprised that given how intelligent Archos was, that there were any humans left by the end of the story. Theresa theorizes that he was waiting for humanity to destroy itself.
- And speaking of Archos, we had some general discussion about this character. Menolly and Hola both wondered why he was bothering to alter humans. Burt Macklin, FBI found it interesting that Archos seemed to see itself as a god, where it was creating these altered humans. He also mentioned, though, that he thought it was odd that the author made it so Archos was only in a single location. He expected that there would be more than one, or at least, some kind of backup in place. Theresa mentioned how in Daniel Suarez’ book, Daemon, that this is the case — where intelligence gets released into networks, so it’s impossible to pin down to one location. Hola and Menolly said they liked that Archos is like a rogue entity. Menolly said that in some novels, it’s inevitable that robots are always going to be more efficient and more evil, but here, at least, not all of that was true.
- Menolly said that she liked that the technology in the story isn’t too far ahead of what we have now, which makes parts of the story more believable (and scary).
- Furry said that she enjoyed the book, and found it to be episodic and a quick read. She said that maybe she was under-thinking it, but she liked it. She was reminded of World War II-era movies, where there is a focus on the heroes. She stated this would be a great “popcorn” movie. Kathleen had similar feelings, and said the book made her think of guilty pleasure television — lots of action and adventure, and sometimes cheesy, but overall, you keep coming back to it. Other people agreed, and we talked about how Wilson’s writing seems to be very much in line with how a movie would play out.
- And speaking of the author’s writing style, this was something else that we had some general discussion about. A few people mentioned how the pacing seemed very abrupt. While the short sections made for quick reading, many readers felt the book was uneven. Nathan mentioned that knowing the ending of the story made him think there’d be more to the book than there was. Some readers also mentioned that they felt the author didn’t spend as much time on certain characters as they wanted. For example, Menolly said she wanted to know more about the two people in New York, who were demolishing buildings. Burt Macklin, FBI said that because of the writing, he sometimes found it tricky to figure out the time that was passing throughout the story.
- We did talk about the 2012 challenge to the book in Tennessee, which surprised many readers. People did think that the book would make an interesting read for teens, and that it would generate some good discussion, as well. While the book isn’t very deep, many readers felt the author touched on some things that could be very thought-provoking. Derek said he liked how the book used London and Japan as a good example of how you have to be careful with how much power you put into technology.
The codes selected for this book were: DOM, SOP, ROB, NFW, HRO and the averaged rating was 3.5
We always welcome more discussion, so if you’d like to leave comments, please do!