02:24, Nov 04 2011
Book review


Daniel H Wilson, Simon & Schuster, $29.99

Steven Spielberg has the rights to produce a movie from this book, and it should be released next year.

At first I found this surprising, as it felt like a movie I'd seen before – shades of I Robot or even Transformers. There is nothing new in the premise – technology taking over the world.

However, as the story develops it becomes more complex. The possibilities for the development of robotic technology are believable and disturbing, but it is the human resistance that becomes intriguing.

It promises to be an action-packed thriller of a movie, but the book reveals a sensitive underlying analysis of human nature.


Around the world, isolated incidents occur where smart toys and personal robots malfunction, causing injury. Technicians are concerned, as such glitches should not be possible, but the world is unaware of the scale of the problem about to unfold.

Archos, a central intelligence taking the persona of a child, takes control of the global network controlling devices with smart technology, including toys, service robots, communications and transport.

Military and personal robots are not only taken over, but they begin to evolve to cope with conditions of climate and terrain, in their attempt to take over the world.

However, the human resistance also evolves. There follows an epic war involving armies of humans and robots worldwide.

Several outcast humans from different countries find a serious use for their nerdy abilities, and make heroic contributions in the final desperate stand.

But their best chance is the humans' discovery of an unlikely secret weapon, partially constructed by the enemy, but unable to be controlled by Archos.

The Timaru Herald