Robot Uprisings – Daniel H. Wilson & John Joseph Adams (Editors)

RobotsFrom Humans beware. As the robotic revolution continues to creep into our lives, it brings with it an impending sense of doom. What horrifying scenarios might unfold if our technology were to go awry? From self-aware robotic toys to intelligent machines violently malfunctioning, this anthology brings to life the half-formed questions and fears we all have about the increasing presence of robots in our lives. With contributions from a mix of bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming writers, and including a rare story by “the father of artificial intelligence,” Dr. John McCarthy, Robot Uprisings meticulously describes the exhilarating and terrifying near-future in which humans can only survive by being cleverer than the rebellious machines they have created.

Published: 2014

Why I Chose It: After reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, I found out he was a contributor to this collection. Of course I had to check it out!

The Review:

As with all short story collections, there’s a little bit of everything inside. The common theme for this collection was, obviously, robots. I had thought that it was a pretty simple topic and would garner a bunch of similar stories – and I was extremely wrong.

As a person who hasn’t spent a whole lot of time reading or thinking about robots, I suppose my imagination hasn’t been challenged all that much by what exactly is a “robot.” This collection completely opened my eyes to robots that come in all shapes and sizes, and I loved every one. I was completely delighted to read each new story, because I was excited to see what the author had created, and how the story was built around their version of a robot. Each story was drastically different from the last, and I really enjoyed plunging into each new world.

Of course, as with all collections, there were some good stories and some bad ones. Yes, there were a couple that I didn’t like, or simply didn’t wow me like the others. Ironically, it was Cline’s writing that brought me to this anthology, and it was his chapter that I think I liked the least – it was a cute story, but didn’t hold the wow factor that the others did. There was a couple of chapters that were just weird, but I definitely appreciated them in the collection for being different. And finally, of course, there were the amazing chapters that I fell in love with, where I didn’t want the chapter to end because I wanted so much more from that world. There were several stories in here that I could definitely read a full length novel about, because they were really wonderful.

This is an anthology that I really enjoyed. It was exciting and made me think, and I was always looking forward to the next new story. It’s an anthology that I would definitely pick up and read again, just to enter those worlds again, no matter how brief the visit. If you like robots, science fiction, or simply have a love of technology, I would definitely check this one out!

Rating: 4 / 5


“My grandpa had been a roboticist before the Wars, and I was holding out hope for some rusted-out mechanical arms hidden in the attic someplace, maybe even a communication console. Grandpa’s big innovation had been a natural language input and output, teaching robots to accept commands in normal English and respond in kind. The complicated programming necessary for this turned out to have the side effect of drastically improving their ability to communicate with each other, and so his inventions are still listed in history books as directly contributing to the Wars.” p 44 (Lullaby, Anna North)

“You think that death delayed is death denied. That’s because you’re a meat person. Death has been inevitable for you from the moment of your conception. I’m not that kind of person. I am quite likely immortal. Death in five years or five hundred years is still a drastic curtailing of my natural life span.” p 157 (Epoch, Cory Doctorow)

“Jeeps and army trucks are abandoned on the sides of the road like flotsam left behind after a tidal wave. Some of the vehicles lie in puddles, the metal having melted into rubbery piles feathered with flakes of green paint. Others have partially sunk into the ground, their noses pointing out at awkward angles like fallen lawn darts. Titanic forces have twisted and disfigured the landscape here, and everything in it.” p 456 (Small Things, Daniel H. Wilson)

Full Contents: 

Complex God / Scott Sigler

Cycles / Charles Yu

Lullaby / Anna North

Eighty miles an hour all the way to Paradise / Genevieve Valentine

Executable / Hugh Howey

The Omnibot incident / Ernest Cline

Epoch / Cory Doctorow

Human intelligence / Jeff Abbott

The Golden Hour / Julianna Baggott

Sleepover / Alastair Reynolds

Seasoning / Alan Dean Foster

Nanonauts! In battle with tiny death-subs! / Ian McDonald

Of dying heroes and deathless deeds / Robin Wasserman

The robot and the baby / John McCarthy

We are all misfit toys in the aftermath of the Velveteen War / Seanan McGuire

Spider the Artist / Nnedi Okorafor

Small things / Daniel H. Wilson.



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