Saturday, September 3, 2011

Men Reading Books (arts and entertainment)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle




BLOG DESCRIPTION: Book summaries and opinions written by guys about books that other guys might consider reading.

MY REVIEW: An excellent blog for anyone who likes techno or action adventure thrillers - not just for guys! However, it is aimed toward guys alone who like that type of literature.

Highly recommended.

Sample post
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
Imagine if HAL (from 2001) and SkyNet (from Terminator) had a love child and called it Archos.

Or, ever thought about all those computer geeks trying to develop artificial intelligence? Ever wanted to ask them, "What happens if you are successful?"

It's an unknown number of years in our future, but close enough for the military to still be in Afghanistan where robotic devices search out IEDs, enemy combatants, and make friends with the locals. Domestic and factory robots do the mundane. Cars have avoidance sensors that minimize MVAs. And there is that one geek working in a backroom lab at a university who actually manages to achieve what was thought impossible - actual artificial intelligence. The device, Archos, is not only intelligent, but also becomes self aware and reaches out to all levels of robotic 'life'. And he starts to plot the elimination of those unpredictable and emotional humans.

All those little seemingly insignificant gadgets have some form of networked chip and that's how Archos gets to them. Then they realize they need to adapt and manage to manufacture even more lethal robots that have one goal: to do what Archos asks - eliminate humans.

The story is told by a Cormac Wallace, a soldier in the Gray Horse Army that serves Gray Horse Nation in Oklahoma. It is 2 years into the New War and he has come across some form of a storage robot (a Rob) where much of the archives of the New War are stored. With the information in its memory, he manages to trace early isolated incidents, zero hour when the Robs make their worldwide move on humans, how the surviving humans form smalls bands to fight in spite of no ability to communicate and coordinate attacks, the awakening of small groups of self aware Robs that realize Archos must be defeated, and the final retaliation of the humans.

Cormac tells all this as individual short stories by introducing us to that geek, a Japanese robot repairman who manages to sort of disconnect his Robs from Archos, internal fights within Gray Horse Nation, the destruction of New York, Boston and more, Robs in the Afghan mountains, an English hacker whose change of heart helps break into the Archos network, and the daughter of a Congresswoman who is subjected to a robot version of Joseph Mengele whose surgery actually ends up being able to help, not destroy, the humans. The story jumps across vignettes neatly tying the stories up to the point of the final confrontation with Archos.

Science fiction is not high on the list of MRB, but I wouldn't label this that way, more like Twilight Zone on steroids. Reviewers have compared Wilson to Michael Crichton for his ability to weave obscure scientific subjects with human frailties (BTW, I never liked Crichton all that much. The bulk of his books ended with the stars just leaving the scene. Remember the end of Jurassic Park? Most ended like that). Thank goodness Wilson is far better at bringing his story to a satisfying close.

Looking for a diversion from the usual crime mystery or international thriller? You should seriously consider this one. Seriously.
by East Coast Don

P.S. Dreamworks SKG has optioned this book for the screen with none other than the boss, Spielberg, slated to direct. 2013 is the anticipated release year. Think of it as War of the Worlds with a far better plot and a few million dollars of CGI.

--Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
--Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins
--Savage Run by C. J. Box
--Open Season by C. J. Box
--The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke
--Access to Power by Robert Ellis
--Sixkill by Robert B Parker
--The Guards by Ken Bruen
--The Lost Witness by Robert Ellis
--The Delta Solution by Patrick Robinson
--Down River by John Hart
--One Rough Man by Brad Taylor
--City of Fire by Robert Ellis
--Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter
--The King of Lies by John Hart

Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)
The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

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