Daniel H. Wilson, Robopocalypse
Nobody’s gonna try to sell Robopocalypse as some deeply original masterpiece of literary fiction. Nope, this is a straight-up blunt and bloody page-turner, a wild action adventure yarn that wears its influences on its sleeve: there’s the runaway trucks and rogue appliances of Maximum Overdrive, the multi-POV’d epicness of World War Z and, of course, the droids-gone-bonkers mayhem of I, Robot. In the middle-distant future, we humans have come to rely on our lifelike automaton pals to cook our food, drive our cars and fight our wars. Which means we’re basically helpless when a bitter consciousness (think Skynet) begins to spread like a virus from this constructionbot to that housekeeperbot to that well-armed soldierbot — and, yeah, we’re kinda screwed. We get the blow-by-blow on the war between man and machine (or “Rob,” as the humans come to refer to their hive-minded enemy), through the eyes of an old Japanese inventor, a British hacker, some Native American resistance fighters, a little girl cyborg, etc. It’s a global storytelling effort. Things really get inventive as Rob evolves, breaking free of its man-made mold to become a much scarier next-gen, task-specific subspecies. Steven Spielberg’s already on board to direct the adaptation and while the film will probably be decent, it’s unlikely to come off like the book does, as a guilty pleasure joyride.