I know as a bear I should be out doing bear things during the spring and summer because in a few months I will be hibernating or as I like to call it catching up on my online gaming time. What? You didn’t think bears actually slept the whole winter. We are really good at faking sleep when you come around.
Instead of doing bear things, I spent the day in the shade reading. I found a book that caught my attention enough to read in one day. The book, Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson is a page turner. The gist, in an similar, but different world, robots rise up to wage war on humanity.
Robopocalypse begins at the end of the war and through a series of interviews, recollections, and other devices tells the story of the robopocalypse from the beginning to the end. If you have read World War Z by Max Brooks or in my opinion the much better Journals of the Plague Years by Norman Spinrad then you will instantly recognize the style of story telling.
Each chapter is separate story that advances the time frame and tells an important moment in the war. As the story unfolds recurring characters meet with other characters and so on. Funny thing to me is, I read the entire book in one sitting and the story is the thing I remember, not the characters. The story was that interesting to me. However, the characters other than one who is introduced really late in the book were not interesting to me.
Part of the reason is because of the style of storytelling does not allow for a lot of character development. Sure there are moments where a scared character turns into a warrior and vice versa, but given the situation there is plenty of room for growth and development for the characters. Yet, none. Another reason is because the character types are expected, soldier, civilian, scientist, and so on. None of the characters do anything to defy those expectations-the solider fights, the scientist figures out things, the hero is heroic. For me, it really was the story that kept me turning pages, I had no vested interest in the characters.
World War Z is zombies, much bigger, and tells a story of the world in peril better. There are a couple of characters I looked forward to learning their fate. The situation was interesting, the villains even though they were zombies were interesting. The robots in Robopocalypse at times read like a new car catalog-here is the shape and what it does and nothing more.
Journals of the Plague Years is a plague, a sexually transmitted plague. A short book especially when compared to the other two has characters I cared about. Has a unique situation, how does the country deal with a sexually transmitted disease and allow me to say the “solution” of taking the ill, drugging them up, arming them up and setting them loose on countries we are at war with was interesting.
If you are looking for a page turner you could do worse than Robopocalypse, such as Eye of Terror a book written so badly I flipped through the second half looking for good writing.