Some say the world will end in fire, some say with sentient robots turning against their human masters. I’ve always been fond of dystopian and apocalyptic fiction for some odd reason. Here are several titles I’ve been reading lately that play with world-ending, evil robots, and more.
If you haven’t already been reading Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse series, get thee to a bookstore or library and get started! It’s a great, action-packed series (written by a roboticist, no less!). Wilson and John Joseph Adams edited this anthology of short stories all about intelligent machines, smart houses, and other things that can become self-aware and make your life miserable. Robot Uprisings has seventeen stories from some fantastic authors. (Just to be safe, better opt for the dead-tree version.)
The Apocalypse Triptych
John Joseph Adams teamed up with best-selling author Hugh Howey to edit the Apocalypse Triptych, three anthologies filled with stories about the end of the world. The first, The End Is Nigh, is all about the impending disasters: ecological, technological, psychological, you name it. Book Two, The End Is Now, focuses on stories during the apocalypse. And, of course, the triptych wraps up with The End Has Come (due out in March 2015—assuming the world is still standing), which will be filled with post-apocalyptic tales.
Help Fund My Robot Army!!! and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects
And, hey, while we’re on the subject of cool anthologies by John Joseph Adams, here’s one more. Funded (of course) through a Kickstarter project, Help Fund My Robot Army is a collection of stories framed as crowdfunding projects, from the titular robot army to time travel to a device that helps you avoid spoilers. If you’re a Kickstarter junkie like me, you’ll love these tales, which range from wacky to heartbreaking.
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction
The end of the world isn’t all fun and games, of course, and Annalee Newitz (editor of io9.com) is here to help us plan. In Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, she takes us through a history of global disasters and gives her prescription for survival of our species. You know, kind of like Interstellar, only without relying on wormholes. Bonus: The Doubleclicks have a music video about it! (While you’re at it, have a listen to another relevant song by The Doubleclicks: Can’t You See the World Is Ending?)
For a great fictional treatment of this Scatter, Adapt, and Remember strategy, I recommend David Brin’s Existence, a fairly sizable tome. It’s a sci-fi story about first contact with an alien artifact—but it’s also a wide-ranging tale that touches on global warming, artificial intelligence, telepresence, politics … you’ll be surprised by how much Brin manages to fit into this book while still telling a compelling—and surprising—story.
Vivian Apple at the End of the World
This one’s not out until January, but I couldn’t resist adding it to the list—you can pre-order it now, though. Vivian Apple at the End of the World is about a post-Rapture world. At least, that’s what it looks like. Despite three years of Reverend Frick’s predictions that the world was going to end, Vivian hadn’t expected anything to happen—until she returns home to find her parents gone and two parent-shaped holes in the roof above their bed. What really happened? Guess we’ll have to wait until January to find out.
Disclosure: GeekDad received review copys of Robot Uprisings and Scatter, Adapt, and Remember.