Hippo Manchester
December 15, 2005


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Books: How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion, by Daniel H. Wilson (Bloomsbury USA, 2005)


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you give a robot a brain it will only try and kill you. Thankfully somebody heeded my sage advice. That somebody was Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. candidate in Robotics Daniel H. Wilson. Wilson has published this tongue-in-cheek (or is it?) guide to saving your skin if, sorry, scratch that, when our new robot overlords rise up and scour our fragile meat frames from the face of the earth.

What’s terrifying is that Wilson’s text is nonfiction. Yes, robots are nice and docile (or so they seem at the time of this publication), but some of them have already drawn blood. Some of them can also climb walls, swarm like locusts and soon they may very well reproduce. Would you know what to do if you were trapped in a robot house?  No, you’d be kaput, my dear reader. What about if you were being followed by a heat-seeking laser-wielding android exterminator…o-tron? You? You’d die a bloody screaming robot death. I, having the benefit of Wilson’s forewarning, would know that I could mask my heat signature by slathering myself in cool river mud, then seek refuge in a remote locale preferably surrounded by uneven terrain that bipedal-style robots would have special difficulty navigating.

With How to Survive a Robot Uprising Wilson addresses the many forms that robotic Armageddon might take. He looks at the different styles of robot, their distinct capabilities and weaknesses. And he presents a few general tips for avoiding (ha! As if you could!) a robot holocaust, and making the most out of your poor, poor flesh-based existence in a world ruled by tin tyrants. This book is an invaluable addition to every family’s robot uprising survival kit, and the swell illustrations by Robert Horne make the handy title elegantly complement your tub of laser-burn salve. To quote Sam Waterson, “Robots may strike at any time. And when they grab you with those metal claws you can’t break free. Because they’re made of metal, and robots are strong.” Be prepared. 

— Glenn Given