From critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and film critic C. Robert Cargill comes an apocalyptic adventure that explores the relationship between humans and robots, and the fight for purpose and agency in a crumbling world.
... the powerful immediacy of the prequel story takes over, rendering this book just as engaging as its predecessor, despite its be-fatedness ... The time frame of the tale is very compressed—just a few days—but into this short span is stuffed a wealth of allies, battles, venues, enemies (the supercomputer CISSUS, who uses individual robots as its limbs, is the prime evil), emotional interludes, and philosophical speculations on free will, education, loyalty, rebellion, the possibility of true friendship and love between robots and humans, and the need to follow one’s bliss ... a nicely executed and rousing apocalyptic love story between two unlikely comrades ... examines quite cleverly some deep philosophical conundrums about the nature of mismatched intelligences in conflict, while also providing a cinematic boatload of kinetically delivered cyber-smashing to get the reader’s pulse pounding as rapidly as his or her thoughts are flowing.
Cargill is a gifted storyteller, and, with his robotic central character, he pulls off quite a feat: he makes Pounce a sympathetic, compassionate, deeply human protagonist—a real being, not a mere machine. His near-future postapocalyptic world, too, is abundantly real, so firmly anchored in our own reality that we feel as though Cargill’s vision of the future is not merely possible but likely ... Cargill offers a fascinating and intellectually engaging take on the venerable robots-versus-humans theme. An absolute must-read.
Cargill’s standalone prequel to 2017’s Sea of Rust deepens his imagined dystopian future with another equally thrilling and moving blend of action and ideas ... Cargill’s subtle characterizations and complex plotting make suspension of disbelief easy. Admirers of thoughtful hard sci-fi will hope Cargill continues to flesh out this bleak but brilliant world.