I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed with How to Survive a Robot Uprising. It started with the layout of the book. It’s got a nice over, it’s on strange glossy paper with red edges, so far, so good, but that attention to detail wasn’t applied to the layout of the text, it was just page after page of basic text with no attempt to make fairly inane writing a little more interesting for the reader. There are few images, I thought some simple diagrams (next to the different types of robots, for example, of the different steps for how to avoid a particular robot feature).
Then came the actual content. Apart from being dry, there was nothing new or interesting, no insights that couldn’t be gleaned from watching a range of sci-fi films and TV series. I also thought that Wilson was too busy looking at existing systems and those currently in development. Robots, as they stand, are no threat to humans, they’re not smart enough, their sensors are not accurate enough and they’re nowhere near mobile enough to do any real damage, but he didn’t attempt to predict future scenarios, future robots or alternative sensors.
Having said that, the book is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek humour with some basic advice thrown in, and that’s what let it down the most for me, it just isn’t funny. There’s the occasional jibe, the occasional comment that raises a smile, but they are few and far between. Overall not worth picking up, if the subject matter doesn’t interest you it will put you to sleep, if it does interest you you probably already know everything it covers.
Wilson has a new book out, Where’s My Jetpack? is a ‘hilarious’ look at what happened to the future we were all promised where we everything was automated and atomic-powered. I’ve added it to my wish list (not released in the UK until April 17th), but if it’s as funny as this book, I’ll be taking it off the list.
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Reviewed: 20th January 2007