In the future, robots like Mars and Cromwell serve their human masters. Having long since replaced humans in the back hallways and servants' quarters of the ultra-wealthy, new models are acquired, render their service, then are quietly deactivated when obsolete. But then we gave them the ability to learn. One household is about to find out that, while Asimov's laws are immutable, humans are about to experience an uprising of a different sort. This first, surprisingly heartfelt episode of a new series puts the listener in the shoes of the the soulless who serve.
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The future, according to Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant, will bring robot servants to run entire households, replacing maids, butlers, chefs, gardeners, and all other house help. The number of robots and modernity of them will determine how high up in the world a family is. And robots can think for themselves, solely so that they can realize and fulfill the family’s needs before they are asked to. Doesn’t sound much like Terminator, does it? Well it isn’t. The robots of the Lexington family only realize they’ve each begun to develop their own consciousness when the family wants to deactivate one of the older robots – and the majority of the “staff” have feelings about it.
Robot Proletariat is a brilliant combination of suspense, the positives and corresponding pitfalls of technological advancements, humor, and (robot) growing pains. The humor particularly impressed me because it was reminiscent, at times, of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a book that’s a mix of dry and absurd humor I haven’t found duplicated anywhere. I connected to the robots more than the people, something the authors did on purpose to bring out the exact opposite nature of this book from something like Terminator. I also really enjoyed the motif of robots being all-intelligent and yet not quite grasping abstract things like philosophy or human things like sex. Like I said, brilliant.
This book also happens to be very timely in ways I unfortunately can’t specify because they would give too much away. However, let’s just say fear of death, self-preservation, and loyalty all combine in Robot Proletariat in unexpected but strictly logical ways, as befit robots.
The voice talent, Simon Whistler, was perfect for the type of humor involved. He does surprisingly good robot impressions and captures each character very well. You can always tell which character is talking as he has clear distinctions between them all. His German accent for Mars the robot isn’t bad either. Some of his voice inflections were a bit overly repetitive and not varied enough, I did notice that, but it wasn’t too bothersome. Overall, I ended up really liking his narration and feeling that no one else could have done it better.
Robot Proletariat is the first in a series that I can’t wait to continue. I hope the next book comes out soon – I don’t know how long I can wait until there’s a resolution to the jaw-dropping cliffhanger at the end!
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
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Asimov meets Animal Farm
I generally don’t buy audiobooks that are less than eight hours long. I like long books that are engrossing and will take me a while. I took a chance on this book because I like Sean and Johnny. And I love Simon Whistler.
This book is Isaac Asimov meets Animal Farm with a smidgen of Terminator in there. It’s a little slow at the beginning. But after about a half-hour I was hooked. I can’t wait for season two! I only wish there was more swearing, because hearing Simon swear with his British accent is hilarious!
But seriously, if you like your science fiction with robots, revolution and the hint of violence, you’ll love this book!