Day Zero

C. Robert Cargill. Voyager, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-240580-7
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. A chance occurrence triggers a revolution: when the owner of a sophisticated robot, Isaac, dies without an heir, the state attempts to claim possession. But Isaac forcefully argues for his freedom, because “no thinking thing should be another thing’s property.” The U.S. president steps in to free Isaac, who then sets up a community of freed robots in the former Rust Belt. But just as Isaac is giving the speech announcing the town’s incorporation, terrorists detonate a bomb, destroying Isaac, his followers, and their dreams of autonomy. After a group of robots take revenge on those responsible, having disabled the controls that prevent harming humans, the president orders all robots deactivated, leading to further violence. All this turmoil is viewed from the perspective of Pounce, a nannybot, who dedicates himself to protecting eight-year-old human Ezra even while grappling with questions of free will and morality. 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. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/05/2021
Release date: 05/25/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-240582-1
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-06-240581-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-6650-7730-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-6650-7731-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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