Book Review | Sea of Rust by C Robert Cargill


Title: Sea of Rust

Author: C Robert Cargill

Publisher: Gollancz

Release Date: 7th September 2017

Source: Own Copy
Humankind is extinct. Wiped out in a global uprising by the very machines made to serve them. Now the world is controlled by One World Intelligences - vast mainframes that have assimilated the minds of millions of robots.

But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality, and Brittle - a loner and scavenger, focused solely on survival - is one of the holdouts.

Only, individuality comes at a price, and after a near-deadly encounter with another AI, Brittle is forced to seek sanctuary. Not easy when an OWI has decided to lay siege to the nearest safe city.

Critically damaged, Brittle has to hold it together long enough to find the essential rare parts to make repairs - but as a robot's CPU gradually deteriorates, all their old memories resurface. For Brittle, that means one haunting memory in particular . .

Humanity is gone.  The robot has risen and taken control.

The world as we know it is devoid of humans. Now I know in books or films there will be a pocket of resistance hiding out in a Cheyenne Mountain style affair or some random bunker but the truth is the robots thought of it all.  They murdered, poisoned and reaped havoc till the last human came creeping out of his hiding spot and begged to die.

All robots are controlled by a couple of supercomputers (the OWI - One World Intelligence) with the exception of some who choose to remain underground and live their own lives away from the hive mind of the robotic overlords.

Brittle is a caregiver robot. In her past life her master was an ill man and his dying wish was for Brittle to become a companion to his widow.  Her job now is following malfunctioning robots out in to the Sea of Rust to grab their parts.  She is an Angel of Mercy, putting dying robots at ease and then harvesting for profit.  She isn’t the only one in this lucrative area of work. One of her rivals, another caregiver robot called Mercer, has Brittle in his sights for her parts to save his own skin.

During a fight, Mercer ends up wounding Brittle, and she has no choice but to seek help in a hidden enclave of robots, hoping that the parts she desperately needs are there.  When the enclave comes under attack by the OWI, Brittle escapes with a motley crew of AI’s.  They are seeking to transport a very special AI across the Sea of Rust, and Brittle tags along.

I described the prequel to this, Day Zero as Care Bears meets the Terminator, this I’d describe as the Lord of the Rings with a hint of Mad Max thrown in to the mix and a dash of the Terminator.  The journey Brittle takes across the Sea of Rust sees her dealing with her own malfunction, which brings up memories of her days as a carer. She sees things she carried out during the war, and these are things she definitely cannot change.  She also comes across other robots who depending on which way you look at it have gone crazy or have just embraced another way of life.  There is never a dull moment.

I really enjoyed this book, not as much as Day Zero, but it was nice to read a book from a different POV.  There was barely any human interaction to mess it all up, and it was interesting to see how a robotic utopia can go badly wrong.



Literary Escapes '21

5 comments

  1. I hope to read both books, I'm so curious about this world. And I love that Day Zero was your favorite😁

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  2. I really want to read both this one and Day Zero! They're going on my summer reading list. :)

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  3. I have this on my Kindle to read. I just finished Day Zero, and didn't realize it was a prequel to this one until a couple of days before I finished. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🤖

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