SHORTLISTED FOR THE ARTHUR C CLARKE AWARD *One of Financial Times’ Best Books of 2017*
“SEA OF RUST is a 40-megaton cruise missile of a novel – it’ll blow you away and lay waste to your heart . . . visceral, relentless, breathtaking” Joe Hill, Sunday Times bestselling author
An action-packed post-apocalyptic thriller from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic.
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 . . .
Sea of Rust boldly imagines a future in which no hope should remain, and yet a humanlike AI strives to find purpose among the ruins. Read by Christy Meyer (p) Orion Publishing Group 2018
Like a mecha Mad Max, Sea of Rust follows a band of misfits fighting to survive against a scorched, barren landscape. Drawing on Western and war movie traditions, with a philosophical heart that asks big questions about life, death, and the soul, this is accomplished, technically complex scifi.
The book itself is a delightful patchwork of the familiar: the author skilfully blends Asimov (with an interesting twist on the laws of robotics), the Borg from Star Trek, Terminator and even a generous slice of Alice in Wonderland for good measure. These are themes we are familiar with, but arranged in such a way that we can never be quite sure what is going to happen next. I read Sea of Rust in a single day, which is testimony to just how engaging the storyline was.
THE BOOK BAG
Sea of Rustis modern, smart fiction that belies it's majesty with a light touch. One of the science fiction books you should read this year.
Read it for the Mad Max style robot on robot action and the full on nature of the story, stay for sense of loss, the gorgeous prose and the unforgettable yet somehow re-affirming bleakness. Recommended.
A very exciting page-turner.
Think WALL-E meets MAD MAX in this rumbumptious but also empathetic turbo-charged tale... Wonderfully evocative, a minor masterpiece and certainly quite different from anything else you've read for a long time.
Like an AI-centred, desert-bound twist on Children of Men, this is a sensitive and smart novel that surprises you with its depth of feeling.
The novel does not stint on action and violence, but what lingers in the mind are its brutal vision of a world cannibalising itself and the poignant questions it raises about soul and sentience.