Three books that unveil astonishing worlds.
Daniel H. Wilson’s blockbuster bestseller Robopocalypse imagined a future where humans and machines fought for supremacy. His new vision of imminent calamity, Amped, foresees a world wherein people are implanted with devices that give them superhuman powers. But can war between the “amplifieds” and their all-too-human kin be averted? When we asked him to pick his favorite books, Wilson chose three fascinating reads, including one that inspired his writing.
By Barry B. Longyear
“This is a dark book about a future in which a powerful thinking machine is charged with making decisions that are too hard for human beings, both mathematically and ethically. I was much too young when I first read Sea of Glass, but the story sank its barbed tentacles into my psyche and has kept me coming back over the years. The protagonist is a true anti-hero who at the culmination of his journey initiates the kind of mind-blowing plot twist that would cause a Hollywood movie to self-immolate. I was halfway through graduate school when it dawned on me that my thesis research was creating a version of the machine in this book. That realization sent goosebumps down my arms, and still does. I have never doubted the power of books to influence our lives since.”
By Susanna Clarke
“The literary equivalent of drinking hot chocolate before a roaring fire in a drafty house…while weird shapes cavort in the twilight. The book sets off with a confident, leisurely pace that is punctuated by surprising leaps that really grab you. Novel-worthy footnotes are interspersed throughout, implicitly conveying why the book required a decade to write. This is one of my all-time favorites, with endless replay value, as a second or third trip affords one the time to smell the roses. The meandering story is at once as familiar as an old pair of shoes and charged with a current that draws me against my will to the end of the book.”
By P. W. Singer
“They say fact is stranger than fiction, and the same goes for modern warfare. In the past, Singer has written with unnerving accuracy and stolidness about child soldiers in Children at War. In Wired for War, he leaps forward and delves into the myriad ways that technology (and particularly robotics) is changing the face of modern warfare. What amazes me most about both books is how the human component of warfare remains relentlessly adaptable in the face of incredible despair and/or overwhelming technological inferiority. War changes, but people stay the same. This book was an invaluable resource for jump-starting my thoughts when it came to writing both Robopocalypse and Amped.”