In this episode, we review C. Robert Cargill’s novel, Sea of Rust. Sarah dresses as a robot cowboy and rides her trusty, rusty (literally) steed to the show. Daniel realizes that he is bound by his original brainwork design. Trey reads a paragraph and the rest of the casts dreams of cotton candy and maple syrup, then wonder whether androids can, in fact, dream. And Dean gets a new core.
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Sea of Rust
by C. Robert Cargill
384 pp. Harper Voyager
Summary from Amazon:
A scavenger robot wanders in a wasteland created by a war that has destroyed humanity in this evocative post-apocalyptic “robot western” from critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic C. Robert Cargill—a deeply affecting tale of longing, memory, regret, contrition, and possibility
It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them.
Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—One World Intelligence—the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.
One of these resisters is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep a deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although unable to experience emotions like a human, Brittle is haunted by the terrible crimes the robot population perpetrated on humanity. The loner machine roams the Sea of Rust, a two-hundred-mile stretch of desert once known as the upper Rust Belt, now nothing more than a graveyard where machines go to die. Littered with rusting monoliths, shattered cities, and crumbling palaces of industry, it is the place where the first strike happened. In this swath of desolation, a terrifying wilderness littered with the wreckage of the dead, Brittle slowly comes to terms with horrifyingly raw and vivid memories of annihilation—and nearly unbearable guilt.
Sea of Rust is both a devastating story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A vividly imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a humanlike AI becomes a keeper of memory and strives to find purpose among the ruins.
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