I really enjoyed Daniel H. Wilson’s non-fiction books about robots. How to Survive a Robot Uprising and Where’s My Jetpack? were both very enjoyable. So, when he wrote a novel, Robopocalypse, I was very excited. Alas, I found that book pretty much unreadable. With A Boy and His Bot, Wilson turns to young readers and it’s OK.
The book reads like a mix of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, but everything’s robots. Young Code Lightfall stumbles into an alternate reality of robots on robots on robots. For some reason, most of them seem weirdly aware of the contemporary Human world. Everything’s got a strange, kinda goofy vibe to it. It’s feels much more like a Fantasy story than it does Science Fiction, which makes the whole robot thing feel a bit incongruous.
The further into the book I got, the more I kept thinking some industrious tabletop gamer should write a Mutant Crawl Classics adventure based on this book. It has plenty of strange encounters and robot critters, and it’s Fantasy vibe fits more into the surreal nonsensical world of MCC.
Overall, the book isn’t bad. I tend to think juvenile fiction should be written in such a way that it thrills and inspires young people and is entertaining for adults. This probably fulfills the former, but not so much the latter.