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Cybernetic Revolt Science Fiction

The robots are advancing! Skynet has fallen! You're part of the Matrix!

The cybernetic revolt, the robot uprising, the destruction (or attempted destruction) of humanity by artificial intelligence. The artificial intelligence may be robots, a supercomputer, a computer network, or a whole race of intelligent machines. The artificial intelligence decides that humans are inferior, a threat, or oppressive and set out to destroy, and possibly enslave humanity. This is a relatively common plot in Sci Fi. Indeed, the fear of machines is not uncommon either. Machines making humans obsolete is a very real and practical fear and one that feeds right into the idea of computers taking over the world.

Other Features of Cybernetic Revolt Science Fiction

  • Level of Real Science

    High. When the story is focused on highly advanced technology that has attained sentience there is undoubtedly a high level of science. A robot uprising is such a commonly known idea and is pretty easily accepted by readers, which can mean the author runs the risk of skipping over some of the science behind the technology. Nonetheless, science and technology are ubiquitous.

  • Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications

    High. Cybernetic Revolt stories examine the relationship between humanity and machines. How dependent we have become, how easily we discard outdated technology, how we form relationships. The concept of creation and ownership are also explored.

  • Level of Characterization

    Variable. In a Cybernetic Revolt story there are organic and inorganic characters and they are often presented in very black and white terms—for example, logical vs. emotional. Characters can sometimes be well developed, or the story may focus more on the relationships and ideas or the sheer action of the story.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    Moderate. The cybernetic revolt story is not a new one—it is built out of fear that a computer  will outsmart its makers. There will be twists and new characters in every story that are different, but the overarching plot will be relatively predictable. The plot is, however, full of action and tends to move quickly.

  • Level of Violence

    High. It's a revolt! Violence abounds! Competition and aggression run high in Cybernetic Revolt stories, which inevitably lead to violence.

Related Science Fiction subgenres

  • Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction. Robots have caused an apocalyptic collapse of human society. Maybe they won, or maybe they lost but at a great cost to humanity.

  • Robot Science Fiction. This sub-genre focuses on robots, when crossed with the Cybernetic Revolt, the robots rise up against humanity.

  • Cyberpunk. A central theme in Cyberpunk is the relationship between humans and technology—a theme very much at stake in Cybernetic Revolt Sci Fi.

Popular Cybernetic Revolt Science Fiction Books
  • 1 The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

    By Robert A. Heinlein. HOLMES IV is the moon's master computer and it is achieved self-awareness. The computer helps the moon's inhabitants stage a revolution against Earth.

  • 2 The Machine Stops

    By E.M. Forster. A different kind of revolt—humans have become dependent on an omnipotent, global machine for generations. Humans become subservient and even worship the machine—but it is breaking down.

  • 3 The Butlerian Jihad

    By Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. This is the first book of the Legends of Dune prequel trilogy. The series tells the story of a crusade by the last free humans against a sentient, violent, and dominating computer.

  • 4 The Reproductive System

    By John Sladek. A new project is to develop a self-replicating mechanism that repairs inter-cellular breakdowns—but the metal boxes begin moving around the lab and feed on the metal, and multiplying.

  • 5 Penrose

    By Tony Ballantyne. The series is about several robotic civilizations that have forgotten their past. War is imminent. 6. Daniel H. Wilson, Robopocalypse. A computer scientist accidentally releases a highly intelligent sentient A.I. that plans the elimination of human civilization in order to preserve the Earth's biodiversity.

  • 6 Robopocalypse

    By Daniel H. Wilson. A computer scientist accidentally releases a highly intelligent sentient A.I. that plans the elimination of human civilization in order to preserve the Earth's biodiversity.

  • 7 I, Robot

    By Isaac Asimov This is a collection of short stories that explore robots, humans, and morality. The final story in the collection the machines experience a series of small glitches that make them believe that in order to keep humanity safe, the machines must control humanity.

  • 8 2001: A Space Odyssey

    By Arthur C. Clarke. HAL-9000 is one of the most famous computers in Sci Fi because it goes a little crazy and turns on its crew—think of it is a small cybernetic revolt. HAL has a crisis when there is a conflict between his orders and his duties, to which his solution is to eliminate the crew. Homicidal computer—super scary.

  • 9 Colossus

    By D.F. Jones. The first of its series, the book is about a defense supercomputer that uses nuclear weapons to control humanity.

  • 10 Daemon

    By Daniel Suarez. The first of this two-part series, is a thrilling tale about a computer program that gets activated—a program that begins to unravel our hyper-connected world.