The Darwath Triology and Robopocalypse might seem odd bedfellows but in many ways they follow a similar story line and they both exhibit the same problem regarding their villains and their finishes.

The series by Barbara Hambly was recommended to me by a friend.  It is a well-written fantasy which makes good use of swords, horses and defensive constructions.  I did enjoy the first Book, The Time of the Dark, because it used the conceit of parallel worlds in an entertaining and effective way. Gil and Rudy are American misfits who find heroic purpose fighting The Dark in Alketch through training, self-knowledge and commitment.  They are guided through this purpose by the flawed wizard, Ingold, whose understanding of the Void is the key to story.  They join an array of entertaining characters in the series of battles, mostly desperate and futile,  against The Dark which imperils independent human life on the world.

Robopocalypse was recommended to me by the blogger, The Critiquing Chemist, is science fiction and also generally a well-written story.  This novel, told through historical documents by survivor, Cormac “Bright Boy” Wallace, is set in a future where robots, present in every aspect of human life, begin to kill people under the guidance of Big Rob.  An array of entertaining characters, gritty, noble and innovative, engage in mostly futile and desperate battles to avoid annihilation and slavery using 21st century weapons, reclaimed robots and teamwork.

The similarity between these two novels is that both authors have created super-strong, intelligent, villainous oppositions which cruelly kill or enslave humans.  In fact the Dark and Big Rob’s robots are so empowered, not only in abilities but in numbers, that I am unconvinced in both novels when the humans prevail.  In fact the humans win in both cases through the intervention of a super being, Ingold, the wizard who uses his magical powers, and Nine Oh Two, the freebot with superior physical and moral worth.   Once again great starts have fallen away into not so wonderful, cartoon finishes.


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