Monday, December 26, 2016

The Wild Robot (Peter Brown)

The Wild Robot
Peter Brown
Little, Brown Books
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: A hurricane, a sinking ship, and a cargo crate washed upon the shore of a remote island... thus begins the story of Roz the robot. Activated accidentally by a curious otter, she finds herself alone in the wilderness, surrounded by animals, with no apparent purpose but those she discovers for herself. As she learns the languages of beasts and the ways of nature, Roz becomes more than a mere metal tool - and when she hatches a gosling, she becomes a mother.

REVIEW: This is an odd, fast-reading tale, a science fiction fable of sorts, with more going on beneath the surface than the simple storytelling language indicates. As a robot, Roz was programmed to learn and adapt to help humans - but, without humans and a clear task before her, she becomes much more than her makers intended, even as she teaches the animals to become more than instinct and habit have made them. Around the edges are hints of a global warming devastated future, more fully revealed by the migration of her goose "son" Brightbill. When civilization tries to reclaim its wayward creation, the climax reveals just how much Roz and her friends have changed - a promise, perhaps, of a future beyond humanity. The end is a little bittersweet and a touch inconclusive, and the characters felt a little simple now and again, but overall I liked it enough to give it the benefit of the doubt with a full Good rating.

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