The Wrong Unit: A Novel (Unabridged)
by Rob Dircks
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I don't know what the humans are so cranky about. Their enclosures are large, they ingest over 1,000 calories per day, and they're allowed to mate. Plus, they have me: an Autonomous Servile Unit, housed in a mobile/bipedal chassis. I do my job well: keep the humans healthy and happy. "Hey you.” Heyoo. That's my name, I suppose. It's easier for the humans to remember than 413s98-itr8. I guess I've gotten used to it. Rob Dircks, author of Where the Hell is Tesla? and Don’t Touch the Blue Stuff!, has a "unit" with a problem: how to deliver his package, out in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to guide him. Oh, and with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance. It's a science fiction tale of technology gone haywire, unlikely heroes, and the nature of humanity. (Woah. That last part sounds deep. Don't worry, it's not.)
I loved this book. It’s good science fiction and and a welcome, kind of breezy adventure, punctuated with smiles. It all works together to make a very fun read.
charming, thoughtful, both heart wrenching and heart warming, thought-provoking, and ultimately just
The Wrong Unit by Rob Dircks is set in a dystopian far future where humanity is controlled by Core, or a computer overlord. 413s98-itr8, or Heyoo as he is more commonly referred to by humans, is a loyal Servile Unit or a humanoid robot that is charged with interacting with and helping humans on a day to day basis. One day, he goes in to get repaired when his existence as he knows it is changed forever. Instead of day to day tasks of helping humans go about their days, he is thrust onto a journey to deliver a fragile package to a location unknown, with no path or instructions. Little does Heyoo know, he’s is now wrapped up in a quest to overthrow the computerized overlord that he actually believes to be infallible. On this journey, Heyoo’s primary goal is to figure out how to get home, but as time passes he begins to wonder if this rebellion may not be such a crazy idea after all.
Dircks’ has delivered a fantastic novel that is charming, thoughtful, both heart wrenching and heart warming, thought-provoking, and ultimately just hilarious. Heyoo’s character as a robot attempting to interpret human motivations and actions is just captured so well and with a lot of amusing thoughts from the robot. Beyond the humor, there is fantastic character development. Heyoo and the other two main characters really grow and change throughout the novel. In fact, Heyoo’s slow change, both physical and intellectual, during his long journey is truly transformative. While the premise for the story isn’t unique, the perspective is really novel and I like that throughout, it is slowly revealed how humanity got to the point that it became controlled by Core. Also, while the timeline extends over many years, the story does not drag at all. Dircks’ achieves a great balance between action and reflection. Ultimately, this is a humorous story about humanity and freedom.
The narration was also done by Rob Dircks and it was spot-on. His voice capture of Heyoo and the units was really well done. All of the human characters were also really well captured and distinguishable. He was really able to make the listening experience immersive. The production quality was good as well. I would highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys funny novels about robots, overthrowing robot overlords, and humanity at large.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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