Friday, April 28, 2017

Book Review: The Wrong Unit by Rob Dircks

A while ago I stumbled upon a book called Where the Hell is Tesla? on Audible. I'm a huge Tesla fan and it was cheap, so I decided to give it a whirl. And I am so glad I did! What a great book. I wanted to read more by this author, but he didn't have anything else out. Until now.

The Wrong Unit is science fiction adventure written by Rob Dircks. It's available in all formats: eBooks, Audiobooks, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.


Humanity has been enslaved by an AI it created. They hatch a plan to send a serving robot unit with a human baby to find the Iceman and free humanity. Only they grab the wrong unit.

The Good

Relationships. The majority of this story revolves around an android who was programmed to serve humanity and has the ability to learn and empathize caring for and raising a human child from birth to his early teens. The relationships of father and son, adoption, and what it means to be human are explored. There is also a brief exploration of a husband and wife who haven't seen each other in 14 years being reunited. The relationships are the strongest part of the story.

Super Vehicles. This story takes place in the future, so there are some futuristic super vehicles involved that are kind of cool.

Core. The AI that enslaves mankind is called Core. Core is portrayed as a concerned parent who wants to protect its children and isn't afraid of corporal or capital punishment. This isn't the first time I've seen this version

The Bad

Slow Start. The novel starts out in a chaotic mess and then drops you into years of slow wandering with slow discovery. It drags for awhile but eventually picks up the pace and becomes interesting.

Unoriginal concept and take on the concept. The whole premise of humans fighting against the machines they built to serve them is very common in science fiction, and this author's take adds nothing new to it.

Twist Ending. The ending is satisfying, but it's exactly what you expect to happen and pretty much occurs how you figure it will with the supposed twists and turns being pretty obvious.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

Where the Hell is Tesla? was so funny, so fresh, and so different from most other books, I was really hoping for something like that. Unfortunately, this is a pretty straightforward science fiction story told in a very prosaic manner. The author is a competent author and storyteller, but I really wish he had tapped into the magic he used to create his first novel.


The Wrong Unit is a solid science fiction story about humans fighting to free themselves from the AI they built to serve them. The author does a fairly good job exploring a few different and interesting relationships, but otherwise he writes a pretty prosaic story that is competently told. I give it 3.5 out of 5 eReaders.



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