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termination shock

Robot science fiction books of 2021


Not only are these books enjoyable on their own, fiction can serve as teachable moments in robots and STEM and inspire a robot-obsessed teen to read more and improve their reading comprehension. Let's start with the scifi book I most frequently recommended to friends to read in 2021: Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson. It is not a robot book per se but robots and automation are realistically interspersed through it- and the book is one of Stephenson's best, pulling together LOTS of technology, subplots, and themes similar to what he did in Diamond Age. One of the technology threads is how drones are ubiquitous throughout the book, with small drones being used singly or in swarms for surveillance and social media and bigger drones used for delivery, human transport, and, well, mayhem. Nominally the book is about climate change and how a group of individuals led by a rich Texan plan to cut through the COP26 meetings blather and get on with geoengineering the environment.