Rabbit & Robot

Andrew 1959- Smith

Book - 2018

Stranded aboard the lunar cruise ship Tennessee, Cager Messer and his best friend, Billy, both sixteen, are surrounded by insane robots while watching thirty simultaneous wars turn Earth into a toxic wasteland.

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New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers [2018].
First edition
Physical Description
pages cm
Main Author
Andrew 1959- Smith (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* With nods to Vonnegut, Bradbury, and Burgess, Printz Honor winner Smith has woven an unpredictable, gross, and prescient rumination on modernity, media consumption, and machine-aided communication. Cager Messer and his best friend, Billy—both sons of wealthy industrialists—have stolen upon a luxury space cruiser along with Cager's ever-faithful servant, Rowan. Aboard with them are "cogs"—humanlike android attendants programmed with unsettling, occasionally dangerous emotional instabilities. Then the latest (and last) in a long line of world wars breaks out on Earth below, and Cager and company believe that they're the last humans in the universe. But before the true horror of that can set in, they must figure out how to defend themselves from the cogs, who have developed a penchant for robotic cannibalism. Under the surface of this absurd tale are commentaries about how a society can disintegrate. For example, Cager fights an internal war between his lifelong privilege and the social costs affording him that luxury. He also struggles with what human companionship is and how empathy complicates simple decisions. Those delving into Smith's zany dystopia will find much to laugh and gasp at, including comedic and serious musings upon sex and violence. But most of all, they will find many deep, essential questions worth pondering. Grades 10-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

On Cager Messer's 16th birthday, Rowan and Billy sneak him aboard a lunar cruise ship, the Tennessee, to save him from his addiction to the enhancement drug Woz. Cager and Billy have lived lives controlled by their parents, powerful figures in their technologically advanced and war-ravaged version of Earth, where most humans work as coders ("Robots") or soldiers ("Rabbits"). On the ship, it becomes clear that war has destroyed what's left of planet Earth; cogs—robots that experience heightened human emotions and drives of joy, sadness, and arousal—begin to devour each other; and the boys begin to suspect that other humans might be on board. Absurdist characters and scenarios abound, from a kind, French-speaking giraffe, released from the ship's zoo when gravity fails, to a constantly horny valet with a distinct lack of boundaries. Readers will enjoy unraveling the meaning within this provocative jaunt by Smith (Grasshopper Jungle), which dissects society, technology, othering, and what makes humanity human. Ages 14–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Sept.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 10 Up—Cager and best friend Billy, along with their faithful assistant Rowan, are headed to space on the luxury ship Tennessee to escape the multiple wars the United States is waging and to seek treatment for Cager's increasingly dangerous Woz addiction. The boys' fathers are the inventors of Cogs, artificial intelligence beings that are created to serve humans, as well as the creators of Rabbit & Robot, an extremely popular television show rooted in the principles asserted by their fathers. After unfortunate events strike Earth while they are on the ship, Cager, Billy, and Rowan are thought to be the only humans left alive. Cager struggles with his Woz detox and Billy starts to deal with his new life on the ship. A worm makes its way onto the ship and infects the captain (who is also a Cog). This infection spreads to the rest of the Cogs, which makes them cannibalize one another in increasingly graphic ways. Unbeknownst to everyone, humans Meg and Jeffrie are stowaways. Smith's trademark humor and gonzo storytelling is on full display here. Much of the universe is set up within the first half of the book, although it is revealed somewhat confusingly at a leisurely pace (sometimes to the detriment of the narrative flow). Meg and Jeffrie mainly serve as objects of desire or affection. The narrative attempts to tell a story about what makes us human and whether it really matters in the end. VERDICT Purchase where Smith has a following. Others may find this story inaccessible.—Christopher Lassen, BookOps: The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Stranded aboard the lunar cruise ship Tennessee, Cager Messer and his best friend, Billy, both sixteen, are surrounded by insane robots while watching thirty simultaneous wars turn Earth into a toxic wasteland.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Sent to stay on his father's moon-orbiting lunar-cruise ship, Cager is horrified when a war-torn Earth burns to ash before his eyes, trapping him on the ship with a cadre of insane robot cannibals. By the award-winning author of Grasshopper Jungle. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Told with Andrew Smith's signature dark humor, Rabbit & Robot tells the story of Cager Messer, a boy who's stranded on the Tennessee'his father's lunar-cruise utopia'with insane robots.Cager has been transported to the Tennessee, a giant lunar-cruise ship orbiting the moon that his dad owns, by Billy and Rowan to help him shake his Woz addiction. Meanwhile, Earth, in the midst of thirty simultaneous wars, burns to ash beneath them. And as the robots on board become increasingly insane and cannibalistic, and the Earth becomes a toxic wasteland, the boys have to wonder if they'll be stranded alone in space forever.In his new novel, Andrew Smith, Printz Honor author of Grasshopper Jungle, will make you laugh, cry, and consider what it really means to be human.