Daniel H. Wilson, a doctoral candidate at Carnegie Mellon University, has a serious background in robotics research. Hence, he's eminently qualified to offer advice on How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion. This modest-sized paperback nicely splits the difference between reality and farce, with Wilson cuing in his readers to the far-flung advancements that have already been achieved with robotics, then juxtaposing those ideas with droll (if possibly effective) lifesaving remedies for the average human should the 'bots rise up against us. Wilson cites well-known sci-fi flicks along the way, and he seems to have a healthy respect for Hollywood's technical vision, even in light of his own insider knowledge. The tips for avoiding oblivion "Escape at right angles," "Lose the human heat signature" all play out logically in Wilson's way-out scenarios, but the author also elicits subtle, well-intended chuckles at the same time. (We might laugh even harder if we didn't pause to think it could actually happen.)

Martin Brady is a writer in Nashville.

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