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Item - Robbers and Robots

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Online Full Text: Internet Archive
Series: Endless Quest — no. 9
Contained In: The Endless Quest Collectors Set #3 (Collection)
Author: Carr, Michael (Mike)
Illustrators: Elmore, Larry (cover)
Posey, Vernon (interior)
Date: July, 1983
ISBN: 0880380365 / 9780880380362
Length: 157 pages
Number of Endings: 19
User Summary: You are Terry Morton, a young electronics expert. While on your way to show your robot to your friend, you spot some suspicious activity at your father's electronics plant and decide to investigate.
CGally's Thoughts:

I have to disagree sharply with Demian's opinion of this book. Though it's been a while since I've read it, I do remember liking it a lot. The characters may be cliched, but there was enough depth to the characterizations that, at least to me at the time, I felt like the characters were fairly alive. In fact, the characterizations tied in nicely to the elements of drama and violence in the story.

For example, one memorable scene had the two main characters bound and gagged and being carried through a video arcade, to be stashed away somewhere. The way the scene was described brought the heroes' tension and fear to life. Being carried through an arcade, the book noted that "normally <name of companion> would be in heaven, but you only see fear in his eyes," and went on to describe what it was like to feel helpless.

Heck, the villain was so easily hateable with the personality that he had, that when given the chance to "tell <name of villain> what you think of him," I easily chose it, knowing full well that my character, being tied up, was in no position to make threats or insults. Making that choice naturally led to death (and quite a cruel one at that!), but it was worth it. Knowing that you can't tell off the villain and still live makes him all the more hateable as a character, and all the more effective.

There were dumb elements to the story to be sure. Heck, having to use a remote control to make a robot fight off the villain's own robot struck me as a bit corny and contrived even back when I was a kid. Nothing else in the book stuck out to me as being out-of-place, as I recall.

Corny sci-fi aside, I remember this as a surprisingly effective little suspense thriller of sorts, as you try to outsmart a group of criminals. You can't fight at all - this is no swords and magic story - so you only have your wits to use to survive. This heavy limitation makes the whole "little kid versus big bad adult villains" story all the more real, and all the more satisfying when you finally beat them and win.

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Demian's Thoughts:

This book is pretty dreadful; it has a predictable plot, cliched and unrealistic characters, and rather slow pacing.

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Dtar's Thoughts:

This was my first title in the series and I was impressed. I like the fact that you are given a map, so you can make sensible decisions about where to go. I also like that there are a couple places where you have about five choices that you can make. Nostalgia: it's the early 80's, so there are arcade games and the bad guys are Russians (probably).

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Kveto's Thoughts:

This is the second book of the series set in the Top Secret gameworld, a modern spy RPG by TSR to go alongside D&D and Star Frontiers. Like the previous Hero of Washington Square, it feels more like a Choose Your Own Adventure style than an Endless Quest book. It is by Mike Carr, his only entry in the series.

You play Terry (intended to be either gender although the art makes you clearly male). It's a pretty straightforward plot with security robots and a robbery by dirty Russian commies. Interestingly, they often offer you up to 5 separate options for decisions, which I really like. Rarely should there be only two options in most situations.

I find these fun as you get a look at what was considered futuristic technology in the early 80s. While we have standard remote control robots, most interestingly, one of the security robots is equipped with a "taser" which is accurately described as a dart on a wire that can incapacitate a man for a short while but causing no long term harm. This has to be one of the earliest descriptions of a taser in youth fiction (as Wikipedia tells me that tasers were developed in 1976 but not commercially available for another 10 years) so this is one case where the future was correctly predicted.

More reviews by Kveto

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Users Who Want This Item: CGally (I once had this, but don't know where it is), hanbaoge, Lambchop, lek, nordik, Ryuran333, snakefire77, SonicBlaze, Trachalio (Used to own), utfanatic
Users with Extra Copies: dave2002a
Demian - 1st printing; some wear

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