The premise for Sea of Rust is the backstory/explanation that Morpheus gives Neo when he first asks about the Matrix. The long and short being: We went to war with AI of our own creation, they were faster, better, smarter than us, and royally kicks our sorry fleshy asses into near-extinction. Where Sea of Rust differs from The Matrix is that Sea of Rust goes all the way--the machines not only win the war, but they literally kill every single man, woman and child on the earth, leaving robot-kind in charge of the planet.
Let that sink in for a minute. Only we arrogant humans would assume that we'd be needed to power the machines--living a simulated life in a virtual world, hooked up as a giant battery.
Sea of Rust is probably a great deal closer to a real life AI vs Humans scenario then anything currently out there in both books and movies.
And there are no punches being pulled here. There are moments in this book that were very hard to take. Movies will show scenes of able-bodied men being killed by antagonist or protagonist, and the audience will watch and accept this without disgust or resentment. We've grown so used to the James Bond henchman, that these faceless masses might as well be machines.
But have a robot kill a child, or a baby?
Sea of Rust pulls no punches.
In the midst of these rather squeamish scenes--necessary scenes in order to tell an effective story--I greatly enjoyed this book. The main character was truly a product created by man. Her calculating and cold outlook on life was the soul of a machine, and yet she experienced something of a moral conflict within herself as humans often do.
This is a story about AI where the robots do not feel boxy and soulless. This is AI with heart.