A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rabbit & Robot is a gonzo science fiction novel by Andrew Smith (Grasshopper Jungle). The story follows three teens as they journey through space after life on Earth seems to have been destroyed. The large amounts of swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), sex talk (but no depictions of sex), drug use (of a fictional Ecstay-like drug called Woz), and over-the-top violence against robots may be too much for sensitive readers. But the novel has a wacky sense of humor and addresses serious themes.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
At the start of RABBIT & ROBOT, teen Cager Messer, who's addicted to a drug called Woz, is taken aboard the lunar cruise ship Tennessee by his friend Billy and his manservant/adviser Rowan. Not long after liftoff, the boys receive word that Earth has been turned to ash, thanks to its 30th simultaneous world war. Perhaps the last human survivors, Cager, Billy, and Rowan try to settle into life aboard the ship, their every need attended to by a legion of sophisticated robots. But when the robots start to go insane and begin eating each other, the boys wonder whether they will be stranded alone in space forever.
Is it any good?
Sci-fi isn't always noted for its humor, but this wacky, abrasive, and genuinely moving outer space adventure will prompt chuckles, snorts, and giggles in readers primed for galaxy-spanning lunacy. Author Andrew Smith sets up an absurd situation and then expands the story to address issues of free will, sentience, and identity. Some of the recurring gags wear out their welcome, and some readers are likely to be put off by the swearing and the sex talk, but those who persevere will be rewarded by Rabbit & Robot's serious themes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Rabbit & Robot questions what it means to be human. What traits distinguish living from nonliving things? Would a sufficiently sophisticated computer have free will?
Cager and Billy escape Earth just before it's seemingly destroyed. Why are people interested in speculating about how the world might end? Why are books and movies with apocalyptic settings so popular? Which ones are your favorites?
The characters in Rabbit & Robot talk about sex a lot. Do you think that's realistic?
What do you think of the violence in Rabbit & Robot? Is it too much? Is it less disturbing when robots are killing one another?
- Author: Andrew Smith
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: September 25, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 448
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 4, 2020
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