Release: Oct. 2009
Authors: Paul Guinan and Aina Bennett
Boilerplate is a book (those are the rectangle things with words inside) about a fictional robot built in the late 1800’s with the purpose of fighting in wars. The book does everything it can to convince the reader that Boilerplate was a real robot. It is meticulously researched so that Boilerplate never seems completely out of place during any historical event. The book details Boilerplate and his creator’s adventures, which include everything from the Yukon gold rush to World War I.
The origin of Boilerplate in the real world is almost as strange as the fake history itself. Boilerplate’s story started on a website in 2000. It was designed in order to sell Boilerplate as a comic book character. The creators realized that people mistakenly believed that Boilerplate was an actual robot that history simple forgot. Inspired by their accidental prank, the creators decided to flesh out Boilerplate’s history. They studied history and made Boilerplate’s history as believable and interesting as possible. The Boilerplate book was just released in October, and details Boilerplate’s entire history.
The book reads like a history textbook, albeit with a little more flair since it is about a fake robot. It is full of historical information about the real events Boilerplate took part in. If you aren’t careful then you just might learn something. I loved that the authors did such a thorough job of researching. Committing so completely to a concept as silly as a life saving robot built at the turn of the 20th century, as the book does, makes it much better than if the story was all fake.
There are great pictures throughout the book. This is one of the highlights of Boilerplate. The authors did an amazing job of injecting Boilerplate into classic historic photos. You will see Boilerplate standing next to Pancho Villa, Theodor Roosevelt, Buffalo Soldiers, Lawrence of Arabia, and many others. I believe these pictures convinced most of the people who thought Boilerplate was real. He fits perfectly in every picture he is injected into and somehow never looks out of place.
Since the book reads like a textbook, it doesn’t delve very much into Boilerplate’s feelings. Boilerplate’s creators are the most fleshed out characters in the book. Boilerplate simply does things, with no explanation for what, or if, it is feeling. I was expecting more about the character of Boilerplate but the book is simply a history of what it did. This might be because Boilerplate is a robot and doesn’t have feelings. The book does drop some hints that Boilerplate was more than simply an emotionless husk and I wanted to learn more about that.
Bobby’s Final Say: Boilerplate is a great, imaginative character and the book is a fun read. The pictures are beautiful and plentiful. Just go into it knowing that the book is a history and not a novel.
P.S. Remember, Boilerplate is not a real robot!