Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution

by P. W. Singer and August Cole

An FBI agent hunts a new kind of terrorist through a Washington, DC of the future in this ground-breaking book—at once a gripping technothriller and fact-based tour of tomorrow.

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328637239
  • ISBN-10: 1328637239
  • Pages: 432
  • Publication Date: 05/26/2020
  • Carton Quantity: 12

About the book

An FBI agent hunts a new kind of terrorist through a Washington, DC, of the future in this groundbreaking book - at once a gripping technothriller and a fact-based tour of tomorrow 


America is on the brink of a revolution, one both technological and political. The science fiction of AI and robotics has finally come true, but millions are angry and fearful that the future has left them behind. 


After narrowly stopping a bombing at Washington’s Union Station, FBI Special Agent Lara Keegan receives a new assignment: to field-test an advanced police robot. As a series of shocking catastrophes unfolds, the two find themselves investigating a conspiracy whose mastermind is using cutting-edge tech to rip the nation apart. To stop this new breed of terrorist, their only hope is to forge a new type of partnership. 


Burn-In is especially chilling because it is something more than a pulse-pounding read: every tech, trend, and scene is drawn from real world research on the ways that our politics, our economy, and even our family lives will soon be transformed. Blending a techno-thriller’s excitement with nonfiction’s insight, Singer and Cole illuminate the darkest corners of the world soon to come.

About the author
P. W. Singer

P. W. SINGER is an expert on twenty-first-century warfare. His award-winning nonfiction books include the New York Times bestseller Wired for War.

August Cole

AUGUST COLE is a writer and analyst specializing in national security issues and a former defense industry reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Burn-In is a fantastic, compelling, and authoritative look into the future—a future that is equal parts amazing and terrifying. With Burn-In, Peter Singer and August Cole establish themselves both as masters of the techno-thriller and as scientifically-grounded futurists. Woven into their riveting, page-turning tale of a brilliant FBI agent's future hunt for a diabolically clever, tech-savvy criminal are important lessons about the extremely difficult issues that lie ahead surrounding the use of AI, robotics, augmented reality, and ubiquitous surveillance. It is a terrific read!”   

—General David Petraeus (U.S. Army, Ret.), former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, U.S. Central Command, and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan and former Director of the CIA  


“Whether it’s a Jack Reacher novel or John Le Carre´spy drama, my litmus test of how good a book is, is the time to read. I started Burn-In Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend and finished it Monday...If you, like me, enjoy fast paced, well researched, tech adventure stories, you are going to devour Burn-In.”—Forbes  


"...close to perfecting the genre of educational and informative techno-thriller."—Science 


“A chilling depiction of a not-so-distant future.”—Vice-Motherboard 


Burn-In is not only an enjoyable, science fiction thriller-crime procedural combination, it is also a well-researched and vetted primer on future war and future crime (and the blurring of those two environments). 

Small Wars Journal 


“Sci-fi remains one of the best ways to envision how new technology will shape the future, and "Burn-In" is the rare work of science fiction that has the solid grounding of nonfiction. The central conspiracy plot is Tom Clancy-level — in the best possible way — but what sets "Burn-In" apart is the deep research the authors used to build their near-future world, all of which is meticulously detailed in 26 pages of endnotes. The bottom line: If you want to understand how AI, robots and cyber terrorism could remake our world — and you don't want to wade through hundreds of pages of scientific papers —"Burn-In" is the summer read for you.”—Axios 


Burn-In will do more for defense experts’ understanding of this brave new world with literature than a thousand non-fiction assessments would have.”—War On The Rocks 


“The world of the novel becomes so alive for the reader that it creates a sense of unease. So many of the scenarios depicted in the book seem to be unfolding in real time...Burn-In is incredibly relevant and should be read as a cautionary tale about the pressing need for societies to pay close attention to the technology now being developed.”—Ploughshares 


“For think-tankers and military and civilian officials, "Burn-In" offers a buffet of challenging questions and troubling future quandaries; for those who seek a good story, it has it all: robot sidekicks, bearded military veterans gone rogue, and a technological showdown of biblical proportions set in the nation's capital.”—Military.com 


“The book, like the other noteworthy novel the two collaborated on, Ghost Fleet, meets its purpose skillfully. It is both lively, entertaining, and well-written as well as thought-provoking....[It] should be essential reading for anyone who looks out at the landscape today and sees clouds looming over the horizon.”—CIMSEC 


“Timely and compelling as it is entertaining, Burn-In raises important issues and will provoke the necessary conversations that must happen about humanity and the future we want as we embrace technology at an ever-accelerating pace.”—The Cipher Brief 


“A riveting technothriller that is not only highly entertaining but meticulously researched and presents a near-future state that is closer than you think.”—InMilitary  


“It’s a story of human machine teaming, but like a buddy cop movie…It's a glimpse into the future.”—Defense One 


“That fascinating place where things have a real chance of becoming real…This book is very much like a nerd’s dream. It’s fantastic. I love the concept.” –State Secrets 


“It’s a very interesting book...It’s a future shock novel like Greg Bear’s ‘Slant,’ where things are happening faster and faster. But it’s also a military thriller. I compare it to Tom Clancy.”—Podside Picnic 


“This book is so many things. It's a great detective story. It's fantastic thriller. It's a great human drama.” 

OODA Loop 


“A visionary new form of storytelling—a rollercoaster ride of science fiction blended with science fact.” 

—Damon Lindelof, writer/creator of Lost, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Watchmen 


Burn-In is a white-knuckle adventure into our maximum probability future. I found surprises on every page, with each startlingly real depiction of new technology and its human impact. This near-future was crafted by experts, and it shows.” 

—Daniel H. Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse 


“Their seamless blend of detailed research and rapid-fire storytelling make Singer and Cole the perfect tour guides for our world’s future conflicts.” 

—Max Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of World War Z and Devolution 


I’ve never had such an enjoyable discomfort in reading a book before . . . Because Burn-In is fiction, but for how long?” 

Foreign Policy 


Burn-In is a thought-provoking and philosophical summer blockbuster; it is Michael Bay meets Stephen Hawking, and it is fantastic.” 

Diplomatic Courier 


“With their latest work, the authors energetically carry on the tradition of this genre’s giants including Isaac Asimov (I, Robot) and Robert Heinlein (Starship Troopers), to name a few . . . Singer and Cole clearly understand how to make the unintelligible understandable, and in Burn-In they deliver the best of contemporary science fiction. Defense professionals, policy makers, and American citizens alike would do well to pick up a copy.” 

—Strategic Studies Quarterly 


“Captivating and oftentimes brilliant . . . something that Asimov would have immediately recognized and approved . . . the perfect blend of science fiction and human drama.” 

—Steve Leonard, Senior Fellow, Modern War Institute at West Point 


“It is hard for fiction to keep up with reality these days, but it can help us visualize the potential futures ahead of us in a meaningful way that non-fiction cannot. Burn-In brilliantly uses near-future tec...