One major theme that’s been running through science fiction recently is the rise of artificial intelligence and the impact that might have on humanity. As we continue to improve upon and refine machine learning, it seems inevitable that the development of a true AI will occur at some point. And consensus is that, once it does, humans will probably be in a bit of trouble. The four books on this list deal with common themes: intelligent robots that are contemplating the nature of their existence, and malevolent AI that seek the destruction of humanity (and the link between the two). When it comes to machine intelligence, we will reap what we sow, as these novels make evidently clear. “Sea of Rust” by C. Robert Cargill (Harper Voyager, $27.99) Thirty years ago, humans lost the war with their servants, robots they created. After that victory, two different AIs have risen from the dust of that conflict and are now fighting for control over the few robots that are left. The two AIs are able to increase their power by incorporating new independent robots into their mainframes. In this inventive novel full of imaginative world building, Brittle is one of the few remaining freebots in hiding. Cargill gives wonderful personality to each of the bots in his novel. As each of these artificial beings examines questions about the nature of their existence and fights for survival, readers are treated to a thoughtful storyline that balances action, fascinating tech and the deepest questions that are fundamental to our humanity. “All Systems Red” by Martha Wells (Tor, $14.99 paper) The first in a four-part series called “The Murderbot Diaries,” Martha Wells’ novella follows a self-aware robot, who calls itself (you guessed it) Murderbot. The artificial being, which hacked itself to achieve autonomy, is tasked with protecting a team of scientists on a distant planet from an unknown threat. This book wastes no time in getting to the action. It’s a testament to Wells’ talent that this book’s plot and its characters feel as well fleshed out as any full-length novel. It’s hard not to immediately sympathize with a misanthropic robot — can’t we all understand the desire to just