Monday, October 22, 2012

Nexus


"There is a war coming. A world war. Not between China and America. Between humans and posthumans." The central theme of Ramez Naam's first novel revolves around the much misunderstood technology of brain computer interfacing and leads us into a realm of possible future with that technology. Kade is a young PhD candidate full of innocent idealism who is forced to face the reality of his creation, Nexus 5, a drug that can enhance the mind's interfacing with centralized networks, be they human or machine. The novel focuses more on the potentiality of a hive-minded outcome rather than a Neo-esque completely computer interfaced one (think The Matrix). The author has an agenda and that is to promote BCI for the public good.  Naam was involved in the development of Internet Explorer and has worked in the nanotechnology field so his technical expertise is complete and his passion spills through each page. The challenge for an author however is to curtail some of that into a believable story and while there is some obvious attempt at creating a protagonist moment within our hero, it never fully materializes; he never seriously questions if what he is doing is right, forcing the world to advance into a collective mind. There are some great chase scenes involving militaries foreign and domestic and some excellent, "posthuman" enhanced fight scenes (again, think Matrix-lite) but the novel is heavily dependent on a reader's knowledge of technology in order to fully grasp the intricacies of the plot. Nexus is a good read and can be a page-burner if the reader chooses to accept the reality of the world into which he is reading (isn't that why we are here?).  Heavy language and some adult situations.

An Angry Robot book
Available January 13, 2013

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