Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: Influx

Influx by Daniel Suarez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon Blurb: "What if our civilization is more advanced than we know?

The New York Times bestselling author of Daemon--"the cyberthriller against which all others will be measured" -Publishers Weekly) --imagines a world in which decades of technological advances have been suppressed in an effort to prevent disruptive change.

Are smart phones really humanity's most significant innovation since the moon landings? Or can something else explain why the bold visions of the 20th century--fusion power, genetic enhancements, artificial intelligence, cures for common disease, extended human life, and a host of other world-changing advances--have remained beyond our grasp? Why has the high-tech future that seemed imminent in the 1960's failed to arrive?

Perhaps it did arrive...but only for a select few.

Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they've been working toward for years: a device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics--the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring. This Bureau of Technology Control uses the advanced technologies they have harvested over the decades to fulfill their mission.

They are living in our future.

Presented with the opportunity to join the BTC and improve his own technology in secret, Grady balks, and is instead thrown into a nightmarish high-tech prison built to hold rebellious geniuses like himself. With so many great intellects confined together, can Grady and his fellow prisoners conceive of a way to usher humanity out of its artificial dark age?

And when they do, is it possible to defeat an enemy that wields a technological advantage half a century in the making?"

The Good
An incredible high-tech thriller! A very engaging story that fascinated me with visions of possible future tech and a world were they are a reality. It also made me fear the groupthink of the BTC and organizations like them.

The characters aren't taken from your usual grab-bag either. Sure you get the 'science guy' and 'tech guy' templates, but Daniel Suarez tweaks them enough to make them fresh and interesting.

In all, an exciting thriller that will widen your perceptions.

The Bad
Some parts of the story felt slow, but really weren't. Due to the intense action, the 'slower' parts were necessary to give the reader breathing space before the action took over again.

My only real complaint, is in the time given to 'learning' new technology. Some of this is necessary because otherwise it would be unbelievable, but one section, about 2/3 through the book could have used some serious condensing. Just tell me they spent the day working with the device. Please, in the name of all that is holy, don't show it to me.

That advice may be counter intuitive to writers, but most understand that too much showing can kill as easily as too much description.

The Spin
If you're in to techno-thrillers or thrillers in general, you'll love this book. The future tech is intriguing without being overly complicated or boring and the characters are fresh enough that you enjoy cheering them on.

View all my reviews

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