What if our civilization is more advanced than we know?
The New York Times best-selling 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 smartphones 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 diseases, 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 1960s 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 Prize. 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?
©2014 Daniel Suarez (P)2014 Penguin Audio
I've been watching a lot of Top Chef lately and one thing that often happens is that a chef will attempt to make a dish that takes hours (or days) in a much shorter timeframe. Occasionally it's disastrous, but more often it ends up mediocre. Complex flavors take time to build. Things that are nearly inedible at thirty minutes might be delightful at eight hours. Influx is one of those dishes. All of the right ingredients are there, but instead of letting it simmer and work itself into perfect complexity, Chef Suarez took it off the burner and served it too soon. The texture of this sauce is off and the flavors are undeveloped, but it's still edible.
For example, the validity of the mission of the Beureau of Technology Control is never addressed. Formed during the Cold War, the BTC was tasked with containing technology that would cause social disruption. The only way to stay ahead of the highly innovative and extraordinarily intelligent creators of such technology was to make use of that technology to capture and detain them. At some point, pressure from splinter organizations caused the BTC to pursue the development and mastery of an AI capable of intuitive thinking in order to continue escalating the arms race. This is justified in terms of the initial mandate through AI-modelled predictions of the collapse of humanity (mostly due to population explosion) should certain technologies become widely available.
I'm having a hard time believing that they would not consider, especially given the scientific advances they have available, humanity's expansion to space as a viable option. I can insert justifications -- the AI are biased by the limited perspective and distorted purpose of the people who created them and therefore are incapable of these considerations -- but even that falls apart. We know at least one of the AIs is fully sentient and resists the control of the BTC.
Additionally, about halfway through the bad guy goes from being evil with a reason to being eeeeevil wanting to take over the world with his ray gun (well, not exactly, but I won't spoil it for you). Once that happened, I stopped caring.
It is the story it is, and I accept that. But I can't help but with it had been a duology or a trilogy, with the first book being a smaller story in scope and with the saving of the world (and take-down of the eeeeevil organization) for the second book, once we care about the characters.
Worth every second, a must listen, from the time it starts to the time it ends, a full range of emotion. Enjoy
The story was semi-interesting, however it did have some predictable twists, and the characters never felt real or interesting enough for me to care what was happening. If you are into action and creative technology dominating the story you might like this book, but with somewhat cardboard characters this fell flat for me.
Farm boy that has traveled and lived all over the US. Enjoy stories involving history as well as science fiction.
It draws you in and keeps you there to the end. Excellent story. I'm going to miss listening to this one !!
A fun, marginally deep adventure. I personally had a head time identifying with the protagonist harming my enjoyment a bit, but I rather enjoyed the ride.
This book was an awful experience. I tried hard to finish it, couldn't do it. It annoyed me so badly at times that I had to rip my headset out. I had high expectations and was disappointed on every level.
The Government Sucks
I haven't read other books like this one, the closest thing would be 14 or The Fold.
You have a secret government organization trying to keep something a secret, something huge. Even still, this is far from that series.
free time. hahaha.
Seriously, Jeff does a good job. The voice acting is superb. Different accents, genders, tones, all like a boss.
Yes there is an infinite number of possibilities in my head when it comes to voices, but listening to the voices in my head has proven not to be a good idea all of the time.
Cry, no, laugh, more of a chuckle really. Some spots I was excited for John, but no extreme reaction.
This was written in a way that makes you feel it is somewhat plausible, maybe not to the extent of the technologies in the book, but at the same time, I wouldn't doubt that they held back some inventions.
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