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
Influx is a fun read, though not as gripping as his Daemon series. The first half of the book is slower paced with a lot of technical information, but the pacing picks up in the 2nd half with the exciting action we've come to expect from Suarez.
The world of Influx is not as strongly developed as the augmented-reality gamer paradise of Daemon, and as another reviewer noted, the suspension of disbelief is more difficult with this story. However, the humor and lighter tone helped me to just go with it and enjoy the fun, silly ride.
Even though the beginning was slower paced, I found the scientific explanations of new technology and the psychological explorations of futuristic interrogation quite interesting.
Things really get fun when the action turns on. I loved the manipulated-gravity combat tactics that took Ender Game's "the enemy's gate is down" concept to entirely new levels.
While the story is about a secretive and ruthless government division suppressing miraculous breakthroughs in physics and technology, Suarez continues to acknowledge his gamer geek cred with a shout out to Leeroy Jenkins, and a nod to the greatest first-person-non-shooter (that would be Portal of course). One of the many enjoyable characters was a GladOS-like female AI that ran a secret facility and tried to kill people while cheerfully engaging them in friendly conversation. She even used laser-turrets for security.
The story ties up neatly, but there are rogue AIs left that could make for an interesting sequel (please).
As a big Suarez fan, I pre-ordered Influx and started listening within minutes of it being available after midnight. While it was different than his other books, I was definitely not disappointed and eagerly look forward to his next release.
Influx is not quite as interesting as Suarez's first work, Daemon (and Freedom tm, which was really just the second half of Daemon rather than a second book) but I enjoyed it more than Kill Decision.
The characters are nicely drawn, the story never lags. Definitely a page-turner... and Suarez is never afraid to dip into "hard sci-fi" levels of technical descriptions that are the result of copious research.
The best part by far is the scene in which the main character is being interrogated. I don't want to spoil anything, but it is a brilliantly conceived bit of drama that there's no way to describe without spoiling. Suffice it to say that it alone justifies reading the entire book, and it is beautifully written.
If there is a single problem with Influx it's that it requires a greater level of suspension of disbelief than the closer-to-current-reality books that precede it. Daemon and Freedom were almost as far-fetched, but they baby-stepped you towards accepting each new piece rather than demanding you to accept everything all at once. Influx throws you immediately into a universe that's far removed from our current levels of technological achievements without giving you time to adapt. However, the concepts are so well researched that they still feel real, and if you can suspend disbelief on some of the more exotic technologies presented (which, again, Suarez explains expertly) you're in for a great ride.
Daemon (and its sequel Freedom) stands as my favorite fiction book in the last 20 years. Influx doesn't quite reach that bar, but is close... and is a fantastic book.
Also, worth mentioning that the narration by Gurner was excellent as always. I wound up reading about a third of the book and listening to ⅔... I found that when I was reading I was hearing Gurner's voices. He's a great narrator.
Well, if they were into this sort of speculative/action thrillers. It's not a book for everyone?
Yes, Gurner is one of the best Audible performers, and he does an outstanding job on this one. Top 10 of his work, without a doubt. In general, Audilbe performers are getting better, and Jeff is one of the best. He does Suarez well.
The last 1/4, with lots of action and resolutions, was damn interesting.
This book grows on you.Lots going on, and some complext story lines that weave around. Admittedly there is alot of action, and some of it is abit gratuitous. That said, i enjoyed it greatly,although it is abit light , it is enjoyable. Recommended.
i really enjoyed this book and practically listened straight through (was on a plane). it has a similar feel to daemon/freedom TM, but has some parts that are disturbingly creative. i was blown away. there were a few areas i would have liked to see played out differently, but i have no hesitation recommending this book. mr suarez has basically hooked me into buying anything he writes. well played, sir.
if you've not read anything by DS, i recommend daemon/freedom TM (2 part series) over this, but i can't see being disappointed in this book. the character development probably lacks a little bit, but the story & problems presented are gripping enough where it hardly matters.
I loved all of Daniel Suarez's previous books. They were brilliant techno-thrillers based on technologies that are not far removed from reality. Anyone who enjoyed "Daemon" now looks at Google Glass from a different perspective. He's a brilliant author. That's why I was worried when "Influx" was too techie for me, a 30-year veteran of the high-tech industry. Suarez introduces the technology in his story with a degree of accuracy and information that can overwhelm the casual reader or listener. DO NOT LET THIS TURN YOU AWAY!
Very quickly, the engineering lesson is over and a first-rate thriller emerges. This is a very entertaining story if you can get past the initial lecture. I feel this story will not be as popular as his previous books because some people will be turned off by first few chapters. That's too bad, because "Influx" has all of the brilliance we've come to expect from Daniel Suarez.
Finding out who "Leroy Jenkins" really is outside of WoW.
Let me say one thing about this book, "Physics rocks!"
I had high hopes for this book being such a fan of the three previous books to this point. I was greatly satisfied. It had me reading at lunch at work, at work, and up late at night. Its not like the other books, but in its self a great work of Sci-Fi.
It was a great read(Listen) , and highly recommend this book if you love tech, and Scf-Fi.
Only one thing I had to get over, John Grady sounded just like John Ross. My mind resolved it quickly.
This book started out interesting, then got weird, then got unbelievable, then got really good! You have to turn off your reality filters for this one though. Suarez goes way more sci-fi than he usually does. Once you accept this it is a fun read!
I loved the first 3 Daniel Suarez books. This one however seemed to take a reach too far in the story line. The story telling like all of Daniel's books is exact and exceptional, I just never really bought into the premise of the story.
The story line and narrator were the best out of all of Suarz's books. Not wanting to write a spoiler alert their was a surprise at every turn, half way through the book I thought I new the ending and was surprised to see how it all ended. The weaponry is very imaginative, very well thought out fine detail throughout the story is incredible. I would totally recommend this book to anyone. Spent all my spare time listening to it and I can't wait for the next book. Danial Suarz it an incredible author it would be awesome to sit down with him for a day and pick his brain and talk....This book is truly a great read
I work full time in Financial Services, teach part time, listen to music (a lot) and love Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction.
Yes. The production was great, the narrator superb and there were some audio "special effects" that added to my overall enjoyment. Well done.
"Steelheart" by Brandon Sanderson. It is a direct story, with some social commentary. Strong, likeable characters and a mass market style that I enjoy sometimes. I could see his being made into a movie at some point. I view this literary approach as a "beach read" at some level. This is not a criticism. This book was written to be entertaining and Suarez hit the mark.
I have never listened to him before, but he did a great job. I wouldn't hesitate to listen to him again. Very well done.
Not sure its that type of book, though there were some scenes when the lead character is imprisoned that were a bit uncomfortable. Nothing extreme, or salacious and it is needed to set up the remainder of the plot. Parts of the book felt a little bit like YA (Young Adult) to me. This book is written in a fast paced style, where action is more important than emotional impact at some level.
I would recommend it. I enjoy reading contemporary Sci Fi and this is a good example of the current genre. It focuses on physics, which I found intriguing to think about (and do a little physics research on the side), so in that way it was thought provoking.
Absolutely bloody brilliant
To many to list, on the edge from beginning to the end.
In Hibernian prison.
I would recommend this book to any one who enjoys futurism, Daniel Suarez wrote this in a marvelous way that brought vivid images through out. Jeff Gunner as narrator made the book come alive and his reading skills are second to none.
"Exciting story, but relies too much on exotic tech"
I have enjoyed all Daniel Suarez's books, and I think that Jeff Gurner does a fantastic job narrating the story. The main ideas in the book are plausible and disturbing, but I wish that the story didn't rely so much on exotic technology relating to gravity. It got a bit much after a while. Still, I enjoyed the book and found it absorbing and thought provoking.
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