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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-04-08 04:20
Nexus - Ramez Naam

I was so impressed with the book Three, that I went cruising over to the publisher's site and found this one.  The publisher, Angry Robot Books, specializes in contemporary sci-fi, with a crossover twist, if possible.  I'm not a huge fan of traditional straightforward sci-fi with other worlds 'n spaceships, but I do love this style of speculative fiction.


Nexus delivered.  I'm going to copy the blurb because they do a much better job of it than I can!


"In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link human together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.


When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes."


Here's what was so amazing to me.  That idea - linking mind to mind - is abhorrent to me. I mean, I laughingly call Google 'n Facebook "the devil" because I just hate the idea of loss of privacy, of having a Big Brother type entity tracking me.  Yuck.


So, I started reading this and mentally screaming at all these incredibly naive people wanting everyone to be linked in a kumbayah-ish type of hippie awareness.  Been there, got the t-shirt, m'kay? (To clarify - I spent part of my childhood in a religious cult-like community, so I'm very leery of anything resembling mind control). Yet, as the book progressed, I was drawn to the characters, recognizing their naiveté and still understanding their motivations, their deep down desire to do what's good. I kept thinking what if that technology is already out there - how do we react?  How can you keep something like that out of the hands of the baddies?  That was the struggle in this book - what would you do?  Of course, by the time of the events in this book, nano technology, gene enhancements, cyber warfare has already become commonplace so the average person has been somewhat acclimatized to this.


This could be characterized as a thriller, and I love thrillers, but what I really found appealing was the journey towards the book's denouement, and the philosophical questions raised and explored. Oddly enough, by the book's end 

I was rooting for "dude, open source it!" 

(spoiler show)






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review 2014-04-08 03:26
Three (Book 1 of the Dustwalkers Cycle)
Three - Jay Posey

Once again, a great find found from the blog of another BookLiker - BookStooge's review intrigued me enough to buy this and yes - he was right on the money.  Three is a deftly written story set in a dystopian future with nicely drawn characters and felt 'just right'.  There is a romantic element, but it felt natural and just enough to flesh out the characters.  There is a sort of hero's journey, but told with just the right amount of pacing that it never feels forced or trope-ish.  The society is broken, but not to the point where all hope is gone.  There are no zombies!  There are the Weir, however, who appear to be cyber enhanced humans (or former humans?).  This brings me to what I found was the most interesting part of this novel.


We don't know how society fell apart.  We don't know the causes.  We don't know exactly what the Weir are.  We're not told a lot about this world and situation, and yet, somehow, that doesn't matter because this is about the characters - about Three, a lone gunman.  About Wren, an endearing kid with some pretty marvelous, but uncontrolled, powers.  About Cass, Wren's mom, who is struggling to save her child, and to redeem herself.


Bits of everyone's backstory is revealed throughout the book, but not everything. And I loved it.


I was so impressed with this book and author, that I have the second in the cycle on preorder. I also went to the publisher's website, Angry Robots, bookmarked it, and bought another excellent book from them (Nexus).  

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