Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cybernetic Singularity Page Turners

I burned through "Nexus" and "Crux" by Ramez Naam (@ramez) in 3 days. Naam is a technologist formerly with Microsoft and Apex Nanotechnologies. He also wrote a non-fiction book "More Than Human: Embracing the promise of biological enhancement", which I probably won't read.

Set 30 or so years in the future, hackers learn to program the nanotech-based recreational drug Nexus. So you've got programmable wetware with apps available; group minds; and an uploaded mind -- your basic singularity-fu, all nicely explored. The main conflict is the hackers trying to move to a post-human world while the world's governments, particularly the US, try to stop them. There are civil rights overtones as post-humans are declared non-human and deprived of their rights. Lots of action, lots of explosions, Game of Thrones level body counts. It's got great geek detail -- stack dumps when their wetware crashes, details of how something goes viral on the Internet despite government efforts to stop it.

Some of the plot outcomes were somewhat predictable, but, so what? I got to give myself attaboys for predictive powers. Both novels reach a satisfying conclusion, with a reasonable number of plot threads tied up, but the 2nd novel takes up right where the 1st leaves off, and there is clearly room for several more sequels. I am looking forward to reading these, I think the material is strong enough that he can keep it interesting and exciting for several more books.

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