What if our civilization is more advanced than we know?
The New York Times bestselling author of Daemon 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?
DANIEL SUAREZ is the author of the New York Times bestseller Daemon, Freedom™, Kill Decision, and Influx. A former systems consultant to Fortune 1000 companies, he has designed and developed mission-critical software for the defense, finance, and entertainment industries. With a lifelong interest in both IT systems and creative writing, his high-tech and Sci-Fi thrillers focus on technology-driven change. Suarez is a past speaker at TED Global, MIT Media Lab, NASA Ames, the Long Now Foundation, and the headquarters of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon -- among many others. Self-taught in software development, he is a graduate from University of Delaware with a BA in English Literature. An avid PC and console gamer, his own world-building skills were bolstered through years as a pen & paper role-playing game moderator. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
Why might there have been no real breakthroughs in many technological and research fields that still seemed realistic some time ago…
Might it be possible that there is a secret super agency with the only aim of finding, stealing, and hiding many groundbreaking milestones that could bring paradigm shifts of epic scale to keep the status quo dominant and the old power structures running? And that each too clever scientist is running danger of getting kidnapped to find her/himself in very special working conditions as only alternative to extermination?
Seriously, I do definitively say yes and that´s not just because I am a wacky conspiracy theory nerd. A short glimpse at what has already been made publicly available after being top secret for decades let´s one imagine what governments, dictatorships, companies, etc. might be doing at the moment. Add hundreds or, if life on earth is still possible, thousands of years to the thriller mix, and you get close to everything possible.
But back to the show, it´s not just the economic and political question of keeping too disruptive technologies, medicine, energies, etc. from becoming a public good to enable a post scarcity society, it´s the military and intelligence secret service staff in the club too and they don´t like sharing their secrets, paranoid as they are. Their argumentation might be even more stupid and mad than the one of the politicians (we don´t want enlightened voters) or the companies controlling the politicians by lobbyism ( we need obedient consumers and workers, which can just be continued with the current system), because they love playing wargames and James Bond at the same time, making any technology an immediate danger for national security and thereby theirs.
The military industrial complex might help with it too, so that the best gadgets can be first used for war, then by companies secretly making trillions of revenue and then, decades later, maybe, the citizens that can effort it, will also have the chance to get a downgraded, old model.
I have a theory, that will just be appealing to the one´s who believe in plotting and planning literature over months in detail before writing it, and not find friends in the gardener, let the creative juices, yuck, flow fraction of authors, that especially analytic minds, the STEM people writing sci-fi, already have so much expertise in complex, interwoven thinking from their work, that they can write novels so deep, complex, and amazing normal people wouldn´t be able to.
The normal people become protagonist, plot, and worldbuilding focused sci-fi writers, but they hardly to never reach that level of dept, meta, second layers, innuendos, etc. just as close to nobody is a master coder, mathematician, or physicist in real life. Honestly, check it, look what many sci-fi legends did and do!
A FUN BUT FLAWED TECHNOTHRILLER FIG. 1: Level of Reading Enjoyment vs. Progression Through Book
This is my first Suarez novel. It has gotten a lot of press, and the hardcover edition has a quote from Publisher's Weekly proclaiming "A Legitimate Heir To Michael Chrichton." Anything with a build up like that I have to try, being the Chrichton fan that I am.
Don't be put off by first chapter: techno jargon is over the top and seemingly superfluous. It lets up after the first chapter. After that, it's quite fascinating, and the new technology introduced is fun.
Unfortunately, as indicated in the bell curve, it drops off, and in my opinion, pretty dramatically. Unfortunate. If the whole story had continued as per the front end of the bell curve, I would have given the book five stars! With the drop off, however...there it is.
It's a great read, and it would still be a fun one for the summer. I recommend it, and I suppose I'll have to try one of his earlier works. -Paul
Jon Grady is a brilliant but unconventional physicist who has just made a breakthrough involving the manipulation of gravity that puts him in the same league as Newton and Einstein. Before he can share his discovery with the world, Grady and his work is snatched up by the Bureau of Technology Control. As they explain it to Grady, the BTC was started by the US government after the moon landings to regulate the influence of technology on the public.
It turns out that stuff like fusion reactors and a cure for cancer were created decades ago, but the BTC deemed them too disruptive to society so they’ve kept the knowledge to themselves. Now they’ve decided that Grady’s gravity invention has to be kept under wraps, but they want him to come work for them and figure out new applications that they can use.
Grady doesn’t believe that keeping scientific knowledge locked away from the public is right and refuses to cooperate. Unfortunately for him the BTC has a secret prison and decades worth of futuristic tech and research to help persuade him to their way of thinking. Even if Grady manages to somehow escape, how can he possibly hope to stop a powerful shadowy organization that is so much more advanced than the rest of the world?
Daniel Suarez thinks big, and it shows in this one. The plot of a secret group hoarding technology was an intriguing one, and then Suarez uses the concept to introduce a starship’s worth of gadgets and futuristic ideas. Even though this is a sci-fi conspiracy thriller the theme about controlling information makes it thought provoking beyond the gee-whiz tech. Plus, there is plenty of action that will make for mind blowing visuals if this ever gets adapted into a movie. Someone get Christopher Nolan on the phone!
Grady’s plight also makes him a very sympathetic character and gives you plenty of reasons to root for him to get revenge on the BTC. I don’t want to give away too much, but what he endures in the prison is one of the most terrifying and horrific depictions of all the ways a human being can suffer that I’ve ever read. Suarez never lets it seem exploitative or devolve into torture porn though.
While there’s a lot to love here I did find a few things lacking. The book opens with a long discussion about Grady’s gravity breakthrough and while interesting it’s also a little slow for the opening of a thriller. Suarez writes plainly, and all the characters and their motivations are laid out like engineering schematics. The dialogue can sometime seem straight out of a comic from the 1950s in a “I won’t let your evil plan succeed!” kind of way.
Also, the BTC is quickly established as the villain here, and I found it a little strange that Grady instantly dismisses their claims that unregulated tech could be extremely disruptive to society. Grady so completely believes that all information should be shared that he’s willing to suffer immensely for it. Yet he never once thinks about what something like a fusion reactor would do to the world’s economy or how some of this stuff could be weaponized in the wrong hands. There’s an interesting ethical argument to be had about where we should draw the line on sharing science, but Suarez bypasses it completely to make Grady the uncompromising hero and the BTC the completely wrong bad guys.
These are minor complaints about a story I enjoyed great deal. If you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller with some big sci-fi ideas, then pick up Influx before someone decides it’s too much information to share and locks it away.
To be clear, this is not a reboot of Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant 1964 film. However, Kubrick was mentioned and there are many similarities – apprehension of new and dangerous technology, rogue government agencies, and tension involving a new world order versus maintaining the status quo. There is even an eerily similar scene reminiscent of Slim Pickens’ infamous bomb ride.
Daniel “I know I’m the coolest writer since William Gibson or Neal Stephenson” Suarez blends state of the market tech with just out of reach science fiction to create a taut, smart techno-thriller with elements of dark comedy (also mindful of Kubrick).
Outside the box thinker and uncanny smart dude John Grady comes up with a gravity mirror, not creating gravity but allowing the effects of gravity to be redirected and focused, thinks he is on his way to a Nobel prize. But before he can even book a flight to Sweden he is waylaid by a super-secret Cold War hold over agency called the Bureau of Technology Control. Seems Hoover-esque uber-nerd bureaucrats have been stymying innovation and genius for decades and Grady is just the latest victim in their mission to prevent too much radical change.
Suarez delivers and he has quickly become one of my newest go-to writers for intelligent speculative fiction. Very cool, bristling with action (this should be a film) and fun ideas, Influx is a page turner.
Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law of Prediction: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Mike's literary corollary to Clarke's Third of Prediction: Any sufficiently advanced technology that is used without precedent in the story is indistinguishable from bad writing.
This book was first and foremost a disappointment. I loved the premise of the book: a secretive rogue government agency harvests advanced technology before it becomes widespread and disruptive to society and humanity.
What I got was a story populated exclusively by tropes, little to no innovative story telling, and boring, bland characters. Some spoilers to follow.
I fully recognize that tropes cannot be avoided. They are merely recognized conventions writers use. Using them is not a mark of a bad writer, every writer uses them. Even the greatest characters of literature can be boiled down to a trope. What differentiates good writers from bad ones is the ability to breathe life into the tropes, giving them unique twists or interpretation.
Influx is populated by characters that barely rise to the level of trope. There is the rebel scientist who refuses to cooperate with the rogue government organization, the wise mentor he learns from in captivity, the power hungry antagonist, the beautiful enemy agent that is converted to the hero's cause. I just couldn't care about all of them and it seemed like the author did not either.
There were plenty of opportunities to explore the characters' deeper motivations or perspective on events that . For instance, near the end of the book, our hero is infiltrating the bad guys' secret base and runs across his old mentor who had apparently decided to cooperate with the bad guys. Instead of providing a passage of text to describe the mentor's reaction to seeing his old pupil and the revelation the pupil bestows upon him, he gets a few pages of story before getting ignobly offed. Personally I was actually interested to see how the mentor would have reacted to having lived under a significant lie for many years and the consequences of his actions. Instead he is treated as a disposable character. By the end of the book I was just skimming pages during the climatic showdown between the various heroes and villains; I just didn't care.
I also thought the author relies much too heavily on "advanced technology" out of nowhere. It did literally verge on the edge of magic. Obviously I am aware of Clarke's third law (see above). But there is a difference between introducing advanced technology in a natural way and having it appear out of left field. For instance, early in the book we are shown that the shadowy government agency has access to fusion technology. When it is shown later in the book, it is not a surprise. When the bad guys literally summon a golem to chase the hero I am pretty sure I heard my suspension of disbelief shatter. If that sort of technology was introduced as a possibility earlier I would have been less critical, instead of viewing it as "I, the writer, need some way to get around this obstacle to where I want the story to go". It is as though Chekhov's gun went off in a play that took place in ancient Rome: I was surprised both that it went off and that it existed in the first place.
Because I was so indifferent to the story and the characters, I noticed a fair amount of little things that were just wrong. The military force that ends up trying to attack the bad guy's headquarters is described as the 82nd airborn division, but it shown having lots of heavy main battle tanks. It doesn't take a genius (or someone with access to google) to know that airborne forces don't have a heavy tank forces. The author also demonstrated a distinct lack of knowledge of just how much energy a megawatt was, stating several times that a small amount of them (60 MW in one case) was enough to power a small city. As someone who works in the energy field I can assure you that a small city has a much higher power requirement than 60 MW. Perhaps if the story was better and the characters more engaging I could overlook this mistakes, but they weren't so I didn't.
On a side note, the whole gravity manipulation to fly and do other neat things was done first and much, MUCH, better by Brandon Sanderson in the Stormlight Archives. He had the benefit of also having complex and interesting chaarcters as well.
On a second side note, this book merely showed to me that the sort of technologies the rogue government organization was keeping away from the population as a whole was a good thing. The amount of destruction they were able to unleash with them (summoned golem, giant gravity weapons, guns that use anti-matter) strongly convinced me that they were doing the world a service. That level of destruction in the hands of unstable or nefarious organizations would be unfathomable. While I couldn't root for the bad guys at the end (because they had gone full Skeletor evil), I did see the value of their organization's stated goals.
On a final side note, there were several splinter factiosn from the main evil organization. What happens once the main evil organization is wiped out? I don't know, and the author certainly doesn't give them a second thoght (or really explore them much at all, much to my further chagrin).
At the end of the day this struck me as a very poor execution of a neat and fascinating idea. Poorly developed characters abounded and easily mingled with lazy tropes masquerading as characters. The story wasn't gripping since there always seemed to be an easy "advanced technology" solution to any problem the hero or villain faced. By the end I was just angry that the book had wasted the potential of the premise with such terrible writing.
I love me some WILD technology! I love me so much technology I roll about in it like it was a king sized bed full of money, money, money! I love my technostravaganza!
Oh yeah, besides the tech tech tech tech tech tech coolness, this is a pretty decent technothriller, too, fluctuating from awe and surprise... to a bit of tech-explanation... to a bit of tech-horror, dark humor, tech theft, dark humor, action, action, tech-action, more tech-action, and finally, a laugh-out-loud chortle of dark laughter.
From myself, of course.
I love wild rides! And this one is definitely one! My head is buzzing around and I'm lost in admiration and awe for all the great pure SF tech goodies that they all play with. It's almost like golden-age SF except that it's proper modern-dark and sarcastic and cynical and yet, in the end, totally optimistic.
I love Daniel Suarez. Or, more properly, all his writing. I can't believe how much fun I have every single time I pick up one of his novels, or how thrilled I am to see so much science and tech and full explanations for each and very well developed consequences and social side-effects.
For me, it's not even about the techno-thriller. He's quite good with his characters and stories and twists, too, but all the SF goodies are the real stars that shine so bright. :) Maybe that's just me. Maybe not! I just know that there's no way in hell I'm ever going to avoid reading his works. He's got my undying trust.
Daniel Suarez has made a name for himself when it comes to techno-thrillers, and his talent for combining science with action has garnered him much praise and comparisons to the late Michael Crichton. And also, let's not forget how much I enjoyed Suarez's Daemon duology. All of this made me pretty excited for Influx, so now that I'm done I still find myself stunned to admit I was disappointed.
Many theories for generating artificial gravity have been proposed for decades, and even more have been presented by science fiction writers using all manner of methods and inventions. Jon Grady, particle physicist and the protagonist of Influx has achieved a breakthrough in the manipulation of gravity that would change the world. But instead of being showered with awards and lauded by the scientific community, his lab is shut down by a rogue government organization called the Bureau of Technology Control, his research deemed too dangerous to be unleashed on the unknowing public.
Grady himself is locked away in a secret prison when he refuses to cooperate, after BTC fakes his death and steals his gravity reflection technology. He's not the only one who has had his life taken away like this. It turns out that the world is more technologically advanced than we think, but the BTC has been monitoring science and technology for a long time, covering up and commandeering numerous revolutionizing discoveries and disappearing their creators to prevent social upheaval at all costs. In his nightmarish prison, Grady meets other great minds who have been held captive and they begin to formulate a plan of escape and to bring down the BTC.
With a snappy plot like that, I shouldn't have felt put off, but I did. Frustration is perhaps the best way to describe my experience, especially with the earlier and later parts of this novel. The author clearly loves technology and enjoys talking up the features of both the real and fictitious aspects of it, which would have been fine -- except often I felt like it was done to the detriment of his story. He places a lot of emphasis on the science and tech, an example being the pages upon pages towards the end of the novel dedicated to describing the use of a device, which coupled with Grady's gravity reflection research would allow a person to "fly". Instances like these do more than disrupt the pacing of the plot, because I think it also takes away from his characters and make them feel less compelling.
It's a shame, because the book is at its best when the focus in on the characters, reminding me what I loved so much about Suarez's Daemon and Freedom™. I was initially drawn to the series because of my inability to resist anything sci-fi and video game related, but came away happy to find the author is capable of doing great things with storytelling and character development as well. I wasn't quite as drawn to Jon Grady or the other characters in Influx (so that even when certain characters died unexpectedly, I was not affected much by their demise) but I did enjoy the story itself. Suarez goes heavy on the technological aspects but he definitely knows how to keep up the action and thrills too. I had a lot of fun with the book when the flow was smooth, or when the story wasn't interrupted by info dumps.
All in all, Influx was an okay book. It could have been great, but some of its flaws prevented me from jumping completely on board. I can definitely understand the comparisons of Suarez to Crichton, though I think the latter had a better knack for driving a story. Still, if you love techno-thrillers, I would recommend this -- especially if you have an inclination towards the "techno" part. If that's the case, I think you'd be well-pleased.
I didn't think (at first) that I'd be rating this one a 5 star read. It starts out with a good opening scene and draws you in. It also takes it's time setting some things up. At first I thought, "okay this will be mildly interesting". But...then an odd thing happened. It became enthralling. It was 1:00AM and I was still into it. At that point I hit a chapter change and "made myself" lay it aside and go to bed.
Then I got up this morning at 7:30 (also AM) and after doing the "morning necessaries", got back into it. I finished it just a few minutes ago. (I've also placed a library hold on another book by Daniel Suarez). This is an excellent book. Yes I recommend it.
So, what have we got here? Well, I'm going to assume you've read the synopsis. No matter your age you probably (now and then) reflect on the differences in the way we live and the way we were told we'd live. Scientific advancement was going to make everyone more prosperous, healthy and happy. Poverty would be a thing of the past, cancer and all other diseases would be defeated. Soon we'd unlock what caused aging and we'd all be able to have not only healthier lives, but longer healthier lives. Aside from that we'd have more leisure time as automation took over more and more of the labor, we'd have hoover craft.
They promised us hoover crafts.
So...how's that all working out?
Ahh....but you see all those advances were made. It's just that (like most everything else) all the ultra scientific "good stuff" is controlled by a small "elite" cadre of people. You see if "you" develop some scientific breakthrough that is..."deemed to be disruptive" you will be...recruited. That means the world in general will be convinced you are dead, you and your advance will be swept away under the control of a shadowy agency.
Don't disrepair however. Since you made the breakthrough you'll be offered a spot "among the elite". You'll be able to look down on all the Hoi polloi, the great unwashed...the starving masses. Yes, you can live in luxury as the rest of the world gets to...well you get the idea.
Oh, but you want to share your advance with the world? You think the whole world should get the cure for cancer, cheap, plentiful, clean energy...whatever? So how does it work if you don't want to, "join up"?
Well the elite have a plan for that also. You see prison has advanced also...and just maybe since you're locked away anyway you can be used for..research....
This book has a good balanced mix of "parts". there's enough here to please the "hard science fiction" buff. The characters are fully formed and involving. It has an intricate and thought out plot. With all that it has plenty of action. In a way it put me in mind of other books I've read. When our hero is "locked away" (no...no spoilers here you can find out what's that means as you read the book)...it was as involving as the prison sequence in The Count of Monte Cristo. This is no small accomplishment.
I will give this book the highest of recommendations. I think it has something for most readers and is extremely enjoyable.
Influx is a really different kind of read. It was selected for the Techno-Thriller group read for the Action/Adventure group on Goodreads, and it definitely fits the bill. The author conceived of a concept that is very novel, and I was immersed in this story.
What if there is a secret group that suppresses and appropriates new technology, so that things are a lot more advanced than we think? That's what happens to Jon Grady when he comes up with a device that can bend and manipulate gravity in an extremely different way. Things quickly become horrific beyond description for Jon on the same night when he demonstrates his invention to investors. Jon goes through some events that are truly frightening and I felt deeply for him. I loved how he would never give up or in. Jon is the key to tearing the lid off this group and seeing justice done. Jon was all of us fighting for justice under impossible odds and stress. And he finds an important support system that gives him the courage and skills to keep him going.
I found this book riveting, distinctive and I was so involved in the story that I didn't want to stop listening to it. While this isn't horror, there is an aspect of horror in the idea that science can be used to such nefarious ends. I realize this is reality, with inventions like the atomic bomb and other weapons of mass destruction. But the inventions in this book are even more scary. And I tell you, AI freaks me out. This book hasn't changed that for me. In fact, I'm probably worse about it.
The characters were diverse, with a very interesting twist with one of the characters that I liked as well. Alexa starts out as someone very unlikable, and her evolution was well done.
This book does introduce some thought provoking questions. Such as should we fear the government or should the government work for us? When should the government intervene in situations such as advanced technology? Is there a happy middle ground? Technology, should it be allowed to be secluded and kept away from the public good?
I didn't care for the way the agency swoops in with this excuse about how the world could not handle having technology that advanced, so they have to protect the world by sequestering it, and of course, they benefit from it. And they can use it against people they perceive as their enemies, even the government agencies that try to rein them in. I can imagine why Jon was so angry and fixed on getting revenge.
I was on the edge this whole book, and I was pretty sure Jon was done for many times. The ending was satisfying and unpredictable. The science was really interesting and educational, without being dry. It made me want to learn more about physics.
I would recommend this to readers looking for an innovative sci-fi thriller. It's like nothing else I've read before.
"Influx" was supposed to be a fast and engaging technothriller with an added spice of sci-fi. Some even had audacity to compare it to late Michael Crichton books. “God, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing” is all I can say about these people.
I cannot deny that this book has some pros, but they are grossly outweighed by the cons. Still, let’s see what I like about this book: first of all, it was really fast paced. One can even call it a page-turner, in case this book hooks them well enough. Second, the idea of rogue agency, controlling and collecting all the major technological breakthroughs for their own purposes actually sounds quite appealing. Sadly, that’s about all the pros.
The cons list is much longer so instead of writing a coherent text about them, here’s a bullet point list: • Characters: No real characters in this book, just a collection of tropes (A doctor, unaware of consequences; a noble-hearted baddie-turned-goodie; a rogue, helping because of his selfish motives; crazy villain and his ever-loyal enforcer; etc. etc) • Characters V2.0: no development whatsoever. You start the book not knowing anything about them, and finish it knowing such vital information as “a girl is very beautiful” or “Dude’s middle age and has a beard”. And we’re speaking about major characters here. That’s…brief. • The beginning: full of technical jargon to the extent I almost quit it after first ten pages. A short example: “I’m still not seeing how this relates to your goal, Mr. Grady.” “Right. I needed a charged superconducting sheet. The quantum mechanical nonlocalizability of the negatively charged Cooper pairs, protected from the localizing effect of decoherence by an energy gap, causes the pairs to undergo nongeodesic motion in the presence of a gravitational wave.” OR: “The surrounding non-superconducting ionic lattice is localized and so executes geodesic motion, moving along with space-time, while the Cooper pairs execute non-geodesic motion—thereby accelerating relative to space-time. The different motions lead to a separation of charge. That charge separation causes the graphene to become electrically polarized, generating a restoring Coulomb force. The back action of the Coulomb force on the Cooper pairs magnifies the mass supercurrents generated by the wave—producing a reflection.”
WTF is this? Is every reader supposed to have a grade in physics or what?
• Predictability: you won’t spend much time guessing what will happen next or who the informant is. • Ending: it’s overstretched and certainly not very climactic. • A dip in quality after the middle of the book.
Don’t get me wrong – this book is NOT crap. There were moments when I did enjoy it. But there’s just too many shortcomings for me to be able to say that I liked it. A fair rating would be some 2,5 stars, but rounding it up to 3 would be too generous. It’s a book suitable for a quick read if you don’t care much about characters or the surrounding world. Like something you read during the long flight or at the beach and then forget it immediately. Don’t expect much. And most certainly don’t expect another Michael Crichton.
I loved this book, it's fun, it's complex and simple enough at the same time , just imagine this, the future you always thought you were supposed to have it's there but has been kept secret by a shadowy organization, enter Jon Grady , a scientist that has just discovered something that will change the world forever, in enters BTC and kidnaps him and tortures him for not collaborating after being told that their purpose is to keep technology breakthroughs from ever getting to the general public .... adventure happens , throw in a futuristic femme fatale, a technological terrorist and the us government and you'll understand why this book was so fun... if you like science fiction you should read this one .
Executive Summary: If you can get over the ridiculousness this book can be a lot of fun.
Audio book: The audio is pretty good. Jeff Gurner can do a few accents and they have some special effects for the AI/comms that add a little extra touch.
Full Review This book was pretty uneven for me. It starts out with a huge tech dump trying to explain how a Gravity Mirror might be possible. I'm not a physicist so I have no idea how sound the theories are or if he's just completely making things up.
It really seems pointless by the end considering all the other technology that's said to exist with little to no explanation and some of the crazy ways the gravity mirror is used later in the book. I'm fine with ignoring the science, but then he shouldn't have bothered with a few of the infodumps he included in my opinion.
Needless to say it made for a slow start, but I got into it by the third chapter. I actually found myself agreeing with the arguments of the BTC (Bureau of Technology Control), but quickly found myself changing my mind.
The notion of controlling technological advances for the good of humanity is a cool premise, but it really just turns into a "absolute power corrupts absolutely" sort of thing.
I felt a few parts went on too long and a few parts were just ridiculous. I didn't enjoy this as much as Daemon but definitely enjoyed it more than Freedom™.
I found the main character a bit unlikable at times. That probably didn't help. The bad guys also seem a bit mustache twirly and over the top. I think I would have enjoyed some more shades of grey here. At first it seemed like it would be a bit of that as I found myself changing my opinion on the BTC, but pretty much from then on, it all seemed pretty clear-cut and predictable to me.
If you're not too worried about the tech and just want a fun little technothriller you may enjoy this one.
DNF Warum ich trotzdem 3 Sterne vergebe, obwohl ich das Buch nach 170 Seiten abbreche? Ganz einfach, ich reagiere allergisch auf so viel literarisches Testosteron. Da bekomme ich rings um die Augen ganz schlimmen Ausschlag. Bereits nach den ersten 20 Seiten hatte ich ein schlechtes Gefühl was den Erzählstil anging und die Richtung, in der die Geschichte ging. Benutzt der Autor etwa Hard-Scifi als reines Effektmittel? Das fand ich sofort plump. Sry aber das ist ein Genre- kein Gleitmittel Stilmittel. ("Googleklug" sagt, Hard Science Fiction ist eine Kategorie der Science-Fiction, die sich durch die Sorge um wissenschaftliche Genauigkeit und Logik auszeichnet.) Und dann das mit seinem seltsamen Eliteklub, der mich an "Mensa" erinnert, bloß völlig abgedreht. Sehr überzogen das alles.
Was ich ebenfalls an Büchern nicht mag: -Der Protagonist erwähnt Offensichtliches -Die Logik wird dem Plot geopfert -Gewaltszenen gegen Langeweile -Alles wird überdramatisiert
Für seichte, anspruchslose Unterhaltung ist das Buch hervorragend geeignet. Mich langweilt es. Ich ertrage es nicht mal als Hörbuch.
Influx is a techno-thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed the whole way through. The question of what happens when a small group is allowed to hoard technological advances is very interesting here - is it all really for the greater good? The tone of this book reminded me a bit of Michael Crichton but a bit less thriller and a bit heavier on the speculative science/technology. The story kept up a pretty good pace throughout and did not slow down much even once the mystique of the fantastical technology was revealed.
Whenever I read/listen to a techno-thriller, there is this anticipation of what the technology at work is and how it has become this terrible thing that must be defeated or survived for the rest of the book. That anticipation almost always delivers but some books slow down after that reveal happens. There was a moment or two with Influx that I thought that could happen but Daniel Suarez did a great job of keeping parts interesting that could have been pretty dry. It does mention the prison in the description of the book and I didn't know if I was in store for a The Count of Monte Cristo...thankfully the prison time was just about as interesting as the rest.
There are many technologies at play in this novel and Suarez made great use of them for some good suspense and actions sequences using them. The only small gripe I had with the novel is that the technologies work too well. Sure they have some really bright minds working on these things but to turn around production quality material in so little time, covertly, and for those things to seemingly not have glitches is kind of unbelievable (even for fiction). There were a couple of minor holes in the usage but overall it was really well done.
As for the audio performance, Jeff Gurner did a good job doing voices for the character and narration. He was always clearly understood and the voices were distinct enough that I could usually tell which character was doing the talking . I would enjoy listening to other books narrated by Jeff Gurner.
A departure from Dan's prior books, but every bit as good. At the core of Influx is an examination of what happens when government shifts from providing for the common defense to protecting society from itself. Though Influx is set more in the future than Daemon/Freedom™ or Kill Decision, you'll see some common themes throughout. This was a thrilling read - will be a big hit when it comes out in February.
I found this uneven, and ultimately, disappointing.
The book started out in an unpromising way, and I thought it was going to be merely a string of cliches.
But after the first couple of chapters, it surprised me. Things got more interesting.
Towards the end, though, it dipped back into eye-glazing ordinariness.
Our hero, John Grady, invents something called a gravity mirror, a device that makes gravity flow up instead of down. He's very proud of his discovery, at least at first.
But after his start up (along with his partners and investors) is bombed and everyone is killed (or so he thinks), he wakes up in the "Bureau of Technology Control" or BTC, a rogue Federal agency tasked with preventing the release of technologies it deems "too advanced". Scientists seized by the BTC either cooperate with them or end up in a BTC run prison (or "research facility") called Hibernity which is in a secret location. The prisoners are all isolated from each other in underground cells and it is impossible to escape.
The shenanigans begin. They involve a fanatical luddite Christian bomber named Richard Cotton; a couple of FBI agents, Denise Davis and Thomas Falwell; a genetically enhanced beautiful BTC field agent named Alexa; Grady himself; Graham Hedrick, the head of the BTC; multiple clones all named Morrison; an AI named Varuna; various heads of government agencies who think the BTC has gone beyond the pale, including Director of National Intelligence Kaye Monahan; and prisoners and AIs in Hibernity.
The book ends with a chase scene featuring various clashes of futuristic weapons, etc. etc. and honestly bored me at the end.
The most interesting part of the book is Grady's appalling stay in Hibernity.
This might have been a much better book if it weren't trying so hard to be a B-grade science fiction action movie.
I have to say, I'm sadly disappointed. I've come to rely on Suarez as a 'near' fiction writer. His previous books were largely based on manipulation of existing technology, or close future invocations. That was his strong selling point to me. The books were full of technical descriptions making the reality and feasibility of them compelling.
This book... Throws all that to the wind, and pics up a an anti-matter gun. Defying gravity? Why not!? Well... because it lumps you in with all the other 'amazing technology see this awesome flashing light' sci-fi. Mr. Suarez attempts too much, too fast, causing the whole thing to just feel... anti-climactic. Even the very end is... well it almost feels like a mistake.
Like Michael Crichton, the author he is compared to on the cover, Daniel Suarez has his sights on the forefront of society and technology. He takes cutting edge ideas and wonders "what if?", "how exactly?", and "then what would happen?", and writes down the fictionalized results. Suarez isn't trying to be "literary," he is writing thought experiments on current hot-button issues. In his previous book, Kill Decision, it was about drones, in this one, it's anti-gravity -- among other technology the black ops Bureau of Technology Control hides away, such as fusion.
The writing in this book could best be described as workmanlike. It is sparse on description and to the point, which I enjoy, with the minor exception of some techno-babble, mostly in two specific scenes -- the gravity mirror exposition in the first chapter and the scene where Jon learns how to use the gravity mirror boots later in the book.
The characterization is a bit of a shortcoming, especially with protagonist Jon Grady, who showed little signs of personal development considering what he experienced, and antagonist Hedrick, who made the villainy of Avatar's Colonel Quaritch look subtle by comparison. However, perhaps oddly, some of the supporting characters, specifically Alexa, Cotton and the A.I. Varuna, had more depth and nuance. But Suarez is at his best when technology is in the forefront -- such as a chilling torture scene where Grady is being interrogated by an A.I., which thankfully did not linger overlong otherwise this book may have had to been labelled as a Horror.
One nagging question I had reading this is why weren't the two splinter-BTC groups more in focus at any point? That plot-line seemed very underdeveloped, and I wonder if it was left open for a potential sequel.
All in all, this is a great approach to near-future sci-fi -- and without any aliens or spaceships -- and it makes for an impressive techno-thriller, even when things start to spin further and further beyond the realm of plausibility as the book draws to its climax.
"Anything before you're thirty-five is new and exciting, and anything after that is proof that the world's going to hell."
Excellent. Hard science fiction that grabs the reader by the throat and doesn't let go. A haunting tale about the government trying to protect us from ourselves. The premise is that for the last fifty years an increasingly powerful bureau of the federal government has been identifying and sequestering scientific breakthroughs--and their inventors--because such inventions, no matter how beneficial, might dispute society.
Good development, pace and storytelling--even though it opens with twenty pages of techno-babble.
Interestingly that the rest of the government tries to contain the rogue bureau without telling, much less involving, the elected branches because they hold the people and their representatives in as low esteem as does the BTC.
Even apparently "bad" people--some of them--may repent of their evil and sacrifice themselves for the good. Recent research suggests that the "civic gene", or at least a disposition to self-sacrifice on behalf of the greater good, does exist.
Finished 3 chapters and my eyes hurt from rolling them so much. Techno-babble mixed with cheesy dialog.
So far every character except one is male and nearly all are super smart. The female is "incredibly beautiful" and her intelligence is because she was created in a lab, which is the only reason she is there at all.
I thought I'd love Influx. What's not to love? Cutting edge technothriller just this side of sci-fi? A secret shadowy organisation keeping vast technological advances all to itself to "protect" the world from an influx of new ideas and destabilizing influences. A genius who won't join up. A battle for the freedom of invention and dreams.
Should have been fantastic.
Instead..it was okay.
Jon Grady. Abused and tortured genius. His life and his work stolen. Eventually even parts of his memories. Do I feel bad for him? Of course I do. Only after his escape despite being kept in a hole in the ground (literally) for years... he is suddenly fine with all the technology and can think on his feet against them because "I read the FAQ"
Up until they randomly kill off the token cop and shift focus again.
In short I never found anyone to like in the story. I never found any of the deaths either necessary nor compelling. It was a setting with vast potential (Hello BTC Russia) but no follow through.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
He has to lay off trying to do romance, it's just not his forte. That being said, the action is good, pacing is good but the characters are bland, not sure why I was supposed to sympathize with the "hero" and frankly the ending could have been a mind blowing matrix style thing but instead the humans win. Yay humans are smarter than bad guys with powerful tech! Oh look one of the AIs wanted to be more human... if I only had a heart. Oh wait that's Oz.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Disappointing. Poorly written, poorly structured, poorly paced. There was one bit early on in which one character says something like - now your are just stringing scientific words together in a meaningless way, and I'm thinking exactly. But there were lots and lots (and lots) of interesting ideas and this book did eventually get going. But not well enough to rescue the book as a whole.
I like Daniel Suarez's books. His genre is technology thrillers, and his perspective and knowledge is different from any other author that I have read. He could be a chronicler of our possible dark future. One doesn't expect much from this genre other than some mind-stretching ideas and a passable plot. Influx has as its premise the invention of anti-gravity by a young genius, Grady, and the evil rogue government entity that tries to steal it from him.
The plot is right out of Count of Monte Cristo.. Our hero is unjustly imprisoned. He languished in solitary. A mysterious neighbor in another cell makes contact. Mysterious neighbor engineers our hero's escape. Our hero sets out for revenge.
In Influx though it is all about the technology, which, in this book, Suarez doesn't even make seem plausible. Grady, as a character, has a checklist of attributes: Genius? Check. Loves freedom? Check. Resourceful? Check. Defeats the villain? Check. Gets the beautiful girl at the end? Check.
The parts of this book that thrilled me were the descriptions of how it feels to fly around in an anti-gravity suit. These are made for the movies. In fact this whole book reads like a movie script.
If you like Tom Clancy or Michael Crichton, chances are you'll like Daniel Suarez. If you like erudite, stylish sci-fi, pass by in haste. Find Neal Stephenson's books instead. Especial Anathem. You won't be sorry.
I was fairly skeptical at the beginning of the book, the amount of technobabel was astounding and somewhat off-putting. Suarez, however, wove it all together and created one of his trademark thrillers, from about chapter 7 to the end I was all in.
One particular section of the book had a huge effect on me, the prison they put John in was absolutely and completely horrifying to me, I will have nightmares about it probably for the rest of my life. Everyone has triggers. Spiders, snakes, child abuse, teenage love triangles, whatever, this prison is mine by a long shot. is something Suarez should have damn well left inside his own head and not freaked me out.
Great book that was a bit formulaic and heavy on the jargon.
First off, I love Daniel Suarez's books. I read and loved Daemon under his nom de plume Leinad Zeraus, and gobbled up Freedom(TM) and Kill Decision. This book, Influx, was no different. While not quite as packed with tantalizingly plausible technology as his previous books (Freedom made me lust after its tech, Kill Decision terrified me with its plausibility), Influx is a consistently fun ride into a future that could actually be right here with us now, with us blissfully ignorant. Or not. No matter which side of the "tends to believe in conspiracy theories" line you fall on, this is a great high tech thriller and a great book. Still love Suarez, can't wait to read whatever's next from him.
Героите са сравнително едностранни и с нереалистична мотивация - много емоционални действия/саможертви остават необосновани. Вътрешни дилеми/конфликти биват решени без "борба" - без ясна промяна в ценностите. Много герои, представени за интелигентни, биват лесно манипулирани или заблудени.
В книгата се споменават множество популярни научни идеи и технологии, но като цяло, се ползват основно за "магическо" решаване на проблеми. Описват се "изкуствени интелекти" с капацитет по-нисък от човешкия, защото са без "въображение". Имат самоосъзнаване, но и са под контрол заради "системи за защита". На практика степента им интелигентност и "свобода" варира точно по нуждите на повествованието.
Основната философска тема засегната в произведението не е изследвана в дълбочина. Дори не е ясно формулирана. Основната тема за свободата/достъпността на идеите/технологиите, може да се разглежда от много ъгли, но по нито един от тях не става ясна позицията на автора: = от гледна точка на патентите = от гледна точка на финансова зависимост = от гледна точка на социалния ефект върху обществото = от гледна точка на ефектите върху природата = от гледна точка на субект който е резултат от технология В началото на произведението фокусът е около въпроса "Трябва ли да са свободни идеите/технологиите?", но в последствие е изместен към "Води ли неизбежно технологията до концентрация на власт?". Позицията на автора е, че "Не технологиите, а монополът води до концентрация на власт.", макар това да не е пряко казано в текста. Проблема е че това не отговаря на първоначалния въпрос, нито задълбочава изследването на втората тема. Докато съм съгласен с автора, че монопола е източника на концентрация на власт, мисля че е нужно да се разгледа и въпроса за връзката между теологията и монопола, или дори познанието като монопол. В крайна сметка развръзката, освен на множество "щастливи случайности", се дължи и на факта, че главния герой има монопол над определено познание. Технологията е инструмент, и в общия случай това се изр��зява в повишена ефективност. В този аспект, всеки индивид придобива възможност да постигне неща, които при други обстоятелства не би могъл да постигне сам.
Намирам за некултурен начина по който завършва книгата. Не говоря за сълзливия, пълен с усмивки и прегръдки, типично американски , а за липсата честен поглед върху ефекта от отприщването на всички технологии върху света. Аз, за себе си, не съм достигнал до краен отговор на въпроса, но към момента моята позиция е: Всеки опит за контрол над технологии/идеи е еквивалентен на опит за монополизирането им. Допускам, че има технологии за които обществото не е готово, но и вероятността за подобни технологии е малка. Например, ако се открие технология за "безсмъртие", тя едва ли ще е със сложността на рецепта за супа. Най-вероятно ще е свързана с процедура/материали върху която може да се упражни контрол, и да се избегне сценарий подобен на Приумиците на смърттаhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1.... Не мисля че има начин да се "подготви" обществото за промяна, била тя свързана с нова технология или нещо друго. Единствения вариант е обществото да се адаптира към промяната, след като се сблъска с нея. Най-доброто което може да се направи, е да се стремим към общество което да е достатъчно гъвкаво и критично, че да има нужния самоконтрол. Трябва да се възпита и важността на активната гражданската позиция, за да може да се компенсира липсата на политическа воля за ключови решения.
What a super suspenseful high energy read! This book, 'Influx', will be difficult to put down, so I recommend beginning this book only if you have a few days of uninterrupted hours. Otherwise, there certainly will be pining and misery if you have to wait long to get back to it. Although there are some hard science-fiction elements, this novel is more of a thriller with cool tech-toys fun.
One of the characters, Jon Grady, is a genius. He has invented an anti-gravity device. He has worked for this outside of normal channels such as within a university or a corporation. He has been a maverick his entire life and most legitimate scientists never gave him a second glance. Not a man to allow social or professional disapproval to bother him, he has persevered and picked up interest from willing financial backers and grants here and there, enough to move forward with his radical theories. And now, success! He knows he will be awarded the Nobel Prize for developing quantum mechanisms which reflect gravity, like a mirror reflects light.
On the night he and his team demonstrate floating billiard balls to their backers successfully and begin to celebrate, they are disturbed when armed men break into their lab! These men are dressed in yellow jumpsuits with gas masks and a camera, filming the lab. One of the peculiar men steps out and says, "His judgement be upon you, Jon Grady!" So begins a kidnapping and unbelievable horror. Grady's life is upside down for the next several years.
Evil stalks the world, but not whom Grady or the government or police believe it to be. The religious terrorists who kidnapped Grady are a front for a secret organization with incredible technology - the Bureau of Technological Control. Their original purpose of suppressing advanced technologies for the good of Mankind has been recently hijacked by a martinet leader, Graham Hedrick. Hedrick was promoted to director and he is now in control of what was originally an organization created by the United States government. The reins of technology, he feels, belong to one man alone - himself. Only he understands how dangerous these technologies would be if allowed to promulgate throughout the nations of the world. Kidnapping the scientists and taking charge of their inventions until conditions are right for their release is the mission he completely supports - until he begins to realize the job of managing and expanding the wonderful sciences behind plasma weapons, fusion energy, robots, antimatter guns, clone soldiers, diamond-made protective gear, electromagnetic gadgets, sentient AI computers and genetically enhanced humans who never age should be trusted to him, and only him - for everyone's protection, of course. The organization's other employees should be on an only need-to-know basis for now. That's the smart thing to do.
If the scientists and governments don't agree, well, that's too bad. Hedrick has been rogue for awhile and nobody noticed. However, he is ready to be noticed NOW.
Grady, suffering a cruel imprisonment, has lost everything. He wants his life back. With a little help from fellow Resistors, he intends to set things right and have his revenge. After all, he invented a gravity reflection device. He's not going to be held down.