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Crux (Nexus, #2)
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Nexus > Crux Chapters 1-20

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message 1: by Sky (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sky | 1291 comments Crux chapters 1-20


message 2: by Sky (last edited Apr 22, 2015 10:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sky | 1291 comments Still working my way through this part but one thing is bugging me. The science so far has been pretty believable. The backdoor OK. But how is Kade able to connect to the backdoor over such long distances? Eg, when he connects to the dealer in Croatia? The Nexus nodes have radio transmitters, so they can talk in close proximity. In the first book Kade's enhanced Nexus 5 could talk over larger areas, but still within line of sight/a few hundred feet (like at a large party). Now he's tunneling into someones brain in Croatia while he is in Thailand.

Wouldn't he have to have some kind of I dunno, TCP-IP to Nexus gateway, tunnel from Nexus in his head to the IP gateway near him, connect over the internet, then again to another IP-Nexus gateway that was within radio frequency of the party in Croatia?

Or is there another explanation I just plain missed?

Liking the book so far, I just hope that it doesn't go from probable to the impossible, like Daemon -> Freedom did.


Scott (thekeeblertree) | 1049 comments The science in these books is so far over my head that I never questioned how it was implemented haha. I think him being able to connect over long distances is somewhat addressed later in the book


Dara (cmdrdara) I always took it to be kind of like magic. As in, the more you use Nexus, the stronger you get. I never really questioned it.


message 5: by Rob, Mayor of Ghost Town (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 6373 comments Mod
I kind of assumed that the networking had been improved from near field communication or whatever to being wired into the internet soon after it's release.

I recall him talking about how the amount of nexus traffic on the internet was so small it was essentially invisible, but there wasn't much detail there. That was somewhere in this section. He was talking about how his bots worked or whatever.

I mean they built an operating system on top of this drug. Then they added apps. It'd think the first app just about anyone would add would be internet access.

Instantaneous direct access to all the information available on the internet? Yes please.

Then again..the idea of internet trolls coming right into your head...

I'm kind of surprised his beta version didn't have it to begin with. Maybe simply to prevent detection and/or prevent the code from getting out before it's ready.

This is really one of those books that stays with me even when I'm not reading it.

Part of me wants the internet wired directly into my brain. I have long before this book existed. Part of me fears it though. He does a good job of showing the range of things people are likely to do. Some good, some bad, many in between.

I've never done drugs, save for alcohol, and I haven't been drunk since college. I've been offered plenty, but it's just never been for me.

I'm not sure I'd be willing to do a drug to accomplish this. The negative side effects of Nexus aren't covered much (at all?) in the first book, but Holdsman seems addicted to the stuff in this book. That scares me.

He keeps dosing himself. I'm not sure if that's Nexus itself, or he's using Nexus to create a euphoric effect in his brain.. Kaide and Sam don't seem addicted though. They don't seem to have any negative effects?

I'm not really clear why Sam went off on her own at the end of the last book. Wasn't she supposed to protect Kaide? Maybe she figured Chen was enough? I guess she needed a place to find herself after her catharsis in the last book?

It looks like now that she's having to leave the orphanage she has no where to go. I hope she'll reconnect with Kaide. I'm sure she's on a collision course with her old mentor at the very least.

Everyone assumes she's been manipulated. Nakamara should know what's she's been through. What happened to her sister. Is he unaware of the little girl the ERD killed? Holdsman didn't mention it to him in the car, but you'd think the CIA would have access to the after action reports.

This book/series is very grey. I like how there are people on both sides of the Nexus debate. He kind of paints the US Government as evil in the last book, and here he offers a bit more diversity.

A large point here seems to be that technology isn't inherently evil, but people can be. No matter how much good something can be done, people will manipulate it for evil/self gain. Some of the anti-Nexus people really believe nothing good could come from it. They are afraid of the bad things, and for good reason.

I'm still not really sure where I come down on it. I tend to be more a freedom of choice person. So while I might not choose it for myself, others should be free to choose for themselves. Like the parents of kids with Autism. Or people with Alzheimer's.

Kaide supposedly "changed the passwords" before uploading Nexus to the internet, so will the passwords the ERD got from the DJ help/work?

So much to think about. I'll be curious to see where this book is heading.


message 6: by Sky (last edited Apr 25, 2015 07:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sky | 1291 comments Rob wrote: "I kind of assumed that the networking had been improved from near field communication or whatever to being wired into the internet soon after it's release."

I guess we can assume the internet is ubiquitous and available everywhere by this point in the future. And I suppose it could be possible to model a mobile signal or something with nexus? 4GNXS! I know when Chen goes down into the PICC there is mention of Nexus data lines.

"Then again..the idea of internet trolls coming right into your head"

Haha yeah, they don't touch on it in this book (at least yet) but plenty of other cyberpunk books talk about say advertising beamed directly to you brain

"I've never done drugs, save for alcohol, and I haven't been drunk since college. I've been offered plenty, but it's just never been for me."

Nexus as described in the book is very similar to Ecstasy, at least in the sense of empathy it creates in your head. I'd personally recommend everybody try it once in their life, if the opportunity arose to do it in a safe environment

"The negative side effects of Nexus aren't covered much (at all?) in the first book, but Holdsman seems addicted to the stuff in this book. That scares me."

Holtsmann has basically turned himself into a opiate addict (heroin, oxy, take your pick) with Nexus. By tweaking his neurotransmitters he is mimicking the effects of taking an opiate. And all the self-talk Holtsmann gives himself to justify his usage is actually a quite accurate depiction of what goes on in an addicts mind (having been an addict myself)

I'm still working through this section (on ch 16) so I stopped reading your post when I started to not recognize the comments :)

I agree with you Rob, this book (and series thus far) is hitting home and sticking to me on so many levels


message 7: by Rob, Mayor of Ghost Town (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 6373 comments Mod
How are you behind me? You started before me. Lol.


message 8: by Rob, Mayor of Ghost Town (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 6373 comments Mod
And I wonder if you basically pair your brain with your phone for internet. Sort of like a mobile hotspot.

He does mention somewhere about being offline when he's in remote jungles, so internet isn't exactly ubiquitous apparently.


message 9: by Sky (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sky | 1291 comments Rob wrote: "How are you behind me? You started before me. Lol."

:) I lost about 4 hours of listening time due to being on conference calls while driving :|


message 10: by Rob, Mayor of Ghost Town (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 6373 comments Mod
Oh and at some point in the next section Kaide wonders about his ability to connect with some of the people. It doesn't give much in terms of technical detail, but might go towards answering some of your questions.


message 11: by Sky (last edited Apr 25, 2015 07:43AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sky | 1291 comments Another thing not touched on in the book that I wonder about is the issue of tolerance and desensitivity.

The reason you can't do ecstasy every day, or the reason you need to do more and more crystal meth to get the same high (as far as I understand it) is because your brain only has a finite supply of neurotransmitters like dopamine, seratonin, and norepinepherine. These drugs (like nexus) "trick" your brain into producing more of these transmitters and releasing them into your brain than your brain normally would (like when it releases dopamine in much smaller quantities as part of your internal reward system, or norepinepherine as part of a trigger fight or flight response). But the brain can only produce so much, before it's depleted itself of the ability to produce more for several more days.

In the same vein, long term use of psychoactive drugs will damage your receptors, specifically your dopamine and seratonin receptors, so that no matter how much your are producing and flooding your brain with the trasmitters, they cannot bond/pair with the receptors. This is why long-term addicts of crystal meth or cocaine basically lose the ability to feel any kind of pleasure or happiness for a few years after they stop taking the drugs - 1) the brain has stopped producing dopamine naturally since it is used to it being produced by the drug and 2) your receptors are all shot to hell.


message 12: by Sky (last edited Apr 25, 2015 07:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sky | 1291 comments Rob wrote: "Oh and at some point in the next section Kaide wonders about his ability to connect with some of the people. It doesn't give much in terms of technical detail, but might go towards answering some o..."

Is this when he is trying to find Ilya and Rangan? I wondered at that. I guess his ability to connect to a specific peroson depends on his "agents" triggering alarms, so he can instantly connect if his backdoor alarm is triggered, but can't just connect to any person at random.

I do wonder why he didn't create an alarm off the serenity package being triggered, or bruce lee - only he, ilya, and rangan had those installed, right? And if Ilya and Rangan are being held by the ERD, then you can bet they are gonna need to use the serenity package.

But I also guess the alarm for the backdoor being accessed was built into the nexus OS before he released it into the wild, while creating an alarm off the serenity package would require that everyone upgrade to the new version with that alarm - basically he'd have to create a virus and release it into the wild, like he was thinking of doing to close the backdoor.

Side note - ERD - I laugh every time I hear the acronym. ERD is also used as an acronym for erectile dysfunction. I can imagine all the jokes at the ERDs expense.


message 13: by Rob, Mayor of Ghost Town (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 6373 comments Mod
No. I won't get into detail as it's in the next section as I said. Pretty early in there. You won't miss it when you get to it.


message 14: by Sky (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sky | 1291 comments Ah i see, moving discussion to the next section thread


message 15: by Sky (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sky | 1291 comments oh and a few other comments:

"I'm not really clear why Sam went off on her own at the end of the last book. Wasn't she supposed to protect Kaide? Maybe she figured Chen was enough? I guess she needed a place to find herself after her catharsis in the last book?"

At the end of the last book, Sam befriended Mai, the child born of a Nexus and other drug addicted mother. Mai opens Same's heart and lets her heal her past with the cult etc and forgive/love herself. Mai is the killed in the shootout with the ERD. Sam, upon hearing that there is a whole orphanage filled with kids just like Mai, decides her mission in life is to seek out and help those kids. So she and Kade part ways.

"Everyone assumes she's been manipulated. Nakamara should know what's she's been through. What happened to her sister. Is he unaware of the little girl the ERD killed? Holdsman didn't mention it to him in the car, but you'd think the CIA would have access to the after action reports."

Agree here...Nakamura knows her well enough that he should be able to figure it out. But then, he's never done Nexus, so maybe those that haven't experienced it don't realize the profound changes it can cause in a person

"Kaide supposedly "changed the passwords" before uploading Nexus to the internet, so will the passwords the ERD got from the DJ help/work?"

I noticed this too. It's only given one sentence in the book, and after that we haven't heard anything about the ERD trying to use the backdoor and passwords they got from Rangan. Curious to see if he really did change the password Rangan gave out and what will happen when the ERD attempts to use it (and what they plan to use it for)


message 16: by Rob, Mayor of Ghost Town (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 6373 comments Mod
Sky wrote: "Sam, upon hearing that there is a whole orphanage filled with kids just like Mai, decides her mission in life is to seek out and help those kids"

Ah. This is the detail I missed I guess. I didn't realize she was aware of the orphanage before. That makes the start of this book make a lot more sense. lol.


Suzanne | 1582 comments So I am listening to this - late to the party as usual....but not as late as sometimes. Here are a couple of thoughts:
First, I know it is blasphemous, but I like the new readers version of Feng MUCH more than Luke Daniels Feng. In the past book Feng sounded way too cartoony to me - took me out of the story and in fact, I ended up reading a lot instead of listening. I love Luke Daniels usually, but....

I've thought often, 'if you make a backdoor with your friends and they are captured...CHANGE the password!!" I hope it is really changed, because if not, that will bother me - way too stupid not to change it.

I was waiting for the little girl to be mentioned to Nakamura. It is like the ERD people wiped all of the reasons for Sam to rebel out of their minds.

I like the great arguments for and against Nexus. It is good we are seeing the addict side, the positive autistic children side, the compulsion, and a lot of other things. The issue is complex- I love that!


message 18: by Sky (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sky | 1291 comments Suzanne wrote: "So I am listening to this - late to the party as usual....but not as late as sometimes. Here are a couple of thoughts:
First, I know it is blasphemous, but I like the new readers version of Feng ..."


Agree on all counts! The old Feng was a little too Martin Yan fake Chinese accent for my tastes (Martin Yan speaks perfect English)

Yeah, I was wondering when we'd start seeing the addiction/tolerance side of things... Nothing is black and white in the book and its awesome.


Lindsay | 545 comments I'm reading this at the moment as well Suzanne.

With regards to the password for the backdoors into Nexus, it's not clear to me how that would work. The passwords would have been coded in with the backdoors ie., part of the blueprint for Nexus 5 (or at least the post-capture version of Nexus 5 that Kaden, Ilya and Rangan cooked up).

So you could change the backdoor passwords on any currently network connected brain, but both offline brains and new Nexus installations (infections?) would still have the old password.


Lindsay | 545 comments Regarding Holtzmann, he's using Nexus to alter the production of basic psychoactive chemicals in his brain. Psychoactive drugs typically work by either pretending to be one of the brain's natural chemicals, or by triggering their production or by interacting with their receptors. In every case, the brain will react in a number of potential ways including addiction behavior, resistance and chemical tolerance.

So while Holtzmann's method of administering "drugs" is novel, he's displaying all the typical junkie responses.


message 21: by Sky (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sky | 1291 comments Yeah,I think i'd like an interface to tweak my dopamine and seratonin levels more than having my brain connected to the internet :P

The password scheme was hidden in the compiler for the Nexus OS and the backdoor is inserted into the binary during compilation (rather than hiding the backdoor code in the source) so changing the passwords to the backdoor would also require altering the compiler that is compiling nexus, otherwise you'd recompile new versions with the old password even after changing it (along with offline/new installs) :P


message 22: by Rob, Mayor of Ghost Town (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 6373 comments Mod
Lindsay wrote: "So you could change the backdoor passwords on any currently network connected brain, but both offline brains and new Nexus installations (infections?) would still have the old password"

Yeah. That'd be my guess. But I suspect most people wouldn't stay offline for long.


Suzanne | 1582 comments Ok...I'm glad it at least isn't as simple as "change password."

I agree - I'd want to use it...but I'd also be scared to use it - I do NOT want the possibility of others controlling my mind. But at the same time....it has so much potential. Tough call!


message 24: by Rob, Mayor of Ghost Town (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 6373 comments Mod
While what you're saying about the need to recompile is probably true, I also suspect new versions are compiled and releases quite frequently, especially at this phase.


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