Influx, the latest novel from Daniel Suarez is certain to be another smash hit. Daniel’s first book, Daemon was a bestseller and foretold technologies that are only currently seeing the light of day. Modern tech like Goole’s still-in-production Google Glass, and lesser altruistic advents such as the recently dismantled Silk Road. Part two of Daemon was titled Freedom™, and was another massive success. This was followed by Kill Decision which proved to be only moments ahead of its time since it dealt with drone warfare and posed a question that is becoming crucial at this very point in time: should automated systems or artificial intelligence be allowed to make critical life and death decisions?
Book number four from Mr. Suarez, Influx, deals with a fictional government agency who’s mandate is to police leaps in technology that are deemed disruptive. The BTC, or Bureau of Technology Control, is proactive in its efforts, striking at scientist and innovators before they can bring key innovations to market— innovations that are certain to change the world in some profound way. When such a technology comes to the attention of the BTC, the innovator behind the discovery is offered membership into the unique and secret organization. But only if he or she agrees to keep their discovery from the world and continues development while working for the BTC. But what happens when someone refuses?
Enter Jon Grady, a brilliant young scientist who has just invented a gravity mirror. He’s concerned. Should such innovations be kept from the world? Is the world unprepared for breakthrough technology as the BTC claims? These are questions that Jon must face before making a decision about joining the BTC. And it’s this decision that forms the plot for the rest of the book.
Daniel Suarez made a name for himself when he published Daemon because he wrote a tech-thriller than was unique in that it managed to get technology right. He described cutting edge current technology correctly because he, unlike many modern authors, actually understood it. Furthermore, the futuristic tech he described was also plausible and well conceived because he had a grasp on where today’s technology is headed. But with Influx, Daniel takes on not only technology, but physics as well. And while I’m no physicist, from what I can tell, he’s done an equally exemplary job of extrapolating the future of scientific research. For the geek audience, Influx will be another techno-thriller masterpiece.
But in addition to his firm grasp on technology and science, Mr. Suarez is also a skilled and talented author. Once again, he’s managed to take what might have otherwise been a bunch of techno jargon and scientific gobbledygook and put it in terms that most readers will understand. If you’re a tech geek, you’ll love the topics that are covered and you’ll be fascinated on some of the ideas that are touched upon. But if you’re just a fan of the thriller genre, there’s more than enough action, adventure, thrills, and chills to keep to riveted from cover to cover. I don’t expect most readers to be slowed down by the science or the technology described in this book. Mr. Suarez has done and amazing job of writing a high-tech thriller that doesn’t get tripped up by the technology. Influx is, first and foremost, a great thriller.
Take a look at Daniel Suarez’s web site here. He can also be found on Google+ as well as Twitter. The podcast, Triangulation on the Twit Network, also just did a great interview with Daniel Suarez and Jeff Gurner (he did the audio book version of Influx).