Nexus

Nexus

Book - 2015
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8
Winner of the 2014 Prometheus Award

Mankind gets an upgrade

In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link humans 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.

From the halls of academe to the halls of power, from the headquarters of an elite US agency in Washington DC to a secret lab beneath a top university in Shanghai, from the underground parties of San Francisco to the illegal biotech markets of Bangkok, from an international neuroscience conference to a remote monastery in the mountains of Thailand - Nexus is a thrill ride through a future on the brink of explosion.

File Under: Science Fiction [Humanity 2.0 | Mind Matters | Hive | This Will Happen]


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada 2015
ISBN: 9780857665508
Branch Call Number: ON ORDER 2015

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JLMason
Jun 15, 2018

The first in a trilogy, this book is an adrenaline and carnage filled thriller with a chilling and plausible science fiction wrapper. In 2040 naive scientist Kade and colleagues have developed a software drug that permanently alters the brain to allow people to telepathically connect to each other. Like many technologies it can be used for good and evil purposes, which is the moral dilemma at the heart of the story. Combined with genetic enhancements, the feared outcome is the development of a post-human (super human) race that can enslave or eradicate the unenhanced. This fear spawns a new and unwinnable war on drugs by the US and its allies, who selectively suspend civil liberties and use the very technologies they want no one else to have, all justified by the moral rightness of saving the human race and defending against unscrupulous violators like China. The detailed military, surveillance, and genetic advances described in the book are quite credible and demonstrate the author’s knowledge of technology and trends. Interestingly, it’s not AI that’s to be feared; it’s us.

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Ichijo
Jun 11, 2017

Definitely a fan of this book. It starts off rather slowly (and thanks to Kade - awkwardly) but picks up quickly.

I have always been a huge fan of books dealing with aspects of the technological singularity, especially ideas of trans/post humanism (movies not so much - I'm looking at you Transcendence). The reactions of baseline humans to what they equate to a new species isn't anything new (see: every X-Men film/comic ever) but thankfully isn't approached in the same way in every country/culture.

It's a good mix of what you would expect from Vernor Vinge, Dan Simmons (specifically Illium and Olympus) and Charlie Stross. The action is fast paced and fairly brutal.

Really looking forward to reading the sequels.

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Eosos
Mar 10, 2017

When I read a cyberpunk book I'm looking for grit and action, this book was too smooth. The technology and science were great but the world was too clean, the story too linear, the characters forgettable.

lizzietish81 Sep 02, 2015

I loved this book and the two follow ups immensely. As a big fan of Cyberpunk this was a great find, though it's more like proto cyberpunk or post humanism (A friend once joked that Post humanism is how technology will improve our lives, while cyberpunk is about how we will screw it up)

g
gendeg
Feb 02, 2015

So why did I cringe so much while reading Nexus? This is a guy who seems to have his finger on the pulse of post-human discussions, both the philosophical speculations and the science. On plot premise alone, the book intrigues, but ultimately crashes and burns on narrative marks. After you've read William Gibson, Peter Watts (Blindsight was head-spinningly phenomenal), and Neal Stephenson—authors writing in this pocket of science fiction that explores near futures and post-human tech—you'll realize how disappointing Nexus is as a novel. If those authors write in poetic verse, Naam writes in emojis in this book.

First, the tropes and stereotypes regarding gender and race are just unbelievably outdated—and not in the alternate future, self-critical way, but in the lazy shorthand way that defies good judgment: There's the *cough* sexual assault in the first twenty pages of the book as a way to introduce the main character, our "hero," Kade Lane. Meant to be humorous, that infamous party scene only makes Kade, the supposed enlightened scientist, look like Kade, the desperate caveman. Then there are the villainous Chinese scientists and politicos right out of the James Bond universe that Kade is later strong-armed to spy on, who are deviously making clones for world-wide domination. (At one point, before the clones are confirmed, one person casually mentions that he wasn't sure because, well, don't the Chinese all look alike?) Look, I'm not easily offended; my PC-alert levels are switched pretty high. But these were just so ridiculous, it was their ridiculousness that offended.

Science fiction as a genre is compelling for so many people because it offers that imaginative glimpse of the future that echoes our present, our past, and all the timeless anxieties of humanity. And certainly on this count, Nexus approaches these ideas boldly. But this is still fiction. This is still art. When a futurist-author falls back on cliches, it makes all the talk about Singularity and the flush and excitement for a tech-centric future backwards and empty. Nexus is a definite pass if you expect more from your science fiction. I do.

o
Orange_Dog_471
Nov 11, 2013

I definately will read this book, and I'll add comments when i do.
Not to be a hypocrite (i do this 24/7), but in the description, and tell me if im wrong, but i do believe that it would be, 'can link humanS together' not 'can link human together...'
Just checking....

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elf23
Nov 07, 2013

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was well written and gripping. I couldn't put it down.

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nshlega
Apr 25, 2013

Good, solid book, without obvious gaps and inconsistency of the plot. Felt very possible for me. Characters are well developed and believable. Also, there are a lot to ponder about. This book makes you think, not only enjoy the thrill of fights, pursuit, espionage. Good food for brain and good page-turner loaded with adrenaline for the reader.

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