INFLUX by Daniel Suarez


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In his latest, Suarez (Kill Decision, 2012, etc.) follows the adventures of eccentric genius Jon Grady, who has run afoul of the Federal Bureau of Technology Control.

The BTC is a Cold War relic, an agency spawned by the supersecret government nether world. Cold fusion, artificial intelligence, quantum computing with holographic presence, an immortal strand of DNA and countless other advances are quarantined—but employed—by the BTC, which theoretically is "assessing their social, political, environmental, and economic impacts with the goal of preserving social order." That means Jon Grady, a self-taught researcher without think-tank or university backing, draws BTC’s notice when he employs exotic particle states to create a gravity mirror. Grady’s kidnapped by the BTC, but he refuses to cooperate and employ his knowledge of manipulating gravity for their shadowy purposes. Grady’s relegated to Hibernity, BTC’s prison, and BTC co-opts his technology. The book is premise-driven, with characters running to type. The wizard nerd, Grady, has avuncular advocates like Dr. Bertrand Alcot, supportive retired professor, and Archibald Chattopadhyay, nuclear physicist and a fellow Hibenity prisoner, as guides. Hedrick, BTC chief, is self-important, an authoritarian under a benign shell. Morrison, BTU security, former military special ops, employs his squabbling clones as staff. Alexa, with altered DNA that "give[s] her longevity, intelligence, and perfect form," is BTC’s biotech wonder. A self-appointed prophet, Cotton, head of the Winnowers, wants to halt technology’s progress. With BTC under scrutiny of a new U.S. director of intelligence and Hedrick coping with breakaway BTC elements gone rouge in Russia and Asia, Grady escapes Hibernity and sets out to bring BTC down. The story is atomic-weighted with science terminology from college-level texts, but the narrative is easily understandable. There’s a thread left unraveled and a plot hole related to a character’s scientific and technological capabilities, but the narrative rockets along right up to a good-versus-evil battle that would be better resolved on the IMAX screen than the page.

Fun tech-fiction wrapped in black helicopter conspiracy.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-525-95318-0
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2013


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