Wednesday, December 7, 2016
A Must Read Work Of Fiction
I have just finished the book Daemon, by Daniel Suarez and I have to say, if you value cutting edge technical thrillers, this is definitely for you. Especially if you like your thrillers to be scary by the very fact of the plausibility of the book's main premise: That a sufficiently gifted computer/gaming genius could create a very widely dispersed, event response system, set up much like a game AI, to handle specific events, and reactions to events, all in coordination towards a specific goal; which in this case is to bring corporate, commercialized society down.
And because the genius involved here made billions as a wildly successful game developer, noted far and wide for the ability of his game's decision systems to be in another league beyond the competition, the popularity of his games is huge. Important here because not only does it give him the chops to make his dispersed daemon mind boggling clever in running rings around all of our security agencies, it gives him a ready made portal with which to recruit very intelligent, disaffected misfits all around the planet; in a sense then hacking society itself. Giving his new "game" motivated actors that are a great deal more than just NPC bots to act as cannon fodder.
What is even more tantalizing about this premise is the fact that this Daemon gets launched upon the death of the genius developer from cancer; rising metaphorically from the grave to demonstrate an amazing gift of anticipating evolving contingencies and having the decision logic in place to handle them.
Just as important as this being a very good story, though, it is also an intriguing commentary, from a technological view, of the over commercialization of life now (prisons and the military being the main institutions here), and how the monied class has rigged the game to not only keep them at the top, but to make effective, fundamental change virtually impossible. This despite the fact that the new technology of information retrieval and disbursement has made that same game absolutely vulnerable to the diffusion of the ability to project powerful disruptive force.
Mr. Suarez, of course, stretches credulity a bit here in how far even a genius could anticipate contingencies with ever increasing variables the farther out in time this "game" continued to play out; especially as we're talking about a play environment a great deal more complex than a specifically themed, traditional game world. I can tell you, though, that with an excellent mix of believable technical elements, and more importantly, believable characters, you don't care about the imaginative license at all. The story is taught, well paced and spiced with the right kind of action.
This is one good read and I wholeheartedly recommend it.