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Nexus

Nexus

Scritto da Ramez Naam

Narrato da Luke Daniels


Nexus

Scritto da Ramez Naam

Narrato da Luke Daniels

valutazioni:
4.5/5 (67 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
13 ore
Pubblicato:
Aug 6, 2013
ISBN:
9781480521445
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

"Nexus is the most brilliant hard SF thriller I've read in years. It's smart, it's gripping, and it describes a chilling reality that is all-too-plausible… Ramez Naam is a name to watch for." -Brenda Cooper, author of The Silver Ship and the Sea and The Creative Fire

Mankind gets an upgrade

In the near future, the nano-drug Nexus can link 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, with far more at stake than anyone realizes.

Pubblicato:
Aug 6, 2013
ISBN:
9781480521445
Formato:
Audiolibro

Informazioni sull'autore

Ramez Naam is a professional technologist, and was involved in the development of  Microsoft Internet Explorer and Outlook. He was the CEO of Apex Nanotechnologies, a company involved in developing nanotechnology research software before returning to Microsoft. He holds a seat on the advisory board of the Institute for Accelerating Change, is a member of the World Future Society, a Senior Associate of the Foresight Institute, and a fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Ramez is the author of More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement, and is also the recipient of the 2005 HG Wells Award for Contributions to Transhumanism, awarded by the World Transhumanist Association.


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Cosa pensano gli utenti di Nexus

4.4
67 valutazioni / 25 Recensioni
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Recensioni della critica

  • Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky said on Y Combinator's blog: "Neuromancer meets Jason Bourne. Written by a futurist who worked at MS. … What if you could run code on your brain? Explores moral, political, military scene in a near future world that seems pretty plausible."

    Scribd Editors

Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    Really enjoyable. Clever working of just occasionally overly obvious themes, but generally very well done. There's a new drug on the streets, Nexus now in at least a third iteration, for a while it makes you extra empathetic with your fellow humans no-one really knows where it came from. Kade knows better, he and his friends have managed to hack the nano-tech nodes that comprise it's active components. They can make it longer lasting perhaps permanent and have total control over the effects it creates. But they're not yet ready to release it into the wild. They're quite concerned about the abuse it could generate, and so they and a select wider group are carefully testing the limits. Unfortunately for them they're not quite careful enough in their selections, as they've managed to recruit Samantha, who's an enhanced operative of the american Emerging Technology Response force - the irony of her own enhancements is not lost on her. But her background of parents who did succumb to Nexus3 abuse, has raised her with an very strong work desire to protext humanity from itself.
  • (3/5)
    I remember reading an excerpt from this novel in the Campbell Nominees book and making a note to myself to get hold of it to read, so I was glad to see the book and Ramez Naam show up as a Campbell finalist. What intrigued me about this book was the premise of [science I don't understand] to create an operating system in your brain. A system that you can then connect to anyone else taking the same drug. The creators wanted to make something beautiful, something they thought would better the world. Of course the governments thought of ways to use it as a weapon and wanted to own it or shut it down.

    This book read like an action movie, with two protagonists who at first don't like each other and then come to understand each other. It was a fast and entertaining read, with enough talk about the nexus technology to keep me very interested.
  • (5/5)
    One of the best SciFi books I have read in quite a while. Interesting characters, scientifically interesting, with well-developed ethical issues. And lots of fun and excitement. I'm looking forward to reading the next 2 in the trilogy.
  • (4/5)
    Joint winner of the Prometheus Award 2014 -- perhaps somewhat over-rated in my opinion. Interesting concept of the mind altering abilities that Nexus provides, but the book diverged more into an action adventure than I would have liked. Given Naam's career in technology it could have gone another level deeper into the science.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    Addicting. A well thought out, yet very far fetched aci-fi.
  • (5/5)
    4.5 stars, entertaining and fascinating, narrator is exceptional, enjoyed the concepts and perspectives and the feelings radiating from nexus induced linking. Some descriptions of military response and attitude seem spot in, others I have no idea. Listen to a chapter, you decide.
  • (4/5)
    Nexus is an nano drug that takes the mere human and make them into a transhuman; able to interconnect with others, is far more aware and is permanently connected to the web.

    Kade, the main character has just upgraded it to Nexus , and is trailing it when he is pulled in by the ERD, an American organisation charged enforcing the Copenhagen agreement and stopping these technologies becoming widely available. Three of his friends are pulled in, by an ex special ops guy escapes. As part of the plea bargain he agrees to help them spy on a Chinese researcher who has developed a similar technology. His partner in this sting operation has also taken the drug, and they are always in conflict as to whether it should be released to the public, or restricted. Other parties are looking to use his knowledge and after surviving an attempted abduction, the pace and action starts to increase until the explosive final scene.

    I really enjoyed this. The technology is really cool, from the weapons that are linked to the DNA of the user, to the stealth items. I found that the technology was plausible, even though we are a few years away from realising it. The pace was fantastic, after some of the scenes I’d need to take a breath before ploughing on with the next.

    Great book, will be getting the next one out the library very soon.
  • (1/5)
    { ErROr: Experiencing cognitive dissonance }Nexus is an aspiring techno-thriller written by "professional technologist," Ramez Naam. Naam has done his research on AI (his day job), has nearly twenty patents under his name, and has written widely on post-human topics, most notably More Than Human Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement. So this guy knows his stuff. I expected lovely tingles in my brain where Nerd Girl lives when I cracked this book open.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.It's all a bit ironic considering this is from a futurist writing about the near future, but, I guess, who says futurists can't be victims of present-day stereotypes?On the writing: It's earnest. It really tries. But the novel badly needs structural editing at the scene level. Naam is particularly clunky with his action sequences, and he tends to rely on strings of sentence fragments and odd phrasing, like this: "She accepted the fist, twisting to mute it, felt the pain blossom inside her as he connected."And then there are thematic notes spouted as soapbox platitudes: “I’m not more important than the hundred people out there,” Kade said sharply.“Your work is.”Ilya cut in. “Wats, we can’t let the ends justify the means.”See? Leaden dialogue and action. It just drains the enjoyment of reading this book. A book like this could be so much more nuanced and complex, and yet it feels like … a really bad X-Men episode: “The humans are the enemies of the future. They hate us. They hate our beauty and our potential. Either they hunt us down and kill and enslave us, or we rise above them and take our rightful place in this world."Against this backdrop of characters spouting lifeless dialogue and acting in badly paced scenes, you do get some forward-thinking food-for-thought about the ethical implications of brain enhancing technology. In this case, the book revolves around the hacked nanotech based on the party drug Nexus (the name has a nice pharma ring to it) that allows temporary mind-to-mind communication and psychic communion. Kade and his retinue of scientist buddies manage to reverse engineer the drug and make it so that ingesting it embeds that technology right into the brain—sort of making it hardware instead of software. Not only that, there's computer code that lets you control a Nexus-ed mind remotely. Of course, the government would take notice! The potential for abuse and the criminal implications are astonishingly obvious. When the security agency, ERD, comes riding in and arrests Kade and his group, I wasn't exactly surprised or even sympathetic. Anyway, the premise is within the realm of possibility and there is more than ample opportunity to give these broad concepts around mind and body tech a reboot. The problem is that this book is a bad reboot, and the science, which could have been the best part, ends up sounding like an overly glossed, slickly produced TED soapbox lecture. Smart cookies, these scientists, so why do they talk and act like idiots?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. [Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest and candid review.]
  • (4/5)
    Intense...and frightening. Without spoiling, I'll share that Naam crafted an engaging tale of a not too distant future in which contemporary realities (horrors) are elevated to new levels with imagined technological advances...or not so "imagined"? With a slight hint of spoiler, I admit not understanding though, how Naam gave some of his characters such intelligence with such naïveté.

    Regardless, if this ever becomes our future, I don't want to be around.
  • (4/5)
    I think I do a pretty good job of keeping up on developments in art and science via my RSS feeds, but somehow I seem to have missed the news that Ray Kurzweil and Robert Ludlum had a bastard child together and sent him back in time to grow up as a little Egyptian boy. But, you know, I can't keep track of everything. And better late than never, on such discoveries, I say.

    Fortunately for me, I'm not dependent on myself alone to stay on top of matters. I have people like Lee Harris and the rest of the gang at Angry Robot books on my team. And boy, am I glad they found this Ramez Naam guy.

    Nexus is that rare treat, a serving of what I can only call neuropunk, a still unusual genre, the best other example I can come up with is probably Bruce Sterling's Distraction (which just happens to be one of my all-time favorite novels), though a case could certainly be made for Alastair Reynolds' Conjoiner-heavy Redemption Ark as well.* Like Distraction, Nexus concerns itself with human enhancement technology that poses some sticky ethical, legal and political questions but is out there in the world regardless, and gaining traction. But where Distraction takes place in an America that is so close to being a failed state as makes no odds, and deals at least in part with political figures who are exploiting the tech for various ends, in Nexus, the American government is still iron-strong and opposes the tech with all its military might, repressive policing and scare tactics. It's impossible, therefore, not to see parallels to the "wars" on drugs and terrorism in which our country is still engaged.

    Which is where the Robert Ludlum/Tom Clancy DNA comes into the equation, for while one hero, Kaden Lane, is a neuro-hacker extraordinaire, who has, with the help of a small team, added so much functionality to a mindlinking nanotech street drug (that would be Nexus) as to make it a whole new thing, our other is a government agent Samantha Catarenes, herself cybernetically and biotechnologically enhanced to the eyeballs because sometimes to fight monsters one has to become a bit of one, who is so ideologically opposed to what Kade and his people have done that it's a wonder she doesn't claw his eyes out on their first meeting. Nexus has already shown tremendous potential as a tool for coercion, after all. The irony of a government using old-fashioned forms of coercion to suppress a new coercion tech that they don't control is addressed, but only barely; the tension is mostly between those like Kade and the ambiguous pseudo-villain Su-Yong Shu (a Chinese neuroscientist who seems suspiciously way smarter than everyone else on earth) who value its potential to liberate and enhance and transform humanity, and those like Sam and her masters, who are hung up on how much worse it could make life for those who don't choose to take advantage of its offerings. As if anyone wouldn't, am I right?

    But never fear, the novel rarely sinks to didacticism. It's too busy also being an action thriller! There are lots and lots and lots of fight scenes, with everything from fists to stealth helicopters. Being the sort who twiddles her thumbs through big explosive action scenes in movies, I could have done with a bit less of this, but I understand why it was there; most other people twiddle their thumbs through the parts I find interesting. And some of the action scenes are quite important to the plot, and to the plot of the book's sequels, to which I am eagerly looking forward.

    Some of my friends have complained that there is too much infodump in Nexus, but aside from the unnecessary and distracting "Briefing" interludes**, I didn't see that. Briefings aside, it was just right, balanced out by some nice character moments and some themes I wasn't expecting to encounter here, like the potential dovetailing of Buddhist practice with neurotech (most of the story takes place at a giant international neuroscience conference in Bangkok), though this last element made the excruciatingly long and over-the-top fight scenes all the more jarring.

    This first novel is obviously just laying the groundwork for potential big, big stuff in Crux***, due out in September. And a lot of how I'll ultimately evaluate this novel will depend on what Naam does in the sequel. If it's just another violent technothriller with cool transhuman elements, I might be disappointed. At this point, though, I have faith that Naam has something more interesting in mind, that he's brave enough to try really exploring how tech like Nexus (which is not as far-fetched as some might think, as anyone who follows a science blog or two, or who reads Naam's non-fiction More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement [which I declined to finish because I sing in the choir he's preaching to there, and because his publisher apparently blew the editing/proofreading budget on whores and coke or something, but which you might still want to check out if that doesn't bother you as much as it does me] will know already) might fundamentally change our world. All signs point to that being the case, so far.

    *In fact, one could read Nexus as a sort of earthbound version of the origin story of the Conjoiners without doing oneself any great mental violence. Har har.

    **Why are so many authors relying on this device of fictitious "documentation" these days? It looks to me almost like a lack of confidence in one's storytelling chops, if not an insulting attitude towards readers who "aren't getting it." Authors, once you've earned that willing suspension of disbelief (and Naam did, right away, with a gloriously bizarre and hilarious first scene that I'll remember for a long, long time), readers happily fill in the blanks themselves. They might not fill them in exactly the way you want them to, but that's not your call! Give it a rest and just tell us a damn story.

    ***And I, for one, am grateful that the sequels won't be Sexus and Plexus. What whaaat?
  • (3/5)
    If ever a book was tailor-made to be an action movie, this would be the one. It's non-stop action mixed with exotic locations, plenty of explosions, and high-tech hardware.

    Kaden Lane is a promising young neuroscientist who, along with his friends, has come up with Nexus. Nexus is an illegal party drug - but it also promises (and threatens) to usher in a new posthuman era, with its capability to enhance communication between individuals.

    The United States government will stop at nothing to shut down the threat. They've got a cyber-enhanced agent, Samantha Cataranes, on the job, and soon they're blackmailing Kade into working for them to ferret out further Nexus-related secrets at a biochemistry conference in Bangkok.

    The Chinese government may have its own plans for Nexus (not to mention a cloned Ninja army.) And Thai Buddhists, as well, see other potentials for the new technology.

    Occasionally, the shooting stops long enough for an interesting conversation to emerge: about new frontiers and the debate over suppression, careful distribution, or wide dissemination of ideas that have the potential to be abused.

    The book moves along at a fast clip and is quite entertaining - but I couldn't help but be reminded (in both theme and content) of Daryl Gregory's 'Afterparty,' which I did prefer.

    Still, I'd recommend this to anyone with an interest in action-oriented writing and cutting-edge technology.

    Many thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for the opportunity to read this book. As always, my opinion is my own.

  • (3/5)
    I'm going to admit right up front that I wasn't in the emotional space that really allowed me to enjoy this quasi-thriller of Humanity on the verge of a post-human singularity. While Naam tries real hard to deliver his concepts in an entertaining fashion I couldn't help thinking that Paolo Bacigalupi or William Gibson or Charles Stross would have delivered the goods with a lot more flair. Maybe that's the thing; this really is an Old School novel in that while Naam is nominally trying to be somewhat even-handed about the impact of interactive neural technology he really is a booster of the concept and his concept of transcendence is closer to my idea of a nightmare.
  • (3/5)
    Nexus is the newest drug that allows mingling of minds. A group of young adults led by Kaden Lane have manipulated the drug to make it more effective, sensual, and controlling. They realize they are in too deep when they are infiltrated by Samantha Cataranes a human weapon used to track down and defeat groups just like this. Groups that could disrupt and change the power the government holds on its citizens. A battle ensues with Kade being captured and forced to work for the government and become a spy to fight and pursue other countries in order to take control of this technology. Samantha is sent to monitor Kade but he is not loyal to their cause. They travel to Thailand to meet with Su-Yong Shu the woman the government is observing. Kade realizes that things are not as the government has said and instead joins Shu to fight for his and others rights. Interesting concept of using mind control for the good and bad and how if technology gets in the right or wrong hands how it will be used to benefit or harm.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book. The main characters are compelling. There are no cardboard cutout villains, only people with understandable but diametrically opposed worldviews and motives. The moral questions are interesting, with no obvious answers as to who's right and who's wrong. The tech is awesome. The plot is exciting. Looking forward to reading more by this author.
  • (4/5)
    Characters are just fleshed out enough to not be caricatures. Tense ending which is appropriate while still being fairly predictable.
  • (4/5)
    Pros: lots of action, interesting characters, thought provoking, accessible scienceCons: some of the characters were underused, not as much emotional connection with characters as I would have likedKaden Lane and a small group of other brilliant college students come up with a way to add programmable code to Nexus 3, a drug that allows people to communicated telepathically. Their still incomplete code, which has the potential to transform humans into transhumans, puts them and their upgraded Nexus 5 on the hit list of the Emerging Risks Directorate, a subsection of Homeland Security, taxed with maintaining laws restricting research into certain areas of science. Kaden believes in the best of humanity, and knows that Nexus 5 could do great things for people. ERD officer Samantha Cataranes has seen the worst that mind altering drugs can do, and believes - along with her organization - that Nexus 5 will be horribly abused.This is a novel that examines the morality of augmenting humans to help them become more than human and how the tools of such augmentation can be used to benefit and harm people. Both Kaden and Sam start the book firmly entrenched in their positions, but the events of the story make them both question what they believe. This questioning is thought provoking for the reader, for whom the various pros and cons aren’t immediately obvious, but also allow the characters the chance to grow as individuals.There’s a fair amount of action, culminating in numerous showdowns at the end of the book. I loved that Naam has an ‘extras’ section at the end of the book where he explains the science that he extrapolated from to come up with Nexus and the other scientific advances in the book. It’s amazing the things we’re currently capable of, and both inspiring and terrifying to see what might come next. The science contained in the book is clearly and concisely explained. There are no long expository passages weighing the book down. It starts fast paced and continues so throughout.I had two complaints about the book. The first was that one of the characters was underused, in that I expected interesting things to happen with that person’s storyline but nothing really came of it. The second is that though you really get into Sam and Kaden’s heads, you don’t feel a close connection to them, or the other people who they interact with in the book. When the bodies started piling up I didn’t really care about anyone that was dying. I wasn’t too afraid for Sam and Kaden, mainly due to Sam’s augmentations, but again, I wasn’t as invested in them as I wanted to be. This isn’t a subgenre of SFF that I normally read, so I was afraid I’d find the science over my head. Naam does a great job of making the science accessible and the action fast and furious. There’s enough down time to appreciate the difficult position Kaden is in while wondering how (and if) he’ll escape it. It’s a book that makes you think about science and technology and where we’re headed as well as what role governments should play - if any - with regards to regulating the advancements to come. In other words, it’s a great hard sf novel.
  • (4/5)
    Besides being a pretty damn good book, Nexus also has the distinction of being the first cyberpunk-ish novel that I've genuinely enjoyed. There's not as much as a barrier when it comes to diving right into the story, and there's just something about the characters that kept my interest levels high from beginning to end.Despite being a futuristic techno-thriller, certain aspects about it will feel just familiar enough to cause a teensy bit of discomfort when imagining a world like this could be right around the corner. When bio-engineering meets nano-technology meets the drug scene, we get Nexus, the new pleasure drug that allows users to integrate their consciousness, linking mind to mind. What could this mean for the future of our society?The book's protagonist Kade Lane believes he has the answers, aiming to improve Nexus along with a cadre of his idealistic friends. But while people like them may have humanity's best interests in mind, others' intentions are not so benevolent. There are those out to exploit Nexus, those who would use it as a weapon. As well, there are factions that wish to outlaw it, put an end to its use all together. When Kade gets caught making his own modifications to Nexus, he is pulled into an international web of conspiracy, intrigue and lies.The action and thrills aside, I found the most compelling aspect of the book to be the various characters' perceptions of this nano-drug as well as the outlook for its future. There is no doubt Nexus could do the world a lot of good, but so much evil could come of it as well. Kade is an interesting character; I think it's a shrewd decision by Naam to write about such a bright young man who can also be so naive. At the same time, we inevitably come to the question of whether or not to throw out the baby with the bath water. Do we stamp out and reject the positive along with the negative? Do we say no to something wonderful like Nexus, a new technology that can improve billions of people's lives, just because of the potential for abuse?Anyway, the reason why I don't read as much hard sci-fi is because I'm typically the kind of reader whose eyes glaze over at too much technobabble. But like I said, this is a very easy book to get into. Ramez Naam has a very impressive author's bio, being a computer scientist with knowledge and experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, software development, and biotechnology. Clearly, he knows his stuff. However, not once did I feel out of my depth or overwhelmed by the science and tech in Nexus; the author makes everything clear and easy to understand, never allowing the details to bog down the flow of his fast-paced action thriller. I really enjoyed Nexus; the story itself is great, but it's the philosophy and moral questions behind it that makes it even better, catapulting this book into the realm of being something truly special. A worthwhile read.
  • (4/5)
    Wow. It's hard to know how to describe this book. It's hard to know how to write a review for this book. It's even hard to discuss the technology for this book because it's so incredibly over my head. Maybe I'll just launch into what I liked and what I didn't like about it.I'm a tech girl. Even though it's my background, it's not my passion, but this book made me passionate about the possibilities of technology. The idea of Nexus, a drug that creates mind-to-mind interactions, that allows knowledge to pass between people effortlessly, that can educate people in a heartbeat, is exciting. I want it. The crux of this novel revolves around this drug. The question becomes whether it's worth it to have Nexus released to the general population or whether more people will use it for evil than good. I think that's why this book is so interesting. There are many layers to Nexus, morality being one of them.So the thing I liked the most about this novel? You see everybody's point of view. It's hard to make a decision about whether Nexus should be legal or whether it should be outlawed because there are some good arguments for both sides. It forces you to think about how technology is used and the scariest part of all is that makes you question where our dependence of technology can lead us.There's only one thing I didn't like about this book. The mind-reading. I know that seems like a silly thing to dislike about a book, but I can't stand the idea of someone knowing what I'm thinking. Thoughts are private and for someone to have access to your thoughts in order to have mind-t0-mind interactions turns me off.Having said that, this book is great and I definitely want to read the sequel, Crux, coming out soon. I have a feeling this series is going to be addictive.
  • (4/5)
    The next time someone asks me what book I would most like to see turned into a movie, I will quickly reply, "Nexus!".

    Part Matrix and part Bourne Identity, Nexus is an action-packed read with an incredible depth of human thought and emotion. As much as I enjoyed the shoot outs, rampant and destructive explosions, and the bone jarring fist fights, I enjoyed more the evolving discussion about humanism, connected society, and the questions a future filled with transhumans and posthumans creates. The violence is very graphic and the questions are exceptionally evocative.

    This is a book that will excite readers as well as challenge them to think about the future consequences of neuroscience and technology. Where will our evolution take us, and at what point do we take that evolution in our own hands? What does it mean to be human, and what lengths will we go to to protect that?

    I enjoyed this book. The only negative criticism I have is that there are too many descriptive elements dedicated to explaining how Nexus 5 feels. After the first 1 - 2 explanations, I understood the mix of euphoria and openness that it created. By the 10th or 20th explanation, I felt it was unnecessary. That's a small criticism, but it was enough to break me out of the narrative.

    I recommend Nexus to anyone who enjoys science fiction, action-packed military thrillers, and the questions humanity will face in the next century.
  • (3/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    All in all, this was a fun and though-provoking thriller, but the author's terrible writing made it hard for me to enjoy the book. It tells the story of a young scientist who takes an existing drug that can allow people to connect to each other telepathically, and figure out how to hack it so he can write software for people's brains. The government doesn't want this technology to spread, so they threaten to jail Kade and all of his friends unless he goes to Thailand to spy on a Chinese scientist who is using similar technology. All of this is happening against the background of post-human evolution: people can use technology to enhance themselves to the point that they have mental and physical capabilities far beyond human, and much like in X-Men, there is a lot of prejudice and conflict between humans and post-humans.There are a lot of good things about this book. There is lots of action and suspense, so it's a real page-turner. The book raises some really huge philosophical questions about emerging technologies and whether it is good to develop technologies that can be used for both good and evil, and scientists' moral responsibility for how their technology is used. Naam is a little heavy-handed in his treatment of these questions (characters sit around debating these things a lot), but they are important and difficult questions.But there are also a lot of bad things that I found really distracting. My biggest problem was with Naam's writing. He's a terrible writer. The book is full or repeated phrases, to the point that you could literally reduce a paragraph to half its length just by taking out all of the repeated words. The book is sprinkled liberally with phrases like "Oh fuck," and it's not clear whether its the narrator or the characters who are cursing. This cursing is like a laugh track in a sitcom - the narrator shouldn't have to tell me when to think "oh fuck," but he does it over and over. The characters aren't particularly engaging and don't have much depth, but that's not surprising in a thriller.This is one of those rare occasions when I think the movie, if it ever happens, will be much better than the book.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (3/5)
    Drugs which will enhance our intelligence and our telepathic ability are being developed by the protagonist, but in a form that makes our minds programmable. In some countries, esp. the U.S., this is illegal and is prosecuted with a disregard for human rights that goes even further than the War on Terror. The book makes a good case that if this technology comes, and the author believes a lot of it is already on the way, then it must not be reserved for the elite, nor prohibited, but shared open source style. The book was a bit heavy on flash bang action, but the main character developed and grew in a convincing way to overcome the moral challenges these issues raise. Worth reading.
  • (4/5)
    GoodThis book has been nominated for several different awards and I can kind of see why. It is a very thought provoking read, dealing as it does with human evolution, transhumanism and post humanism, and a sometimes gripping action thriller. I didn’t devour this book though and at 400+ pages it did actually feel a little long for an action book. The worldbuilding is mainly done via “briefings” scattered throughout which felt just a little like infodumps and the author spends a lot of time telling you how the characters feel. In the near future there are transhumans and posthumans in a world where gene splicing and augmentation is available from governments and black markets. There is a nanobot drug called Nexus which allows mind to mind communication and the book revolves around Kaden Lane a hacker who has upgraded the nano drug by giving it an OS and making it a permanent upgrade to those who take his version. You can run some programs on it and the book opens with a vaguley amusing party at which Lane is running a “romantic” program to make him into a pick-up artist, which goes wrong. All is not drugs and parties though as the government is waging a war against “Emerging Threats” and Kade is dragged into an espionage plot against the Chinese when attending a conference in Thailand. The main part of the is set in Bangkok and having visited there last year it was nice to see the city explored. The action is kind of comic book in places – people slammed into brick walls and the walls coming off worse etc. But a very imaginable world of semi-autonomous drones including spider-drones, augmented government agents, shoot-outs and fistfights and aerial dog fights. When Naam plays to his strengths it’s very, very good.Overall – Entertaining & worth reading, if Naam’s writing matches his imagination in future books then they will be pretty special, a writer to watch.
  • (4/5)
    I had to buy the Kindle version of Ramez Naam's debut novel after picking up the sequel, Crux, at the library, so this was sort of a forced read, but I think, apart from a very masculine/blockbuster narrative style, that I'm onto something here. First of all, I love the concept of a futuristic 'upgrade' for humans, linking minds, boosting intelligence, and creating stronger, faster beings. The flip side of that, of course, is a new race of super humans, or 'post-humans', as Naam terms them, and the question of who controls them and at what price. The moral debates in the novel actually intrigued me, rather than boring me silly with a lot of dialogue, because Naam looks at both sides of the question, and the main characters have both been 'upgraded' themselves.The less impressive aspects of the book were the clichéd characters, Hollywood action scenes and constant f-bombing, but you can't have everything. Overall, though, I enjoyed the intelligent theory - perhaps even practice, judging by the author's afterword - and vivid futuristic setting enough to forgive ass-kicking female agents with dark pasts and author-insert heroes. Onto the library book!
  • (5/5)
    This is great intellectual sci-fi, with sex and action enhancements, but if they turn it into a movie they will probably lose the best parts. It is based on very current state-of-the-art neuroscience such as research in mind controlled prosthetics, cochlear implants, and vision restoration. Mix that with the mapping of the functions of the brain, drug culture, and nanotechnology and you have the sci-fi. But there are political and philosophical concepts here as well that are worth thinking about.Any book that mentions the Borg without further explanation is coming from the right direction. The description of the programming of the nanotechnology is very well done and probably taken from someone’s review notes in CS101. If the neuroscience was done as accurately, and I have no way of knowing that, I feel that I have learned some of the basics of that science. Now, is there really an “ontology of consciousness, a map of all the kinds of pieces of thought” or did that just step over the line to fiction? I trust Naam as a fellow spirit from some of the facts he includes such as: “... each contact triggered a memory. An all-nighter in college cramming for her differentail equations mid-term.”; and the title of a paper, “Hilbert transforms in Deciphering Neural Correlates of Emotions.”The religious or spiritual aspects of this book are in the nature of Buddhism and collective consciousness. But this permeates the book and will take some effort to sift out and summarize.