From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Monday, May 26, 2014

Influx by Daniel Suarez

An old friend of mine finally got around to reading Daemon, years after I sent him the recommendation, and that reminded me to dust off this post I've had in my drafts folder for 6 months.
On a whim in September 2008, I blogged a review of perhaps the best techno-thriller I had read in almost a decade -- Daemon, by Leinad Zeraus.

I had no idea that innocuous little blog post would result in a friendship with the author, Daniel Suarez, himself.  Daniel, and his publicist, Michelle, would send me an early preview print of the sequel to Daemon, Freedom™, as well as his next two books, Kill Decision and Influx over the subsequent 6 years.

I read Influx in December 2013, a couple of months before its official release, on a very long flight to Helsinki, Finland.

Predictably, I thoroughly enjoyed it as much as each of Daniel's previous 3 books.  One particular story arch pays an overt homage to one of my favorite books of all time -- Alexandre Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo.  Influx succeeded in generating even more tension, for me.  While it's natural for me to know, intuitively, the line between science and fiction for the artificial intelligence, robotics, and computer technology pervasive in DaemonFreedom™, and Kill Decision, Influx is in a different category entirely.  There's an active, working element of new found thrills and subconscious tension not found in the others, built on the biotechnology and particle physics where I have no expertise whatsoever.  I found myself constantly asking, "Whoa shit man -- how much of that is real?!?"  All in all, it makes for another fantastic techno-thriller.

After 5+ years of email correspondence, I actually had the good fortune to meet Daniel in person in Austin during SxSW.  My friend, Josh (who was the person that originally game me my first copy of Daemon back in 2008), and I had drinks and dinner with Daniel and his wife.

It was fun to learn that Daniel is actually quite a fan of Ubuntu (which made a brief cameo on the main character's computer in Kill Decision).  Actually, Daniel shared the fact the he wrote the majority of Influx on a laptop running Ubuntu!