Friday, January 10, 2014

Seth's ARC review of Influx by Daniel Suarez

What if our civilization is more advanced than we know?

The New York Times bestselling author of Daemon --"the cyberthriller against which all others will be measured" -Publishers Weekly) --imagines a world in which decades of technological advances have been suppressed in an effort to prevent disruptive change.

Are smart phones really humanity's most significant innovation since the moon landings? Or can something else explain why the bold visions of the 20th century--fusion power, genetic enhancements, artificial intelligence, cures for common disease, extended human life, and a host of other world-changing advances--have remained beyond our grasp? Why has the high-tech future that seemed imminent in the 1960's failed to arrive?

Perhaps it did arrive...but only for a select few.

Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they've been working toward for years: a device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics--the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring. This Bureau of Technology Control uses the advanced technologies they have harvested over the decades to fulfill their mission.

They are living in our future.

Presented with the opportunity to join the BTC and improve his own technology in secret, Grady balks, and is instead thrown into a nightmarish high-tech prison built to hold rebellious geniuses like himself. With so many great intellects confined together, can Grady and his fellow prisoners conceive of a way to usher humanity out of its artificial dark age?

And when they do, is it possible to defeat an enemy that wields a technological advantage half a century in the making?

Seth's Thoughts:

*Warning*: a bit of spoilers ahead. Skip to the fifth paragraph to avoid them.

What would you do if you found out that the world wasn’t as it should be? That technology has been repressed and we’re practically living in the middle ages compared to what could be? Influx sets a man named Jon Grady in that situation.

Influx starts out with Jon Grady and his associates developing a machine that seemingly ignores gravity completely. They obviously celebrate their amazing breakthrough up until the point where masked men with guns break in and blow up the lab and everyone in it. Then Jon wakes up.

He’s obviously pretty confused by this. Then things get even stranger. Turns out there’s an organization that’s been in place since around the 50’s keeping technology in check. They’ve got cold fusion generators you can strap to your arms, cures for cancer, the common cold, and various other ailments. They even have an anti aging formula making people practically immortal. Not to mention cloning. That’s just scratching the surface. They’re everywhere too. 

Jon is given the choice of either joining them and continuing his work or being sent to prison indefinitely. He chooses prison over helping to keep his technology suppressed. That’s where I stop my spoilers. 

The book read fairly quickly. You’ll find yourself eating up chapter after chapter, trying to find out what happens next. That little voice inside your head that says, I’ll read one more page and then I’ll stop will keep you flipping to the next page over and over again. Once you get past the first chapter that is. It’s a bit slow while they explain the science behind what Jon is doing. Second chapter is where the action starts and doesn’t let up.

Overall, I would say that if you like science fiction you’ll probably like this book. Fans of light mystery might like it too. I couldn’t stop reading it until I was done.

Seth gives Influx: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?

I received this book from the publisher, Dutton Adult, via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Neither Seth nor I were in any way compensated for this review.

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