Ramez Naam. Osprey/Angry Robot, $14.99 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-0-85766-294-1
The illegal drug Nexus—made of nanites in a liquid suspension—creates temporary telepathic and empathic abilities and is feared and revered. Naam's first dip into fiction covers much the same territory as his pop science debut, More than Human: a discussion of the pros and cons of technology that can "upgrade" people, and of posthumanism in general. A rich cast of characters serves to argue all angles of the debate, led by Kaden Lane, a sweet if frequently naïve everyman who is thrust into international spy games and black market warfare as he wrestles with the morality of open-sourcing his own permanent and programmable Nexus variant. While the philosophizing is sometimes painfully heavy, the action scenes are crisp, the glimpses of future tech and culture are mesmerizing, and Naam does an admirable job of giving the reader no easy answer for the problem he's posing. Agent: Lucienne Diver, the Knight Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/05/2012
Genre: Fiction
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