Wednesday, August 01, 2018

13. Daemon by Daniel Suarez

Meezly had been encouraging me to read this one for a while and the only reason it stayed on my on-deck shelf for so long was because it was a really good condition first edition hardback.  I took it on vacation and only read it when indoors so it made it back unscathed.

Daemon is a really entertaining tech thriller that is over the top but still close to being plausible.  Near the end, it bogs down a bit in excessive emphasis on inventive hardware and videogamey action.  The story is basically Ready Player One except the dead tech genius is totally malevolent, which is a great concept.  He's an Elon Musk/Jeff Bezos type character who sets up redundant, autonomous daemons all over the internet to make the world the way he wants it to be after his death.  Significant mayhem and society changing trouble ensues.  The worldbuilding/though exercise is really well done.  Some of his IT jargon is laughable (he comes from the industry and gets the big picture, but I question how much work he actually did in the trenches as some of his low-level details sound like he copy and pasted them from bad documentation), but the overall idea of a world controlled via a ghost in the internet is quite compelling and rich and honestly a bit frightening.

The other flaw in the book is that some of his characters believe things they are told immediately and react to them with complete conviction even though these are otherwise skeptical tech people and/or law enforcement.  The protagonist is messily framed and everybody just hates him all of a sudden.  That was a bit difficult to maintain my suspension of disbelief.

Still, a really fun read and a darker anodyne to Ready Player One's simplistic optimism of the individual.  

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