Dec 17, 2012

Book Review: Nexus by Ramez Naam

Book Cover: Nexus by Ramez Naam

Nexus by Ramez Naam

#1 in Nexus series

Genre: Science Fiction

Format: Ebook, 460 pages
Published On: December 18, 2012 by Angry Robot Books
Source: Requested for review via NetGalley.

Read an Excerpt

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First Sentence: "The woman who called herself Samantha Catanares climbed out of the cab and walked towards the house on 23rd Street."

In the future, Nexus is the new popular nano-drug that allows humans to temporarily connect minds & share thoughts with other current Nexus users. Kade Lane, young scientists, in his experiments radically improves Nexus. Not only he managed to make the Nexus influence/presence in human brain permanent, he also installed OS to Nexus nano-bots. So Nexus users can install addons/applications to help them in using their body (just like we now do on our phones). Don Juan app, Bruce Lee app,... (I think you can guess what they can do.) Uses and abuses of Nexus are infinite.

Such ground-breaking discovery, of course, stir-ups a lot of trouble. Politicians say that Nexus is a threat to humanity, army describes it as security risk, criminals see it as source of easy earnings... Which side will Kade pick when neither choice is a good one?

Some people described Nexus as sci-fi spy thriller. I can not disagree with them, the label fits, there sure is a lot of action, chasing, fighting etc. But that is not my favorite aspect of this book. The best thing about Nexus is that Ramez Naam poses a lot of intriguing questions. This is a great novel to be read in a book club because there will certainly be a lot of good subjects for discussion:

Is government wiser than humanity? Whose place is to choose what we can and what we cannot use? If some invention that is made for good can also be used for bad purposes, is that reason enough to censor & block it - or should we always take the chance? What is the thing that makes us human - when will we stop being human and become something else?

Nexus by Ramez Naam reminds me of my favorite science fiction authors: Cory Doctorow with dystopia/government conspiracy theme, Michael Crichton with unexpected twists and action/adventure, Arthur C. Clarke because everything Ramez Naam described has a scientific background. There is a short article at the end of the book and also a separate non-fiction book More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement where theoretical background and scientific progress so far are explained in details. Ramez Naam predicts:

"The next few decades will be more full of wonders than even the greatest science fiction."

I agree and I cannot wait. :)

Altough there is no cliffhanger, the ending leaves us wondering - how will use of Nexus change humanity.

"Would they still be human at the end of this? Might they be something more?"

We will have to wait until September 2013 and Crux, the next book in Nexus series, to find out!

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

I recommend this book to fans of: science fiction with a lot of action, spy thrillers set in future, genetic engineering theme, dystopian novels about repression of human liberties.

Let's Talk:

Did you read this book? Or some other book with similar idea?

If you could install just one app in your brain what would it be? (I wanted to say some kind of reminder first but then switched my vote to super-speed reading. :D)

Any other thoughts or comments?

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