science-fiction, writing, technology
Nexus was recommended to me by a friend who worked with the author at Microsoft and was one of the early test readers. I had a look at the synopsis and decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did.
Nexus is a near future (about 30 years) science fiction story that explores the possibilities of human enhancement. It has been labelled a technothriller and it lives up to that billing in every sense. Various characters in the book have upgraded themselves, whether physically, mentally or emotionally, and achieved by various means. The use of those upgrades and the potential for them to change society are the core elements of the story.
Rather than assuming an X-Men or Heroes-like human evolution to explain the characters’ abilities, the enhancements in Nexus are through technological enhancement. The science behind it is an extension of real and current technologies that exist today. There is some explanation within the story and necessarily some associated language but it never becomes difficult to read.
The main characters themselves grapple with the ethics associated with the technologies and how they could be utilised, and although there is something of a conclusion, as a reader I didn’t feel particularly pushed to any given viewpoint.
Should we interfere with nature?
Where should we draw the line?
When does someone cease to be human?
It is very much an action book, with a number of fight scenes that are fast-paced and very well written. I’ve read a couple of reviews that complained about uneven pacing but I disagree that this is an issue. There are a few surprises thrown in too.
It isn’t perfect. There are a few minor inconsistencies and some of the location description is stereotyped and a little repetitive. Most of the characters I found convincing but a couple of them (Samantha and Watson) a little less so. These barely detract though from an often gripping, well conceived and thought-provoking story. It would surely make a great film too in the right hands. Highly recommended.
Nexus was written by Ramez Naam (http://rameznaam.com) and published by Angry Robot.