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Kill Decision Hardcover – July 19, 2012

325 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Perfectly blending nail-biting suspense with accessible science, bestseller Suarez establishes himself as a legitimate heir to Michael Crichton with this gripping present-day thriller."
     --Publisher's Weekly (starred review) 

"A confident thriller that leaves us wondering not whether its fictional premise will one day become reality, but when. "
     --Kirkus Reviews on Kill Decision"

"A plausible account of how, and more importantly, why, the real 'skynet' might be created."
     --Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, Inc.

"Kill Decision is a fantastic techno-thriller.  As someone who has designed combat robots myself, I found the technology depicted both accurate and chilling."    
Alexander Rose, Roboticist & Executive Director of The Long Now Foundation

"Suarez's fiction is closer to reality than most people think."
     --Chris Anderson, author & Editor-in-Chief, Wired Magazine

From the Author

From the New York Times Bestselling author of Daemon and Freedom™, comes a terrifying, breathtaking, and all-too-possible vision of the world's near future. In his new novel, Kill Decision, Daniel Suarez turns to the timely and increasingly important topic of combat drones.  The book tells the story of myrmecologist Linda McKinney--a scientist studying weaver ants--who is forced to team up with a Special Ops soldier after her research is stolen and used by unknown forces to power autonomous swarming weapons.  Suarez's well researched thrillers are based on real science and technology, and in Kill Decision he takes the very real implications of automated war to its next logical step.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; First Edition edition (July 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525952616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952619
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

DANIEL SUAREZ is the author of the New York Times bestseller Daemon, Freedom™, Kill Decision, and Influx. A former systems consultant to Fortune 1000 companies, he has designed and developed software for the defense, finance, and entertainment industries. With a lifelong interest in both IT systems and creative writing, his high-tech and sci-fi thrillers focus on technology-driven change. Suarez is a past speaker at TED Global, MIT Media Lab, NASA Ames, the Long Now Foundation, and the headquarters of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon -- among many others. Self-taught in software development, he is a graduate from the University of Delaware with a BA in English Literature. An avid PC and console gamer, his own world-building skills were bolstered through years as a pen & paper role-playing game moderator. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Suarez has done it again (Daemon, Freedom). He's written the tech thriller of the year.

He's managed to get his mind around the most complex and terrifying military technology of our time, DRONES, and turn it into a thriller that will keep on the edge of your seat.

What is a drone and why is it terrifying? It's a flying robot that can kill with precision. Drones are currently being used across the world from Pakistan to Yemen to the Philippines, to continuously watch and kill people. Already, thousands of people are being killed by drones each year, and that number will rapidly grow beyond everyone's expectations. Why? Moore's law. Drones are going to get very cheap and very smart much faster than anyone anticipates (in the same way cell phones and personal computers got cheap and powerful). That means they will be many, many more of them, used very often, in a plethora of places.

This is where Dan Suarez steps in. He takes this lethal technology and projects it forward in a way that feels right. Why? He (rightly) uses myrmecology (the study of ants, think E.O. Wilson's Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition) as his pattern for the evolution of drone technology.
He then puts it into a fast paced story replete with military special operators (in SAPs), corrupt defense contractors, and lots of very creepy drones -- which combine to keep you on the edge of your seat.

So, BUY this book. Treat yourself to an education, a thrill, and a scare all at the same time.

Read it before you see it in the theaters (this WILL become a movie).
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49 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis on August 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Suarez's first two novels, Daemon and Freedom (tm), turned me into a fan. Therefore, I was excited to learn of the publication of a new stand-alone thriller. I did not find Kill Decision to be as strong as Suarez's prior novels, but I'm still a fan. I can't help it; I'm a sucker for smart fiction.

This time around, Suarez is writing about the threat of autonomous drones being used by the military. After several opening scenes which illustrate the dangers of these devices, the story builds around a military man on a secret mission to investigate a series of drone attacks on U.S. soil and a scientist who gets caught up in the action. She researches ant behavior--but it seems that her pure research has other, darker applications. Now these two are teamed up with, well, a team. They need to stay alive, stop the drone attacks, and hopefully get the military to see that machines can't be trusted to make life or death decisions.

Now, that's a fairly sparse synopsis coming from me, and you may have noticed that I used no names. I didn't really see the point. The characters were so superficially drawn that I could barely remember who the supporting characters were, and the male and female protagonists were awfully generic as well. I have to admit that I had a very hard time caring about them or getting invested in their story. Plus, they all had ridiculous monikers like Odin, Mooch, and Foxy. (Or you'd have a character nicknamed Ripper interacting with a character named Ritter. Do you really need to make things that difficult, Mr. Suarez?)

And it wasn't merely the characters that had a generic feel about them; some of the dialogue was downright cringe-worthy. An example: at one point the lady scientist asks the military man why he's drawn to war.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't say this is science fiction so much as a near (actually, really near) future war story. I know a guy in Boulder, CO. that consults for the military creating a specialized Android OS specific to the US Air Force designed to fly, remotely, jets. As in F18 type jets. He told me almost 2 years ago about how they had to have autonomous operations if they were cut off from remote control and much of what I read in this book sounds very similar to concepts my friend told me about over lunch at a restaurant on Pearl street in 2010.


So, not so 'near future' as 'tomorrow or the day after' future.

As far as this book is concerned.. exceptionally well written. He's using a Tom Clancy like style and, for a story like this, it works beautifully. Fast paced, (reasonably) believable characters and an excellent plot line.

The only thing that bugs me (and the reason I'm giving this a 4 instead of a 5 star rating) is his trick of getting me to buy the 'whole' story twice. He did this with his first two books (Daemon and Freedom). It's effectively a clever selling technique to make more money. He's not exactly serializing the story like the old SciFi guys used to. He takes a longer story, finds a good break point in the middle, and prints the first book (1/2 the story) at full price, then the second book (finishing the story), also at full price. You'll notice this book is a little short. That's because, I'm betting, he's not done (at least, I hope not. There were some major plot lines left unanswered).

Still, if you like his first two (really one) books, and Tom Clancy's style, you'll love Kill Decision.

Kill Decision
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