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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What happens when mankind gets an upgrade, December 18, 2012
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This review is from: Nexus (Paperback)
I was lucky enough to be an advance reader of Ramez Naam's first sci-fi novel Nexus -a tightly plotted debut that manages to be cerebral candy at the same time it is as action-packed as any spy thriller. I promise you are in for a treat.

Nexus takes on the question of what happens in the near future when some young scientists come up with the ultimate nanotech drug - Nexus - a drug that allows people not only to read each other's thoughts and feelings, but reprogram themselves from the inside out. Moving from San Francisco party scenes to DC political intrigue to some cyberpunk Thailand environs William Gibson would envy (check out the Bazaar of the Bizarre to see what I mean :) ) we follow the struggles of young scientist Kaden Lane and his friends to survive the uproar their discoveries have caused. As you might expect, everyone wants a piece of them, and not just in their own country.

I liked that there were a lot of strong female characters in this book who added their own dimensions and flavor to the chaos around Kade - from co-designer of Nexus Ilya Alexander, to Samantha Cataranes the cybernetically enhanced female soldier, to the mysterious and brilliant Chinese scientist Su-Yong Shu. Naam doesn't skimp on the history or motives for folks - even though the book moves at a fast clip, you do get a sense of what drives these people to the riveting finale.

What makes Nexus rise above other novels exploring nanotechnology for me is that it does not shirk exploring the societal questions of what happens when humans embrace tech that makes them more than human. This is a complex future - it's not all sunshine and high-tech rainbows. The economic, political, social, and even personal upheavals that come about when taking on new powers in a world that has never seen this happen before - Naam does a tough, thoughtful job of exploring these consequences while telling a good tale.
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