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Apex: Nexus Trilogy Book 3 (Nexus Arc) Paperback – May 12, 2015
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Praise for the NEXUS series:
"Good. Scary good."
"One of the Best Books of the Year"
"Provocative... A double-edged vision of the post-human."
- The Wall Street Journal
"A lightning bolt of a novel, with a sense of awe missing from a lot of current fiction."
- Ars Technica
"Starred Review. Naam turns in a stellar performance in his debut SF novel... What matters here is the remarkable scope and narrative power of the story."
"A superbly plotted high-tension technothriller ... full of delicious, thoughtful moral ambiguity ... a hell of a read."
- Cory Doctorow
"A rich cast of characters...the action scenes are crisp, the glimpses of future tech and culture are mesmerizing."
- Publishers Weekly
"A gripping piece of near future speculation... all the grit and pace of the Bourne films."
- Alastair Reynolds, author of Revelation Space
"A sharp, chilling look at our likely future."
- Charles Stross, author of Singularity Sky and Halting State
"The most brilliant hard SF thriller I've read in years. Reminds me of Michael Crichton at his best."
- Brenda Cooper, author of The Creative Fire
"Any old writer can take you on a roller coaster ride, but it takes a wizard like Ramez Naam to take you on the same ride while he builds the roller coaster a few feet in front of you."
- John Barnes, author of Directive 51
"Naam displays a Michael Crichton-like ability to explain cutting-edge research via the medium of an airport techno-thriller."
- SFX Magazine
"An incredibly imaginative, action-packed intellectual romp!"
- Dani Kollin, Prometheus Award-winning author of The Unincorporated Man
"The only serious successor to Michael Crichton."
- Scott Harrison, author of Archangel
About the Author
Ramez Naam is a professional technologist, and was involved in the development of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Outlook. He holds a seat on the advisory board of the Institute for Accelerating Change, is a member of the World Future Society, a Senior Associate of the Foresight Institute, and a fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.
His non-fiction book More Than Human won the H.G. Wells Award.
His novels has been nominated for the Kitscie Award for Best Debut, the Prometheus Award, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. He is a 2014 nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
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Top Customer Reviews
The final book did not disappoint - raising the stakes, building suspense - I stayed up until 1AM to finish it. So glad I found this series.
"Apex" is a whirlwind of cutting edge sci-fi, political intrigue, action, and ethical quandaries. While "Crux" was perhaps the best in the series at really digging into the merits and pitfalls of competing idealogies and ethics surrounding this technology, "Apex" is a good follow-up to that. But the action, the pace is what steals the show in this book.
The primary villian in this book is The Avatar, the cy-borg like shard of Su Yong's broken mind. The PLF factors into this book as well, with a somewhat satisfying turn of events involving them at the beginning. However, the primary scene of focus is Shanghai and China and events escalating there.
Overall, a very good book. A very good conclusion to the story and world of Nexus. The ending is very bitter, somewhat sweet, and very sad; it may in fact bring a tear to some eyes. But just about everyone's story gets a final send-off before the last page.
A few problems with this book, though, none of which necessarily hamper the overall story. Of course, my biggest problem with Nexus has been the bandwidth problem. Shortly after the movie "Avatar" came out, scientists pointed out that we do not, nor will we have any time soon, the necessary wireless fidelity or bandwidth to transmit human consciousness; there's just too much simultaneous data. Now you could say, "Yeah but human consciousness is just a fraction of the entire scope of the human brain, and at any given time you're only 'sending' so much". True, and this is my other issue with the books: if Nexus had been limited to basically a cell phone in the brain, it would have been fine. But the ongoing issues of turning people into zombies with Nexus, with pushing emotions and vision and full sensory data over things like a CELLULAR network is a bit hard to accept.
Finally there's the issues of sharing all of this brain data through cellular and other wireless networks. This book of course assumes that our wireless networks will become flawless in the future (HA!), that somehow everyone everywhere would, in mere months or weeks, figure out how to proxy this data through the Internet, that the Internet would be able to support this extra load, that authorities wouldn't be able to easily detect those kind of data streams and shut down servers or even trace them back and arrest people, and that various other bits of infrastructures would come to exist so quickly.
To be clear, I would have been just fine with the ideas dreamed up in "Nexus", of people just being telepathic when near each other, of close-range peer-to-peer mind sharing. It's when you get into the whole worldwide mind-streaming thing that things get strained and you have to have to suspend a lot of disbelief. This is of course not even touching on the fraility of human memory and that eyeballs are not camers ...
Despite all that, again, 5 star book. Not enough problems to really warrant any loss there, and what the book strains in believability, it more than makes up for in emotion and action and pace. Definitely a good close to the series. I look forward to Ramez Naam's next story.
The posthuman in this case is Shu-Yong Shu, a neuroscientist that suffered from a catastrophic event that left her on the verge of death, whose memories were computerized and downloaded and transferred into a living clone of herself. The clone was hunted down and killed earlier in the series but the essence of what was Shu-Yong Shu was trapped within a server that was inaccessible to the outside world. In her isolation, not unlike prisoners in solidarity confinement, Shu-Yong’s thoughts and feelings turned toward insanity. It is the insane Shu-Yong Shu that becomes the focus in Apex.
Naam’s Nexus series has a feeling of a science fiction thrill ride; however, the basis of the series also has roots in what may be humanities' eventual reality. Nanotechnology and nano-drugs are emerging technologies that already have an impact on our lives with nano-drugs Abraxane and Doxil being readily used for treatment for specific cancers. Mind-to-mind communication experiments are in the works with presumably a recent success of a rudimentary brain-to-brain communication experiment completed by an international team of scientists that were able to have two individuals communicate mentally that were physically separated 5000 miles from each other. Some scientists are concerned on what is called the ‘Singularity’, when technology surpasses human intelligence which could lead to dire effects on the human race. Naam’s Apex stresses that possibility through Shu-Yong Shu’s repression which leads to her insanity and her retaliation. Though some believe that the Singularity may occur within our life time, others including Naam himself believe it will be many years before we need to be concerned about the Singularity happening.
The Nexus series along with Apex is a fun series and I highly recommend. My only complaint about Apex was that it was a bit too long and dragged on a bit which took away some of the thrill from the ending. Be sure to read the appendix, as Naam gives a very informative review of the latest technology and its relation to his fictional works. Though this is the end to the trilogy, Naam has left a 'back door' open for a possible continuation of the series. As a trilogy, the series must be read in order.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some may have wished for a more philosophic conflict, but I agree with the author's perspective on reality.Read more