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Crux (Nexus Arc) by [Naam, Ramez]
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Crux (Nexus Arc) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 292 customer reviews

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Length: 512 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Naam’s follow-up to his sterling debut, Nexus (2013), continues the story of Kaden Lane, creator of a revolutionary mind-linking software called Nexus. Set about six months after the first novel, this one is at least as action-packed, but with its political commentary and dystopian elements ratcheted to higher levels. The author briskly catches us up with the characters introduced in Nexus; Kade is on the run, trying to find his friends Ilya and Rangan, who are being held captive by the American government; Su-Yong, the Chinese expert on transhumanism, exists now as a “software being,” her mind uploaded to a computer after the death of her body; and the agents of the ERD (Emergent Risks Directorate) are desperate to find the source of Nexus and to eliminate the software once and for all. Meanwhile, the Post-Human Liberation Front is using Nexus to turn ordinary people into assassins, threatening to throw the world’s governments into chaos. The book would have benefited from a “previously on . . . ”-style prologue to remind readers of the story and world introduced in Nexus; those unfamiliar with that book will be utterly lost here (especially when it comes to the software itself). Those who’ve read the first book, though, should have no trouble picking up where they left off. A strong, exciting, and intellectually stimulating sequel. --David Pitt

Review

Praise for Book 1: NEXUS:
"The only serious successor to Michael Crichton."  
- Scott Harrison, author of Archangel
 
"Good. Scary Good." 
Wired

"One of the Best Books of 2013"
- NPR

"Provocative. A double-edged vision of the post-human." 
The Wall Street Journal
 
"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." 
Booklist
 
"A gripping piece of near future speculation... all the grit and pace of the Bourne films." 
- Alastair Reynolds, author of Revelation Space
 
"A lightning bolt of a novel, with a sense of awe missing from a lot of current fiction." 
-Ars Technica

"A rich cast of characters...the action scenes are crisp, the glimpses of future tech and culture are mesmerizing." 
Publishers Weekly 

"Read it before everyone's talking about it." 
John Barnes

Praise for Book 2: CRUX:
"A blisteringly paced technothriller that dives deeper and even better into the chunky questions raised by Nexus. This is a fabulous book, and it ends in a way that promises at least one more. Count me in." 
- Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother
 
"Nexus and Crux are a devastating look into the political consequences of transhumanism; a sharp, chilling look at our likely future." 
Charles Stross 
 
"Smart, thoughtful, and hard to drop, this richly nuanced sequel outshines its predecessor." 
Publishers Weekly
 
"A heady cocktail of ideas and page-turning prose. It left my brain buzzing for days afterwards." 
- Hannu Rajaniemi, author of The Quantum Thief 
 
"Highly recommended for preparation of the future revolution." 
- Harper Reed, Former CTO, Obama for America 

Product Details

  • File Size: 1323 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (August 27, 2013)
  • Publication Date: August 27, 2013
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BO4GE8S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,664 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nickolas X. P. Sharps VINE VOICE on August 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
REVIEW SUMMARY: Frighteningly plausible cyberpunk.

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Following the events of the first book, Kaden Lane is on the run with bounty hunters in hot pursuit. Sam, having gone rogue, has finally found inner peace in the presence of special children born with Nexus connection. The Post-Human Liberation Front has found a way to weaponize Nexus in a frightening way and the United States government is taking drastic steps to fight such emerging risks.

MY REVIEW

PROS: Expands on the foundation of the original in a big way, continued character development, lots of character diversity, super-cool tech, moral ambiguity, intense action, lays the groundwork for future entries without coming across as filler.

CONS: A lessened presence of the Buddhism I found so cool and interesting in the first novel.

BOTTOM LINE: A worthy sequel that reads like a mash-up of Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy, Naam's cyberpunk thriller is even better than the original.

I loved Ramez Naam's Nexus, an amazing science fiction novel that bombards the senses with espionage, philosophy, action, and a frighteningly plausible future. It's a novel that got me considering the implications of trans/post-humanism in a way I never have before. Fortunately for me, I did not have to wait a second to get started on the sequel, Crux, because I missed reading Nexus at its 2012 release. I started into Crux with a level of apprehension I reserve for sequels of books that I love. Would Naam be able to deliver a novel as exceptional as the first or would he fail to rise to the challenge? I need not have worried, as Crux is every bit as compelling as its predecessor and then some.
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I really enjoyed Nexus, and was eagerly waiting for this sequel. But while the result is pretty decent, it doesn't quite measure up to the original, and Naam made some disappointing decisions.

In particular, I think Crux may have been the victim of its predecessor's success. Nexus was praised for its thrills and action, and I believe the movie rights have already been sold. Naam seems to be trying to be trying to build on this, and as a result Crux reads like a screenplay draft for the kind of action movie that gets reviewed as an "edge of your seat thrill ride," where the action cuts rapidly between scenes and things like "THE WHITE HOUSE -- 18:30 GMT" are displayed in a quasi-military font at the bottom of the screen.

That's fine as far as it goes, and obviously the other reviewers here love their suspense, but it comes at a cost. Most of Nexus's subtleties have been smoothed over to keep the action pumping. All governments are corrupt and evil, the villains are unsympathetic caricatures, and philosophical differences are most often resolved with missiles. It's really a shame: one of the more intriguing subplots made it seem as though the CIA was trying to save Kaden from the less trustworthy branches of the DHS. Since the CIA in popular fiction is almost always a bunch of scheming lunatics, giving them the moral high ground would have been a nice touch. Unfortunately, Ramez Naam has already written a novel in which much of the U.S. government is corrupt and evil, and the easiest way to ramp up the suspense is for the entire government to be evil. So it turns out that, of course, the CIA was just plotting to control Nexus like everyone else.
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Format: Kindle Edition
In his first novel, Nexus, Ramez Naam burst onto the science fiction stage with a terrific book filled with credible augmented humans set in a fascinating future. Nexus was a thoughtful thrill-ride that came to a very satisfying, action-packed conclusion. In his latest novel, Crux, Naam takes his readers further into a world changed by Nexux, the mind-linking, mind-enhancing technology combining nano-technology, pharmacology and software.

Crux is a thoughtful thriller. While the book is filled with gunfire, assassinations, fist fights, carbon fiber and nano drones, once again it is the very human struggles that propel the story. Crux is fundamentally a story about power, the powers of the government and the powers of the individual.

The events in Crux take place six months after the events that made up the story in Nexus. Naam vividly describes both great good and great evil made possible by Nexus enhancement. Some people are empowered, some are addicted, some are enslaved. Naam is very good at writing conflicted characters, showing how evil can come from good intentions, how good people can fail and how hard choices can be.

Naam never lets philosophy get in the way of a good story. While his characters do battle with their consciences, they are mostly busy trying to stay alive and the story zips right along. Naam does manage to find the time to add small bits of humor to his tale, including a great scene where an enhanced Chinese clone and a grizzled CIA operative compare battle scars. Another great running joke are the repeated scenes where the reader is shown that running Bruce Lee software in your head doesn't make you Bruce Lee.
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