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Freedom (TM) Paperback – January 4, 2011
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“Freedom™ surpasses its smart, exciting predecessor. This concluding volume crackles with electrifying action scenes and bristles with intriguing ideas about a frightening, near-future world. The two books combined form the cyberthriller against which all others will be measured.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Suarez continues his popular technothriller, and Daemon fans will be well be pleased with the exciting conclusion.”—Booklist
“An engrossing, fast-paced tale of speculative fiction.”—SF Site
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, his high-tech and sci-fi thrillers focus on the impact of technology-driven change. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
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The book is a high-action, edge of your seat type story. I found it difficult to put down once I started it. If you like this type of story, Daemon will not disappoint you!
This book, while pushing the bounds of what we may think of as technologically possible (now), paints a disturbing vision of what a Bill Gates/Steve Jobs type character whose software/hardware products are literally in every American home COULD do.
The philosophy contained in the book is very poignant and timely to current events. It's rare that a book packs in this much movie-style action with a complex and rich commentary on society; going so far as to imagine a plausible outcome to current problems using the technology that is within reach in the real world.
I would say that Freedom is not *quite* as good as Daemon, but only because Daemon had the advantage of laying out such an interesting idea in the plot; whereas the plot was already in progress in Freedom. The book is still satisfying from beginning to end, and I highly recommend it to anyone.
And so it continued with the sequel, "Freedom". We are reintroduced to the main characters and the story continues. But in a slowly developing twist, we learn that the evil we see in Sobol's "darknet" turning out to be nothing more or less than a redefinition of a culture and society.
The story challenges the reader to consider the world as it had become in the story - not really much different than the world really has become - and what might happen through the effects of a computer-based alternate reality where participants decide what flies and what dies.
At times the story is graphically violent in ways that border on gratuitous. Yet I found an uneasy sense that justice was being dispensed, though at times it was difficult to know which "side" to cheer on. That was the point though, to skew the reality just enough to raise questions about what's really wrong and right.
In the end it's hard to give too much away in a review without spoiling the story, but suffice to say that this is a powerful work of fiction that doesn't stray too far from reality and perhaps give us all a wake-up call about where we're going with our value systems, the forces that might really be driving them, and an alternate view about how we might end up.
As a technologist involved in several aspects of the computer world that is presented I can say that nothing presented here is hard for me to image in reality. Indeed nearly all the technology described is already reality. Less computer savy people might take comfort in thinking that most of the high-tech stuff going on is make-believe. Those in the business however will find chilling reminders of real life and how our wonderful technology-based lifestyle could be turned against us!
That said, this pair of books is the best SF I've read in 5 or 10 years. I finished the book, considered all the games, movies, and books I had not yet seen or read or played, and decided what I'd most enjoy is reading this novel again. It's the kind of book i buy extra copies of so I can give to people.
It's deep and complex, with eight or ten main characters interacting and developing as the story progresses. None of the bad guys are stupid, none of the good guys are innocent. The technology is believable enough one can suspend disbelief.
Overall, you're really missing out if you have any interest in science fiction set in the near future if you don't buy and enjoy this book.