Nexus

( 33 )

Overview

Winner of the 2014 Prometheus Award

Mankind gets an upgrade

In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link humans together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.

When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of ...

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Nexus

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Overview

Winner of the 2014 Prometheus Award

Mankind gets an upgrade

In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link humans together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.

When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.

From the halls of academe to the halls of power, from the headquarters of an elite US agency in Washington DC to a secret lab beneath a top university in Shanghai, from the underground parties of San Francisco to the illegal biotech markets of Bangkok, from an international neuroscience conference to a remote monastery in the mountains of Thailand – Nexus is a thrill ride through a future on the brink of explosion.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Humanity 2.0 | Mind Matters | Hive | This Will Happen ]

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The illegal drug Nexus—made of nanites in a liquid suspension—creates temporary telepathic and empathic abilities and is feared and revered. Naam's first dip into fiction covers much the same territory as his pop science debut, More than Human: a discussion of the pros and cons of technology that can "upgrade" people, and of posthumanism in general. A rich cast of characters serves to argue all angles of the debate, led by Kaden Lane, a sweet if frequently naïve everyman who is thrust into international spy games and black market warfare as he wrestles with the morality of open-sourcing his own permanent and programmable Nexus variant. While the philosophizing is sometimes painfully heavy, the action scenes are crisp, the glimpses of future tech and culture are mesmerizing, and Naam does an admirable job of giving the reader no easy answer for the problem he's posing. Agent: Lucienne Diver, the Knight Agency. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"Good. Scary Good."
-Wired

"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."
-Booklist

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

“Naam displays a Michael Crichton-like ability to explain cutting-edge research via the medium of an airport techno-thriller.”
SFX Magazine 

"A superbly plotted high-tension technothriller ... full of delicious, thoughtful moral ambiguity ... a hell of a read." -Cory Doctorow

"Nexus and Crux are a devastating probe into the political consequences of transhumanism; a sharp, chilling look at our likely future." 
– Charles Stross, author of Singularity Sky and Halting State

"A gripping piece of near future speculation... all the grit and pace of the Bourne films." -Alastair Reynolds, author of Revelation Space

"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 your plummeting car... you'll want to read it before everyone's talking about it."
John Barnes, author of the Timeline Wars and Daybreak series.

"An incredibly imaginative, action-packed intellectual romp! Ramez Naam has turned the notion of human liberty and freedom on its head by forcing the question: Technology permitting, should we be free to radically alter our physiological and mental states?"
- Dani Kollin, Prometheus award winning author of The Unincorporated Man

"The only serious successor to Michael Crichton working in the future history genre today." 
- Scott Harrison, author of Archangel
 
"If you are posthuman or transhuman this is an absolute must-read for you; and even mere mortals will love it." 
Philip Palmer, author of Version 43 and Hell Ship
 
"Ramez writes excellent action sequences, incorporating his technology well, and the lives at stake are more than just cardboard cutouts. No one in this story is 'as meets the eye'" 
- Timothy C. Ward

 "a fast, fun read which is both emotionally engaging and thought-provoking. You'll be mulling over the implications of Nexus — the book and the drug — long after you put the book down."
-Analee Newitz, io9.com 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780857662934
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 12/18/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 460
  • Sales rank: 159,157
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 33 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 18, 2012

    Deliciously edgy. Hauntingly dark. A rip-roaring roller-coaster

    Deliciously edgy. Hauntingly dark. A rip-roaring roller-coaster of a ride where no one is safe, and no one wins. 

    I'm not a traditional science fiction fan, but Naam's first novel held me spellbound from the first chapter, eliciting a flurry of ooohs, aahs, grimaces, tears, and sleepless hours along the way.  Naam is a lively story teller who creates a richly textured but gloriously flawed world that is dishearteningly similar to our own.  He gives life to a memorable cast of characters who are skittishly trying to navigate a world filled with moral ambiguity and uncertainty.  In a world where right and wrong are hazily grey, Naam leads the reader from the neon parties of San Francisco counterculture through the tropical, vibrant riot of Bangkok to placid mountain monasteries filled with saffron-robed monks.  

    Nexus is a gritty, steel-eyed gaze into a future where the definition of what it means to be human is beginning to blur.  When dewy-eyed grad student Kaden Lane is caught working with Nexus, an illegal nano-technology that allows neurons to communicate remotely, he is plunged into a world where human life is sacrificed for humanity and the stakes are higher than he ever imagined.  Samantha Cataranes, the government agent charged with keeping him both alive and in line, must battle not only muscled thugs but a past that she cannot escape.  Together they just might survive, but is the cost one that they can bear to pay?  

    Combining the international intrigue of Tom Clancy, the unnerving realism of Michael Crichton, and the tortured ethics of Orson Scott Card, Ramez Naam is a name to remember, and Nexus is a book you'll never forget.  

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    First of all, I would like to thank Netgalley and Angry Robot pu

    First of all, I would like to thank Netgalley and Angry Robot publishing company for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review!

    Nexus was definitely a thriller! This book made me think. I love books like that. The message of the book was strong. Should we as humans be allowed to enhance ourselves? What would the government do to control the mere humans? How far will their "protection" go?

    "In space," she said, "no one can hear you dance." This line absolutely cracked me up. This book starts off light and has moments of fun. But, is actually a high octane mega trip with lots of action. The character of Sam (the narc) is a complete bad ass, made to fight. She has her reasons for becoming what she is, but should she be listening to her government superiors? Her inner battle is brutal and raw.

    But overall, it is a story of Kaden Lane and his fight to do what he thinks is right. You see, Kaden is the creator of Nexus 5 which is a drug that interlinks human brains to share information, thoughts, feelings. The "good" and the bad guys both want the Nexus 5 secret and will stop at nothing to obtain it. .. or destroy him.

    As you all know, I am a sucker for anything Albert Einstein. Well, at several points in the book, Kade reflects upon some of Einstein's thoughts. "The problems we currently face can't be solved at the level of thinking that created them." Of course, this made me fall in love with this book even more!

    There are also some highly important side characters that assist in moving the plot along greatly. Also, most of the book takes place in Thailand and Naam's world building is brilliant. I could see everything through his writing. 

    At the very end of the book, there is a section called Extras. It details Naam's own encounters with neuroscience and some of the advances he has seen in restoring sight, hearing and limb function through outside stimuli. The last paragraph of this section encompasses Naam's views:

    "To understand a thing is to gain the power to change it. We're surging in our understanding of our own makeup – our genes, our bodies, and especially our minds. The next few decades will be more full of wonders than even the greatest science fiction." – Ramez Naam

    There is so much more I could say about this book, but I know I would have spoilers and I really hate reviews with spoilers!

    So, I will end with this.

    If you had the opportunity to take a drug and be able to interlink your mind with other humans, would you do it? 

    5 stars to Nexus for being such a trip!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2014

    A very good read! It did start out a bit slow, I made myself st

    A very good read! It did start out a bit slow, I made myself stick with it and glad I did.

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  • Posted March 7, 2014

    Started of slow then draws you in.

    Started of slow then draws you in. Although it is a "mind" story )in a sense) I think the author could have got us more involved in a few of the characters. Would like a little more emotion. Other then that it is definitely a very good read and makes you think. I just got contacted about a second book so of course I will read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

    One of the most interesting and thought provoking books I have read in a while.

    I have read a lot of books with similar themes and with varyingly successful techno thriller plots, so I wasn't expecting much. What I got was a book that made me think, grabbed me and wouldn't let me put it down.

    Solid, multi faceted characters groping with hard questions that will stick with you long after you put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    Thrilling, complex, and intelligently provocative

    A great sci-fi read that is also highly plausible in today's society. Naam's novel reveals the conflicting levels of connection and disconnection in a world obsessed with technology and power. Both eerie and hopeful concurrently, Nexus will encourage the mind to think critically; an art that has been lacking in the recent decade. Well worth the journey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    So good

    Near perfection

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Hooked from the start!

    Had me hook-line and sinker from the first few pages! Exceptionally intriguing, the thoughts this book brings to the forefront of our age of science.
    Looking forward to the next one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    An extremely enjoyable book.  I was hooked very early on.  A gre

    An extremely enjoyable book.  I was hooked very early on.  A great cast of thoughtful, interesting characters and an intellectually
    interesting and fun read.  If you enjoyed Neal Stephenson's Reamde then you will like Naam's Nexus.  Have already pre-ordered
    the sequel Crux.   

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  • Posted August 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Read

    Just finished the book Nexus by Ramez Naam. The author has done an excellent job of creating three dimensional characters, none of which are all good or all bad. Plotting was tight and kept me reading into the late hours of the night. I can't wait for the second novel to be released later this month!

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  • Posted May 28, 2013

    Very good read.  Technical, but not too technical, and thought p

    Very good read.  Technical, but not too technical, and thought provoking.  A view on the probable future that we face with our emerging technologies of genetics, nanotech, and computers.  Gives the viewpoint for both pro and con with leanings towards pro.  I believe it gives good reasons for the pro argument.

    The best part is the tech portions fit seamlessly with the fast-paced and interesting story.  It is not just a vehicle for espousing the authors viewpoints on certain technologies, but an action packed thriller also.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    Tightly written sci fi thriller

    A very well paced thriller. While it is very much for fans of cyberpunk, it does not simply take that as a backstory. Instead, Ramez has intelligently extrapolated an incredibly satisying and believable near future. Ramez's experience as an actual software developer and coder adds massive credibility and nuance throughout the novel. Highly reccomended read for fans of Cyberpunk or Michael Crichton

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  • Posted January 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommend

    This is a fast action, scientific thriller- A great book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Scary and exhilarating

    Both fascinating and frightening. Well written near future science fiction.

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  • Posted January 5, 2013

     Finding good near future scifi is often difficult, but this sto

     Finding good near future scifi is often difficult, but this story is a good find. If you like stories like Rainbows End, you will love Nexus.

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  • Posted December 21, 2012

    Nexus is awesome, near-future sci-fi action that brings decadent

    Nexus is awesome, near-future sci-fi action that brings decadent artists, geek heroes, augmented soldiers, and angry governments into one, sprawling fray. It's dark but not dystopian, brutal in places but unabashedly optimistic as well, reminding me of Iain Banks.

    The central sci-fi concept is an imaginative synthesis of nanotechnology and brain-computer interfaces, but the real beauty is in the uses envisioned for the "drug". The protagonist inventors' aim to enable a future in which humans are intimately connected and empowered to reshape our own minds and bodies. And my favorite character isn't even one of the good guys, though the lines are wonderfully blurred.

    Nexus is also about fear, resistance to change, and fighting for the right to embrace it. The socio-political divide that results from the use and abuse of the new technology is disturbingly plausible. The personal and large-scale conflicts provide a lens through which to consider what we should do and will do with new power, a scientist's dilemma, and what happens at the intersection of spirituality and technology. Read it for the thought-provoking aspects or because it's a furious, sexy tale about how cool and how crazy our world could become.

    I love having future- and science-fiction authors pitch their visions by weaving them into alluring stories, not just showing us a version of what might be but coaxing us toward it. Naam is preaching, and all sermons should be so hard to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2012

    Full disclosure: I was an early reader for Ramez Naam. I'll try

    Full disclosure: I was an early reader for Ramez Naam. I'll try not to gush. I will likely fail.

    The very first time I read a draft of the first chapter of Nexus, I knew it was going to be something special. It was chock full of intriguing ideas that streamed out with the velocity of a Zodiac zipping through a Neal Stephenson novel, and Ramez combined those great ideas with a wicked sense of humor, non-stop cinematic action, and characters you really cared about. How often do you come across such a great combination?!

    I've had the honor to see Nexus develop into something reminiscent of - yes - Mr. Stephenson's best idea-factory books, with a little Jim Butcher for irreverent dialogue, and a little Vernor Vinge for swift, compelling changes in character perspective. And yeah, I've thrown out a bunch of names and comparisons to hopefully give you an idea of what the book is like and whether you'll enjoy the zeitgeist of it, but more than a bunch of cool stylistic choices, this book is just BIG FUN -- smart, hard SF with transhuman chocolate sprinkles to top it off.

    I can't wait to read Crux!

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  • Posted December 21, 2012

    Imagine the possibility of being able to program your own brain

    Imagine the possibility of being able to program your own brain - from subroutines which allow you to be more confident in social settings, to shared psychedelic experiences, to controlling your body's responses to pain, fear and the like. Nexus, a substance created by the novel's protagonists, allows you to do these things and more.
    Of course, this draws lots of attention - from governments, researchers, organized crime.
    Nexus is a delightful romp of a book, unafraid to grapple with big questions about the individual vs society, yet at the same time filled with lots of delight of the sex and drugs and rock-n-roll variety. Except now it's sex and nanotechnology and electronic music. The book contains explorations of the dark side of such power as well as the desire for freedom and the creation of a new collective view of the world.
    For me, Nexus takes a spot on the shelf with William Gibson's Neuromancer and Warren Ellis' Crooked Little Vein as top-notch debut novels; Naam's writing tugs you along, eager to discover what lurks down this dark alley, who's pulling what strings. I look forward eagerly to more from this author.

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  • Posted December 20, 2012

    A action packed thrill ride and thought provoking. With strong c

    A action packed thrill ride and thought provoking. With strong characters and set in the near future I found I could identify with the players and their situations more so than in most science fiction. The political overtones relate to events that face society today such as the drug war and bans on certain types of biotechnology research. It has the right amount of tension without being manipulative, drawing the reader in with unanswered questions and tight action scenes.

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  • Posted December 20, 2012

    This was a one day read for me. Be prepared to lose a day of you

    This was a one day read for me. Be prepared to lose a day of your life as you dive into the world of Nexus. Eerily real in some ways, perhaps telling of our future, you will be captivated by the story. More please Mr. Naam.

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