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June Books 24) Nexus, by Ramez Naam

How did this happen? I was almost all caught up with bookblogging, and then slacked off for a week or so; and I'm still half a dozen books behind for June. I guess last week's fairly frenzied attempts to meet with new and returning MEPs didn't help. This coming week is a Strasbourg week which will give me a bit more slack.

Anyway, diligent blogging is the answer. (Also the fact that it's now 13 July and I've only read three bloggable books so far this month will also help.)

Nexus is a rather interesting update of a classic cyberpunk theme, the upgrade to humanity which is being developed and helped by our heroes and blocked by The Man. It reminded me a lot of Neal Stephenson, except much shorter and with rather more rounded characters. I was particularly impressed by the in-your-face portrayal of the EU/USA as the bad guys in terms of constraining the new technology, though perhaps a little less convinced by the relatively benign portrayal of the Chinese government in that regard.

I had heard of Nexus because it was nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award this year, and scored rather well on Goodreads, with almost as many readers and a higher average rating than this year's star novel, Ancillary Justice. (It did less well, but still decently enough, on LibraryThing.) I found it good though not quite as good as Ancillary Justice; from the four nominees for this year's Clarke that I have read, I feel that the judges got it right.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2014 07:15 pm (UTC)
I've read Crux but not Nexus. I'm afraid that I'm not going to go back and read Nexus; the characters in Crux never became people for me, not for a moment. That is, I saw their actions, shown through their own or each other's eyes, and I read their dialogue and the passages about their internal thoughts, but I never got the sense of any of this coming from a distinctive individual with a definite character or identity, and in fact it was hard for me to tell any of the characters apart. I never have that problem with Stephenson's writing.
Jul. 13th, 2014 09:32 pm (UTC)
You may be unsurprised to learnthat the Chinese government gets a shoe-ing in sequel "Crux" (at least, the early draft I saw). Naam is about the clearest-eyed American SF author I've read in recent years where it comes to the evils of Empire as a political style. (He's not a libertarian: he's just not automatically pro-west, or pro-east for that matter.)
Jul. 14th, 2014 07:35 am (UTC)
Yep, Naam himself made the same point to me on Twitter.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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