Earlier this year I read a novel that captivated and simultaneously scared the shit out of me. It didn’t scare me in a horror movie kind of way… It scared me in a “large portions of this could work” kind of way. The book was Daniel Suarez’s Daemon.
Daemon has it all, crime, technology, compelling characters, unexpected plot twists, and a brutal look at alternate applications of technology.
“Originally self-published, Suarez’s riveting debut would be a perfect gift for a favorite computer geek or anyone who appreciates thrills, chills and cyber suspense. Gaming genius Matthew Sobol, the 34-year-old head of CyberStorm Entertainment, has just died of brain cancer, but death doesn’t stop him from initiating an all-out Internet war against humanity. When the authorities investigate Sobol’s mansion in Thousand Oaks, Calif., they find themselves under attack from his empty house, aided by an unmanned Hummer that tears into the cops with staggering ferocity. Sobol’s weapon is a daemon, a kind of computer process that not only has taken over many of the world’s computer systems but also enlists the help of superintelligent human henchmen willing to carry out his diabolical plan. Complicated jargon abounds, but most complexities are reasonably explained. A final twist that runs counter to expectations will leave readers anxiously awaiting the promised sequel. (Jan.)”
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
To add a spoilerish piece to the description I pulled from Amazon, Sobol’s Daemon works by spidering Internet news sites and looking for events. Once those events transpire, they trigger new ones. The first event was Sobol’s own death; his obituary was published. Then the Daemon murders a couple of people; stories of their deaths trigger more events, and so on. It makes insanely good sense.
One big plus of the book is that it explains a lot of the technology, so you don’t need to be too geeky to understand it.
Most of the technology in the book is incredibly grounded, while the story takes off in fanciful directions. All-in-all, a great and compelling read that I should have written about months ago.
Why am I writing about this now?
Why did I spoil a portion of the early story?
Back when I read the book I subscribed to the Daemon Technology Feed on my Google Reader. The feed linked to interesting tech stories and other geeky things, then it went silent after February 25, 2009. For some reason I never unsubscribed, but yesterday, it started publishing new and cool things again.
I’m sure the Feed turned back on because the Daemon sequel, Freedom is hitting bookstore shelves on January 7, 2010… but after reading the book, I have to admit there was something mildly frightening about seeing it become active again.