book review | Nexus continues in Crux by Ramez Naam, KurzweilAI – Readers of Ramez Naam‘s techno-thriller NEXUS will not want to miss the awesome CRUX sequel, to be published August 27.
Set in a not-too-distant future, these novels tackle head-on an important conflict of our times: between the libertarian approach (those who think that people should be free to experiment with emerging technologies without harming others) and the authoritarian approach (those who want to control emerging technologies that can be abused for evil ends).
I cannot recommend these two sci-fi thrillers highly enough, and I am very happy to see that NEXUS has been optioned by Paramount for film.
CRUX is the second fiction work of the author of More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement and The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet.
In NEXUS, in 2040, neuroscientists build a software layer on top of the drinkable, neuroactive, and very illegal street drug Nexus. The software permits programming the nanobots in Nexus, capable of wireless communications with other Nexus nodes in the same or another brain, to permit telepathic communications and the fusion of individual minds in group minds.
Everyone wants Nexus, the consumers (you can write Nexus programs to fight like a pro, not to mention sex), the U.S. and Chinese military forces, the drug cartels, and Buddhist monks (they use Nexus for enhanced group meditation and, even more interesting, learn how to program Nexus via meditation techniques). The United Luddites of the world fight against this technology, but unsuccessfully, and at the end the specs of the enhanced Nexus are posted to the P2P networks.
A few months after that, as CRUX begins, there are millions of users of Nexus 5, growing fast. Meanwhile in China, in a high-security vault under Beijing, the first human upload lives in a quantum supercomputer.