Booklist Reviews 2012 December #2
*Starred Review* Naam, an expert in new technologies and author of More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement (2005), turns in a stellar performance with his debut sf novel. Nexus is a nanotechnology that allows human minds to link up. But rogue scientists are using it to turn ordinary people into killers (shades of Richard Condon's classic novel The Manchurian Candidate). The American government recruits—in other words, blackmails—Kade Lane, a grad student who's been known to tinker with Nexus, to get close to the suspected leader of the mind-control program. But, as Kade soon discovers, one man's villain is another's visionary, and he's forced to choose sides in a hurry, before someone else decides he's too dangerous to stay alive. Naam has set himself a difficult challenge here: he's telling a story in which much of the action and dialogue takes place inside the characters' minds. But he succeeds admirably: one scene, in particular, in which a character races to make changes to the Nexus system by reprogramming it inside his own head, is nail-bitingly tense, when it could easily have come off as preposterous. The dialogue might be a bit raw in places, and there might be a slight overuse of exclamation points, but those are minor rookie mistakes. What matters here is the remarkable scope of the story and its narrative power. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
PW Reviews 2012 November #1
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.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC