Monday, June 26, 2017

Influx, by Daniel Suarez

What if there were a secret government agency tasked with keeping a lid on potentially society-changing new technologies?  In Daniel Suarez's Influx, the Bureau of Technology Control keeps tabs on innovative thinkers.  If they catch wind of new technology that would be disruptive to the social order, they swoop in and recruit the scientists to join them.  Unfortunately, many scientists aren't interested in the recruiting pitch and are made to disappear to a super secret prison.

One of those innovators is Jon Grady, who has developed a way to manipulate gravity.  The BTC destroys his lab and his work, kidnaps him and fakes his death, and tries to persuade him to join their work.  He resists, and they lock him up and subject him to extensive interrogation and tortuous experimentation.  With the help of other imprisoned scientists, Grady escapes and begins a wild chase and a massive technological showdown.

Suarez's technology is speculative of course, but much of what he BTC is keeping under wraps is wholly believable.  Despite the logic of the BTC, their arrogance and downright evil doesn't allow much room to support their cause.  Grady is a hero among heroes, not only fighting for his own physical and intellectual freedom, but fighting to bring down the BTC and to free and avenge his fellow scientists.

Influx is a page turner with lots of twists and turns and betrayals and acts of valor.  It's a celebration of the human drive to create and innovate.  Grady and his new friends refuse to let the BTC dictate the future and control their creations.  The action is  way over the top, but in a good way.  It's summer blockbuster level, should the movie ever be made.  (It might be interesting to see Detroit destroyed. . . .)  Great action, interesting science, fun characters, original ideas--all the elements of entertaining sci-fi are included.

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