Book review: Nexus by Ramez Naam

Nexus-cover

Nexus by Ramez Naam

Genre: Science fiction

Publisher: Angry Robot Books

Blurb:

Mankind gets an upgrade

In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link human together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.

When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.

A review haiku:

Read book called Nexus
Has science, spies, explosions
Book awesome, read now

My review for real:

So this book was awesome. No, for real. When I come across a book that I absolutely love and want to give 5 stars, I try to read it again to see if my enthusiasm lasts a second read. Usually it doesn’t.

Nexus, on the other hand, withstood multiple readings. Seriously, I read it straight through every time. (Man were those sleepless nights O.o.)

So. A book summary in point form:

  • Boy-genius Neuroscience grad student Kaden Lane and fellow geniuses develop upgrade to Nexus drug, essentially using it to turn your brain into a computer (how cool is that?!)
  • Samantha Cataranes, federal agent, is assigned on an undercover sting operation to bust Kaden’s “Nexus ring”
  • Kaden is captured, agrees to work with agency to gather intelligence on Big Fish, Chinese neuroscientist Dr. Su-Yong Shu
  • Kaden goes to Bangkok to a neuroscience conference after being personally invited by Dr. Shu
  • Shit hits the fan
  • More shit hits more fans
  • Lots of gunfire and explosions
  • People die

Basically, it’s made of awesome.

The science included in the book seems very plausible. Obviously, I’m not well-versed on neuroscience and emerging technologies, but nanorobotics is a real (albeit emerging) technological field, so the scientific ideas used in the book certainly seem possible. Also, I’m pretty sure that by the time the iPhone 30 is released, people will be beaming iMessages directly into each other’s brains because Siri will have gotten tired of talking to people when she could just do everything herself.

Also, Ramez Naam, the author, is a real, honest-to-goodness computer scientist. He’s worked on programs like Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, and the Bing search engine. He also founded a nanotechnology company. In other words, I’d say he knows what he’s talking about. (There’s also an informative afterword in the book that talks about the science.)

There wasn’t much in this book that I didn’t like. Sure, the first three chapters or so could’ve moved a bit faster, but they were compelling nonetheless. Also, after those initial chapters, the book took off at lightning speed and didn’t stop until the last page. (Which was why I had some sleepless nights. I couldn’t put the book down.)

I asked Mr. Naam on Twitter if there’s a sequel, and I’m happy to say that there will be (it comes out in September, I believe). I, for one, will be waiting eagerly for the second book. Partly because I really want to know what happens to Kade and Sam, and partly because Ramez Naam has, by virtue of this book alone, become one of my autobuy authors.

Overall, I LOVED this book and highly recommend it to fans of near-future science fiction, action/adventure, explosions, spies, and adrenaline rushes.

Rating: 5++ out of 5

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