Hack the body, and the mind will follow.
Posted May 21, 2011on:
Infoquake, by David Louis Edelman
Published in 2006
where I got it: Library
“trust me”. . . “what could possibly go wrong?” I love it when a story starts out with phrases like that. Means I’m in for a fun ride, because having characters utter phrases like that is akin to leaving a gun on the table. You know everything that could possibly go wrong will, in ways you could never imagine.
On this future Earth, “bio-logics”, biological software, similar to nanobots, runs through your blood, through your brain, through your guts, allowing humanity to work smarter. Governments are organizations you sign up for, not live under. Thanks to bio-logics programming and the Multi Network, business transactions and personal meetings are done virtually. This isn’t quite a Neuromancer future, but it’s a stop on the way. Most certainly not a world I ever want to wake up in, but it sure is a blast to read about!
The bio-logics industry is massive. A million little fiefcorps write programming all day long, hoping to make it big, make it to number one on Primo’s (sort of a cross between a stock exchange, Consumer Reports, and an uncorruptable search engine). Natch, the charming and brilliant master of the Natch Personal Programming Fiefcorp has a plan to make it to number one. He could become very rich very fast, or he could crash the entire system. If only he trusted his employees enough to tell them what the hell he’s up to.
When Natch is approached by a wealthy Creed with an offer only a luddite would refuse, of course he wants in. But his new boss won’t tell him what it’s all about until he signs on. Is she playing him? Trying to destroy him? trying to take over the world? This is a brand new technology that will truly change the destiny of the human race.
In keeping with a cyberpunk story building style, Edelman throws you into the action right away. Jargon, lingo, strange government phrases, infodumping. Give it a couple of chapters, and everything will make sense. About half the book is flashbacks of Natch’s youth. His parents ill fated love affair, his early years at school, his disastrous initiation into adulthood, his first apprenticeship with his adopted father. In adulthood, Natch certainly has his emotional outbursts and his moments of immaturity and impulsiveness. With the childhood that guy had, it’s understandable. Once you get into the flashbacks, all the technobabble begins to mean something.
Infoquake had a few issues, but I just fell in love with the world Edelman created. From virtual environments, to software you download into your body, to deadly black code virus software, to the never ending political warfare between Governmentalism and Libertarianism, to the Creeds and their Bodhisattvas, I could happily read a volume of short stories in this world, just to see more of it. A brilliantly put together world, but the novel suffered when it came to characterization and plot execution, but as you can see, I forgave most of that. Most definitely a story for fans of near future SF and cyberpunk, Infoquake was as unique and unpredictable as I’d hoped for. It got a lot of hype when it came out but fell under my radar, and I’m happy I picked up it.
Infoquake is the first of Edelman’s “Jump 255” trilogy. Has anyone read books 2 and 3, Multireal and Geosynchron? What did you think of them?