/ Cory Doctorow / 5 am Wed, May 13 2015
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  • Apex: final Nexus book merges the drug war with transhumanism

    Apex: final Nexus book merges the drug war with transhumanism

    Ramez Naam's Nexus trilogy has concluded with a huge, thrilling, globe-spanning book called Apex that nailed it.

    Science fiction is always allegorical, but at it's best, it works as both allegory and plausible futurism, and that's the sweet spot bioscientist Ramez Naam's hit with his first three books, the Nexus trilogy, which tells the story of club kid/neurohackers who change the planet by releasing neural enhancements that allow people to run "Nexus OS" — a free, open operating system — on their own brains.

    Naturally, this sparks a moral panic, for all the usual reasons — terrorism, immorality, sex, sybaritic pleasures. More deep and well-played is the fear that Nexus — as well as other posthuman/transhuman technologies, including quantum-computer-based AIs -- are making humanity obsolete, consigning the children of people who don't want to be neural interface beta-testers to the scrapheap of history.

    Bruce Sterling defines a technothriller as "a science fiction novel with the president in it." But Naam's 21st century brand of technothrillerism has the president, as well as the Premier of China, the PM of India, and the King of Thailand, and enough geopolitics to go with the action to satisfy any Risk player.

    As with the first two volumes, Apex is a fat book that reads like a skinny one, racing through its well-turned plot to a conclusion that ties together every loose thread of every one of the trilogy's cast of thousands. From next-generation protest techniques to warfare in the age of autonomous weaponry to the nature of human rights in a world of transhumanism, Apex has ideas, eyeball kicks, and rollercoaster thrills to spare.

    Apex

    Review of Nexus

    Review of Crux

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