Top positive review
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Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking sequel to Nexus
on 19 September 2013
I picked up the Kindle version of Crux about 20 seconds after finishing Nexus, Ramez Naam's first novel and precursor to Crux.
The world created by Naam in Nexus and finely continued in Crux is thoroughly enjoyable as a thriller with great action and very film like drama. I cared about these characters, their journeys and development and had to know what happened to them (I still do and am looking forward to a 3rd novel in the series).
What sets this apart from most hard sci-fi is that while being very accessible in a ripping yarn sort of way, it's also positing and considering some very strong ideas about the near future of humanity. The character's journeys take us into a world on the threshold of change, in part created by the characters, and in other ways shaping the characters actions and beliefs. A world where the consideration of what it is to be human is examined in a nuanced manner all the while entertaining and thrilling but also still very much related to the time we live in now.
If you could slow your ageing would you? If you could strengthen your body and adjust it to your liking would you? If you could augment you brain through the use of technology would you? If you did these things at what point would you stop being human, becoming trans-human or even post-human? Do these labels really even matter? If two minds could be connected together would this be somehow evil or perhaps the most perfect of technologies, finally allowing people to really understand each other. What if one of those minds could control the other, making them become a slave? If you could re-programme someone to stop them hurting others, would that be right?
Very cleverly wrapping the ideas in his non-fiction book "More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement" around a solid plot and set of characters, even as a page turner I felt that I was thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it and wishing that the world and it's ideas would get here a bit sooner. Even with the downsides pointed out in the book, the upsides to my mind would be incredible.
Perhaps as importantly, I really liked the people I was reading about. Naam's wit and timing help to roll the story along. There's plenty of action and adventure and if you enjoyed Neal Stephenson's Reamde, then I'd say you're sure to enjoy Nexus and then even more so Crux.