Monday, October 24, 2011

Freedom - Book Review

By Daniel Suarez
Signet Books 2010
Authors website

This book is a continuation of the first book - Daemon.

I was introduced to MMORPG games by my son who loves playing them. MMORPG = Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. Every person creates a character (the most common types are soldier, ranger, thief, mage, wizard and cleric) and every character is represented in the game by an avatar. The avatar has information about the character attached to it. The most obvious information being name, character type, health and game level.

The darknet is the virtual space by which users (humans) can access the Daemon and other users. Not all users choose to join the darknet. Because the Daemon knows everything about you, when you join the darknet, your avatar will show everything about you, including your personal worth, your credit level and most important, your reputation.

Everyone is measured out of 5 stars and the higher number of stars you have, and the more responses you have - the better your reputation is. For example Loki has half a star over 5000 - which means 5000 people have given him either 1 star or no stars - his actions means that he is not a nice person. Peter Sebeck on the other hand has a reputation of 4 stars over 5000. That means that 5000 people have given him an average 4 out of 5 stars.

The world is rapidly going downhill after the emergence of the Daemon. There are food shortages. Unemployment is over 16%. Gas is at $3.58 a gallon. The big agricultural companies want to take over the smaller farms and plant their GMOs. The larger companies are desperate to control the Daemon - because it knows everything about everyone and knowledge is power.

The Daemon has "infected" computers everywhere. Nothing is private. The Daemon has even hired lawyers to sue the US government to accept and acknowledge that the Daemon is a sentient being and has a right to exist. The US government and big business are desperate to hide their activities and not have the Daemon spread knowledge of their activites to all the people of the world - which is what the Daemon actually does. It blackmails the government and the big corporations.

The Daemon has access to all security cameras and CCTV videos all over the world. The Daemon sees all, hears all and knows all.

In this sequel, Peter Sebeck is on a virtual and vital quest - given to him by the Daemon. He has to justify the freedom of humanity. The Daemon needs to know if humanity can create a true democracy - where individual rights are not ignored by big business and government.

Prove that humanity will prevent its own destruction and you will have justified humanity's freedom. If you fail - then humanity will serve the Daemon.

Loki is out to destroy the Daemon by any means necessary, He uses razorbacks - motorcycles that have been rebuilt as killer machines and are under remote control. These machines actually kill people - chopping them to bloody bits. The descriptions are very brutal.

The Major (name unknown) also wants to keep control of the people in the hands of the government and of the corporations, so he too is out to destroy the Daemon.

Jon Ross is desperate to help the Daemon survive. He wants humanity to be able to control themselves and determine their own fate - and not have a few greedy powermongers determine it for them.

This was an excellent novel - quite scary in some places with the razorbacks being very brutal and the economy being in chaos, just like it is today in our real world.

This is due to the activities and control of greedy powermongers - both in government and in the higher echelons of certain corporations.

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