12 September 2011
Book Banter -- Daemon
Author: Daniel Suarez
Length: 429 pages
Plot Basics: Legendary computer game designer Matthew Sobol's death rocks the technology world with the loss of such a brilliant mind. But Sobol's death triggers a number of daemon events -- auto-programs scattered around the Internet and housed in the back doors of Sobol's wildly popular MMORPG. The Daemon programs grow in ferocity, killing federal agents at Sobol's former house and begins recruiting others to work for it. Police, technology experts and national security experts find themselves battling an unseen, digital enemy that has the power to bring down economies, government and individual lives and seems unstoppable.
Banter Points: There is no shortage of creepiness about the idea that somebody could be (and probably is) building daemon programs like this that could take over the Internet and life as we know it. Suarez keeps the plot moving along, and does a phenomenal job of raising the stakes with every action and counter-action for the Daemon. The conflict of man vs. machine is great, almost a modern Frankenstein of a our creations run amok.
Bummer Points: Two big ones: first, the book ends is a strange place. I've heard from reliable sources (hi, Dad!) that in book two, everything gets wrapped up. This is good, because most of everything is unresolved in book one. Second, the plot of the book is great, but the characters are 2D and wooden. Suarez throws new characters in 3/4ths of the way through the book, and the characters who I sort of cared about disappear for pages on end. If there had been a little more about a character to make them more realistic, more thoughts instead of just action, it would have made a great book even better.
Word Nerd Recommendation: I'm definitely going on to the sequel. If you want a good scare about the Internet and how our level of connectivity could really put us all in danger, Daemon is a great read.