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March 18, 2014 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: Influx by Daniel Suarez

Influx by Daniel SuarezInflux
by Daniel Suarez
Narrated by Jeff Gurner

Genre: Science Fiction / Techno Thriller
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publish Date: February 20, 2014
Format: Audio Download, 13 hours | 45 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Intermediate
Rating: 5 of 5

From the Publisher:

What if our civilization is more advanced than we know? Are smart phones really humanity’s most significant innovation since the moon landings? Or can something else explain why the bold visions of the 20th century–fusion power, genetic enhancements, artificial intelligence, cures for common disease, extended human life, and a host of other world-changing advances–have remained beyond our grasp? Why has the high-tech future that seemed imminent in the 1960’s failed to arrive? Perhaps it did arrive…but only for a select few.

What’s it about?:

As this high-tech, fast-paced adventure opens, John Grady, who has been working for years on a project to develop an anti-gravity machine, has just had a breakthrough. The device works. His team is ecstatic and they see the Nobel Prize in their future, but before he has a chance to patent his invention or tell anyone about it, his lab is attacked by religious fanatics who set off a bomb presumably killing everyone present.

In reality his project was shut down by a government organization he has never heard of – The Bureau of Technology Control. The BTC is a shadowy group that began as a secret government agency created years ago to control emerging technology and keep it away from citizens and other governments because the knowledge was too dangerous. In time the acency was forgotten and has now gone rogue.

The BTC secretly rescued Grady from the explosion and give him the option of joining their group and continuing development of his invention. Grady refuses and is thrown in a high-tech prison on a remote island where he soon discovers others, like himself, have been taken prisoner and their ideas stolen.

Loved it…:

While I read a lot of different genres, science fiction and techno thrillers are among my favorites. I like my scifi to be realistic, the technology to be cutting edge, and the story to be something that could, just maybe, possibly, occur. One of the reasons I was attracted to this book, besides the flashy image on the cover, was the comparison to Michael Crichton, a favorite of mine. While this was different from a Crichton novel, it had the same air of possibility, high-tech reality and engaging plot.

As a techy and sometimes geeky person I’ve often wondered why more innovations predicted during the 60s didn’t happen. I’m still waiting for my flying car. The concept of a conspiracy involving secret high-tech inventions and the question “Can technology be ahead of its time and its knowledge be too dangerous to be released?” makes for a great story. I have no doubt that keeping high-tech secrets has and undoubtedly still goes on today. One needs to look no further than DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), a shadowy military agency in their own right who developed the internet and kept its existence secret for years, to begin thinking along the lines of conspiracy theory.

The book didn’t delve into the question of whether or not some technology could be too dangerous to be released to the public. Instead it was a good vs evil plot with the BTC the bad guys and the scientists being held captive the good guys. A fast-paced thriller with some interesting high-tech ideas in an eerily possible world. And how did the BTC explain the advances in computer and phone technology that does exist today? They claim that Steve Jobs was a tricky case and one that got past them. There were a few humorous moments in the book too.

Those who enjoy futuristic or speculative fiction will like this book. The dialog does get a little techy at times but not understanding the minutia doesn’t take away from the story. At its core this is a thriller with the added bonus of realistic inventions for the techies.

Audio Production:

Jeff Gurner did a nice job on the dialog using different accents and changing the voices just enough so I could tell apart the many characters. For the narration he used a serious authoritarian tone fitting the nature of the story. Also included were a few subtle special effects, such as a change in sound when a character was on the telephone or talking over a loud speakers, and a computer-like voice when the AI was speaking. It was just enough to enhance the production but not so much as to be annoying. I don’t like when there is ringing, hammering, pounding, traffic noise, etc in the background. Those types of sounds distract rather than add to the listening experience.

Source: Review copy provided by the Penguin Group.
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Leave a Comment
  1. BermudaOnion / Mar 18 2014 1:07 pm

    This probably isn’t for me but I have a feeling it’s right up my sister’s alley.


  2. Suko / Mar 18 2014 6:51 pm

    This sounds like your kind of book, Leslie. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I don’t read a great deal of sci-fi but the contemporary, techy aspects appeal to me.


  3. Leeswammes / Mar 19 2014 3:00 pm

    Sounds interesting. Definitely something that I might enjoy.


  4. stacybuckeye / Mar 31 2014 7:35 pm

    Okay, this is going on my goodreads list!



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