Bio/logics, the way to program the human body – through this technology humanity can control their bodies in ways that could only have been dreamt of in the past. With public memecorps and private fiefcorps developing and refining programs, new possibilities are emerging every week.
Natch is a programmer of bio/logics, running his own fiefcorp and gunning for the top position on Primo’s, the list that tells consumers who’s hot. When he’s approached by Margaret Surina with the offer of untold fortunes through the release of a new technology she’s been developing, MultiReal, he’s pushed into a cut-throat world. With enemies at every turn and not knowing who to trust, Natch and his team must prepare and release MultiReal in record time.
However, a deadly phenomenon occurs: the Infoquake. With energy consumption reaching some of the highest levels recorded the threat of more of these is not so far fetched. So the race is on and the question is whether Natch and his crew get MultiReal up and running in time.
Infoquake is the first book in the Jump 225 trilogy and one I’ve been hearing about over the past year but never got around to picking up. I bought it just before Christmas with the intention of being able to read it while I had some time off. Well, that never materialised, but I still kept it on the shelf ready for reading. I picked it up last weekend and didn’t look back, it was more than I could have imagined and I’m now wondering just why I left it as long as I did.
To put it in simple terms, Infoquake is not your normal science fiction novel. It doesn’t deal with an action hero, it doesn’t focus on a threat to the world, there are no aliens or AI’s. Infoquake is a science fiction story about business. Doesn’t that sound interesting? Well, it is. In fact it’s one of the most entertaining novels I’ve read. The story is interesting, the characters are likable and easy to read and the writing is aimed perfectly – there isn’t much about Infoquake that I didn’t like.
The main characters of Natch, Jara and Horvil, all of whom work in Natch’s fiefcorp, are likable and have their own distinct personalities. Jara is wary of Natch and his methods and doesn’t always agree with him, this can be seen early on in the novel and her hesitation is carried through the story very well with her decisions and actions always relatable. Horvil, a friend of Natch’s since their childhood, is the sort of person you want as a friend. Not only that, but he’s damned good at what he does and brings plenty of experience to the table.
This brings us to Natch, the main character, the person the story revolves around. He’s arrogant and cock-sure of himself, putting himself above others in many respects. But it’s his development as a character that is the most enjoyable part of Natch. We get a good look at his life, from early childhood all the way through to present day, and see how events have shaped the way he approaches the world. But it’s his vulnerability that raises him above your typical run-of-the-mill protagonist. We see why he is as motivated as he is, and those motivations are entirely plausible.
The setting and technology is hugely enjoyable and many times a rich and eventful history is referred to. The bio/logics plot device is great and is a rather unique look at how humans will control their bodies in the future, from managing vital systems to simply keeping a straight face. There is some ingenious inventiveness on the part of Edelman here and the range of uses that bio/logics will permit is truly astonishing. The history that we hear of is interesting and relevant to the plot, from the dark times after the overthrowing of the AI’s to the invention of bio/logics and other ground breaking technologies by the Surina family.
All in all Infoquake has many things going for it, but it isn’t without it’s faults. There aren’t any major ones, that’s for sure, but there are some thoughts I’m left with after finishing the book. One of these is the Surina family. It seems all very convenient that this one family has been at the forefront of the technological advancements for hundreds of years, from creating bio/logics, teleportation and now MultiReal, each by a separate descendant. The other is the title of the trilogy: Jump 225. I’m still very curious as to what this means, it’s mentioned a grand total of once in Infoquake, and that was pretty vague. Hopefully it will follow through a little more in the sequel, otherwise it seems a very strange to give a trilogy a title that doesn’t make much sense.
There is only one other point about Infoquake that I’d like to make, and that’s the world building and jargon used within. I didn’t find myself stuck at all and followed everything quite nicely, so I was very surprised to find around 50 pages of appendices at the back. I can fully appreciate why they are there as they give a little more information to the reader, but I felt the book would have been better off without them. It’s nice to read a story that builds a plausible and interesting future without too much info-dumping, but all that extra information detracts from that feeling I had. These appendices are duplicated on the authors website and are well suited to that format, just not as an add-on.
I enjoyed Infoquake immensely and will jump into MulitReal, the sequel, with anticipation. If you want to read an extremely entertaining and different take on science fiction that will keep you hooked from start to finish then look no further. Infoquake is one hell of a book and would have been in my top five last year had I got my backside around to reading it. An excellent read.