Imagine a government agency whose job it is to protect the world from disruptive technology and you have the basic premise of Daniel Suarez’s fourth novel, Influx. What started out as a good idea in the 1940’s when there were new radical ideals like nuclear power and rockets has evolved into an agency that resembles Men in Black 65 years later. This agency hoards disruptive technologies like cold fusion and the cure for cancer because the world is not ready for them.
Suarez leads us through this world through a character who lives with synesthesia, a condition where the brain is cross wired his sense. He can hear mathematics like music. This unique view on the world puts him in the same category as Einstein and Michelangelo. His characters believably inhabit the world that has been created for them. Suarez really tries to make the science believable. There’s quite a bit of comedy and references to pop culture including Steve Jobs and Winkelvos twins.
I did see one small plot hole in the story. At one point the main character is trying to find the location of a hidden base and tries to use a gyroscope to track his movements. This wouldn’t work in the story since the plane’s propulsion system uses his invention to overcome acceleration forces. If he cannot feel acceleration then neither could the device. It’s a minor plot point in an otherwise great script.
If you enjoy Michael Crichton or a good techno thriller then this author is for you. I would start with Influx and then follow it up with Daemon.