Wednesday, October 31, 2018

NEXUS Horror? Happy Halloween

NEXUS by Ramez Naam is a science fiction novel by the author of MORE THAN HUMAN: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement. It’s a fascinating novel that explores what might happen when, as is coming, humans are enhanced not just by drugs (as in steroids in sports) but also by technology, like the Six Million Dollar Man. Except it’s much more than this. The drug Nexus creates a hive mind to meld with those around you, even for sex. (Porn star Peter North is described as a robot.) Will or can they stop such enhancements from turning into Transcendence: a machine mind that controls everyone? Philosophical questions are raised by the characters in the resistance. One says, “This is no longer America. We’ve allowed our fear of change to override our most precious values. We’ve caved on our principles in order to boost our security. This is not the America I love. This is not the America my parents fled Russia to find. Benjamin Franklin once wrote, ‘Those who would sacrifice a little liberty for safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ Fight for your rights!” Amazingly, this novel was written in 2012, first of a series, and published on audio in 2013. It was an NPR Best Book of the Year, and winner of a Prometheus Award. He’s a computer scientist with similarities to Jaron Lanier, the father of VR, being involved in developing Internet Explorer and Outlook. Followups as the war between humans and enhanced continue in CRUX and APEX. See Ray Kurzweil too. All related books are available HERE. Mine takes a further step than trying to resist it all as a way to preserve humanity. In my story Nexus is a supercomputer that became sentient by accident and begins to save humanity from itself. The Ultimatum is ‘join me or perish.” It was written in response to the Johnny Depp film, whose ending was less than satisfying. I imagined how it might have gone; not over the top, but with real science. The new story adds a drug that mimics LSD, and produces unique dreams of the future.  Diaries of the dreams are recorded, like a movie of melding minds. The twists coming involve artificial intelligence, the DOD, and a mind that either intends to control all others or not. Who is to say? Set in Tempe, Arizona. Happy Halloween. 
MORE THAN HUMAN by Theodore Sturgeon, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison


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