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Illusion Chasers

Illusion Chasers


Illusions, Delusions, and Everyday Deceptions
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Daniel Suarez’s Influx Is Super Fluxing Bitchin’!

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Daniel Suarez has just released his new opus, Influx. It’s a technothriller in the Crichtonian tradition. But  better. Don’t get me wrong—and all props to the astounding Michael Crichton—who credibly resurrected dinosaurs. But whereas Crichton sometimes glossed over thorny neuroscientific issues that arose in his stories—to keep the drama flowing—Suarez manages to face those issues head on—and keep the drama flowing. You’ll hear a lot of reviewers compare Suarez to Crichton, including me for his previous book Kill Decision. And Suarez deserved the honor it in the truest sense… he had achieved a truly Crichton-level of storytelling. But with Influx, Suarez becomes the master, and Crichton is the one who is honored by the comparison.

The book starts strong. Jon Grady has just invented a way to reflect gravity. It’s an incredible, stupendous discovery! Too bad he’s caught in the act by anti-technologists, hell-bent on suppressing such revolutionary developments. They not only kill Jon, but they’ve killed everybody before him in the last several decades who almost changed the world. You think the biggest technological advance in the last decade was Facebook? Think again. The world was almost changed time and time again. Almost.

I loved the book, and couldn’t—wouldn’t—didn’t—set it down. On the neuroscience, which I’m obligated to address: it’s well done. And Suarez’s handling of machine-brain interfaces is error free. Though, you know, its fiction… but its error free in the sense that he didn’t write anything dumb, or anything that I know to be definitively wrong.

I envy you. You’re going to go read the book now, and also love it, whereas I have to wait another year or two for his next one.

Stephen L. Macknik About the Author: Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik are laboratory directors at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Follow on Twitter @illusionchasers.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Jerzy v. 3.0. 8:14 am 03/4/2014

    I though that anti-technologists are generally believed to be in grant-giving commitees, which fund only projects with maximum previous knowledge and immediate monetary value = least likely to be technological revolution.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Jerzy v. 3.0. 8:15 am 03/4/2014

    ;) of course

    Link to this

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