Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Infoquake (The Jump 225 Trilogy, #1)Infoquake by David Louis Edelman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book a couple of years ago (I think I got it roughly after the paperback dropped) and have been intending to read the other two books in the Jump 225 trilogy since then, but I never got around to it. There have always been other books on my stack.

Then, a few weeks ago, I finished Stephen Baxter’s Time (or is it Manifold: Time? I’m honestly not too clear l on it) which reminded me a lot of Infoquake. So I wanted to read the rest of that series. But first, I needed to re-familiarize myself with the events of the first novel. Hence, this re-read.

And a re-read is an interesting place to jump off from reviewing this book. Infoquake is set in a far future with some interesting technologies that have completely shaped the world. In my first read, I spent the first third of the book trying to figure out what everyone was talking about (the author helpfully includes a glossary at the back of the book, but I didn’t find it until I was finished with it). That wasn’t a problem this time around. I knew who the characters were. I knew what they were doing. And I mostly remembered how they were going to get there.

So this review doesn’t come from a place of slow understanding like it would have if I’d written it the first time I wrote it. This time, I think I have a bit more appreciation for the plot and characters.

The author is a computer programmer. And the story revolves around an entrepreneur/programmer and the fantastical programs he and his compatriots build. As a programmer myself, that’s a pretty fascinating hook. An exploration of how computer programs might shape the future written by someone who might know what he’s talking about? Sold.

I think it delivers on that promise. "Hack the body, and the mind will follow." is printed on the front cover. So what happens when we’ve hacked the body completely as in the world of Infoquake? The author concludes that we’ll be still eat and sleep make love: we’ll just do it better. I can’t disagree.

Story-wise, I guess you could describe this as a "techno-thriller". Or, as the author puts it on his website, "Dune meets the Wall Street Journal". It’s apt. It’s a fun story with lots of twists and turns which you can probably see coming, but still provide an entertaining journey.

The computer-y ideas driving the plot are more interesting than the plot itself, though. And the story-telling is rough in some places. But I think that’s the sort of thing that the author will grow into as he puts more books under his belt.

As it is, though, I have no real complaints.

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