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Daemon (Post #1)

January 30, 2009

I have my order in for Daniel Suarez’s Daemon; I’d read a blurb about it in Wired in April and forgot about it until reading about it again in EW (I know, I know) and this review on Slashdot.  The book is, in a nutshell, a tech thriller actually written by a techie, and the review has loads of comments from Slashdotters (/.ers if you’re in the know; some of the most highly skilled people in the computer biz idle away many an hour there) about atrocities committed against technical realism, mostly on TV (CSI comes in for a good deal of poo-throwing) by people who haven’t done their homework and think nobody will notice.  Of course, somebody always notices, and as more of us become more proficient with computers, it’ll be harder to pull any more Star Trek:TNG -style shenanigans (“I think if I refrim the jamjam I can get us out of Weird Space Anomaly #17!”).

 Suarez’s book got a good review both for plot/character aspects as well as the tech – none of the commenters seemed to have read it yet, though it served as a jumping off point to discuss other good, and technically well grounded, writers like Neal Stephenson.  I’m bookmarking the review as much for myself as for the blog, to remind myself what happens to writers who write fiction on a well-documented subject without getting the details right. 

The book’s of interest in another way, as well – Suarez self-published after numerous rejections (too long, too complicated), and it was taken up by various IT movers and shakers.  From the Wired article:

Finally, he and his wife, Michelle Sites, also an IT consultant, decided to take a page from the Daemon playbook and infiltrate the Internet’s power grid. In fall 2006, they approached bloggers whose writings on gaming, warfare, AI, and social media Suarez had mined for the book. The couple formed their own publishing firm, Verdugo Press, and began producing copies through the print-on-demand service Lightning Source.

A dozen or so bloggers wrote posts about the book, kindling sales of up to 50 copies a month. Then in April 2007, Rick Klau, head of publisher services at Feedburner, got a copy. Two things happened: Google acquired Feedburner, and Klau, electrified by Daemon’s all-too-plausible IT scenario, began pushing the book on anyone who would listen.

So that “links” page I’m developing may also come in handy when I have a finished product.  I’ll post my own take on the book when I’ve read it.

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