"Nexus" is, and always will be, the best book in this series for a variety of reasons, but "Apex" is right behind it in quality. "Apex" is a whirlwind of cutting edge sci-fi, political intrigue, action, and ethical quandaries. While...
"Nexus" is, and always will be, the best book in this series for a variety of reasons, but "Apex" is right behind it in quality.
"Apex" is a whirlwind of cutting edge sci-fi, political intrigue, action, and ethical quandaries. While "Crux" was perhaps the best in the series at really digging into the merits and pitfalls of competing idealogies and ethics surrounding this technology, "Apex" is a good follow-up to that. But the action, the pace is what steals the show in this book.
The primary villian in this book is The Avatar, the cy-borg like shard of Su Yong''s broken mind. The PLF factors into this book as well, with a somewhat satisfying turn of events involving them at the beginning. However, the primary scene of focus is Shanghai and China and events escalating there.
Overall, a very good book. A very good conclusion to the story and world of Nexus. The ending is very bitter, somewhat sweet, and very sad; it may in fact bring a tear to some eyes. But just about everyone''s story gets a final send-off before the last page.
A few problems with this book, though, none of which necessarily hamper the overall story. Of course, my biggest problem with Nexus has been the bandwidth problem. Shortly after the movie "Avatar" came out, scientists pointed out that we do not, nor will we have any time soon, the necessary wireless fidelity or bandwidth to transmit human consciousness; there''s just too much simultaneous data. Now you could say, "Yeah but human consciousness is just a fraction of the entire scope of the human brain, and at any given time you''re only ''sending'' so much". True, and this is my other issue with the books: if Nexus had been limited to basically a cell phone in the brain, it would have been fine. But the ongoing issues of turning people into zombies with Nexus, with pushing emotions and vision and full sensory data over things like a CELLULAR network is a bit hard to accept.
Finally there''s the issues of sharing all of this brain data through cellular and other wireless networks. This book of course assumes that our wireless networks will become flawless in the future (HA!), that somehow everyone everywhere would, in mere months or weeks, figure out how to proxy this data through the Internet, that the Internet would be able to support this extra load, that authorities wouldn''t be able to easily detect those kind of data streams and shut down servers or even trace them back and arrest people, and that various other bits of infrastructures would come to exist so quickly.
To be clear, I would have been just fine with the ideas dreamed up in "Nexus", of people just being telepathic when near each other, of close-range peer-to-peer mind sharing. It''s when you get into the whole worldwide mind-streaming thing that things get strained and you have to have to suspend a lot of disbelief. This is of course not even touching on the fraility of human memory and that eyeballs are not camers ...
Despite all that, again, 5 star book. Not enough problems to really warrant any loss there, and what the book strains in believability, it more than makes up for in emotion and action and pace. Definitely a good close to the series. I look forward to Ramez Naam''s next story.