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Solid start to the Jump 225 Trilogy

  • Feb 22, 2011
Rating:
+3

My next novel is a first novel, from author David Louis Edelman and the first in the "Jump 225" Trilogy: Infoquake.

Bursting with ideas, set in an undefined medium term science fiction future, in some ways, Infoquake, a first novel by David Louis Edelman, is very much in the classic mode of science fiction. It also has strong elements of the corporate thriller, post-cyberpunk and even post-failed-singularity science fiction.

Oh, and it all takes in a hypercapitalist future.

Some several hundred years after some very bad history for humanity, the world of Infoquake is at once very familiar, with its undeniably human characters, and at the same time, has that alien future feeling that allows a SF reader to dive in and explore a futuristic world. The action centers around Natch. He runs a corporation which develops bio/logics, programs that can hack the human body, ones perceptions, abilities, strengths.

Flashbacks in the novel allow us to see how this ruthless and indefatigable competitor was molded into the character we see. Events bring Natch into contact with Margaret Surina, whose family and ancestors are very much responsible for the re-welding together of society after that bad history several centuries back. Margaret has some more and new revolutionary technology, but in this hypercapitalist cutthroat world, she turns to Natch as one of the few people she can trust to deploy and use this technology: Multireal.

And thus hangs a tale.

This world of human-altering software infuses and changes the nature of society, with Edelman following through the implications of how this sort of technology would alter society. We get to see several different types of technology at play here, as well, including a method of virtual porting to other places which makes Second Life look like a primitive toy.

There is a lot going on in this world, and its clear that Edelman had a lot of fun writing this book. There are the titular Infoquakes themselves, for example, the ultimate and deadly crash of the world's equivalent of the Internet, which complicate the plans Natch has set in motion. The novel leaves for sequels what these Infoquakes might actually be and what they mean. The corporate and economic politics in this world are timely. Like the best science fiction, it holds up a mirror to the present by showing an extreme version in the future.

It's difficult to sum up this complex world, but perhaps if I describe it as "Wall Street (the movie) meets Vernor Vinge", I can come close to capturing what the characters and the world is like.

I am surprised that this is Edelman's first novel. It's clear to me that he's been thinking about and working out this universe for quite some time (there are extensive appendices in the back of the novel).

This is definitely not a first novel for those who have never read SF before. Like an old tagline for a collection of Greg Egan's stories, Infoquake is "science fiction for science fiction fans." In a climate where fantasy seems ascendant over SF, and every other book in the F/SF section of the bookstore is yet another new first novel about werewolves/vampires/faeries/demons/ghosts/wendigos in the modern world, Infoquake is unabashedly straight up 200 proof science fiction.

I look forward to reading the second and third volumes of the trilogy. If anything, like when I read Charles Stross' Singularity Sky, I suspect that this first volume is really a novel that Edelman wrote so that he could get himself, and the reader, ready to read the *real* story that he wants to tell.

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February 23, 2011
I found this series to be majorly flawed: Edelman can't seem to keep his technologies straight. It's been a while since I reviewed them, but one thing that keeps coming back is his handling of the holo-projected objects seen by folks who aren't hooked in; they react to them in a surprised fashion - jumping out of the way when something appears, for example. Yet someone living in this culture would have become so familiar with this kind of thing that there'd be no surprise (this would be like jumping back from the edge of a road when a car goes by - maybe a savage would do that, but not someone steeped in the culture). He runs into the same trouble when trying to mix up manipulating real objects vs computer-generated ones. The concepts are excellent ones, but unfortunately the delivery is flawed. I also take issue with the marketing hype for this book, presenting it as the first SF treatment of "big business"; folks have been doing that since the 50s (try Pohl/Kornbluth's Space Merchants or Lundwall's King Kong Blues)
February 23, 2011
I have read the Space Merchants. Its somewhat dated, today, but I would rank it in the top tier of SF novels.
 
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More Infoquake: Book One of the Jum... reviews
review by . February 23, 2011
posted in SF Signal
This review originally appeared in RayGun Revival Ezine, in late 2008.     I chose Infoquake for review for two self-serving purposes; first, and basest of all, was my desire to obtain free books, a motivation that any bibliophile can identify with. The second is, I have noticed a distinct hole in my SF reading. I've not been keeping up with the ‘modernist, post singularity-revelation, wants to be literary' SF-writing crowd.    My go-to fare is classic science …
review by . May 10, 2009
This book takes place many years after the collapse of civilization. A group of sentient computers called the Autonomous Minds rebelled against mankind in the Autonomous Revolt. Now, Earth is dominated by bio/logics, the science of programming the human body.    The programs have names like Eyemorph 1.0, DeMirage 24.5, Poker Face 83.4b and AntiSleepStim 124.7. The average person has thousands of such programs in their bodies, courtesy of microscopic robots placed at or before …
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Slick high-finance melodrama and dizzying technical speculation lift Edelman's SF debut, the first of a trilogy. Centuries in the future, humans rely less on machines than on upgrading their own nervous systems with nanotech bio/logic programs. Natch, a gifted young code programmer–entrepreneur obsessed with clawing his way to the top, jumps at the chance to merchandise a major new technology, MultiReal, even though he doesn't know what it is. Natch soon becomes a target for not just his business rivals but also totalitarian governmental agencies and more mysterious groups. Natch's being a borderline sociopath makes him extremely creative in business tactics and personal manipulation (and thus fascinating to read about). The world in which he operates is also fascinating, with awesome personal powers being sold on a frantic open market. Edelman, who has a background in Web programming and marketing, gives his bizarre notions a convincing gloss of detail. Bursting with invention and panache, this novel will hook readers for the story's next installment.(July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.--This text refers to thePaperbackedition.
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ISBN-10: 1844165825
ISBN-13: 978-1844165827
Author: David Louis Edelman
Publisher: Solaris

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