I just finished reading Daemon by Daniel Suarez, a story about a computer daemon (automatically running program) that wreaks havoc in the world. The book has a similar theme to Neal Stephenson’s Reamde: massively multi person role playing computer games that bleed over into the real world. Suarez’s story is not as wide ranging as Stephenson’s, and he focuses more on the video game aspects of the story.
The other major difference is that in Reamde humans use computers to interact with each other while in Daemon, as you could guess from the title, one of the main characters is a computer program – a very powerful one. Since just about everything today has a computer chip in it and is networked, it is scary to think about something that can communicate directly with the “inanimate” devices around you and get them to do its bidding. Suarez has some imaginative, and sometimes horrific, ways this can happen.
This story has lots of action and some interesting concepts to think about, but none of the characters have much depth and at the end you do not feel you know a lot about any of them. The daemon is a computer program, so you would not expect to know much about its motivation and character. It reveals its reason for being several times during the story, but always with the same few sentences. The human characters are the same. They are very stereotypical, and we never find out much about them.
If the characters had more depth this would be an A+ story. It is a fast-paced thriller with some interesting concepts to think about, so I still recommend it. In fact, as soon as I finished it I ordered its sequel, Freedom(TM).
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