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Influx

Written by: Daniel Suarez
Narrated by: Jeff Gurner
Length: 13 hrs and 46 mins
5 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What if our civilization is more advanced than we know?

The New York Times best-selling author of Daemon - "the cyberthriller against which all others will be measured" (Publishers Weekly) - imagines a world in which decades of technological advances have been suppressed in an effort to prevent disruptive change.

Are smartphones really humanity's most significant innovation since the moon landings? Or can something else explain why the bold visions of the 20th century - fusion power, genetic enhancements, artificial intelligence, cures for common diseases, extended human life, and a host of other world-changing advances - have remained beyond our grasp? Why has the high-tech future that seemed imminent in the 1960s failed to arrive?

Perhaps it did arrive…but only for a select few.

Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they've been working toward for years: A device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics - the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel Prize. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring. This Bureau of Technology Control uses the advanced technologies they have harvested over the decades to fulfill their mission.

They are living in our future.

Presented with the opportunity to join the BTC and improve his own technology in secret, Grady balks, and is instead thrown into a nightmarish high-tech prison built to hold rebellious geniuses like himself. With so many great intellects confined together, can Grady and his fellow prisoners conceive of a way to usher humanity out of its artificial dark age?

And when they do, is it possible to defeat an enemy that wields a technological advantage half a century in the making?

©2014 Daniel Suarez (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"You'll hear a lot of reviewers compare Suarez to [Michael] Crichton, including me for his previous book Kill Decision. And Suarez deserved the honor in the truest sense...he had achieved a truly Crichton-level of storytelling. But with Influx, Suarez becomes the master, and Crichton is the one who is honored by the comparison." (Stephen L. Macknik, Scientific American)

"[Influx is] done with the dazzling sophistication, the play of ideas, the hints of a new understanding almost within our grasp that characterize sci-fi in the cybertronic age." (The Wall Street Journal)

“With this terrifying thriller, Suarez provides further support for the proposition that he’s a worthy successor to the late Michael Crichton… Suarez once again mixes science and fiction perfectly.”(Publishers Weekly, starred review)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Original sci-fi.

Daniel Suarez is 3 for 3 with me.

All of his books bring something different and refreshing.

They’re hard to put down.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Craig
  • 2014-05-15

Solid to Silly to Inane

At the opening the premise was solid; there is a secret government organization responsible for monitoring and controlling global technological innovations. It is very powerful and deeply off the books. Then, just when you have bitten a big bite of the apple, enter the dark forces that mimic the evil characters in a Marvel comic sans the mutant superpowers (our antagonists use technology to that end).

Eventually the entire sic-fi thriller degrades into silly dialogue and revenge-driven mania.

This audiobook should only be downloaded in those desperate moments (from your Wish List) when you are late for work and your iPod is empty. If you have the time, search around for a more viable futuristic battle of good vs. holier-than-thou-technocrat.

87 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • AudioAddict
  • 2015-10-15

Too over the top. Wish it had been more serious.

STORY (futuristic thriller) - The main character, Grady, is a particle physicist who has invented a gravity mirror. He and other geniuses are imprisoned by a rogue federal agency supposedly trying to keep futuristic technology from upsetting humanity and the balance of world power. The thrust of the story is Grady trying to escape from the prison, rescue his fellow scientists and get their inventions back into the proper hands, save the world, etc.

This book is full of awesome scientific thinking and gadgets, but IMHO it goes way too far, to the point of being like the action hero cartoons kids watch on TV. What starts as fascinating applications of reflecting gravity soon turns into prolonged action scenes with good guys fighting bad guys as huge buildings rip out of the ground and disappear into outer space. There is so much gravity reflection and manipulation during the action scene at the end that I gave up trying to envision who was moving where and what was up or down. I just wanted the book to end.

PERFORMANCE - I plan to check into other books performed by Jeff Gurner. This book has great multi-character differentiation, accents, sound effects, etc. I loved the futuristic voices he gives the artificial intelligence characters. There is also suspenseful music played during critical scenes.

OVERALL - If you're looking for something serious and weighty, look elsewhere. This is more of a light, futuristic action story. There is no sex, but there is quite a bit of cursing. There is fighting and killing but it is fairly light and not gory or overly descriptive. Not recommended for people under 18, only because of the detailed descriptions of scientific gadgets and the cursing.

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sterling Okura
  • 2014-02-24

Entertaining Physics SciFi

Influx is a fun read, though not as gripping as his Daemon series. The first half of the book is slower paced with a lot of technical information, but the pacing picks up in the 2nd half with the exciting action we've come to expect from Suarez.

The world of Influx is not as strongly developed as the augmented-reality gamer paradise of Daemon, and as another reviewer noted, the suspension of disbelief is more difficult with this story. However, the humor and lighter tone helped me to just go with it and enjoy the fun, silly ride.

Even though the beginning was slower paced, I found the scientific explanations of new technology and the psychological explorations of futuristic interrogation quite interesting.

Things really get fun when the action turns on. I loved the manipulated-gravity combat tactics that took Ender Game's "the enemy's gate is down" concept to entirely new levels.

While the story is about a secretive and ruthless government division suppressing miraculous breakthroughs in physics and technology, Suarez continues to acknowledge his gamer geek cred with a shout out to Leeroy Jenkins, and a nod to the greatest first-person-non-shooter (that would be Portal of course). One of the many enjoyable characters was a GladOS-like female AI that ran a secret facility and tried to kill people while cheerfully engaging them in friendly conversation. She even used laser-turrets for security.

The story ties up neatly, but there are rogue AIs left that could make for an interesting sequel (please).

As a big Suarez fan, I pre-ordered Influx and started listening within minutes of it being available after midnight. While it was different than his other books, I was definitely not disappointed and eagerly look forward to his next release.

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joseph
  • 2014-02-21

An excellent book well read

Influx is not quite as interesting as Suarez's first work, Daemon (and Freedom tm, which was really just the second half of Daemon rather than a second book) but I enjoyed it more than Kill Decision.

The characters are nicely drawn, the story never lags. Definitely a page-turner... and Suarez is never afraid to dip into "hard sci-fi" levels of technical descriptions that are the result of copious research.

The best part by far is the scene in which the main character is being interrogated. I don't want to spoil anything, but it is a brilliantly conceived bit of drama that there's no way to describe without spoiling. Suffice it to say that it alone justifies reading the entire book, and it is beautifully written.

If there is a single problem with Influx it's that it requires a greater level of suspension of disbelief than the closer-to-current-reality books that precede it. Daemon and Freedom were almost as far-fetched, but they baby-stepped you towards accepting each new piece rather than demanding you to accept everything all at once. Influx throws you immediately into a universe that's far removed from our current levels of technological achievements without giving you time to adapt. However, the concepts are so well researched that they still feel real, and if you can suspend disbelief on some of the more exotic technologies presented (which, again, Suarez explains expertly) you're in for a great ride.

Daemon (and its sequel Freedom) stands as my favorite fiction book in the last 20 years. Influx doesn't quite reach that bar, but is close... and is a fantastic book.

Also, worth mentioning that the narration by Gurner was excellent as always. I wound up reading about a third of the book and listening to ⅔... I found that when I was reading I was hearing Gurner's voices. He's a great narrator.

34 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Zombie
  • 2014-03-28

Disapointed

Any additional comments?

Daniel Suarez's previous works were amazing. This feels like something written much earlier (like High School) and published now due to the success of his other books. The story was terrible.

24 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Cindy
  • 2014-04-09

Influx is so bad, I want to cry...

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If it were 100% better quality of writing and more adherent to Suarez's previous style. I excused a lot of the quality of his writing before due to my interest in his vision of future technology. However, Influx is inexcusable.

What was most disappointing about Daniel Suarez’s story?

I began the Suarez collection with Daemon, followed that up with Freedom, and backtracked to Kill Decision. I enjoyed all those books because (as Suarez readily admits on his Google talk) he had always written about technology that's on the brink. This made the stories have an air of realism, futuristic possibility, a vision of a potential world. However, with Influx, he ventures into "deeper" sci-fi, but in such a way that feels like a caricaturization, rather than a serious undertaking.

The dialogue is staid, names are inert, and action scenes are indulgent. I'm so disappointed that I highly doubt I'll return to any future Suarez novel.

Which scene was your favorite?

The beginning of the novel was good because I thought it was going to be like his other novels. Once I discovered that Suarez has journeyed into so much sci-fi that it's almost a caricature of sci-fi, then I lost interest.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger that I wasted my time.

Any additional comments?

I forced myself to finish the novel but hated every minute.

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lemiwinks
  • 2014-03-10

Don't give up on this book!!

I loved all of Daniel Suarez's previous books. They were brilliant techno-thrillers based on technologies that are not far removed from reality. Anyone who enjoyed "Daemon" now looks at Google Glass from a different perspective. He's a brilliant author. That's why I was worried when "Influx" was too techie for me, a 30-year veteran of the high-tech industry. Suarez introduces the technology in his story with a degree of accuracy and information that can overwhelm the casual reader or listener. DO NOT LET THIS TURN YOU AWAY!

Very quickly, the engineering lesson is over and a first-rate thriller emerges. This is a very entertaining story if you can get past the initial lecture. I feel this story will not be as popular as his previous books because some people will be turned off by first few chapters. That's too bad, because "Influx" has all of the brilliance we've come to expect from Daniel Suarez.

16 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 2016-03-22

Intriguing concept, decent plot, poor execution

Daniel Suarez' Influx started with an engaging concept that a secret government agency, the BTC, has been withholding major scientific breakthroughs to prevent inevitable social disruption. The plot centers on a physicist, Grady, who develops a gravity mirrors. What follows is an adjustment bureau like scenario. Grady resists and must endure torture and imprisonment until rescued by other inmates in the prison who cannot escape. Grady is released to assist BTC, but manages to escape and attempts to take them down.

The sci-fi elements are a combination of physics, biology, and computers, although nothing novel or unique. The story construction is a bit awkward with some detailed infodumps, such as learning how to use gravity boots, occurring late and out of place. The BTC splinter groups were thrown in, but hardly used. Ultimately, the BTC devolving into an organization run by a megalomanical lunatic with a sadist for their only henchman who has been cloned, a professional thief who understands advanced science better than most, and only one female enhanced for maximum pheromone release just made little sense. Grady also possessed an interesting brain in the way he saw colors and numbers, but this was rarely used to advance the story. Combined with the senseless killing of solid supporting characters and the cheezy end homecoming scene, the story simply doesn't live up to the potential of the plot resulting in the feel of poorly made for TV movie.

The narration is quite respectable with a solid range of voices and good pacing.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jake
  • 2014-02-24

Never really bought into the story.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I loved the first 3 Daniel Suarez books. This one however seemed to take a reach too far in the story line. The story telling like all of Daniel's books is exact and exceptional, I just never really bought into the premise of the story.

Do you think Influx needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew
  • 2014-03-04

That whole "future techy" thing will to ya!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Well, if they were into this sort of speculative/action thrillers. It's not a book for everyone?

Would you recommend Influx to your friends? Why or why not?

As above.

Have you listened to any of Jeff Gurner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, Gurner is one of the best Audible performers, and he does an outstanding job on this one. Top 10 of his work, without a doubt. In general, Audilbe performers are getting better, and Jeff is one of the best. He does Suarez well.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The last 1/4, with lots of action and resolutions, was damn interesting.

Any additional comments?

This book grows on you.Lots going on, and some complext story lines that weave around. Admittedly there is alot of action, and some of it is abit gratuitous. That said, i enjoyed it greatly,although it is abit light , it is enjoyable. Recommended.

10 people found this helpful