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Publisher's Summary

"Nexus is the most brilliant hard SF thriller I’ve read in years. It’s smart, it’s gripping, and it describes a chilling reality that is all-too-plausible. Ramez Naam is a name to watch for." (Brenda Cooper, author of The Silver Ship and the Sea and The Creative Fire Mankind Gets an Upgrade)

In the near future, the nano-drug Nexus can link mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it. When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage, with far more at stake than anyone realizes.

©2012 Ramez Naam (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Nexus

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Mindblowing

Incredible story, and prescient. Some heavy and possibly triggering backstory but it did not seem prurient. I'd prefer that the voice actor would not try to do foreign accents. Some bad stereotypical Chinese accents that pulled me out of the story a bit. Fantastic overall, nonetheless.

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Very captivating

Got me wondering what our own future will hold... And the decisions I would make in said future.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel
  • 2014-05-14

This guy might be great one day

The good:
* Excellent opening, chapters, starting at a californian rave and spreading across the planet.
* Fresh idea of post-human intelligence; The Silicon valley trans-humanists übermenschen are dismissed in a single line in favour of more subtle, collective models of mind enhancing technology
* some fun parallels between various religions and various approaches to posthuman intelligence (theravada buddhism and christianity mostly)
* very contemporary flavour of technological speculation; more or less, some ravers port linux to run on brains, and consequences ensue when wider society gains interest in the diabolical applications of the technology. Absolute candy for today's crypto-nerds.

The bad:
* characters feel a little flat. The cast might be laudably multinational, but most characters substitute an ethnicity for a personality: Japanese sensei skimming stones while talking in metaphors... Loyal magical negro who would sacrifice everything to help the white protagonist... revolutionary Russian immigrant who write political tracts about how american security obsession is eroding liberty. etc. The privileged white male protagonist is a little too bland to be relatable; the female secret agent is a little better, but the childhood trauma reliving scene (won't say any more to avoid spoilers) was a little forced and clean-cut to keep me convinced
* very filmic violence; Every time someone falls over, their gun lands just out of reach and there is always time to step on their hand before they reach it, and so on. Plot would be improved if every character in this book invested in some velcro straps.
* plot is rip-roaring but not satisfying; while the philosophical themes the author starts with are hella fun and could really go somewhere wild, most of the action thereafter is driven by the more traditional plot mechanics of a covert military team doing covert military things with lots of filmic violence

Overall I enjoyed this book, but found the earnestness and unidimensionality of the characters a bit of a drag, and the plot was gripping enough, but without doing the subject matter justice.

This feels like a first novel. I'm excited by a lot of the world the author has built, and the author is presumably still honing his craft; interested to see where he is going with his career.

p.s. the reader was enthusiastic but *ooh*, some of those accents were a little awkward.

96 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amy
  • 2013-11-23

The Post-human Future is Now

This first-in-a-series novel is Ramez Naam's fiction follow-up to his nonfiction works such as More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement (in which he argues that one day we will view genetic modification and other post-human advances as commonplace). It's fitting, then, that in this novel he portrays a recognizable near-future (beginning in 2040) in which post-humans are a reality. This is definitely a dystopia, but it shows none of the tired technophobia so rampant in the genre. The science isn't the cause of evil; the regimes that seek to limit it are.

In Nexus -- as in the real world -- science is amoral, capable of being greatly used and abused. Naam's larger point is that change will happen, and governments are not only unjust but also unrealistic when they act to suppress it. The best case scenario -- that is, the most innovative, helpful, and exciting uses of technology, including the nano-drug described in this novel -- will only arise in an environment of freedom.

His suggestion that the United States would be dreadfully behind the global curve on allowing such freedom is, I fear, not implausible.

I'm not a great fan of fast-paced action-thrillers that rely on explosions and fight sequences to get from Point A to Point B. That said, Naam's writing is solid enough for this genre, and I found the action less eyeroll-worthy than I could have, thanks to the compelling core of ideas at the heart of this work. Naam never loses sight of the Big Picture, and it's a very important one.

The narration is mostly acceptable. Sometimes the Asian characters sound a bit like racial clichés, however, which is off-putting, and the most "badass" (for lack of a better word) character sounds like a cartoon. A word of warning: the sequel is performed by another narrator, and he pronounces some of the names of main characters completely differently. That does not make for a smooth listening experience transitioning from one book to the next!

I'll let Nexus character Ilyana Alexander's final recorded message speak for this novel:

"By drawing a box around humanity, those in power are telling each of us what we can and can't do with our minds, with our bodies, and in the interests of our children. They're saying that they're smarter than we are, that we need their protection from ourselves.

"Needless to say, I disagree....

"The laws that limit human capabilities are exercises in control. They stem from fear -- fear of the future, fear of change, fear of people who might be different than we are, who might make themselves into something new. The result of that fear is the corrosion of our liberties, the corrosion of our right to determine our own futures, to chart our own destinies, to do the best we can for our children.

"That corrosion has consequences. If you're watching this, it's had consequences for me."

29 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarra
  • 2013-08-04

Exciting, engaging and thought-provoking

Nexus explores the best and worst in humanity, as the characters and organizations struggle to make sense of emerging technologies. Naam's characterizations feel very real- from the sensual joy and emotional fulfillment of connection to the murderous rage or chilling certainty of a soldier doing her job. There are no one-dimensional characters here, which made me connect with all of them, even while I disagreed with some. The story is fast-paced and thought provoking. I couldn't help but wonder what I would do with the technology presented within. The book left me with excitement and optimism for where humanity can go, tempered with a clear understanding of how things can go wrong. Not bad for a sci-fi thriller! I'm eagerly awaiting the next book.

The narrator did an admirable job with an international set of characters. A few of his voices were a bit annoying but it makes for a very diverse world so I think those were actually great choices.

Overall, it was an excellent story combined with a great narrator. Sci-fi fans will love it, and Naam makes the technical details easy for anyone to understand, so I believe that it can have an even wider audience. A great, thought-provoking read, highly recommended!

17 people found this helpful

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  • bionichands
  • 2013-08-05

I love sci-fi. This is NOT a five star book.

Would you try another book from Ramez Naam and/or Luke Daniels?

Not sure.

What was most disappointing about Ramez Naam’s story?

I was pretty disappointed in NEXUS, especially considering some of the endorsements this book has received. My biggest disappointment was that the beginning of the book sets the story up really well. The entire into to what NEXUS is, the characters, how things work, what they're capable of on the drug was really compelling and interesting.

And THEN the characters go to Thailand and things just become a mess.

Seriously, I just could not follow it. The two main characters go to a trade show in Thailand and what ensues is an endless stream of new characters, kind of boring gun battles, trippy mind melds, and characters who inexplicably keep changing their core beliefs. I really could not wait to be finished with this.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He was mostly good except for the voice he uses for this one Chinese clone special forces character. I mean, I know the guy is Chinese, but he is also supposed to be this laboratory created special forces military man. Why does he sound like the most hilarious chinese waiter/Bruce Lee's opponent's henchman?

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It was a really good idea that just doesn't deliver the good in the overall story.

Any additional comments?

I had a hard time not turning this off and couldn't wait to get to the end. I think some of the stream of conciousness/group mind stuff was just especially tough to follow in the audio format.

45 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Claudia H
  • 2016-07-06

Overall win

Would you listen to Nexus again? Why?

Nope. I thought the book was good overall, but nothing about it was extraordinary or noteworthy enough to warrant a second listen.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I didn't leave feeling as desperate to get to the next book as I have in other series. It wasn't much of a cliff-hanger

Any additional comments?

I liked the concept of the story, the near future in which computers can be integrated into your brain, and the big brother trying to restrict it, it has potential.

3 people found this helpful

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  • CSoAmazon
  • 2014-01-06

Why didnt I listen to this sooner?

Any additional comments?

I purchased this book two months before I listened to it. I was suprised how soon I was cought up in the story line. Excelent reader, and story make for a wonderful time. I have already started the second book. Great example of near future sci-fi!

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2017-01-13

SERENITY PACKAGE

Nuts and Bolts
I like tech books for the wonder of science and what it can accomplish. I don't care to hear about how everything works. This book concentrated on the nuts and bolts too much for my tastes. As mentioned by other reviewers, the characters in this book are flat. Another reviewer mentions that Naam has a bright future and I agree, but I was bored by this book.

36 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Bill
  • 2018-11-01

Sterotypes, brainlessness, explosions

This is a Michael Bay movie in book form. If that's your bag, you'll most likely love it. Racial stereotypes so old and tired it's hard to decide if Naam is serious or not. Some pretty bad plot holes and character holes round out a lot of explosions and fights.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Freeman
  • 2014-05-18

what a great surprise!

this is a great sci-fi book with some action and fun characters. it kept me interested in finding out what happens next throughout the book.
in addition to the book being fun, it presents a question of what would we do if we (humans) had this technology. i can't wait to read the sequel.
if this book reminds me of influx, daemon and freedom TM. (highly recommended.)

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Benjamin D. Mathes
  • 2015-06-10

Interesting premise, too much "tell"

Sentence by sentence, the author first shows you their ideas, and then explains it explicitly, redundantly.

Makes for a decent young adult cyberpunk novel if you haven't read one about "what does humanity do if tech can make just some of us hyper-evolved?"

10 people found this helpful