Daniel Suarez’s Daemon Series

Daniel_SuarezAbout the author:

Born: Somerville, New Jersey, December 21, 1964

Education: B.A. English Literature, University of Delaware

Website: http://www.daniel-suarez.com/

Thriller Sub-genre: Techno-thriller, Conspiracy

Publisher: Dutton Adult

Future of the Series: Suarez seemed to end the series with, FreedomTM, so I do not expect to see anymore additions to the series, but you never know.

The Simon Review

With the latest news on the Sony hacking and Stephen Hawking’s warning on the threat of artificial intelligence, I thought a good cyber/techno-thriller is in order which has lead me to Daniel Suarez’s Daemon series. Daemon is defined as a computer program that runs as a background process, rather than being under the direct control of an interactive user. The best example of a daemon that I can think of is the mailer daemon which is the bounced back message that you get when an email that you send off can’t reach its designation. The daemon in Daniel Suarez’s series is a highly complex program written by game designer and CEO, Matthew Sobal, which takes a scary life of its own throughout the series. Sobal programs the daemon to initiate upon his death which takes place at the beginning of the story.

Sobal envisioned a world in which the masses will be controlled and enslaved by mega corporations and the wealthy few. He creates the daemon to develop a new world order in which all citizens will have a role in this new society guided by the daemon. The question arises on whether Sobal’s idea of the daemon is best for society or could it be the end of mankind? With the world being so intricately tied to the internet in all aspects of our lives, the daemon that Sobal releases has incredible power and control and Suarez demonstrates in a very frightening way how the daemon can wield that power.

There are a various players that become pawns of the daemon throughout the series, some wanting to destroy it and others to protect it. Two of the main characters are homicide detective Peter Sebeck and computer specialist Jon Ross. Sobal chooses Sebeck to be an unwilling victim to the daemon and Sebeck’s life is turned inside out in order for the daemon to reach its goal. Jon Ross, on the other hand, has an uncanny ability to understand the daemon unlike anyone else and the big mystery is what lies behind Ross’ ulterior motive and whether he chooses to be friend or foe to the daemon.

So how plausible is a daemon-like situation likely to occur in our real world? In order for the daemon to work in the novel, Sobal would have had to anticipate what the human reaction would be to each stage of the early development of the daemon which is difficult because even though human beings can be somewhat predictable, they also have an uncanny way of being extremely unpredictable, just ask anyone who plays the stock market.

This series may not be for everyone; it is has considerable graphic violence and has a complex plot with a lot of techy lingo. However, if you are into techno-thrillers it is a definite must read. There are rumors of a movie but nothing concrete. The series absolutely must be read in order, as FreedomTM is a continuation of Daemon.

Simon’s pick:

Most Favorite Novel in the Series-FreedomTM– loved the ending

Least Favorite Novel in the Series-Daemon-very dark ending, little character development

What about the science? Even though I am not a total idiot dealing with computers, I am far from being an expert, so I can’t judge on the reality of the technology in the series, however, Suarez has been a technology analyst for 18 years and consulted with a number of experts including the folks at Google while writing the series, so I think that the science and technology are probably pretty good.

The Daemon Technical Word in Review: The Red Queen Hypothesis-was first proposed in 1974 by evolutionary biologist Leigh Van Valen to explain the constant extinction rate of species observed in paleontological records. The basic principle of the hypothesis is that organisms must evolve in order to survive against a competing and also coevolving organism, such as a predator or parasite, in an ever changing environment.

The term Red Queen comes from a passage in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. In this passage the main character Alice tries to chase the animated chess piece, the Red Queen, down a hill. Alice is confused by the fact that both her and the Red Queen remain in the same place even though they are both running and the Red Queen states; “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” This phrase mimics what two competing species must do in order to survive by stating the fact that both species must keep ‘running’ or coevolving in order to prevent extinction.

red_queen
Wikipedia Common

The hypothesis also helps explain the evolution of sexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction is actually less efficient than asexual reproduction because the male of the species does not reproduce therefore an asexual organism can produce two times more progeny than a sexual organism. If both species are competing for the same resources, than the asexual species will surely out compete the sexual species. However, if two species are competing with each other to survive, such as in a predator/parasite-prey relationship, than it would be to an advantage for one or both of the species to partake in sexual reproduction which allows that species to effectively evolve in a shorter time frame. If either species cannot evolve in order to compete with its rival, then both species will go extinct. This constant coevolving and competition is often referred to as an evolutionary arms race.

This hypothesis also explains what is behind the driving force of evolution. The original thinking on evolution was that changing environmental factors is what pushed for life to evolve but there is evidence that the Red Queen effect is the more likely cause.


“These two strains of evolution have been locked in a primordial arms race, constantly evolving to best each other for supremacy of this planet. As parasites evolve to perfect their systems against a species of host, the host evolves to evade their attack. Scientists call this theory of eternal genetic struggle the Red Queen Hypothesis-a name taken from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass.”-Daemon


Books in the Series by Order:

Most Favorite in the series: Freedom(TM) with a score of 4.27

Least Favorite in the series: Daemon with a score of 4.18

Based on overall ratings from Goodreads, Barnes and Nobles, Library Thing and Amazon (US & UK)

Daemon#1-Daemon- 2006

Listed #5 out of 549 on Goodreads Best Technothriller Ever Book List

First Line:

Matthew A. Sobol, PhD, cofounder and chief technology officer of CyberStorm Entertainment (HSTM-Nasdaq), died today at age 34 after a prolonged battle with brain cancer.


Characters

Peter Sebeck: Homicide detective and the daemon’s most unwilling victim

Brian Gragg aka Loki Stormbringer: Hacker and misfit, takes on a significant role under the daemon’s influence

Mathew Sobal: Creator of the daemon

Jon Ross: IT specialist with a cryptic past

Agent Roy Merritt: FBI agent that becomes the daemon’s folk hero

Natalie Philips: Computer expert with the NSA

Anji Anderson: Newscaster

Heinrich Boerner: Virtual German SS officer


The Setting

Los Angeles area, California


Technology controls almost everything in our modern-day world, from remote entry on our cars to access to our homes, from the flight controls of our airplanes to the movements of the entire world economy. Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can’t always be said for the people who design them.

Matthew Sobol was a legendary computer game designer—the architect behind half-a-dozen popular online games. His premature death depressed both gamers and his company’s stock price. But Sobol’s fans aren’t the only ones to note his passing. When his obituary is posted online, a previously dormant daemon activates, initiating a chain of events intended to unravel the fabric of our hyper-efficient, interconnected world. With Sobol’s secrets buried along with him, and as new layers of his daemon are unleashed at every turn, it’s up to an unlikely alliance to decipher his intricate plans and wrest the world from the grasp of a nameless, faceless enemy—or learn to live in a society in which we are no longer in control. . . .


“The type of program I stopped at Alcyone is fairly common in computing. It’s known as a daemon. It runs in the background waiting for some event to take place. Usually it’s something simple like a request to print. In this case it would be news of Sobal’s death. Then it activates.”


From The Best Bad Reviews:

ComputerUser on Amazon reviewed Daniel Suarez’s novel Daemon and gave it a one star rating.  I guess ComputerUser didn’t know that Suarez and Amazon are in cahoots to make everyone’s lives miserable.

Like the book a LOT but gave this ONE star because I cannot loan to a friend , like 99.9% of the other kindle books I have BOUGHT and OWN !How funning Daniel Suarez writes two novels about personal freedom for over 1000 pages, but then limits my personal freedom to loan a property I own to someone for 14 days via kindle loan. The IRONY and HYPOCRISY of this is AMAZING !

Charlie from Goodreads gave a one star rating on Daniel Suarez’s novel Daemon.  Ladies you have been warned!

You need the following requisites to enjoy this book:

-Computer literate
-Internet/Network literate
-Computer gaming literate
-Love First Person Shooters
-Think the movie “Hackers” w/Angelina Jolie was good movie
-Bought MW3 or Battlefield 3
-A penis


Looking for reviews for Daemon? Check out:

SF Site

SF Signal

Pajiba

Blog Critics

The Point

MichaelTalbot.info

The Dreamin’ Demon

Data and the Devine

Fantasy Book News

Fantasy Treasures

Automatic Ballpoint

Anisah Hamid

The Great Adventure

Dab of Darkness


Amazon Rating-US: 4.25 out of 5 stars based on 801 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.10 out of 5 stars based on 114 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.18 out of 5 stars based on 24,141 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.50 out of 5 stars based on 285 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 4.01 out of 5 stars based on 597 ratings

Total Score 4.18  (updated 3/28/16)

 

laptop

 

Freedom#2-FreedomTM– 2010

Listed #8 out of 549 on Goodreads Best Technothriller Ever Book List

Listed #46 out of 168 on Goodreads Best Science Thrillers Book List

First Line:

Profits in Milliseconds-“Algorithmic stock trading is the future of finance, according to Wall Street titan Anthony Hollis, whose Tartarus Group employs sophisticated software that responds to market conditions, trading equities with sub-millisecond speed.


Characters

Peter Sebeck, Brian Gragg aka Loki Stormbringer, Mathew Sobal, Jon Ross, Agent Roy Merritt, Natalie Philips, Heinrich Boerner, and Anji Anderson

Laney Price: Sebeck partner that assists him in his quest

The Major: Originally appears to try to destroy the daemon but in actuality wants to save it


The Setting

Los Angeles area, California and the Midwest


In the opening chapters of Freedom(tm), the Daemon is well on its way toward firm control of the modern world, using an expanded network of real-world, dispossessed darknet operatives to tear apart civilization and rebuild it anew. Civil war breaks out in the American Midwest, with the mainstream media stoking public fear in the face of this ‘Corn Rebellion’. Former detective Pete Sebeck, now the Daemon’s most famous and most reluctant operative, must lead a small band of enlightened humans in a populist movement designed to protect the new world order.

But the private armies of global business are preparing to crush the Daemon once and for all. In a world of conflicted loyalties, rapidly diminishing government control, and a new choice between free will and the continuing comforts of ignorance, the stakes could not be higher: hanging in the balance is nothing less than democracy’s last hope to survive the technology revolution.


Looking for reviews for Freedom(TM)? Check out:

Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

A.V. Club

A Geek with Guns

The Great Adventure

Data and the Devine

Bernard Leong

Automatic Ballpoint


Amazon Rating-US: 4.43 out of 5 stars based on 500 reviews

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.49 out of 5 stars based on 49 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.27 out of 5 stars based on 19,299 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.40 out of 5 stars based on 206 reviews

Library Thing Rating: 4.06 out of 5 stars based on 361 reviews

Total Score 4.27  (updated 4/20/17)

 

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