A theme last seen in science fiction’s pulp era was that of “suppressed inventions”, i.e.; cars getting 1000 miles from a pint of alcohol, anti-gravity travel, pills and plants curing most major diseases for little or no cost. These discoveries were suppressed by people not wanting to lose high revenues from current methods and having the inventions take over the situation.
Suarez creates a U.S. government agency titled The Bureau of Technology Control. They are charged with ascertaining orderly progress in society by withholding or suppression of advanced findings in order to maintain social structure that does not rocket past what should be the ordinary rate of progress. The BTC has thrown off all U.S. government control and holds in secret technology that puts them at least 50 years beyond the rest of the world.
Jon Grady, a particle scientist, and his team come up with perfecting a device that will reflect gravity. This should bring him worldwide acclaim, but instead causes him to be swept up into the path of the Bureau of Technology Control that offers him a chance to work on his invention under their supervision and control. Jon refuses and is thrown into a high tech prison maintained by the BTC.
How he escapes and gets into contact with other prisoners that have refused to follow BTC dictates places the reader into one of the most imaginative and fascinating plots in science fiction to date. What happens to an agency set up to maintain orderly progression in society that places itself outside of the control of any other ordinary organization is certainly a study in Machiavellian cause and effect. Well done novel by Suarez, who has done several other books involving high technology and its consequences while not under control.
2/14 Paul Lane
INFLUX by Daniel Suarez. Dutton Adult (February 20, 2014). ISBN 978-0525953180. 416p