Book Review: "Nexus" by Ramez Naam
- by Ninja Ross, 17 January 2013
Ramez Naam, professional technologist, released his debut Sci-Fi novel, Nexus, this month, published by Angry Robot. Is "Nexus" a masterpiece? Or is it just another book in the seemingly endless stream of mediocre Sci-Fi novels?
Nexus follows Kade Lane, some sort of geeky scientist drug dealer, and his friends as they’re thrown from their fun life of testing the drug “Nexus,” into a worldwide war being waged to gain power of the drug.
We follow our hero and his buddies as they cross the world, deal with rebels and government folk and basically get into the sort of scrapes you’d expect from a book with “Mankind gets and upgrade” as the tagline.
He obviously has a knack for writing awkward characters and his creativity is pretty great, but all of that is hidden behind inexperience.
The most notable example of this comes in the form of his world building.
A good world is described and explained through dialogue, descriptions and so on. Unfortunately, Naam takes the lazy route of breaking away from the story to bring us briefings and interviews that teach us about this world he’s creating.
This never sits right with me. I shouldn’t be aware of HOW a writer is building a world; I should only know that he/she is. I can tell you about Antiva, Rivain, the Qunari and more simply because I’ve played Dragon Age. I didn’t have to read anything special and when the game looked back on past battles and the lore of Thedas it did so in a way that didn’t take me out of the world itself. This is just one example of the many products that manage to do such a thing.
But to judge Nexus on this at all goes against what I’ve already said: It’s a blast to read. It’s not complex in any way. This is an action movie in book form. It’s Demolition Man, Replicant, Eagle Eye, Time Cop and all of those action Sci-Fi films we love to watch with a few beers, snacks and friends. Except pretty much everything is more fun without friends.
No, it’s not complex. No, it’s not going to make you think. Yes, you are going to have fun. Can I recommend it? Yes. This book is perfect for your commute to work or trips to the toilet for a number two after eating a few too many snacks while watching Darkman the night before.
Besides, if you buy this book Angry Robot will be willing to publish more books from Naam and he can develop his obvious talent and write even better books in the future.
You can buy your copy of Ramez Naam's "Nexus" through the Angry Robot website.