Freedom(TM) by Daniel Suarez

I mentioned during my review of Daniel Suarez’s Daemon that I’d do a review of its sequel, Freedom(TM), when I finished it. Truth be told I finished reading it some time back and never got around to writing this review. Yes I’m lazy deal with it. But for your reading pleasure here is a review on Freedom(TM).

First the spoiler free part of the review. The book is fan-fucking-tastic. I can say with a straight face that the Daemon series is one of the best I’ve read. The combination of characters, technology, and story blend very well together. It’s obvious Mr. Suarez has a real understanding of both modern mature technology and technology still in the prototype phase. The other obvious thing is Mr. Suarez knows how to tell a good story. The book is paced well meaning you don’t have to worry about long sections of the book that really accomplish nothing (also known as filler or padding). Every chapter has a purpose and reveals something interesting and advances the story.

The main thing that attracts me to this series is the combination of real technology and a good story. Daniel Suarez is like combing the late Michael Crichton with computer scientist (Mr. Suarez is a database consultant after all) and other scientists. This series is a technothriller although using believable technology is a believable manner. There are no self-replicating nanobots or faster-than-light ships. What the universe of Daemon does have are fabricators that can created objects out of base raw materials, optical weapons that can blind opponents temporarily, and vehicles which can be remotely controlled via satellites.

The biggest component of any story (besides the story itself obviously) are the characters. Mr. Suarez gives us a variety of characters from your average guy with good intentions to a sociopath on a mission of revenge. All the characters in this book are meaningful (so you don’t have a cast of throw away characters you could give two shits about) and have a purpose (once again not sources of filler material). Each character has some complexity behind them and all the major characters’s lives advance with the story (no forgotten characters in other words).

Be forewarned that there is no recap in this book meaning you really do need to read Daemon first. Personally I always read series novels in order but if you’re not one to do that you’ll be very confused by Freedom(TM).

So that’s the spoiler-free portion of the review, the book is amazing. Now for the detailed review.

Do note story spoilers for both Daemon and Freedom(TM) will be present from here on out. Don’t bitch if you see story elements revealed.

Freedom(TM) picks up where Daemon left off. In Daemon a computer game programmer left behind a daemon process which began executing a series of functions based on news headlines is scraped from the Internet. Ultimately the goal of the Daemon was to find agents to assist in creating a new society in the wake of the currently collapsing one. The Daemon infected the networks of most of the major corporations and siphoned money from them for use by the Daemon’s agents. From there the actual plan executed.

Freedom(TM) mostly reveals the ultimate plan of the Daemon which is to establish a self sustained society. When we pick up Freedom(TM) the world is in the wake of the greatest depression in history. There are no jobs to be had and money is quickly becoming as worthless as it’s true value (fiat money has no actual value). Mr. Sobol, the daemon’s creator, foresaw this and hence designed a mechanism to ensure long-term survivability of society.

This is accomplished by creating communities that have everything needed for all of the population in a 100 mile radius to survive and prosper. In essence a society which can exist without long supply chains or government (any question why I love this series so much). Each self-sustained area or holon consists of farms, schools, fabrication facilities (using 3D printers to construct anything needed), and a renewable power source. These holons are popping up in many areas during the time line of Freedom(TM). The purpose behind these self-sustaining holons is to, in essence, create a distributed society with no single points of failure. Any single holon can be destroyed without it causing troubles for any other holon thus making a durable and reliable society.

It can go without saying that the government and many major corporations (whom the Daemon is stealing funds from) don’t really like this idea. In Freedom(TM) the Daemon agent’s primary opponents is a mercenary private security company who thrives off of the current conditions. As you can expect the government is putting a ton of money into private security firms at this time. The military is stretched too thin and there is a lot of civil unrest.

At the disposal of the Daemon’s agents is very advanced technology. Not only do they have access to automated vehicles at this point but they also have small aerial craft that keep the skies clear, non-lethal sonic weapons, and MetalStorm style weaponry. As previously mentioned everything they need can be fabricated at most holons using 3D printers capable of using both metals and plastics as a base material. The Damon’s agents also have access to insurmountable amounts of information provided by a mesh network.

There are two main story arcs going on in Freedom(TM). The first I already mentioned which is current society’s conflict with the Daemon’s society. The second is the quest of Peter Sebeck. If you’ve read Daemon you know Mr. Sebeck. He’s brought back by the Daemon to fulfill a question, justify humanity’s freedom from the Daemon. The Daemon sends Sebeck and his partner around the country visiting several holons and discovering the daemon’s true purpose.

This is where I say go read the book. It’s honestly amazing. The story is unique and interesting. Likewise it’s well paced (I really hate books with long sections of nothing happening) which makes it a page turner throughout.