infoquake-2

Following The Autonomous Revolution that pitted humanity against intelligent machines, Earth entered a Second Dark Age.  Science and technology were shunned and survivors surrendered their freedom to austere religious governments.  But, despite their autocratic rule, not even these organizations could hold back the march of progress and, eventually, the planet entered an age known as The Reawakening in which technology once again assumed its place in a developing society by means of a system called Bio/logics. 

Life is now complimented by untold tiny nanobots coursing through the human body, designed to help regulate everything from health to leisure.  Organizations known as fief corps create software for the general populace that extend and modify physical and mental ability.

Natch, our protagonist, is the owner of a company called Natch Personal Programming Fiefcomp.  He is an exceptional programmer and opportunistic businessman who, with the assistance of his development team, aims to unseed his rivals, the Patel Brothers, from the number one Primo ranking (sort of a billboard hot 100 for software – or wordpress blog ranking).  He succeeds – through a little subterfuge – and briefly secures the #1 ranking before immediately losing it again.  But that brief moment at the top wins him the attention of Margaret Surina, matriarch of the revered Surina clan and  the Surina Perfection Memecorp.  She enlists Natch’s help to develop and release a mysterious new program called MultiReal.

In three days, Natch must develop MultiReal and get it ready for launch, keeping ahead of prospective rivals and hidden enemies, scrambling to achieve his goal under the ominous shadow of the Infoquake, a “lethal burst of energy that’s disrupting the bio/logic networks and threatening to send the world crashing back into the Dark Ages.”

Infoquake is an astonishingly original first novel by web-programmer David Louis Edelman.  Its focus is not on alien invasion or interstellar conquest or even run and gun action but on the cut-throat business of software development and marketing.  And the author does a wonderful job of world-building, fashioning a highly-detailed history to compliment his complex society.  On the one hand, this thoroughly immerses the reader in a future-world unlike any other.  On the other hand, however, the originality of the setting and background demand a fair amount of exposition that occasionally risks overwhelming the reader as well.

To his credit, Edelman attempts to minimize the confusion by engaging in a little narrative time-tripping.  The first part of the book introduces us to Natch, his team, and the free market system of Bio/logics.  The second part focuses on Natch’s past, his youth in the hive academy, and the brutal initiation that shaped his later years and won him the enmity of a fellow young rival.  The third and fourth parts bring us back to the present where Natch and co. rush to complete MultiReal, enlisting the financial backing of an unlikely ally and staying one step ahead of the enigmatic Len Borda and his Defense and Wellness Council who, it is rumored, will stop at nothing to ensure the groundbreaking software never make it to launch.

Of the four aforementioned sections, the one I found most interesting also, unfortunately, served to amplify one problem I had.  While I love the second part of the book for its emphasis on academy life (in many ways reminding me of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game), I found myself disliking the character of Natch.  Right off the bat, Natch is introduced as an anti-hero, a savvy but devious businessman who will stop at nothing to attain that prized Primo top spot.  And, while the glimpse into his past certainly does flesh out the character and give us a better understanding of who he is and who he will become, he nevertheless comes off as selfish and even a little petulant.

Still, as a whole, Infoquake achieves in doing something much contemporary scifi is hardpressed to do: pull of a fresh and wholly original concept.  The book is the first in a trilogy and, while I would have preferred a tighter resolution to this opening entry, I look forward to checking out the rest of the series.

So what did you all think?  Weigh in with your comments – and questions.  Author David Louis Edelman will be dropping by to hear what you have to say – and respond.

What a day!  We were on Icarus Base shooting a couple of HUGE scenes featuring Rush, Young, Scott, Chloe, Eli, Telford, Senator Armstrong, Dr. Damji, Lt. James, Sgt. Riley, Park, Brody, and Franklin.  The set is spectacular, I’m loving the new gate set-up, and, surprise surprise, really loving those Icarus military uniforms.  Stylin’!  Chatted with David (Blue) and Brian (J. Smith), told them how terrific they were in the dailies we watched over lunch, then promised to say a special hello from them to their folks who have apparently dropped by the blog (specifically, Brian’s mom and David’s dad).  So hi to Mrs. Smith and Mr. Blue.  Your kids are lovely and wonderfully talented.  We’re taking great care of them and promise to return them in approximately a decade or so, whenever the show has run its course. 

Andy Mikita, directing the three-parter, is running a tight ship – but everyone is enjoying themselves immensely.  I got some nice behind-the-scenes pics of Bobby and Justin along with “the actor playing Telford” (not sure if his identity has been announced yet but I have to say – and did say – I’ve enjoyed his work, especially his performance in my very favorite Mark Wahlberg movie.  And, no, it’s not the movie you’re thinking of.  Or the next one.  Or the one after that.).   

Speaking of announcements, apparently TPTB are just getting their ducks in a row in preparation for the big announcement that should be coming…very soon.      

A truly phenomenal cast!      

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dasndanger
dasndanger

Your enthusiasm is promising. smile And I guess with parents dropping by, I have to behave, eh? No gushing over their sons and stuff, right? wink

das

David
David

Well finally some progress, instead in the next week and now it very soon.
Are they paying extra to keep fans interested in the cast announcement because I am becoming more frustrated than excited. Just announce the names and get it over and done with.

Narelle from Aus

Sorry Joe, haven’t read any of this month’s books.
I had been hoping to read InfoQuake with the connection to what I do as a profession. But then again, I read to relax. So maybe not such a bright idea.

I’ve been reading the James P. Hogan Giants series. Short books but extremely enjoyable. I’m pretty sure you’ve mentioned Inherit the Stars before. I do a lot of reverse engineering of software problems in my line of work so the analytical way in which the stories unfold, rather than being fed the answers, has me staring up at the ceiling on occasions attempting to predict the outcome from the information presented. And I like that.

Thrice Upon A Time was a different take on the usual time travel book for me as they are actually discussing the issues with time travel rather than telling a time travel story and the reader is then left to determine which theory to apply to the story.

But that is just my take on the books and my brain has been a little distracted of late.

lcshepp
lcshepp

To satisfy my little corner of the world….How is the SGA movie script going? Hopefully you haven’t forgotten!

Major D. Davis
Major D. Davis

Finally,
We get to find out who the rest of the cast is. Oh and just curious, what is your favorite Mark Wahlberg movie? I really enjoyed Max Payne. Glad the Icarus base shooting went well. Also is there any chance we could see the Icarus base uniform before “Air” Airs? Thanks so much.
Major D. Davis

Kathy H
Kathy H

I found this book thoroughly entertaining. I was fascinated by the world and its history, which I think is its strongest suit. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the exposition, in fact I rather liked the way that the Autonomous Revolution was explained in Margaret’s speech. Since it sounded like many corporate speeches I’ve had to endure over the years, it was very believable for me. In fact, having spent the past 10 years on software development teams, I could relate to the characters. The one person they were missing on the team was the Tech Writer. Who is documenting all of their new software products? Does this happen automatically? DocUSoft42c, perhaps?

I was a little jolted by the sudden switch to Natch’s childhood, but it served to explain what the deal was with hives. I agree with you, Joe, it does make Natch out to be a whiny anti-hero, but I liked the devious way he dealt with the bullies in the hive. But not the bit with the bear. We think he’s going to be a hero then he does something truly evil. I can’t decide if I like him or want to shoot him with enough black code to kill him.

I actually thought one of the more exciting scenes was when Natch was trying to elude the black code guys, only to fail and get shot full of code. I’d like to know what the significance of his dream of drowning and being caught in the undertow was. It didn’t really seem to connect to anything, except to just check in with Natch, since everybody else seems to just be carrying on as if he doesn’t exist anymore. Until Jara notices he’s missing and freaks out.

I have the next book reserved at my local library and can’t wait to start reading it. I want to know who shot Natch. My money’s on Len Borda or Margaret. I also have a pet theory that Jara hired thugs to shoot him because he’s too self-absorbed to notice that she fancies the pants off of him. Seriously, how many programs does she have to run to quash her libido whenever she’s in the room with him, real or multied? Move on, girl. Natch only has eyes for Natch.

shane
shane

good to know that the cast and set are phenomenol and that we should get the anouncement hopefully anyday now….

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

I picked up Infoquake “blind” so to speak, skipping even the reading of the back cover for any hints as to what the story was about. I’m happy to say that it has been an entertaining and intruiging read. Mr. Edelman’s prose was smooth and clean. First the introduction of the characters, then the fleshing out of the universe they inhabited, was done very naturally and without clumsy exposition imposed on the reader. Among the things that appealed, were the collapsing/expanding buildings, the multivaried programs utilized by the nanites/OCHRES to affect desired changes in the users’ physicological and mental processes, the distribution of power through the various organizations, and the concept of government as a consumer choice. All these and many other strands were droitly woven into a beautiful tapestry of a strangely familiar yet alien world. My verdict on the characters is a bit more reserved. Not that the characters are simple cardboard cutouts. Indeed, especially in the case of Natch we’re given a lot of background to explain the character we see. For me, it’s more that we simply didn’t see enough. Jara, a character who we follow through in the early chapters, fades badly in the later book. Horvil, who we find out is a long-time (and probably only) friend of Natch, never really steps out into his own. If the intent of the author was to leave the reader hungry for more, he certainly succeeded in my case. I’m especially intent on seeing more on the Islander culture, and of Quell in particular. I do agree with you, Mr. M. concerning Natch himself. Natch’s character is the hardest to sympathise or empathise with, despite his background. His treatment of those around him, his utter ruthlessness in certain venues, all make him a hard character to like. I do appreciate, however, that though he is a genius in his own right, he is out of his league in certain arenas, as witnessed by Brone’s manipulation of Natch. Another aspect of the book that pleasantly suprised was the ability of the author to inject a sense of real physical danger, and even action, into what is essentially a “talking heads” tale. The use of black code, Natch’s ambushing, the legions of troops at the Surina compound, all added a layer to the story that absolutely hooked my interest. I’d also like to express my thanks for the author for the appendixes attached to the book. I stumbled over them after reading the novel, and it’s a testament to Mr. Edelman’s writing that they supplimented the text, and were not a nessasary addition. Instead, they simply confirmed my understanding of the “Infoquake universe” as well as expanding on that understanding. A great job, and I’ll be looking forward to getting hold of Multireal to watch the tale unfold further. As for questions. Mr. Edelman, how possible/probable do you see such a universe as depicted in Infoquake being? If you had the ability, what sort of capacities would you program… Read more »

Sherry Harris
Sherry Harris

Brian’s mom here, Mr. Mallozzi! Thank you so much for the compliment’s. I am extremely proud of my son, he is not only very talented and smart, but kind and humble as well. Thank you for the reassurance that he is being well taken care of, that helps. I cannot wait to get to Vancouver to see Brian, to visit the set and meet everyone. I am hoping to meet your pugs as well, I love dogs almost as much as Brian does.
I look forward to reading your blog every night. And I admit I glance through to see if there is any news of my son first!
Thank you again!

Teslan
Teslan

Hi Mr. Mallozzi,

Haven’t posted in a long time, but I was wondering if we were ever going to see the answers to the questions for Joel Goldsmith?

Ann-Marie Sloan
Ann-Marie Sloan

Just went to see Robert Carlyle’s new movie “Stone of Destiny”. Other than wanting to see more of Robert in it. I thought it was a fine movie. And loved the fact that Vancouver was used as setting in the filming of the movie!!!

If you get a chance go see it!!! And Joe can you tell Robert I thought it was fantastic!!

Thanks!!!

Amz

My home internet is down for an indefinite amount of time, so as well as not getting my daily dose of fine writing from your blog I also have limited time to write.

Which is my way of saying I’ll endeavour to weigh in with thoughts on Infoquake tomorrow because I have so much to say (I plan on typing it out and then doing a quick cut and paste when I’m online in some strange location).

Hopefully that will still give me time to post questions for David Louis Edelman, of which I have many (surprised?).

One question though, is there a deadline for us to post questions for Amanda Tapping?

Glad you’re liking the new cast, can’t wait to hear more.

Amz

Charlie's Angel
Charlie's Angel

Infoquake – I almost put this book down before reaching my usual “50 pages or else” cutoff point. I know it’s a book about the uses (or abuses) of technology, so the techie stuff is justified, but I had trouble getting into the story. Somewhere around page 40 I was hooked and really enjoyed the book. The remaining two books of the trilogy are definitely on my reading list.

My favorite character was Quell — interesting that he was the expert on the multireal technology, even though as an Islander he was essentially off the grid. He had about a dozen bio/logic programs loaded personally, versus thousands for everyone else.

fsmn36
fsmn36

I love that their parents are stopping by! That’s so adorable. I suspect my mother would do they same if I were in their position. I can hardly wait to see the pilot ep. How many more months, Joe? As for Infoquake, I loved it. The best book I’ve read since we had Joe Abercrombie on here. In the front cover page there is a comment from a Barnes and Noble critic about it being “the love child of Donald Trump and Vernor Vinge…” I couldn’t agree more. I’m a small time business geek (it being one thing I’m going to school for, I sure hope so) and so I was enthralled the entire time. I was never bogged down by exposition. In fact, I kept wanting more of it, dying to know just how the world had come about. Margaret’s speech didn’t disappoint either. It was very well played by DLE. And the background is so fascinating, I hope he writes prequels. Anyway. The business lingo and the competitive nature of it all way thrilling. The characters were fascinating and multifaceted. While I agree Natch was ambitious, selfish, and slightly cruel, I think the reason a lot of people may find him not so endearing is merely because they see themselves in him. And who wants to read a book about a normal person with flaws? I know I do. Business often incorporates a little subterfuge and certainly manipulation. I enjoyed how that was played out by the various Creeds. Pitting ideologies together, having a supposed truth teller be a salesperson? Perfect. And then enter, of course, Big Government. And not just Big Government, but a government that’s highly militaristic. I suspect the author’s DC connections and experience influenced this. I liked how he portrayed neither (business vs government) as totally evil, nor either as all wonderful. And in the end, business bring in Government via Natch and Borda. Which in itself was an interesting and surprising revelation, one I didn’t see coming. Then there’s Brone. I am intrigued to see just how this new and odd relationship between him and Natch will work out. Is Brone really just investing in a good product, or is he after something? The plot was superb and engaging, the writing fluid and well-written, and the end exciting enough that I can’t wait to read the next installment. Questions for David Louis Edelman: 1. I can see where the inspiration for the novel came from (your job, your work for the government), but was there anything specific that brought it about? What caused a software and marketing management person to start writing novels? 2. Any characters modeled after people you’ve known? 3. More of a comment than anything, but being from the “Twin Cities,” I enjoyed your liberal use of them throughout the book. I’ve been trying to decide what nature preserve Natch and his hivemates would have been at.lol Loading...

anneteldy
anneteldy

INFOQUAKE

I’m glad Mr. M. chose Infoquake for his BotM.5C. I very much enjoyed the premise, the plot, and, especially, the characters. Natch was suitably complex. Horvil was sweet if a bit stereotypical, but overall, a good side character. I really liked the way Jara was portrayed. She didn’t simper or whimper or cry all the time because her beloved didn’t notice her. She was an adult woman, which is difficult to find in male-written SF.

I read once that those who research for a novel and those who create detailed backstory/background elements tend to want to put everything they know into the text. As we learned in Weber’s novel, On Basilisk Station, that can bring a story to a dead stop. I was glad to see Mr. Edelman didn’t give in to that tendency. Background elements — collapsible buildings, government of choice, etc. — were kept in the background and didn’t try to take over the story. That said, I’d love to know more about some of them.

Overall, I really enjoyed Infoquake. Enough so, in fact, that I’ve already read MultiReal and am eagerly awaiting the third in the series.

Questions for Mr. Edelman:

1. Are you any relation to the great character actor Herb Edelman?

2. I understand office-type buildings “fighting for space” but what is the purpose of private apartments in residential areas collapsing at night while the occupants sleep?

3. What is the reasoning behind your decision to draw so much attention to Natch’s Jump by naming the trilogy Jump 225 yet you only refer to Natch Jumping once in two books?

ME
As always, feel free to skip.

Tomorrow, I’m being moved to a private room here in the facility. It will take a while to get my phone/internet service moved over, so you won’t hear from me for a while. (Lise and/or Sheryl, if you call, don’t freak if I don’t answer the phone. This will most likely be why.)

Healthwise, I’m doing as well as can be expected. Nothing serious going on right now, just the wrist/should problems. Last temp was 97.7.

Anne Teldy

Narelle from Aus

Stay well Major Teldy…
Hear from you when you’re back up online.

Alexandria
Alexandria

I’m definitely looking forward to reading it.

As for the impending announcement…I think I’m beyond anxious and excited now. Seriously. I couldn’t wait back when the guys were announced.

And last night…I had a dream where you were asking me and several others (whom I did not recognize) if we were excited that the announcement would be soon…maybe. Strangely enough we were all in your car, going somewhere (perhaps to a restaurant), and what’s even more strange is that we all fit. It was a sleek, fancy black car with a leather interior. No idea on the type. lol.

I’ve only ever had one other semi Stargate related dream in which I was trying to get Sheppard to help save the world.

Hopefully the announcement will be soon before I have anymore strange dreams! LOL. smile

sheryl
sheryl

Anne, ok i won’t freak out, let us know when the move is complete happy trails,, and what did ??? someone send you, i’ve been gone awhile. Sheryl

Arctic Goddess

Hi Joe:

Favorite Mark Wahlberg film? Must be The Planet of The Apes. Wasn’t that the very last film that Charlton Heston appeared in?

Anyway, I’m having a terrible time laying my hands on Terry Pratchett’s “Guards! Guards”. Would you be willing to send me your copy – autographed of course…?

I chatted with Barry Campbell, the intrepid Arctic expert who was instrumental in the Arctic location shoot for Continuum, and who appeared in the movie for a few minutes as, “officer in the Conning Tower”. He’s headed back up to the Arctic for 5 weeks hoping to continue to avoid the Polar Bears. He asked me to say, “hi to everyone who knows me”. So, everyone complaining about the waether for the next five weeks, remember, Barry Campbell et. al have it worse.

Patricia (AG)

Alexandria
Alexandria

This doesn’t bode well for Lost…

http://www.tmz.com/2009/02/23/lost-star-giving-up-on-the-island/

sorrykb
sorrykb

I enjoyed Infoquake and was really intrigued by the world Mr. Edelman created. The end of the story arrived a bit sooner than I had expected (I was misled by the Appendices — So many more pages to go.), but then it did leave me eager for the next book in the series.

The ending also left me wondering about the potential consequences of the MultiReal technology, and whether something that allows a user to see the outcomes of each choice could in fact lead to a sort of societal paralysis, since the outcome of each choice leads you to another choice which leads to another series of possible outcomes… and so on. And might that cause everyone to stop making choices (although wouldn’t that in itself be a choice?) while they evaluated all possible outcomes?

Or I suppose the technology could just be used to make the game of baseball even more dull. smile

Guess I’ll have to go get “MultiReal” now and find out.
– KB

P.S. I finally finished a BOTM in time to join in the discussion. Hooray.

Ganymede
Ganymede

@ ARCTIC GODDESS

Hi back to Barry! I noticed earlier tonight that windchill temps up around the Circle were -55C!! But hey, could be worse, down in New Brunswick they just had a 40cm dump of snow!!

Oh, and Hi to Brian’s Mom!
Just ignore us all if we start to misbehave around here… We don’t bite… too much… although I can’t vouch for Joe’s chewing habits…

Anais33

coucou Joseph!

Vous allez bien? Moi oui, je me repose avant de reprendre les cours.

Ofaite je ne vous ai pas dit? je suis fiancée^^! Trop happy mon cheri ma offert un jolie bague en or blanc avec des éclats de diamants.

Passez une bonne journée. Bisou

for the love of Beckett
for the love of Beckett

@ Anne Teldy
So glad to see your BOTM post! You did come back. Give us a yodel here on the blog when you get relocated to your new digs.

@ Sheryl
Some Angel sent our Ms. Anne a lovely teddy bear, personalized and everything. She was quite overcome. It meant the world to her. None of us have been able to figure out who the dear person was, other than it wasn’t some of us regular blog folk.

@ Cap’n Joe
Thank you so much for the lovely pugsie pictures (Lulu being an honorary pug). Looking at their adorable faces was like medicine. Max, as always, is Mr. Mellow. You can tell someone they love took their pix because of the “disappearing ears.” It’s a doggie sign of submission and love. My Samoyed grrrl does that. She has foxy sled dog ears, and when petted, she lays them straight back like a rabbit’s. Since the fur on them is as soft as angora anyway, I sometimes call her “Bunny.” If ever I did get a chance to visit up north and the pugs were there, I probably would, like many other dog-loving folks here, plop myself down in the middle of the floor to say hello. If there were only one and it was Bubba, I’d collapse into giggles the minute he tilted his head. Lulu chasing Bubba would be the living end.

Have you started The Book of Joby yet?

chevron7

Hmmm…… I love a puzzle – would it be The Basketball Diaries? So many choices there though – somehow I don’t think you got Leonardo di Caprio. grin

Hello Brian’s mum & David’s dad & any other mums, dads, aunts & uncles **waves**. Maybe Joe could do a Q&A with your sons when the show premieres and you could ask them some questions. That’d be fun.

I was reading up on Icarus…hmmmm son of Daedalus. Died while escaping imprisonment using wings made of wax when he flew too close to the Sun. Hope the Icarus Base is made of stronger stuff.

So, the Icarus Base gets attacked and the team escape to find the Ancient ship The Destiny and get stranded until the end of the series – how did I do?

Is the Icarus Base primarily a military operation or like a research station?

Cheers, Chev