Every once in a while comes along a book that changes everything.

The last author to do it to my generation was William Gibson in 1984. For almost two decades, when we imagined the future, we imagined ourselves tapped into cyberspace via our deck alongside Case, the protagonist in Neuromancer.

Tomorrow will mark the day of a literary event likely to be of comparable impact.

The Daemon will launch on the front shelf of Borders bookstores and Barnes & Nobles everywhere.

If this is the first time you hear about the Daemon — well, for one thing, you haven't been following my status updates :) — and you're likely to hear more from other people. It is a Da Vinci Code meets World of Warcraft kind of deal.

Many of the elements we've come to expect from action-packed Sci-Fi are there: a mysterious, gruesome murder; advanced surveillance tech; smart & lethal weaponry; and evil AI at the root of everything. The key difference to Neuromancer, however, is that it all takes place in the real world. It could happen today.

Like Craigslist's Craig Newmark put it, “Daemon is the real deal—a scary look at what can go wrong as we depend increasingly on computer networks.”

Almost as interesting as the fiction is the backstory behind the book. Initially a self-published work, early advocates, myself included, did our best to get it to people's attention and word started spreading on blogs and microblogs.

When I first picked up the book at the Long Now Foundation, I wondered about the odd name of the author, Leinad Zeraus. It took a little while before I realized the pun: it was Daniel Suarez spelled backwards.

A few days ago, I got an email from Daniel. I'm quoting it here with his permission.

"It was grassroots support from early adopters like you that proved to New York publishing houses that there was an audience for Daemon. Without that critical support, my little self-published book might have quietly disappeared.

Instead, it will be front-of-store in every Barnes & Nobel and Borders in the U.S. and is being translated into ten languages. I’ve also signed a deal with DreamWorks for the film rights."

I'm also delighted to note Daniel will be visiting us at Google to speak about the book in a few weeks.

For more on bots and their social implications, watch Daniel Suarez speak at the Long Now Foundation. For a summary of the talk, read Paul Saffo's notes.

Comments

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Lance Wicks
January 7th, 2009 at 3:20 am (#)

Hi,
I love Daemon! I bought the self-published version and it was/is awesome! Thanks for the link to Daniel speaking, watching that now.
Hope they get a decent team together if they make the movie.
Lance

Matt
January 7th, 2009 at 3:20 am (#)

have you read “Accelerando” by Charlie Stross? Just finished it and felt the same way about some of the ideas inside as with Neuromancer, Snowcrash and Down-and-out in the Magic Kingdom… Will defn. be checking out The Daemon.

Jyri Engestrom
January 7th, 2009 at 3:20 am (#)

Daniel’s talk reminded me of a paper I wrote exactly 10 years ago on software agents.

Jyri Engestrom
January 7th, 2009 at 3:27 am (#)

@Matt I haven’t read Accelerando. Thanks for the pointer!

Justin Hall
January 7th, 2009 at 9:48 am (#)

hah! Thanks Jyri – I read Daemon last year on your recommendation. It was a fabulous fun read! Then it took me a few minutes to figure out that the exact same book is being published by a different author – except it’s the same author – thanks for clearing that up :-)
I don’t give much of a hoot about Daemon appearing in bookstores now, etc – I WANT A SEQUEL ASAP

Jyri Engestrom
January 7th, 2009 at 9:53 am (#)

@Justin That’s by and large what I told Suarez too. The good new is, the sequel’s slated to come out in 2010. I hope he is not getting too distracted from writing though. With all the recent attention, I would be.

Henrik Ahlen
January 8th, 2009 at 11:28 am (#)

Thanks Jyri for the tip about Daemon during Reboot10! I ordered the book the same day, and wrote about it on Jaiku.
Then something interesting happened: Daniel Suares’ wife Michelle saw my Jaiku post and turned me into an ambassador for the book, se my blog story: http://alfabravo.com/2008/10/25/ambassadors/

Carl-Johan Sveningsson
January 8th, 2009 at 1:41 pm (#)

Hey Jüri, I’m probably one of the late “early ambassadors” of Daemon, as I got my copy from Henrik (above). Still, thanks for spreading it to him and indirectly to me – though as groundbreaking and eerie as the book is, I feel like he could have written the same content poorly spelled with his butt – and people would still have gone crazy about it.
Anyway, the marketing of Daemon has been truly extraordinary, and actually receiving somewhat personal emails from Daniel has made me “gleeful as a fashion blogger”, as they say :-)

Jyri Engestrom
January 9th, 2009 at 11:40 am (#)

Story about Daemon in USA Today

Matt John
January 13th, 2010 at 11:29 pm (#)

In religion and mythology, occultism and folklore, a demon (or daemon, daimon; from Greek δαίμων daimōn) is a supernatural being that is generally described as a malevolent spirit.
In Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the derived Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an “unclean spirit” which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism. Western occultism and Renaissance magic, which grew out of an amalgamation of pagan Greco-Roman, cissp exam, Jewish and Christian tradition, a demon is considered a spiritual entity that may be conjured and controlled.

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