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.