By Don Helin
In NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author Daniel Suarez’s latest thriller, INFLUX, particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they’ve been working toward for years: a device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics—the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel Prize. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring. This Bureau of Technology Control uses the advanced technologies they have harvested over the decades to fulfill their mission.
Presented with the opportunity to join the BTC and improve his own technology in secret, Grady resists, and is instead thrown into a nightmarish high-tech prison built to hold rebellious geniuses like himself. With so many great intellects confined together, can Grady and his fellow prisoners conceive of a way to usher humanity out of its artificial dark age? And can they hope to defeat an enemy who wields a technological advantage half a century in the making?
Daniel Suarez is also the author of DAEMON, FREEDOM™, and KILL DECISION. His fiction focuses on technology-driven change. He is a past speaker at TED Global, MIT Media Lab, NASA Ames, the Long Now Foundation, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Daniel and ask him a few questions.
Is there anything special you’d like to tell our readers about INFLUX?
I take it as a challenge to build a realistic tech foundation into my thrillers, while keeping them accessible and exciting to a mainstream audience. This was a particular challenge with INFLUX because I was dealing essentially with “anti-gravity.” Of course, that meant I read up on theoretical physics, but I also sat down for hours with physicists from NASA to try to find a gray zone in current theories of gravitation where I might place my fictional gravity mirror technology. I’m particularly happy with the result (short of actually inventing anti-gravity, that is…)
Did any particular event inspire the plot?
Not an event so much as a trend. The story for INFLUX was my reaction to a growing secrecy in our society and the dramatic power disparity this causes. People seem to think that our society is more open and transparent than ever, but recent revelations show that the public has very little idea how technology is really used to wield power. I chose to personify this with the BTC.
What are you doing to promote your book?
Nowadays book promotion never really stops. The pace just picks up whenever a new book is released. For INFLUX, that will involve appearances on the West coast, and penning technology-related articles or print and web publications. My publisher, Dutton, will also be arranging media interviews, radio tours, and print and web advertising. No doubt the film deal will increase public interest in the book. And of course, social media outreach to my readers lies at the heart of it all.
That’s a great question. I’m busy on multiple projects, but I haven’t quite narrowed it down to one yet. I’m considering writing several books at a time—we’ll see how that goes.
When you’re not writing, what are you doing (hobbies, family, etc.)?
Since my wife, Michelle, manages the business side of my writing career, we’re in constant danger of spending too much time working. This is especially true since we love what we do. But it’s important to take time away with friends, and to travel. I find it’s at these times—when I’m not actively writing—that my best book ideas come to me.
Also, I’ve had a life-long interest in all things tech: games, gadgets, and recently hardware programming. Now that I write for a living, I’ve been able to explore those interests in my free time…basically, trying to stay on the cutting edge of tech—and how that fits into the human story. And of course, I always enjoy reading good books.
A favorite jacket blurb:
“The characters (even the not-strictly-human ones) are vivid, the pacing is perfect, the villain is capital-E evil, and the author’s near-future world is so well developed that you completely buy even his wildest speculations. A magnificent tour de force.”—BOOKLIST
INFLUX sounds terrific, Daniel, and I look forward to reading it.
Daniel Suarez is the author of the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller DAEMON, FREEDOM™, and KILL DECISION. His fiction focuses on technology-driven change. He is a past speaker at TED Global, MIT Media Lab, NASA Ames, the Long Now Foundation, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.
To learn more about Daniel, please visit his website.
Photography credit: Frank Buddenbrock