Monday, April 01, 2013

Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

I finished of another Daniel Suarez book. It was Kill Decision. It was pretty good. I was motivated to read another Suarez title after enjoying the Daemon series.

In the story an American ant researcher McKinney in Africa narrowly escapes a drone attack in the middle of the night. She's saved by a shadowy operative named Odin and his very well trained special forces style group. There have been sporadic drone attacks across the United States and Odin says he is on a mission to track their source after saving Professor McKinney. The liberal, peace activist academic McKinney turns out to be important to the emerging "drone war" because of her research and software model on weaver ants turns out to be applicable on a larger scale with drones.

As usual with Suarez it's a bit hard to figure out who are the good and bad guys. The US government and its heavy reliance on private contractors whose loyalty is to profit, I couldn't really tell if Odin and his team were trustworthy.

Suarez in his style takes some emerging trends such as drones and autonomous software agents and moves it forward in a compelling near future science fiction. He sees drones becoming smaller, around the size of lawnmowers or dolphins. Manufactured in large numbers from off the shelf components, suddenly nations like China can undermine US technology and military economic supremacy and upset the geopolitical balance.

It was a good story. It takes a while to get untracked. The author finishes strong in the last 100 pages or so. I think the biggest knock is that it was so hard to follow up to the Daemon which was so good. Although Suarez doesn't do as good a job of developing the characters. I found them cardboard, lacking dimension, and I just didn't connect with or care about them all that much. I kept hoping Mosely, the Major, Loki or the Daemon itself would make an appearance and liven things up and bring the characters to life. My favourite characters were the ravens Huginn and Muninn.

Still it was a good book and worth reading. The stuff about drones makes you think. His observations on possible implications of drones in naval warfare was quite interesting

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