Infoquake by David Louis Edelman
Review Summary: Overall Infoquake is well-written, but the characters, plot, and timing could use another revision.
Infoquake has a few interesting ideas – “fiefcorps” as the future of entrepreneurial ventures, “bio/logics” software paired up with nanotech to help people modify or amplify their bodily functions, vestigial government entities reduced to marketing their sign-on promotions and benefits packages to attract clientele. The majority of the novel seems to be a rather long read with little actual content, however.
The main character is the largest problem for the author, as he tries to portray some sort of genius anti-hero and explain how he came to be such an ambitious, morally ambiguous player… however the author’s biggest problem is, and continues to be, providing some sort of rationale for why the reader should care. More could have been done with the secondary characters and why they choose to hang around with and work for this emotionally immature tyrant, and this would have possibly shown him to be not necessarily more likable, but maybe worthy of being concerned for.
The plot drags until the end, being a mostly empty tale illustrating the main character’s ambitions and sort of how he came to be in the position he’s in. Towards the end of the novel, the action picks up and it appears as if something interesting is actually going to happen – and then the main character is dropped out of most of the end sequence with little explanation, as a teaser to further novels I suppose.
I had a hard time grasping what exactly the author was trying to say with this novel, unless maybe it was all a lead-up to the one bit of wisdom at the end that actually stuck out from the rest of the novel, perhaps because it was the clearest, truest statement of a goal or ideal in the entire book:
You see this happen every day. A business triumphs over its rivals and gets stronger. Others become jealous and resentful. Eventually, the company’s enemies conspire together to bring it down, or it rots from within. It’s the same thing that happens with animals…plants…trees. Why? Because there’s some mystical force guiding our actions? No, because too much power concentrated in one place creates stasis. And stasis is anathema to a universe that desires constant motion and change. (379)
Overall Infoquake is well-written, but the characters, plot, and timing could use another revision.