Book review: Freedom, by Daniel Suarez

I recently got to read Freedom, the new book by Daniel Suarez, and can highly recommend it. If you haven’t read Suarez’s earlier book Daemon then you should read that Daemon first. If you have read it, Suarez picks up where the first book ended.

Daemon and Freedom are set in a future tantalizingly close to the present. In Daemon, a software tycoon and game designer named Matthew Sobol is dying. Sobol writes a program called the Daemon that scans news sites on the web for stories about his death. When the Daemon detects (via the web) that Sobol has died, it springs into action.

A wider audience can enjoy Daemon, but computer science and techie folks will especially enjoy how plausible some of the ideas are. For example, the Daemon initially stays below the radar of the government by recruiting from within a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), which skews toward a younger demographic and not older FBI agents. As someone who has seen weird, emergent behavior like this, I can understand why a bunch of people on the web enjoyed Daemon.

Freedom continues the world of the Daemon, but now we learn that the Daemon might not be all bad; it might just be ruthless in changing the world. Freedom pushes the concepts of Daemon even further: members of the guerrilla resistance fight against copyrighted DNA and for sustainable next-generation energy. They also share a private augmented reality. The new members of the “darknet” also share an interesting reputation system that’s a bit of a cross between Whuffie and PageRank.

You can enjoy Freedom for the action (there’s plenty of that, especially later in the book), but the “idea density” of Freedom will leave you thinking afterwards. Recommended, especially if you like Daemon or other books like The Truth Machine or The Unincorporated Man.

22 Responses to Book review: Freedom, by Daniel Suarez (Leave a comment)

  1. FYI

    The feedburner twitter hack you’ve got going on seems to be sending out a URL that 404′s When I clicked it, it took me here: http://feeds.mattcutts.com/~r/mattcutts/uJBW/~3/ftJe99tziro/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter

  2. Very nice review. Great post.

    Please link to my site with a follow link.

  3. Thanks for the recommendation. Seems like a good series.

    Also, what format did you read the book on? ebook? paper?

  4. Dan London, I read it on paper. I’m a big believer in the principle of “Don’t put data where you can’t get it out,” so I lean toward paper until there’s an ebook format that I feel more comfortable with.

  5. Dmitri

    Hi Matt. Since it’s next to impossible to find a way to contact you (I have not found it yet), please address this question in your next video. I posted it here:

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/thread?tid=03b9194ece59b10e&hl=en

    And there is another very interesting question just popped up on webmaster forum, it’s actually in a reply number 5 in this thread:

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/thread?tid=44378dd2b917e7be&hl=en

    The idea is that if your competitor just buys a bunch of paid links on shady link farms and link them to your site, then your site will most likely be penalized. Google must consider this possibility because it’s just too easy for a competitor to invest maybe a couple of thousand dollars to ‘kill’ competitor’s website.

  6. I agree that you should never read an ebook unless it’s considerably cheaper than the alternatives. There’s nothing better than having a hard copy of a book :). It’s easier to read and more portable. Plus – more choice!

  7. Wow, a book review? sounds like a great book. By the way, Matt, when do you have time to read books?

  8. It seem to be an interesting book! I like the slogan on the cover when the author says: “Everything is under control”..”Everything”! while there is nothing actually is under control or anyone, sounds funny for me!

  9. I don’t think “Don’t put data where you can’t get it out,” applies to material that’s already in a widely available archive. I.e., Amazon and a whole network of book publishers and resellers have already stored all in-print books and most recently-in-print books and will send the content to me whenever I want for a small retrieval fee (less than $20). The cost of letting the network of book sellers store the content so that I can retrieve it if and when I need it is less than the cost of storing a bunch of paper books in my house, not to mention transporting them around if I ever move.

  10. great review…is there any kindle version or I have to buy paperback….???

  11. Matt, I’m glad you found the books intriguing — and thanks for sharing your thoughts on them with others. It’s very much appreciated!

  12. I read review and I think I will buy Deamon first, but in my language. I’m just curious, is front page look similar like this one in my country? (http://merlin.pl/Demon_Daniel-Suarez/browse/product/1,642390.html)

  13. a very nice review and i am surprised that you also have the time to read the books.

  14. Sounds interesting, I was looking for something new to read, think I’ll pick this up. Cheers!

  15. Daniel Suarez, thanks for stopping by! I really enjoyed Freedom, and I think people will want to hear more about the darknet world. :)

  16. wow, the last time i read a book this good (something about the Triangle institute), i went right out and bought the sequel in hardback, which i plan to do with Freedom! (I would get a kindle, but i want More in a book reader, so I’m waiting for the wearable HUD glasses!)

  17. It’s ironic that Daniel (we’re pretty much on a first-name basis by now) of course will drop by and comment. It’s as if not only his books are thrillingly close to reality, but as an author he actually exists in our reality and has decided to interact with the readers instead of passively standing by hoping for good reviews. Even several times has he (when requested or spontaneously) discussed the topics of the books with me, and as a fan, I find that fricking cool! And – he has at the cost of some attention, a few copies of the books and postage, created himself a raving sales-person who will work for free promoting his books in the Baltics.

    However, Suarez’ sensilla reach far and are sensitive, as he picks up on the smallest mention or link, and as if in passing thanks me for creating the facebook group I hadn’t mentioned to him. It is really eerie almost as if he can see and keep track of everything, which as a private person I become very aware of if ever criticizing the books (’cause to be, they’re no Stephenson, right? ;-) ).

    I would love to see how he has wrapped Google Alerts into this CRM on steroids, and I would love to discuss (and/or implement) some of the topics described in FreedomTM, I profoundly enjoyed that read as well:

    http://bambuser.com/channel/UncleCJ/broadcast/390080

    (for anyone interested, I keep a set of bookmarks particularly relevant to Suarez and his books: http://delicious.com/poquatelhar/daemon )

  18. I am also a strong believer of hard-copy books instead of ebooks. An ebook just doesn’t read that well. Thanks for your recommendation! I will buy the book and read it. Hard copy ;-)

  19. No Kindle edition? That’s a shame, especially for a techie book!

  20. Just finished reading Daemon, mostly on flight and other parts of my trip to Sydney. I do think I’ll pick up Freedom. Thanks for the recommendation.

  21. Improbus

    I just finished listening to the unabridged versions of Deamon and Freedom from Audible.com. I would highly recommend them to everyone. The voice acting was great and I really enjoyed the story line. These books would make EXCELLENT movies. Has anyone picked up the rights to those yet?

    If the Darknet existed I would join it.

  22. Eddie

    Spoiler the Daemon is Google in 10 years. ;D

    No seriously though, I was wondering why the book Daemon didn’t have an ending.

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