Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Book Review: Breakpoint by Richard Clarke

Title: Breakpoint
Author: Richard A. Clarke
Rating: ****1/2
Tags: technology, politics, fiction, thriller

Clarke was the counterterrorism head for Clinton and George W. Bush, until his resignation. He has written non-fiction books on government and national security.

This book, however, is a novel, and it is one that will change your view of the world. The novel sees several technologies, including nanotechnology, biology, computer science, and cognitive science, as on the verge of creating a new world in which our conceptions of what it is to be human must change. Soon we will be capable of creating advanced humans, genetically engineered and with cyber interfaces. The book brings up that perhaps the legal and ethical issues aren't being thought through carefully. What will the world be like when the rich are a distinctly different new species, with capabilities beyond the reach of the rest of humanity?

The plot follows attacks on much of the country's Internet traffic as well as on certain researchers and research facilities. The attacks are presumed to be from the Chinese, but retaliation has to wait to be sure of the facts. Two agents are working to follow the trail of the research and who might want to destroy these particular projects.

The characters are well-done, but it is the plot that is mind-blowing in its implications. WELL worth reading for understanding where the human race might be headed.

Publication Berkley (2007), Paperback, 320 pages
Publication date 2007
ISBN 0425218635 / 9780425218631

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