Talking with Daniel Suarez

Yesterday the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published a long e-mail interview that I had the privilege to conduct with Daniel Suarez, author of the books Daemon and Freedom(TM) in english and Deutsch.

English version of the interview

Deutsche Version des Interviews

As most people, I came to his books by recommendation of a friend. I was reading the first Book – Daemon – on a long plane trip and finished it just in time for a stopover landing. It ends in the mother of all cliffhangers, so I needed to get the sequel – Freedom(TM) (aka. Darknet in Germany) now. Ironically, thanks to functioning wireless data networks I was able to get it to my ebook reader by literally pressing it to the plane window for better coverage, just before the plane lifted off again, but barely so. After that I told everyone that they really need to read the books. They are Snowcrash-grade good, which is something I don´t say lightly as it only happens once or twice in a decade.

The interview stretched as a on-off side-task over several weeks because we were both busy with work and various issues and also needed time to think about things. That had the positive effect that the topics are far-ranging and not just off-the-cuff canned stuff. We agreed from the beginning that I would not ask the usual boring book questions (“… how did you came to writing…”), because our time would be wasted and I was much more interested in the deeper thinking that very clearly is the driving force behind Suarez writing.

During the interview I was very happy to see that I am not the only one who thinks about something like a “High-Tech Communities 3.0” concept that possibly could be the base for a way out of our current mess. The exchange on the mad corporate drive for efficiency as the core root of evil in our world had a crisp clearness that I was missing from so many debates lately. It is by no means a new idea, but we need to put the important thoughts into clear, simple words from time to time to be able to build on them. Daniel Suarez has that gift.

Of course the usual accusations of pessimism (and even hopeless romanticism…) have been brought forward by the usual boring, grumpy and frustrated people by now. I have seldom cared less, as one thing became very clear to me: you can stay with the spirit of the last decade and indulge in fruitless complaining, deconstructing and belittling of every idea brought up to save mankinds existence and freedom. Or you can understand that radical concepts are needed now and that they need to be tried out soon, because the economic and political system we currently have is obviously getting more and more incompatible with both the physical resource base of our planet and the inherent power of our current and future technologies. Its your choice.