JCL Blog

Book Review: Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

I had the good fortune to drive back and forth across the state last weekend and while doing so I finished the audiobook version of Kill Decision.  As with his first two books, Daemon and Freedom, Kill Decision is one of those books you want to race through, but also that you don’t want to end.  It is not so much that Suarez is a great writer - but he sure invents great plot lines and does great research.  

Here are the things I want to remember from the book:


  1. We should pay more attention to the ongoing debate about drones
  2. We are our own worst enemy, and going forward it will be harder and harder to figure out who to point our military at
  3. Animals, in this case ants and ravens, are much smarter than we think
  4. Collective Impact is something I want to think about more.


On that last point.  Collective Impact is a way to think about large and fragmented participants working in a semi-coordinated way to accomplish big things.  That is my definition, I am sure there are better ones.  The Weaver Ants in the book are capable of amazing things, unfortunately mostly destructive but nevermind that.  While these ants and the drones in the book seem quite evil, it is not hard to think about how a properly designed and implemented system could bring about incredible social change -- for good.

Other reviews. (you may recall that my “book reviews” are really my notes about the book.  I know there are much better reviewers out there).  In this case I only found one good one.  Not sure why the regular papers have not discovered Daniel Suarez.  Maybe when he gets called to testify in DC about how he knew drones were a bad thing...

James Floyd Kelly in Wired: This is a very good review with a conversation with the author at the end.  I guess that is the good thing about not quite being discovered yet.