Monday, February 19, 2018

Book Review: 'Dangerous Brains' by Erik Hamre

Australian author Erik Hamre comes to this timely novel with a depth of experience in the areas that count for the creation of this story. He has a Master of Business and Economics from The Norwegian School of Management and a MBA from Bond University Australia and has split his career in the banking industry between time served first in Norway and then in Australia. Now retired from business he is devoting his time to his passion for writing, living on the picturesque Gold Coast in Queensland. He has authored four books - 49 DAYS, TUNA LIFE, THE LAST ALCHEMIST and now DANGEROUS BRAINS.

As is becoming a trademark with Erik's books his choice of cover art digs right into the core of the tale. He also has a penchant for selecting enticing titles. While films are focusing on the Silicon Valley geniuses – famous, infamous, and yet to be recognized - few authors are touching on this group as subjects for novels. Erik creates a gold standard for this new genre.

In a mood setting Foreword for his book, Erik writes, ‘This book recounts the story of a science project that was once hailed by Newsweek as the most ambitious project of the century, and how it almost came to destroy our world. The New York Times Science Journal wrote that ‘not since JFK in 1961 set forth his plan to place an American on the moon within the end of the decade, has anyone harboured such grand ambitions as Mr. Kevorkian.’ The Silicon Valley Insider wrote ‘Mr. Kevorkian is a true visionary. In a world full of posers – he is the real deal’. And Mr. Kevorkian was the real deal. He had already started and sold two billion-dollar businesses when he publicly announced his intention to solve one of humanity’s greatest challenges. Everyone who spent personal time with him was marked forever. ‘They all believed he could achieve anything he wanted. Such was his power,’ said the CEO of one of his competitors in the tech industry. “He was just a larger than life persona,’ said another. The strange thing is that even though Mr. Kevorkian’s project was widely admired as one of the most ambitious projects of our time, hardly anyone outside the closed world of wealthy venture capitalists had ever heard of it. Even inside those circles you would struggle to find anyone who knew much more than what they had learnt through hearsay and the grapevine. This all changed one hot June morning in 2015. On June first, at four thirty am, the President of the United States was abruptly woken up by his Chief of Staff. Nine minutes later, when he was taking the elevator down to the nuclear blast-safe bunker beneath the White House, the President had only one thought in his head: “How could this have happened?” The President’s Chief of Staff hadn’t been able to answer the question. Not then. He had only learnt of the situation himself thirty minutes earlier.
Across the globe multiple Heads of State would soon be receiving the same message. Something had gone terribly wrong with a science project. Deep in the deserted and barren lands of the Nevada desert someone had set free something that threatened to change the way we viewed technology. This is the story of what led up to this situation in 2015. This is the untold story of the day the world almost came to an end.’

And as mesmerizing as are these introductory words, they only hint at the adventure within. This is a fine novel, one that makes us wonder and ponder – and take a very deep breath! Grady Harp, December 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.