History Main / Daemon

26th Oct '12 2:41:24 AM FireWalk
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@@'''NAME'''@@
@@ Daemon@@

@@'''SYNOPSIS'''@@
@@ A computer program that runs continuously in the@@
@@ background and performs specified operations at@@
@@ predefined times or in response to certain events.@@

Matthew Sobol is the young, genius programmer head of [=CyberStorm=], one of the world's most successful computer gaming companies. At least until he dies from cancer. However, before dying, he spent a good portion of his prodigious talent and vast fortune designing and building custom hardware and writing a collection of sophisticated computer programs that have been left sitting passive on machines scatted around the Internet. Passive, that is, until one of them reads Sobol's obituary. This program sends triggers to other systems which activate a number of other distributed processes; the Daemon awakes.

Among its first actions are to kill two of Sobol's coworkers. When they try to forcibly enter his mansion after connecting Sobol with the aforementioned murders, a number of police and FBI agents are maimed or killed by an impressive set of boobytraps, including an autonomous, murderous Humvee that is nearly impervious to everything they can throw at it. The Daemon then frames its actions on a handful of people to cast doubt on its very existence and withdraws from the public eye. It quietly offers certain people in key positions fame and success if they make a deal with the devil, or more accurately, the Daemon. Then, ominously, it goes silent. [[ItGetsWorse When it resurfaces, things go downhill. Fast.]]

The book is unusual for the standard technothriller in that Daniel Suarez is OneOfUs. It becomes clear from the very beginning of the book that he is ''very'' familiar with computer systems, networking and security. (He is, in fact, a successful systems & networking security consultant.) It starts off a little jargon-heavy -- clearly to set up the book as tech-heavy for the uninitiated, and to indicate to those of us on the inside that ''[[ShownTheirWork he actually knows this stuff]].'' He never skimps on the explanations for those who don't already know these things, while not going overboard for those of us who do.

The sequel, ''Freedom™'' (yes, the trademark symbol is part of the title), picks up shortly after where "Daemon" leaves off and focuses further on the motives and goals of the Daemon's actions. As well as those who oppose it.

You thought spammers were bad? ''Pray'' you never face the Daemon.

Because of the number of plot twists and the way many tropes are stretched in various directions throughout the story, while many things are hidden below, you might still encounter spoilers. '''You have been warned.'''

There is a [[{{Characters/Daemon}} character sheet]] that needs a lot more love.

[[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused]] with [[Anime/DigimonAdventure02 Dae]][[Manga/{{Digimon V-Tamer 01}} mon]], [[HisDarkMaterials Daemons]] or the MailerDaemon trope.

----

!! @@TVTROPES:/Daniel Suarez/Daemon/Tropes$ cat tropes.txt_@@

* AiIsACrapshoot: Explicitly subverted. The Daemon is in no way an AI, nor is it ever claimed to be one. Experts repeatedly have to correct people who do refer to it as an "AI" by explaining that at best it is a distributed network of expert systems with a predefined set of actions, and in no way intelligent. Although its actions can be construed as evil, the Daemon itself is just a program and no more evil than a spreadsheet or word processor. However, it is very, ''very'' sophisticated and comprehensive.
* AnOfferYouCantRefuse: A favoured tactic of the Daemon in recruiting its agents. As an example, when it springs Charles Mozely from prison by cleaning his record, it warns him when he starts getting cold feet that it could easily put him back. Say, as a child molester.
* {{BFG}}: Nothing less than 50-cal will damage a Razorback or the first [=AutoM8=].
* BlackAndGrayMorality: [[spoiler: As the story progresses, you learn that the Daemon is by far the least evil faction at work. Especially in the sequel.]]
* BoringInvincibleHero: Total surveillance capabilities. Penetration of all corporate, government and personal databases. Ultra-tech autonomous vehicles and an army of networked minions with superhuman abilities. After a while you have to admi4D8.0xABB9ß1?~?~[[KilledMidSentence NOCARRIER]]
-->@@$ cat spannerintheworks.txt_@@
-->[[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt There are many potential biological, geological and astrophysical events]] ([[ThePlague a theoretical Level 4+ pathogen such as an airborne, multispecies variant of Ebola or Marburg virus]], [[ChekhovsVolcano activation of the Yellowstone supervolcano]], [[ColonyDrop a "dinosaur killer" asteroid or comet (>= 5 km) found on an Earth-impacting trajectory with less than 30 days lead time]], etc.) that are not addressable with current or near-term future technology and would render Daemon unexecutable. These are all low probability events. [[GoodOldWays Discontinuation by humanity of any data technology with more capacity than the Hollereith Tabulator]] would also render Daemon unexecutable. [[HumansAreFlawed This is a VERY low probability event.]] Analysis indicates that a comprehensive campaign of [[KillEmAll removal of all human agents from the network]] as effective strategy, but highly risky, in terms of [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking resources, logistics and public relations.]] [[BringIt Nevertheless, Daemon is not invincible]], and certainly not boring.
* ChekhovsBoomerang: The Oberstleutenant Boerner bot, purpose seemingly accomplished in the first book, returns in the sequel.
* TheChessmaster: Sobol is a unique case since he's ''dead'' for the entirety of both novels.
* [[ChooseYourOwnAdventure Choose Your Own Death]]: If you want to make a deal with the Daemon, it will test you. You have no idea what answers will lead to fame and fortune and which will lead to a quick, emotionless death. If you are in doubt, do nothing, and it will kill you anyway.
* CoolShades[=/=]SinisterShades: The sports glasses used by darknet operatives.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Several, intentional or otherwise. One of the Daemon's ploys is to [[spoiler: completely infiltrate a company's [=IT=] department and then demand cooperation or face destruction of all their corporate data.]]
** In the sequel it becomes clear that [[spoiler: PrivateMilitaryContractors involved at the highest levels of government are taking every advantage they can of the worldwide economic chaos caused by the continued progression of Sobol's goals to gain private power for themselves and make a quick buck at the expense of the American public.]]
* [[DealWithTheDevil Deal With The Daemon]]: Fame and fortune, or quick death. Your choice. The Daemon may also ''choose you'' -- with the same rules.
* DecoyProtagonist: Oh, sorry, were you thinking this detective story would have the obvious hard-bitten DefectiveDetective (who knows very little about computers, yet the Daemon seems to be intently interested in) running the case? [[spoiler: Subverted when he comes back and does end up a major character.]]
* DefectiveDetective: Sebeck is cheating on his wife, whom he felt obligated to marry because he got her pregnant. His son is none too happy with him. And he's got an appetite for danger that borders on self-destructive. Then his mistress turns out not to be what she seems...
* DeathByOriginStory: The second type applies to both Matthew Sobol and, later, [[spoiler:Pete Sebeck. Except that he gets better]].
* {{Determinator}}: FBI Agent Roy "Tripwire" Merritt, of the hostage retrieval team that tries to get in Sobol's booby-trapped mansion is ''set on fire'' and ''still'' manages to breach the interior of the mansion. His run becomes the stuff of legend, the video passed around the darknet as recruitment material, members of which christen him "The Burning Man" as a measure of respect. [[spoiler: And he ''survives'', somehow, to later pursue Gragg/Loki and the [=AutoM8s=] in an epic chase through the streets of San Francisco.]]
* DisproportionateRetribution: In ''Freedom™'', Loki ruins a queue-cutter's credit rating.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The Major.
* EvilGenius: Matthew Sobol.
* TheEvilsOfFreeWill: The Major lectures [[spoiler: Peter Sebeck]] on how modern civilisation needs direction and control.
* TheExtremistWasRight: [[spoiler: In the end it appears that Sobol's new society reaches the point of self-sustaining growth.]]
* EyeScream: The Major [[spoiler: has Loki's eyes torn out - along with having his fingertips and tongue chopped off]] so he can to try steal his biometrics to try to sneak into the darknet.
* GambitRoulette / BatmanGambit: Matthew Sobol programmed the Daemon to anticipate every circumstance he could think of and take advantage of it. However you can only anticipate so much before you have to guess. Fortunately Sobol is so very, very good at [[HumansAreBastards predicting human nature]]...
** Rule #1: Matthew Sobol is SMARTER THAN YOU.
** Rule #2: No plan, no matter how well thought out, no matter how well made, no matter how many variables have been taken into account, survives first contact with the enemy.
** Rule #3: [[FinaglesLaw Murphy's/Finagle's Law]] - Anything that can go wrong will.
** Rule #4: [[http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-technology.html Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.]]
** Rule #5: [[http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-computer.html Debugging is at least twice as hard as writing the program in the first place. If your code is as clever as you can possibly make it, then by definition you're not smart enough to debug it.]]
** Rule #6: Sometimes a GambitRoulette works.
* TheGameComeToLife: Early on, the autonomous Hummer is believed to have been programed with videogame-style logic and [=CyberStorm's=] games are used to recruit talent for Sobol's cause. As the Daemon network becomes more sophisticated and populated by warm bodies, it's run very much like a MMORPG with the addition of AugmentedReality glasses providing a heads-up display; agents gain levels and earn "network credits" for completing tasks.
* GreenAesop: [[spoiler:The Daemon guides its operatives into building sustainable communities based on local manufacture and renewable energy, while striking at Big Business and its long supply chains.]]
* HighClassGlass: The Oberstleutenant Boerner bot wears one.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: [[spoiler:Sobol consciously chose to become the villain to achieve his goals.]]
* IfIWantedYouDead: Loki/Gragg tells Dr. Philips this when they first meet in ''Freedom™''.
** Loki/Gragg was also on the receiving end from Boerner in "Daemon".
* ImmuneToBullets: Razorbacks and the first [=AutoM8=].
* ImprobablyHighIQ: Sobol's IQ is 220. Based on statistics, there is a chance of less than one person in 6 billion having this result.
* InvisibilityCloak: a primitive version shows up in ''Freedom™'' worn by Darknet operatives.
* {{Jerkass}}: Gragg/Loki. His character is introduced by describing how he orchestrates the gang-date-rape of a teenage girl at a rave so he can put the video on the Internet for money. He [[ItGetsWorse doesn't get any better]], although...
* LightningGun: The LIP-C weapon (Laser Induced Plasma Channel) used by Gragg/Loki.
* LudicrousGibs: What happens to anyone hunted by a Razorback.
* MalevolentArchitecture: Take the dangerous features of your average MMORPG or First Person Shooter and put them in the hands of a crazy-smart game designer. Apply the result to a real building. You have Sobol's [[strike: death trap]] Mansion, where EverythingTryingToKillYou gets serious.
* MoralityKitchenSink: Apart from Merritt, the reader will find his conceptions of who's "good" and who's "evil" near-constantly questioned.
* MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning: Matthew Sobol's obituary is the trigger to start the Daemon.
** In the sequel, "Freedom™", [[spoiler: Merritt's death at the end of "Daemon" has turned him into a martyr and folk hero to the people of the darknet. The situation avoids any irony by the fact that based on everything the darknet learns about his life, he truly was a man of honor and integrity. Ultimately, "The Burning Man" project is the key to maintaining equality in the new darknet society.]]
* NGOSuperpower: Implicit. The corporations leading the charge against the Daemon have such power that at one point [[spoiler: they have the NSA director put away on trumped-up charges.]]
* NecessarilyEvil: Sobol. [[spoiler: He firmly believes that UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans and was willing to pay the price for it. In the end, it appears his actions are vindicated by the new society he helped create, although being dead, he'll never know it.]]
* NoPlaceForMeThere: Deconstructed somewhat. Sobol knows he is dying from cancer and will never survive to see whether his goals succeed or whether it will have been worth the price. [[spoiler: In the end we see a recording he made near his death where he agonizes over his decisions and nearly begs Sebeck to tell him whether it was worth it. Made even more tragic since it's only a recording and the real Sobol would never get his answer.]]
* OneOfUs: Daniel Suarez gets ''so many things'' about Internet technology right it's ridiculous. When he doesn't, it's clearly for plot-related reasons, but still remains close enough to reality to be easily believable.
** He goes into so much detail, [[EpilepticTrees you wonder]] if he hasn't [[ConspiracyTheory written his own Daemon...]]
** He couldn't help geeking out with the PropheticNames, either: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNOBOL SNOBOL]] is a classic string-processing programming language, which makes it good for AI, natural language processing, and apparently [[spoiler: WORLD DOMINATION]]. Meanwhile, [[http://www.honeynet.org/project/sebek Sebek]] is a security tool used to analyze malware infections.
* OneSteveLimit: Apparently, there are no other Matthew Sobols in the world for their obituaries to trigger the Daemon. For the Daemon to be able to differentiate between obtiuaries would almost certainly make it sentient, which it's not.
** How many other Matthew Sobols are there that worked at [=CyberStorm=] and died of brain cancer? Finding the right obituary really wouldn't be very difficult.
** Please note - The keywords used in each search are pointed out (bolded at the start of each chapter). The algorithm used to determine that this was the right one had a lot of ammo.
* OutGambitted: [[spoiler: The villains thought they had Sobol and the Daemon beat. They thought wrong.]]
* PostCyberPunk: Especially in the second book.
* PoweredArmor: Some Darknet operatives show up in ''Freedom™'' wearing the primitive [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture five-seconds-into-the-future]] "artificial musculature" suits.
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: Korr Military Solutions, Inc. is just one of many used to fight the ''Daemon''.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Loki uses every one of his considerable assets to track down and ''destroy'' the person responsible for [[spoiler: Merritt's death]]. ''Nothing and nobody'' gets in his way, civilian or not.
** The Daemon sends [[spoiler: heavily-armed strike teams to surgically eliminate spammer groups around the world simultaneously; it considers them parasites on the system and need to be excised, but you can't help but think it's a bit personal on the part of Sobol as well.]]
* SelfDestructMechanism: [[spoiler: Sobol's Mansion]], subverting the normal sequence:
--> "Primary data center penetrated. Commencing self destruct sequence." There was a pause. "And there is no countdown."
--> "[[OhCrap Shit!]]"
* SinisterSurveillance: During a meeting of top government [=TLA=]s, one of them orders the {{NSA}} to track down the Daemon and everyone associated using Echelon. In a realistic subversion of this trope, [=NSA=] explains that the Daemon is using a sophisticated [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darknet_%28file_sharing%29 darknet]] for all its communications, and anyway, Echelon doesn't really work like that.
** Played straight when it's discovered that [[spoiler: ''the Daemon itself'' has infiltrated most of the accessible surveillance systems worldwide, either directly or through SocialEngineering.]] However it's again played in a reasonably realistic fashion.
* ShoutOut: Not an obvious or confirmed case, but you have remote control cars running amok as well as gunfire and explosions at the abandoned Alameda Naval base near San Francisco. [[{{Mythbusters}} Sound familiar?]]
** "Not obvious"? That's the ''first'' thing I thought of as soon as he said "Alameda Naval Base." It's almost ''too'' obvious to be coincidence.
** Gragg/Loki's moniker is [[TheElricSaga Stormbringer]].
** The Major is a key player in an faction not quite under governmental control. It's a bit of a stretch, but given that this is a cyberpunk work and the author has shown clear knowledge of anime/manga culture, [[GhostInTheShell a certain other Major]] comes to mind.
* ShownTheirWork: Daniel Suarez is a successful systems and networking security consultant, and it shows. The few times he varies from actual, implemented technology are for story reasons, and even then he still keeps it within the realm of possibility. See also [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture Five Minutes Into The Future]].
* SuperPrototype: The first [=AutoM8=] is an ImmuneToBullets solid-tired Hummer. Later ones use normal cars as a base and aren't so survivable.
* TechnicolorEyes: Invoked by Loki/Gragg's special darknet-accessing contacts.
* ThanatosGambit: The event that kicks off the whole plot, of course.
* [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything Sobol Thought of Everything]]: He had to, since Daemon is not self-aware.
* TragicVillain: Sobol.
* [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture Five Minutes Into The Future]]: Believe it or not, ''all'' of the tech in the story has been demonstrated in some way. Most of it has never gone beyond the prototype stage, or is currently too bulky or impractical. By the time the story takes place, most of it is now at least viable, if not perfected and being mass produced. Given the continued speed of the advance in technology (i.e. Moore's Law), most of this stuff is probably not that far off from actually working. Also probably [[JustifiedTrope justified]] since Sobol spent hundreds of millions of his own fortune on R&D to make it all work.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: We don't get to know what Loki/Gragg tells Oberstleutenant Boerner to get what he needs done and it works. Most of the villains' detailed plans don't fare so well.
* UnwittingPawn: [[spoiler: Pete Sebeck]].
* [[spoiler: UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans:]] As the story develops, you discover this is Sobol's plan.
* VideogameCrueltyPotential: It's outside of a videogame, but clearly the same trope - Loki sees people not part of the Darknet as [=NPCs=], and treats them as such. When he is permitted to kill them, he does so eagerly and cruelly. Even when he isn't, he torments them in any way he can.
* VirtualGhost: [[spoiler: The Burning Man is a simulation of Merritt, visible only in the augmented reality of the darknet, and as accurate a recreation of the actual Merritt as the darknet was able to create. His vast power is only possible from "donations" from individuals in the darknet as a means of preventing any single person from becoming too powerful. i.e. he is the embodiment of justice, as the darknet saw Merritt to be in real life.]]
** The Burning Man censures Loki by [[spoiler:pulling him from level 60 down to level 10, which requires it to give up the number of levels he removes from Loki. He is almost instantly recouped up to level Overly High by donations from the audience.]]
** Loki uses his power to [[spoiler: release pseudo-AI Heinrich Boerner from the game "Over the Rhine"]] and give him full access to the darknet.
* WeAreEverywhere: The Daemon has recruits everywhere. If you are not part of the Daemon's plans it's because it either hasn't picked you yet, or you are dead.
* WeCanRebuildHim: In the second book, [[spoiler: Loki, after being relieved of his fingertips, eyes, and tongue during torture by the Major]], receives cybernetic replacements.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler:Sobol]] again.
* WorthyOpponent: Gragg and the rest of the Darknet see Merritt this way. (The feelings are ''not'' reciprocated.)

@@endl;@@

to:

@@'''NAME'''@@
@@ Daemon@@

@@'''SYNOPSIS'''@@
@@ A computer program that runs continuously in the@@
@@ background and performs specified operations at@@
@@ predefined times or in response to certain events.@@

Matthew Sobol is the young, genius programmer head of [=CyberStorm=], one of the world's most successful computer gaming companies. At least until he dies from cancer. However, before dying, he spent a good portion of his prodigious talent and vast fortune designing and building custom hardware and writing a collection of sophisticated computer programs that have been left sitting passive on machines scatted around the Internet. Passive, that is, until one of them reads Sobol's obituary. This program sends triggers to other systems which activate a number of other distributed processes; the Daemon awakes.

Among its first actions are to kill two of Sobol's coworkers. When they try to forcibly enter his mansion after connecting Sobol with the aforementioned murders, a number of police and FBI agents are maimed or killed by an impressive set of boobytraps, including an autonomous, murderous Humvee that is nearly impervious to everything they can throw at it. The Daemon then frames its actions on a handful of people to cast doubt on its very existence and withdraws from the public eye. It quietly offers certain people in key positions fame and success if they make a deal with the devil, or more accurately, the Daemon. Then, ominously, it goes silent. [[ItGetsWorse When it resurfaces, things go downhill. Fast.]]

The book is unusual for the standard technothriller in that Daniel Suarez is OneOfUs. It becomes clear from the very beginning of the book that he is ''very'' familiar with computer systems, networking and security. (He is, in fact, a successful systems & networking security consultant.) It starts off a little jargon-heavy -- clearly to set up the book as tech-heavy for the uninitiated, and to indicate to those of us on the inside that ''[[ShownTheirWork he actually knows this stuff]].'' He never skimps on the explanations for those who don't already know these things, while not going overboard for those of us who do.

The sequel, ''Freedom™'' (yes, the trademark symbol is part of the title), picks up shortly after where "Daemon" leaves off and focuses further on the motives and goals of the Daemon's actions. As well as those who oppose it.

You thought spammers were bad? ''Pray'' you never face the Daemon.

Because of the number of plot twists and the way many tropes are stretched in various directions throughout the story, while many things are hidden below, you might still encounter spoilers. '''You have been warned.'''

There is a [[{{Characters/Daemon}} character sheet]] that needs a lot more love.

[[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused]] with [[Anime/DigimonAdventure02 Dae]][[Manga/{{Digimon V-Tamer 01}} mon]], [[HisDarkMaterials Daemons]] or the MailerDaemon trope.

----

!! @@TVTROPES:/Daniel Suarez/Daemon/Tropes$ cat tropes.txt_@@

* AiIsACrapshoot: Explicitly subverted. The Daemon is in no way an AI, nor is it ever claimed to be one. Experts repeatedly have to correct people who do refer to it as an "AI" by explaining that at best it is a distributed network of expert systems with a predefined set of actions, and in no way intelligent. Although its actions can be construed as evil, the Daemon itself is just a program and no more evil than a spreadsheet or word processor. However, it is very, ''very'' sophisticated and comprehensive.
* AnOfferYouCantRefuse: A favoured tactic of the Daemon in recruiting its agents. As an example, when it springs Charles Mozely from prison by cleaning his record, it warns him when he starts getting cold feet that it could easily put him back. Say, as a child molester.
* {{BFG}}: Nothing less than 50-cal will damage a Razorback or the first [=AutoM8=].
* BlackAndGrayMorality: [[spoiler: As the story progresses, you learn that the Daemon is by far the least evil faction at work. Especially in the sequel.]]
* BoringInvincibleHero: Total surveillance capabilities. Penetration of all corporate, government and personal databases. Ultra-tech autonomous vehicles and an army of networked minions with superhuman abilities. After a while you have to admi4D8.0xABB9ß1?~?~[[KilledMidSentence NOCARRIER]]
-->@@$ cat spannerintheworks.txt_@@
-->[[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt There are many potential biological, geological and astrophysical events]] ([[ThePlague a theoretical Level 4+ pathogen such as an airborne, multispecies variant of Ebola or Marburg virus]], [[ChekhovsVolcano activation of the Yellowstone supervolcano]], [[ColonyDrop a "dinosaur killer" asteroid or comet (>= 5 km) found on an Earth-impacting trajectory with less than 30 days lead time]], etc.) that are not addressable with current or near-term future technology and would render Daemon unexecutable. These are all low probability events. [[GoodOldWays Discontinuation by humanity of any data technology with more capacity than the Hollereith Tabulator]] would also render Daemon unexecutable. [[HumansAreFlawed This is a VERY low probability event.]] Analysis indicates that a comprehensive campaign of [[KillEmAll removal of all human agents from the network]] as effective strategy, but highly risky, in terms of [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking resources, logistics and public relations.]] [[BringIt Nevertheless, Daemon is not invincible]], and certainly not boring.
* ChekhovsBoomerang: The Oberstleutenant Boerner bot, purpose seemingly accomplished in the first book, returns in the sequel.
* TheChessmaster: Sobol is a unique case since he's ''dead'' for the entirety of both novels.
* [[ChooseYourOwnAdventure Choose Your Own Death]]: If you want to make a deal with the Daemon, it will test you. You have no idea what answers will lead to fame and fortune and which will lead to a quick, emotionless death. If you are in doubt, do nothing, and it will kill you anyway.
* CoolShades[=/=]SinisterShades: The sports glasses used by darknet operatives.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Several, intentional or otherwise. One of the Daemon's ploys is to [[spoiler: completely infiltrate a company's [=IT=] department and then demand cooperation or face destruction of all their corporate data.]]
** In the sequel it becomes clear that [[spoiler: PrivateMilitaryContractors involved at the highest levels of government are taking every advantage they can of the worldwide economic chaos caused by the continued progression of Sobol's goals to gain private power for themselves and make a quick buck at the expense of the American public.]]
* [[DealWithTheDevil Deal With The Daemon]]: Fame and fortune, or quick death. Your choice. The Daemon may also ''choose you'' -- with the same rules.
* DecoyProtagonist: Oh, sorry, were you thinking this detective story would have the obvious hard-bitten DefectiveDetective (who knows very little about computers, yet the Daemon seems to be intently interested in) running the case? [[spoiler: Subverted when he comes back and does end up a major character.]]
* DefectiveDetective: Sebeck is cheating on his wife, whom he felt obligated to marry because he got her pregnant. His son is none too happy with him. And he's got an appetite for danger that borders on self-destructive. Then his mistress turns out not to be what she seems...
* DeathByOriginStory: The second type applies to both Matthew Sobol and, later, [[spoiler:Pete Sebeck. Except that he gets better]].
* {{Determinator}}: FBI Agent Roy "Tripwire" Merritt, of the hostage retrieval team that tries to get in Sobol's booby-trapped mansion is ''set on fire'' and ''still'' manages to breach the interior of the mansion. His run becomes the stuff of legend, the video passed around the darknet as recruitment material, members of which christen him "The Burning Man" as a measure of respect. [[spoiler: And he ''survives'', somehow, to later pursue Gragg/Loki and the [=AutoM8s=] in an epic chase through the streets of San Francisco.]]
* DisproportionateRetribution: In ''Freedom™'', Loki ruins a queue-cutter's credit rating.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The Major.
* EvilGenius: Matthew Sobol.
* TheEvilsOfFreeWill: The Major lectures [[spoiler: Peter Sebeck]] on how modern civilisation needs direction and control.
* TheExtremistWasRight: [[spoiler: In the end it appears that Sobol's new society reaches the point of self-sustaining growth.]]
* EyeScream: The Major [[spoiler: has Loki's eyes torn out - along with having his fingertips and tongue chopped off]] so he can to try steal his biometrics to try to sneak into the darknet.
* GambitRoulette / BatmanGambit: Matthew Sobol programmed the Daemon to anticipate every circumstance he could think of and take advantage of it. However you can only anticipate so much before you have to guess. Fortunately Sobol is so very, very good at [[HumansAreBastards predicting human nature]]...
** Rule #1: Matthew Sobol is SMARTER THAN YOU.
** Rule #2: No plan, no matter how well thought out, no matter how well made, no matter how many variables have been taken into account, survives first contact with the enemy.
** Rule #3: [[FinaglesLaw Murphy's/Finagle's Law]] - Anything that can go wrong will.
** Rule #4: [[http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-technology.html Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.]]
** Rule #5: [[http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-computer.html Debugging is at least twice as hard as writing the program in the first place. If your code is as clever as you can possibly make it, then by definition you're not smart enough to debug it.]]
** Rule #6: Sometimes a GambitRoulette works.
* TheGameComeToLife: Early on, the autonomous Hummer is believed to have been programed with videogame-style logic and [=CyberStorm's=] games are used to recruit talent for Sobol's cause. As the Daemon network becomes more sophisticated and populated by warm bodies, it's run very much like a MMORPG with the addition of AugmentedReality glasses providing a heads-up display; agents gain levels and earn "network credits" for completing tasks.
* GreenAesop: [[spoiler:The Daemon guides its operatives into building sustainable communities based on local manufacture and renewable energy, while striking at Big Business and its long supply chains.]]
* HighClassGlass: The Oberstleutenant Boerner bot wears one.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: [[spoiler:Sobol consciously chose to become the villain to achieve his goals.]]
* IfIWantedYouDead: Loki/Gragg tells Dr. Philips this when they first meet in ''Freedom™''.
** Loki/Gragg was also on the receiving end from Boerner in "Daemon".
* ImmuneToBullets: Razorbacks and the first [=AutoM8=].
* ImprobablyHighIQ: Sobol's IQ is 220. Based on statistics, there is a chance of less than one person in 6 billion having this result.
* InvisibilityCloak: a primitive version shows up in ''Freedom™'' worn by Darknet operatives.
* {{Jerkass}}: Gragg/Loki. His character is introduced by describing how he orchestrates the gang-date-rape of a teenage girl at a rave so he can put the video on the Internet for money. He [[ItGetsWorse doesn't get any better]], although...
* LightningGun: The LIP-C weapon (Laser Induced Plasma Channel) used by Gragg/Loki.
* LudicrousGibs: What happens to anyone hunted by a Razorback.
* MalevolentArchitecture: Take the dangerous features of your average MMORPG or First Person Shooter and put them in the hands of a crazy-smart game designer. Apply the result to a real building. You have Sobol's [[strike: death trap]] Mansion, where EverythingTryingToKillYou gets serious.
* MoralityKitchenSink: Apart from Merritt, the reader will find his conceptions of who's "good" and who's "evil" near-constantly questioned.
* MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning: Matthew Sobol's obituary is the trigger to start the Daemon.
** In the sequel, "Freedom™", [[spoiler: Merritt's death at the end of "Daemon" has turned him into a martyr and folk hero to the people of the darknet. The situation avoids any irony by the fact that based on everything the darknet learns about his life, he truly was a man of honor and integrity. Ultimately, "The Burning Man" project is the key to maintaining equality in the new darknet society.]]
* NGOSuperpower: Implicit. The corporations leading the charge against the Daemon have such power that at one point [[spoiler: they have the NSA director put away on trumped-up charges.]]
* NecessarilyEvil: Sobol. [[spoiler: He firmly believes that UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans and was willing to pay the price for it. In the end, it appears his actions are vindicated by the new society he helped create, although being dead, he'll never know it.]]
* NoPlaceForMeThere: Deconstructed somewhat. Sobol knows he is dying from cancer and will never survive to see whether his goals succeed or whether it will have been worth the price. [[spoiler: In the end we see a recording he made near his death where he agonizes over his decisions and nearly begs Sebeck to tell him whether it was worth it. Made even more tragic since it's only a recording and the real Sobol would never get his answer.]]
* OneOfUs: Daniel Suarez gets ''so many things'' about Internet technology right it's ridiculous. When he doesn't, it's clearly for plot-related reasons, but still remains close enough to reality to be easily believable.
** He goes into so much detail, [[EpilepticTrees you wonder]] if he hasn't [[ConspiracyTheory written his own Daemon...]]
** He couldn't help geeking out with the PropheticNames, either: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNOBOL SNOBOL]] is a classic string-processing programming language, which makes it good for AI, natural language processing, and apparently [[spoiler: WORLD DOMINATION]]. Meanwhile, [[http://www.honeynet.org/project/sebek Sebek]] is a security tool used to analyze malware infections.
* OneSteveLimit: Apparently, there are no other Matthew Sobols in the world for their obituaries to trigger the Daemon. For the Daemon to be able to differentiate between obtiuaries would almost certainly make it sentient, which it's not.
** How many other Matthew Sobols are there that worked at [=CyberStorm=] and died of brain cancer? Finding the right obituary really wouldn't be very difficult.
** Please note - The keywords used in each search are pointed out (bolded at the start of each chapter). The algorithm used to determine that this was the right one had a lot of ammo.
* OutGambitted: [[spoiler: The villains thought they had Sobol and the Daemon beat. They thought wrong.]]
* PostCyberPunk: Especially in the second book.
* PoweredArmor: Some Darknet operatives show up in ''Freedom™'' wearing the primitive [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture five-seconds-into-the-future]] "artificial musculature" suits.
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: Korr Military Solutions, Inc. is just one of many used to fight the ''Daemon''.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Loki uses every one of his considerable assets to track down and ''destroy'' the person responsible for [[spoiler: Merritt's death]]. ''Nothing and nobody'' gets in his way, civilian or not.
** The Daemon sends [[spoiler: heavily-armed strike teams to surgically eliminate spammer groups around the world simultaneously; it considers them parasites on the system and need to be excised, but you can't help but think it's a bit personal on the part of Sobol as well.]]
* SelfDestructMechanism: [[spoiler: Sobol's Mansion]], subverting the normal sequence:
--> "Primary data center penetrated. Commencing self destruct sequence." There was a pause. "And there is no countdown."
--> "[[OhCrap Shit!]]"
* SinisterSurveillance: During a meeting of top government [=TLA=]s, one of them orders the {{NSA}} to track down the Daemon and everyone associated using Echelon. In a realistic subversion of this trope, [=NSA=] explains that the Daemon is using a sophisticated [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darknet_%28file_sharing%29 darknet]] for all its communications, and anyway, Echelon doesn't really work like that.
** Played straight when it's discovered that [[spoiler: ''the Daemon itself'' has infiltrated most of the accessible surveillance systems worldwide, either directly or through SocialEngineering.]] However it's again played in a reasonably realistic fashion.
* ShoutOut: Not an obvious or confirmed case, but you have remote control cars running amok as well as gunfire and explosions at the abandoned Alameda Naval base near San Francisco. [[{{Mythbusters}} Sound familiar?]]
** "Not obvious"? That's the ''first'' thing I thought of as soon as he said "Alameda Naval Base." It's almost ''too'' obvious to be coincidence.
** Gragg/Loki's moniker is [[TheElricSaga Stormbringer]].
** The Major is a key player in an faction not quite under governmental control. It's a bit of a stretch, but given that this is a cyberpunk work and the author has shown clear knowledge of anime/manga culture, [[GhostInTheShell a certain other Major]] comes to mind.
* ShownTheirWork: Daniel Suarez is a successful systems and networking security consultant, and it shows. The few times he varies from actual, implemented technology are for story reasons, and even then he still keeps it within the realm of possibility. See also [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture Five Minutes Into The Future]].
* SuperPrototype: The first [=AutoM8=] is an ImmuneToBullets solid-tired Hummer. Later ones use normal cars as a base and aren't so survivable.
* TechnicolorEyes: Invoked by Loki/Gragg's special darknet-accessing contacts.
* ThanatosGambit: The event that kicks off the whole plot, of course.
* [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything Sobol Thought of Everything]]: He had to, since Daemon is not self-aware.
* TragicVillain: Sobol.
* [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture Five Minutes Into The Future]]: Believe it or not, ''all'' of the tech in the story has been demonstrated in some way. Most of it has never gone beyond the prototype stage, or is currently too bulky or impractical. By the time the story takes place, most of it is now at least viable, if not perfected and being mass produced. Given the continued speed of the advance in technology (i.e. Moore's Law), most of this stuff is probably not that far off from actually working. Also probably [[JustifiedTrope justified]] since Sobol spent hundreds of millions of his own fortune on R&D to make it all work.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: We don't get to know what Loki/Gragg tells Oberstleutenant Boerner to get what he needs done and it works. Most of the villains' detailed plans don't fare so well.
* UnwittingPawn: [[spoiler: Pete Sebeck]].
* [[spoiler: UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans:]] As the story develops, you discover this is Sobol's plan.
* VideogameCrueltyPotential: It's outside of a videogame, but clearly the same trope - Loki sees people not part of the Darknet as [=NPCs=], and treats them as such. When he is permitted to kill them, he does so eagerly and cruelly. Even when he isn't, he torments them in any way he can.
* VirtualGhost: [[spoiler: The Burning Man is a simulation of Merritt, visible only in the augmented reality of the darknet, and as accurate a recreation of the actual Merritt as the darknet was able to create. His vast power is only possible from "donations" from individuals in the darknet as a means of preventing any single person from becoming too powerful. i.e. he is the embodiment of justice, as the darknet saw Merritt to be in real life.]]
** The Burning Man censures Loki by [[spoiler:pulling him from level 60 down to level 10, which requires it to give up the number of levels he removes from Loki. He is almost instantly recouped up to level Overly High by donations from the audience.]]
** Loki uses his power to [[spoiler: release pseudo-AI Heinrich Boerner from the game "Over the Rhine"]] and give him full access to the darknet.
* WeAreEverywhere: The Daemon has recruits everywhere. If you are not part of the Daemon's plans it's because it either hasn't picked you yet, or you are dead.
* WeCanRebuildHim: In the second book, [[spoiler: Loki, after being relieved of his fingertips, eyes, and tongue during torture by the Major]], receives cybernetic replacements.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler:Sobol]] again.
* WorthyOpponent: Gragg and the rest of the Darknet see Merritt this way. (The feelings are ''not'' reciprocated.)

@@endl;@@
[[redirect:Literature/{{Daemon}}]]
3rd Oct '12 7:26:23 PM TVRulezAgain
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* CompleteMonster: [[spoiler: The Major]]. How many times does this guy cross the MoralEventHorizon? Let me count the ways. Let's start with brutally murdering [[spoiler: Roy Merritt]]. Cutting off/out [[spoiler: Loki's]] fingers, tongue, and eyes. Ordering his mooks to throw [[spoiler: Sebeck and Laney]] into a wood-chipper. And of course, rescuing teenage girls from brothels... so that he can get them darknet accounts and then behead them [[spoiler: to steal their darknet identity, keeping their heads chemically alive to spoof the biometrics]].



* CrowningMomentOfFunny: The government sets up a task force, very secret, highly classified, accessible by only those with the highest level of clearance. Meanwhile, in the Darknet, [[spoiler:the base has a giant glowing neon sign hovering over it in the Darknet's AR space, reading "Super Secret Anti-Daemon Task Force Base"]]. Closely followed (both in hilarity, and chronologically) by Loki [[spoiler: dragging a box over the whole base, right-clicking, and selecting "Kill Everyone" to order his minions to... well... you know.]]



* [[FridgeBrilliance Fridge Brilliance]]/[[FridgeLogic Fridge Logic]]: On one hand, everything worked perfectly. There were no bugs, glitches, mistakes, etc, despite the fact that there couldn't have been real world testing, beta testing, etc. The Daemon responded properly every time, and all the schematics produced working devices. On the other hand, Sobol was a genius with a ridiculously high IQ of 220. You can probably infer he was among the smartest people to have ever lived. Maybe he was just that good, putting this into FridgeBrilliance.
** Sobol only had to predict how officials would react well enough to give time to get human operatives into the network for resilience. [[HumansAreBastards He probably didn't have to guess real hard.]]. [[spoiler: And after all, his goal in the end was to get enough humans into the network that they could sustain themselves without his help. The daemon itself was ultimately just an effective Trojan into human society.]]



* JerkassWoobie: In the second book, Loki graduates to this from a regular {{Jerkass}} when [[spoiler:the Major captures and tortures him, chopping off the tip of each finger, cutting out his eyes and his tongue. He briefly returns to being a Jerkass after being saved by his Nazi buddy, but hurriedly returns to Woobie status when the Burning Man bot [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome cuts him down to level 10]], stripping him of the power he had worked for years to obtain (and been tortured for).]] Even the other members of the Darknet [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming agree]], [[spoiler: gathering around him as he cries]].



* MagnificentBastard: [[SkywardScream SOBOOOOLLLLLLL!!!]]



* TearJerker: [[spoiler: The Major decides Merritt must be liquidated and shoots him in the back from a helicopter during the final, epic chase between Merritt and Gragg. As Merritt is lying on the ground, waiting for the final shot, he struggles to get the two photos of his daughters that he always carries with him. They are the last things he sees before The Major blows his head off. [[EvenEvilHasStandards Even Gragg is horrified.]]]] I ''dare you'' to read that part without your heart breaking.
22nd Aug '12 11:37:06 PM nombretomado
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[[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused]] with [[DigimonAdventure02 Dae]][[Manga/{{Digimon V-Tamer 01}} mon]], [[HisDarkMaterials Daemons]] or the MailerDaemon trope.

to:

[[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused]] with [[DigimonAdventure02 [[Anime/DigimonAdventure02 Dae]][[Manga/{{Digimon V-Tamer 01}} mon]], [[HisDarkMaterials Daemons]] or the MailerDaemon trope.
24th Jul '12 4:32:12 AM Telcontar
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@@ A computer program that runs continuously@@
@@ in the background and performs specified operations at@@

to:

@@ A computer program that runs continuously@@
continuously in the@@
@@ in the background and performs specified operations at@@



* AndTheFandomRejoiced: "The Wall Street Journal has reported that Walter F. Parkes, who produced the 1983 film WarGames, has optioned the film rights to Daemon with Paramount Pictures." If you can think of a more perfect pairing, do let me know.
23rd Jun '12 10:48:07 PM ChaoticNovelist
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* GambitRoulette / XanatosGambit: Matthew Sobol programmed the Daemon to anticipate every circumstance he could think of and take advantage of it. However you can only anticipate so much before you have to guess. Fortunately Sobol is so very, very good at [[HumansAreBastards predicting human nature]]...

to:

* GambitRoulette / XanatosGambit: BatmanGambit: Matthew Sobol programmed the Daemon to anticipate every circumstance he could think of and take advantage of it. However you can only anticipate so much before you have to guess. Fortunately Sobol is so very, very good at [[HumansAreBastards predicting human nature]]...
18th Jun '12 8:19:49 PM TaikeiNoYuurei
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Added DiffLines:

** Loki/Gragg was also on the receiving end from Boerner in "Daemon".
30th May '12 12:10:20 PM SeptimusHeap
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* [[FridgeBrilliance Fridge Brilliance]]/[[FridgeLogic Fridge Logic]]: YourMileageMayVary. On one hand, everything worked perfectly. There were no bugs, glitches, mistakes, etc, despite the fact that there couldn't have been real world testing, beta testing, etc. The Daemon responded properly every time, and all the schematics produced working devices. On the other hand, Sobol was a genius with a ridiculously high IQ of 220. You can probably infer he was among the smartest people to have ever lived. Maybe he was just that good, putting this into FridgeBrilliance.

to:

* [[FridgeBrilliance Fridge Brilliance]]/[[FridgeLogic Fridge Logic]]: YourMileageMayVary. On one hand, everything worked perfectly. There were no bugs, glitches, mistakes, etc, despite the fact that there couldn't have been real world testing, beta testing, etc. The Daemon responded properly every time, and all the schematics produced working devices. On the other hand, Sobol was a genius with a ridiculously high IQ of 220. You can probably infer he was among the smartest people to have ever lived. Maybe he was just that good, putting this into FridgeBrilliance.
8th May '12 3:53:46 PM CassandraLeo
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Added DiffLines:

* ThanatosGambit: The event that kicks off the whole plot, of course.
3rd May '12 12:45:28 AM CassandraLeo
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The sequel, ''Freedom[[superscript:™]]'' (yes, the trademark symbol is part of the title), picks up shortly after where "Daemon" leaves off and focuses further on the motives and goals of the Daemon's actions. As well as those who oppose it.

to:

The sequel, ''Freedom[[superscript:™]]'' ''Freedom™'' (yes, the trademark symbol is part of the title), picks up shortly after where "Daemon" leaves off and focuses further on the motives and goals of the Daemon's actions. As well as those who oppose it.



* IfIWantedYouDead: Loki/Gragg tells Dr. Philips this when they first meet in ''Freedom[[superscript:TM]]''.

to:

* IfIWantedYouDead: Loki/Gragg tells Dr. Philips this when they first meet in ''Freedom[[superscript:TM]]''.''Freedom™''.



* InvisibilityCloak: a primitive version shows up in ''Freedom''''[[superscript:TM]]'' worn by Darknet operatives.

to:

* InvisibilityCloak: a primitive version shows up in ''Freedom''''[[superscript:TM]]'' ''Freedom™'' worn by Darknet operatives.



* PoweredArmor: Some Darknet operatives show up in ''Freedom''''[[superscript:TM]]'' wearing the primitive [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture five-seconds-into-the-future]] "artificial musculature" suits.

to:

* PoweredArmor: Some Darknet operatives show up in ''Freedom''''[[superscript:TM]]'' ''Freedom™'' wearing the primitive [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture five-seconds-into-the-future]] "artificial musculature" suits.
27th Apr '12 3:24:00 PM nombretomado
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[[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused]] with [[DigimonAdventure02 Dae]][[{{Digimon V-Tamer 01}} mon]], [[HisDarkMaterials Daemons]] or the MailerDaemon trope.

to:

[[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused]] with [[DigimonAdventure02 Dae]][[{{Digimon Dae]][[Manga/{{Digimon V-Tamer 01}} mon]], [[HisDarkMaterials Daemons]] or the MailerDaemon trope.
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