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NANO - by John Robert Marlow - Our Review

Rocky Rawstern - Editor Nanotechnology Now -
Reviewed by:
Rocky Rawstern
Editor Nanotechnology Now

NANO - John Robert Marlow. Hardcover January 2004
NANO - John Robert Marlow
Hardcover January 2004
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"Military applications of molecular manufacturing [nanotechnology] have even greater potential than nuclear weapons to radically change the balance of power."
--Admiral David E. Jeremiah, Vice-Chairman (ret.), U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (link)

John Robert Marlow understands both the science and the politics governing advanced technology. In his novel NANO, Marlow accurately depicts several future potentials of nanotechnology.

Where Michael Crichton uses extremely unlikely and largely debunked theories as the basis of his latest novel (Prey), when describing the potential of advanced nanotechnology, Marlow uses simple extensions of known science. NANO is a fast-paced, plausible techno-thriller, and destined to become one of the best of the best. I'd bet my last sawbuck that we'll be seeing this one in theatres soon.

While Crichton fans will love this book, don't mistake John Robert Marlow for Michael Crichton. Marlow employs cutting-edge technology in a believable manner, describing science within the bounds of the generally accepted. While NANO is techno-fiction, it could someday be techno-fact.

In a competitive world, calls for suppressing molecular manufacturing in democratic societies would amount to unilateral disarmament.
--K. Eric Drexler (link)

While simple, the characters are entirely believable, as is the characterization of the various government organizations.

NANO is crafted in such a way as to bring all the frightening potential of advanced nanotechnology to the mind's eye. I easily pictured the events as they transpired, and hung on every word and plot twist.

The only safe and feasible approach to the dangers of emerging technology is to build the social and scientific infrastructure to monitor, regulate and respond to their threats.
--Dr. James R. Hughes (link)

Further, Marlow accurately details some of the ethics involved in the decisions we must begin making now, in order to minimize the potential downsides and maximize the benefits of nanotechnology.

Anyone who understands history will see that the politics he describes should be taken seriously. Anyone with even a modicum of understanding of nanoscale science and technology will rapidly come to the conclusion that this writer has done his homework.

If you haven't read Nano by John Robert Marlow, I strongly encourage you to add it to your list-at the top. It is plausible, scientifically accurate, and timely. From a "wake-up call" standpoint, this is the most important piece of fiction written to date.

Read also our Superswarm Interview, and the The Superswarm Option


"Give me a lever, a place to stand, and I will move the earth." --Archimedes
Advanced nanotechnology is that lever, and NANO describes many ways in which it may be used.

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