Echelon has everything that attracts a certain audience (cynically thought to be asocial teenage boys, but certainly a much wider demographic) to Science Fiction:
- hidden conspiracies to control humanity through the use of information,
- a super-intelligent culture deep in the jungle where no one wears a shirt and free-love is the norm,
- resurrection and eternal life through the virus invasions of nanobot drones,
- aliens (of course), and
- the Internet (now data flow) described in mystical language.
Echelon also has everything that drives a large portion of the reading public (cynically thought to be frustrated liberal arts students who think the Internet is about Blogs and MySpace, but certainly a much smalled demographic, because recent grads don't read) away from Science Fiction:
- characters with the personality of chess pieces,
- long lectures on various technologies,
- plot resolutions (deus ex machina) based on an endless stream of scientific miracles,
- characters that would prefer to discuss their favorite Theory of Everything rather than actually do anything, and
- a omniscient author that jumps from one character point of view to another lest the reader's interest in characters (all pretty much the same anyway) detracts from the author's technological brilliance.
If you love 21st century Science Fiction and the inevitable domination of humanity by information processing and maybe a little free sex, this is the book for you.
If you never really warmed up to Science Fiction, this isn't the book that's going to change your mind.