Maughan’s central thesis—that the global society would shatter into small pieces without online connectivity—is carefully presented and seems chillingly plausible. The novel says something important and thought provoking about such hot-topic issues as privacy, the interconnectedness of the world’s population, and class structure; but, thanks to Maughan’s rigorously developed characters and his ability to tell a compelling story, the book is never preachy. A seriously good page-turner with plenty of meat on its bones.
On its face, the internet kill switch is such an on-the-nose science fiction premise that it’s a wonder Maughan is the first author to get it to market. Luckily, in his hands, the broadstroke concept trickles down into weird and unexpected crevices: sage futurism, political treatise, and mournful meditation on the violence of technological dependency. Maughan writes in a swift, almost breathless present tense, as if he needs to get this out as quickly as possible. Maybe he does.
... a politically astute, fascinating, and depressing glimpse of a near future brought to its knees by the abrupt death of the internet ... What stands out the most about Infinite Detail, isn’t Maughan’s fine understanding of technology, or his appreciation of a world without the internet, but how the novel is a critique on the nature of revolution ... What’s so timely and powerful about this book is how pragmatic it is about the current moment, how Maughan appreciates that the internet, the cloud, those pesky algorithms are firmly embedded in our capitalist reality and that disentangling ourselves, without completely destroying civilisation as we know it, will be a difficult task.