Tuesday, November 01, 2011


The book is filled with droppings of plenty of "technical terms", used in fairly accurate context. Alas, it seems to be filled with "this is what thrillers should contain" content. It was a riveting quick read, yet very unsatisfying. It was also filled with plenty of loose plot ends that had potential, yet were simply tossed aside.

The book centers around the fight against a cyber-terrorist. The catch is that he has just died. He has infected a disparate number of remote computers with news-reading daemons that trigger events based on news articles. The dead guy was a somewhat crazy video game expert who specialized in realistic artificial-intelleigence supported massive roll-playing games. He "post-mortem" creation was the biggest game yet, with the world as a stage. On his death, however, he had to quickly eliminate any of his coworkers that might know about the games. And thus begins the reign of terror.

His terror, however, is portrayed in a somewhat sympathetic light. Sure, he killed a bunch of law-enforcement personnel. However, he warned them about it before hand. He also killed off plenty of spammers and attacked multi-nationals of dubious morals. Is he really bad?

Unfortunately, the author carries things on a little to far. A program written a few years ago may accurately respond to a few narrow events in the immediate future, but a few years down the road? And what are the odds that the system would stay unified under that force? What about the other wonderkidz out there that decide they want to have the power of the daemon - only they don't want to die first.

That is only the beginning of the holes that could be found. That, alas, is a symptom of sloppy writing in order to get across a point. If you disregard plausibility, the novel does have some good points to ponder. Are we putting too much control in electronic systems. We often assume that the digital system is accurate, but they are just bits that could be easily modified. And the outsourcing of services further distances the users of the information from those that are maintaining it. This leaves open more points of susceptibility. However, are we willing to pay the extra costs to reduce the possibility of some things happening?

The audiobook was well done, with the daemon and its "computer minions" vocalized nicely with just enough supporting audio to bring about the points without becoming tiring. Alas, that still didn't help the ending (which just seemed to bring out a "huh?")

The author appears to be well tied in to the world of information technology and gaming. These make for a reliable setting for the novel. This seems good fodder for a "brainless" summer blockbuster. Key the special effects and turn off the brain and all is good.

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