Michael Stephan Fuchs's 2006 novel The Manuscript is just what a technothriller should be: taut, violent, smart, and very, very technical. There's plenty of "technothrillers" where the two key elements -- weapons and computers -- are treated as magic stage-props, able to do anything (or be confounded by anything) that moves the plot along. They're written by writers who confuse "programmers" with "network administrators" and think that 200 years from now, "mainframes" will be important and sexy (rather than ancient and useless).
In The Manuscript, an enormous cast of characters comprising many sysadmins, many gun-freaks, several combat veterans, spooks from a number of agencies, named and unnamed, ten zillion cops, a group of murderous avenging Taoists, and Sir Richard Francis Burton and a group of Andean holy men who have discovered the secret of the universe.
Fuchs does a remarkable job of staying within the confines of what technology actually does (both the guns and the computers) while still putting together an immensely entertaining book filled with likable, bloodthirtsy people doing incredible things while the whole world is on the line.
It's everything a technothriller should be. I don't care much about guns, but I do know an awful lot about computers. Fuchs manages to make the gun geeking every bit as interesting as the computer geeking, which is the definitive sign of really good geeking. Hell, he even makes the philosophy geeking as interesting as the computers (he's got a graduate degree in philosophy and Big Questions are the Maltese Falcon of this book).
Though the technology is out of date (the story revolves around shenanigans on Usenet's alt.* hierarchy), The Manuscript packs several kinds of punch -- it's as if The Da Vinci Code had been written by someone who wasn't an idiot.
The first time Merle Rasmussen played Dungeons & Dragons, he thought it was a Halloween game.
“It was October 1975, and I was an 18-year-old freshman at Iowa State University. My roommate got this game filled with skeletons and undead monsters. I had no idea.” The role-playing bug had bitten him, but fantasy wasn’t his genre. So that same year, he started writing a game set in a modern world, the spy game that would become Top Secret.
Janelle Shane trained a recurrent neural network with a data-set of more than 2000 ancient proverbs and asked it to think up its own: “A fox smells it better than a fool’s for a day.”
Jeff writes, “7 years after ‘grassroots mapping’ the BP spill when journalists were denied access, the open source community Public Lab is back with an even more accessible Do-It-Yourself way to take aerial photos: the Mini Balloon and Kite Mapping Kits.”
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]