Derek Vandeeter was in R&D for a telecomm when the towers came down on 9/11. He becomes an information age security expert and enters the world of infowar and cybercombat. It starts a bit dull, but it gets better. It reads as one man’s account of his life after 9/11 until the last bit of the book, when he starts to realize some ugly truths and takes some matters into his own hands. Not the best I’ve read from Sterling, but a decent thriller.
34. Halting State by Charles Stross, 351 pages, Science Fiction, 2007.
Set in Scotland in the near future, a dot-com reports the robbery of its bank – in the virtual game world of Avalon Four. As Sergeant Sue Smith digs deeper, the consequences seem more far-reaching than their stock prices. And when a programmer and a forensic accountant dig down even deeper, we enter a world of blacknet, zombies, espionage, and how wars are fought without guns – via the internet that connects everything. Stross’ world is well-planned, and fascinating, but I wasn’t able to follow all of the tech – those moments when the accountant is lost, and someone explains, and she gets it…I didn’t. But that is just me and techspeak. The mystery was fairly convoluted, and the action rollicked when it was time. The voice is a little strange – each chapter says whose point of view “you” are taking in; it’s a bit like putting on a SIM character, acting out this little drama, you playing that person this time. And that actually works with this book quite well. I’m playing in a Shadowrun game currently, and this book would be an interesting side-read for the group I’m gaming with.