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The Zenith Angleby Bruce Sterling
"For this reviewer, who has spent a decade as a reporter covering the Internet, Sterling's outburst, his choice of protagonist, his rants about computers and the Net, all struck so close to home, to my own daily intellectual life, that it became almost impossible to evaluate, dispassionately, anything so absurdly binary as whether The Zenith Angle is good or bad. Instead, like all great rants, it is breathtaking..." Andrew Leonard, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
Like his peers William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, bestselling author Bruce Sterling writes cutting-edge speculative fiction firmly rooted in today's reality. Now in The Zenith Angle, he has created a timely thriller about an information-age security expert caught up in America's escalating war on terror.
Infowar. Cybercombat. Digital security and techno-terror. It's how nations and networks secretly battle, now and into the future. And for Derek "Van" Vandeveer, pioneering computer wizard, a new cyberwarrior career begins on the fateful date of September 11, 2001.
Happily married with a new baby, pulling down mind-blowing money as a VP of research and development for a booming Internet company, Van has been living extralarge. Then the devastating attacks on America change everything. And Van must decide if he's willing to use the talents that built his perfect world in order to defend it.
"It's our networks versus their death cult," says the government operative who recruits Van as the key member of an ultraelite federal computer-security team. In a matter of days, Van has traded his cushy life inside the dot-com bubble for the labyrinthine trenches of the Washington intelligence community — where rival agencies must grudgingly abandon decades of distrust and infighting to join forces against chilling new threats. Van's special genius is needed to make the country's defense systems hacker-proof. And if he makes headway there, he'll find himself troubleshooting ultrasecret spy satellites.
America's most powerful and crucial "eye in the sky," the KH-13 satellite — capable of detecting terrorist hotbeds worldwide with pinpoint accuracy — is perilously close to becoming an orbiting billion-dollar boondoggle, unless Van can debug the glitch that's knocked it out of commission. Little does he suspect that the problem has nothing at all to do with software...and that what's really wrong with the KH-13 will force Van to make the unlikely leap from scientist to spy, team up with a ruthlessly resourceful ex?Special Forces commando, and root out an unknown enemy...one with access to an undreamed of weapon of untold destructive power.
“A Catch-22 for the slashdot generation: a wry, cynical, informed peek at the paranoid world of the post-9/11 cyberspookerati. Buy it, read it, be very afraid.” Charles Stross, author of Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise
"A darkly comic fable of info-war, the black budget, uber-geek idealism and the politics of Homeland Insecurity. Sterling's grasp of the surfaces of contemporary reality is deftly prehensile; his understanding of what underlies those surfaces is both compelling and important." William Gibson, author of Pattern Recognition
"Despite Sterling's usual darkly illuminating undercurrents, this one meanders fitfully and uncomfortably: too much happens offstage, and the geeks don't come alive." Kirkus Reviews
"Vibrates with fantastic in-jokes and insights...rockets along like a hijacked airliner heading straight at you, like a flash-worm compromising every unpatched Windows box on the net at once. Lots of books are called 'thrillers' but very few are this thrilling." Cory Doctorow, author of Eastern Standard Tribe and Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
"[Sterling offers] great insights about the inner workings of government, private industry and the threats that could disrupt the online world as we know it. The Zenith Angle mixes technology, politics, dry humor and suspense to provide a first-rate read." Howard A. Schmidt, former CSO/Microsoft and former Cyber Security Advisor for the Bush Administration
"Combining up-to-the-minute technology with engaging characters and a clear vision of tomorrow, this highly recommended work belongs in most sf and general fiction collections." Library Journal
"Sterling has always been more comfortable with satire than action...and the shift near the end to techno-thriller mode isn't entirely successful. Still, this novel should please the author's fans..." Publishers Weekly
“Vibrates with fantastic in-jokes and insights . . . Rockets along like a hijacked airliner heading straight at you, like a flash-worm compromising every unpatched Windows box on the net at once. Lots of books are called ‘thrillers,’ but very few are this thrilling.” Cory Doctorow, author of Eastern Standard Tribe and Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
“Perhaps the sharpest observer of our media-choked culture working today in any genre.” Time
“Bitingly satiric—and quite often brilliant.” The New York Observer
A scientist-turned-spy takes on the shadow world of national security, covertgovernment operations, and weapons sabotage in this "comedic thriller for the homeland security era" (Entertainment Weekly).
About the Author
Bruce Sterling is the author of nine novels, three of which were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. The Difference Engine, cowritten with William Gibson, was a national bestseller. He has also published three short-story collections and two nonfiction books. He has written for many magazines, including Newsweek, Fortune, Harpers, Details, Whole Earth Review, and Wired, where he is a contributing editor. He has won two Hugo Awards for Best Novella. Sterling lives in Austin, Texas.
From the Hardcover edition.
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