REVIEW: "The Raptor Virus", Frank Simon
- BKRPTRVR.RVW 20011122
"The Raptor Virus", Frank Simon, 2001, 0-8054-2339-7, U$12.99
%A Frank Simon
%C 127 Ninth Avenue North, Nashville TN 37234
%I Broadman & Holman Publishers
%O U$12.99 615-251-2000 fax 615-251-2701 broadmanholman@...
%P 344 p.
%T "The Raptor Virus"
The action is good. In places. The dialogue is stilted, alternately
racing through plot developments and turgidly spending whole pages on
irrelevancies. The characters are inconsistent, sometimes undergoing
radical personality changes from one chapter to the next.
A few sections seem to be early versions of some chapters that have
been left unmodified even though the author subsequently changed his
mind about one of the characters. In fact, at times, the plot seems
to "undevelop," and run backwards.
Throughout most of the book the overall feeling is one of a
sentimentality syrupy enough to engender tooth decay. (Simon also
seems determined to prove that even Christians can get all steamy
about sex, coming up with a kind of chaste soft porn.)
The Review Project's Hong Kong correspondent had a few comments. The
Special Administrative Region's residents apparently find this book
the funniest read since the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Never
mind that the motivation of the evil Chinese is totally out of touch
with the Chinese mindset, or that people in Hong Kong suddenly speak
Mandarin instead of Cantonese, or that you *can't* run across
Connought Road, or that you get on trams at the back, and pay as you
get off at the front, or that freighters don't go anywhere near the
yacht club or North Point, or that The Peak isn't actually a peak at
all (and no longer bears Victoria's name), or that the Peak Tram
doesn't have dual tracks, and rests against bumpers at the bottom
anyway, or that businessmen here speak American dialect, not British,
or that you can't see the bus loop from the Star Ferry ...
Well, enough of pretending I'm a real book reviewer. Let's cut to the
Sorry, there isn't any.
About all I can tell you about the Raptor Virus itself is that it
isn't a virus. It's a kind of time-based logic bomb. It's embedded
in chips. While they don't exactly "blow up real good," they do
manage to generate a lot of smoke when they go off. (We all know that
computers work by smoke an mirrors, and when you let the smoke out,
they don't work anymore, right? Despite the fact that software
failures almost never cause hardware damage.)
What kind of chips?
Why are they essential to all kinds of utility equipment?
How is it that one company has managed to get a complete lock on
manufacturing of this apparently vital component?
How is it that this "added feature" manages to escape detection by all
kinds of Y2K paranoid testers, and those who are thinking ahead to the
End of Seconds for UNIX?
There are other technical problems. Some mileages and speeds don't
add up. Train system procedures pretty much universally state that,
in the absence of valid traffic control signals, you proceed slowly
enough that you can stop within half the distance you can see, not go
barrelling down the track as fast as you can. The communications gear
harks back to the days of suitcases full of equipment, rather than
I don't suppose the book would manage to capture a Bulwer-Lytton
award, but it comes close.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2001 BKRPTRVR.RVW 20011122
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