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REVIEW: "Wired", Robert L. Wise

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKWIRED.RVW 20040331 Wired , Robert L. Wise, 2004, 0-446-69163-1, U$13.95/C$19.95 %A Robert L. Wise revwise@aol.com %C 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 14, 2004
      BKWIRED.RVW 20040331

      "Wired", Robert L. Wise, 2004, 0-446-69163-1, U$13.95/C$19.95
      %A Robert L. Wise revwise@...
      %C 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
      %D 2004
      %G 0-446-69163-1
      %I Time Warner
      %O U$13.95/C$19.95 www.twbookmark.com
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446691631/robsladesinterne
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446691631/robsladesinte-21
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446691631/robsladesin03-20
      %P 305 p.
      %T "Wired"

      Some books are good, and some books are bad. Some books are so
      unsatisfactory that you think that you could do better. Some books
      are so poorly written that you think *anyone* could have produced an
      improved tome. Generally, though, these idle thoughts are dismissed
      by recognition of the fact that writing a book is hard work. Why put
      in all that time and effort just to prove you could surpass what you
      are reading?

      Every once in a while, though, you come across a book that is *so*
      rotten you feel that the exertion might be justified if it meant that
      volumes like it didn't get published. You'd be doing the world a
      favour.

      It is difficult to even begin to note the failings of the writing.
      Characterization, of both individuals and whole societies, is
      inconsistent and unrealistic. Dialogue is stilted. Action is uneven
      and disjointed. Description, of both characters and settings, is
      contradictory and confusing. It's difficult to develop any empathy
      for the personae in the story, since, with constantly changing
      motivations and reactions, it is almost impossible to tell who they
      actually are.

      Wise is a Christian and this is a Christian story. (One assumes Wise
      is a Christian: even for a professional paranoid like myself it is
      difficult to seriously entertain the notion that maybe Wise *isn't* a
      Christian, and is, with this effort, trying to further debase the body
      of contemporary Christian fiction.) It attempts to posit a near-
      future occurrence of the Tribulation, one possible interpretation of
      sections of the Revelation of John (the final book in the Christian
      Bible). For anyone who has read Revelation (and some passages in the
      Gospels) the references are glaringly obvious: wars and rumours of
      wars, the moon as blood, earthquakes in unusual places, the opponent
      of Christian believers, the mark on the forehead, and so forth. (Wise
      rather misses a trick when he doesn't get into the inability to
      conduct business without the mark, and we haven't yet got to the
      miraculous head wound, but the book simply cries out "FIRST OF A
      SERIES!!!" so that'll probably be coming.)

      Speaking of paranoia, the book reeks of it. The feel is of the newly
      created Christian group as an embattled small band. They have
      identifiable and specific enemies, but, in addition, are constantly
      under a kind of passive attack by basically everyone else in the
      world. One has the impression of reading "The Dawn of the Morally
      Dead," with drooling lechers and drunkards shambling across the
      apocalyptic landscape.

      OK, enough editorial, let's talk tech. It's terrible, and has no
      particular relation to reality or logic. An object that looks like it
      might have an eye must be frightening. Machines resembling miniature
      hooks, missiles, or robots evidently have a potential for disaster.
      Computers that are very tiny have a brain but no conscience! (No room
      for a conscience?) Devices with internal structures the width of
      several atoms are monstrous! (Wise can be inadvertantly hilarious at
      times.) Objects measured on the atomic scale can be seen with an
      ordinary optical microscope. But objects the size of a human hair are
      invisibly tiny. (Heck, *I* can see hairs even with *my* tired old
      eyes!)

      Wise throws around miscellaneous technologies that have no relation to
      each other. Quantum computers can control photons. (So can the on-
      off switch on a flashlight, and, no, Wise isn't talking about optical
      fibre.) Sending photons, even when there is no line of sight, can
      cause nanoparticles to disappear! (I don't think Wise even knows what
      a photon *is*.) However, sending the *other* photons can cause the
      nanoparticles to attack! (I can never recall: am I the good photon,
      or the evil photon?)

      The major tech in the book is nanotechnology. Wise doesn't appear to
      know anything about it except that it involves little bitty things.
      The possibilities of object creation, medical uses, or information
      storage are unexplored. (Wise should read something on the topic: if
      he prefers fiction, perhaps "The Diamond Age" [cf. BKDAYLIP.RVW].)
      The questions of pollution, energy consumption, and heat dissipation
      are likewise ignored. Clusters of nanoparticles, the width of a hair
      in total extent, can somehow allow complete surveillance of the
      individual on whom they are placed. There is no attempt to discuss
      how this might take place.

      In the end, though, the technology that does have some bearing on the
      plot is rather pedestrian. The US Department of Homeland Security's
      Total Information Access plan, coupled with Echelon (which Wise
      doesn't name), and aided by a plain old-fashioned entrapment operation
      are the major plot devices.

      If this book is aimed only at entertaining Christians, it doesn't
      provide them with anything in the way of literary values or good
      story-telling. If this work is intended to be an apologia to the rest
      of the world it is an ignorant and insulting attempt.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2004 BKWIRED.RVW 20040331


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