Cautionary tale of a sleazy businessman and a pack of hackers finding fame, fortune, and an excuse to save New York City as the millennial computer bugaboo strikes. Since there are too many computers in the world, as well as too few people who understand them, Joseph (Typhoon, 1991, etc.) builds his story on the shaky foundation that theY2K (tech-speak for the year 2000) software bug will paralyze computers everywhere and bring an end to civilization. Not even purchasing the superexpensive software that Manhattan money-man Daniel Copeland sells from a fashionable converted townhouse near the financial district will help. Devised by Copeland's junk-food—munching computer genius "Doc" Downs, the software makes millions for Copeland and Doc. It also helps Copeland to discover hidden pieces of loose change inside the Chase Manhattan Bank's computer system that, thanks to Doc's devious digitizing, will leap magically into Copeland's secret offshore bank accounts as soon as the Times Square ball drops on 1999. But Doc's heart lacks his boss's larcenous instincts, leaving Doc free to spend his millions on an IBM mainframe and on sky-high salaries for a politically correct cadre of hackers—who invade the computer systems of Con Edison, the New York subway system, and other crucial city services with the intent of preserving them, should the Y2K bug turn out to be worse than even they can imagine. As the millennium arrives, computers regulating everything from toys to nuclear power plants begin to crash, bringing on havoc worthy of a Godzilla film. Calamity begets hyperbole ("the Pacific Ocean went dark,— etc.) before the plucky hackers save New York from complete annihilation. Conventional disaster novel, but briskly told and mercifully light on the technobabble.
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