A short but punchy tale of a techie who gets in too deep.

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Reconfigure

From the The Reconfigure Series series , Vol. 1

Epredator (Cont3xt, 2016) tells the story of a young coder who’s suddenly able to manipulate reality in this sci-fi novel.

Roisin Kincade is a programmer who loves to use her code to manipulate the digital world. She doesn’t consider herself a hacker, although she relishes the depictions of hackers in movies and views her work with a significant amount of romanticism. When she accidentally types a Linux command into Twitter instead of into her command-line interface, she expects her tech-savvy Twitter followers to make jokes at her expense. Instead, she receives a message from a mysterious account that seems to be inviting her to hack into a simple text game: “She was hacking, by invitation, but on a public channel. Another memory flowed past of a green screen and the phrase ‘Shall we play a game?’ ”—a reference to the 1983 movie WarGames. The new game contains a list of objects that are strikingly similar to those in Roisin’s own room. It also contains a list of commands, and when she enters one of them to move a virtual “mug” to a new position, she finds that the actual mug in her room has also physically moved. She then dives into the program to see how much she can manipulate reality—a hacker’s dream. What she doesn’t immediately realize is that there may be other entities watching her actions or that she may have unintentionally wandered into a trap. Epredator relates this tale in the irreverent, enthusiastic language of Roisin’s techie subculture—full of coding jargon, pop-culture references, and internet slang—and he manages to explain just enough to make even Luddite readers feel at home. Roisin is a charmingly guileless protagonist, and the overall plot replicates the puzzle-style computer games that are referenced in the text. The story contains just the right combination of paranoia, wonder, and fantasy to make for a fun bit of escapism, and the author even manages to land a satisfying final twist as well.

A short but punchy tale of a techie who gets in too deep.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5187-7284-9

Page Count: 312

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.

THE ANDROMEDA EVOLUTION

Over 50 years after an extraterrestrial microbe wiped out a small Arizona town, something very strange has appeared in the Amazon jungle in Wilson’s follow-up to Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain.

The microparticle's introduction to Earth in 1967 was the disastrous result of an American weapons research program. Before it could be contained, Andromeda killed all but two people in tiny Piedmont, Arizona; during testing after the disaster, AS-1 evolved and escaped into the atmosphere. Project Eternal Vigilance was quickly set up to scan for any possible new outbreaks of Andromeda. Now, an anomaly with “signature peaks” closely resembling the original Andromeda Strain has been spotted in the heart of the Amazon, and a Wildfire Alert is issued. A diverse team is assembled: Nidhi Vedala, an MIT nanotechnology expert born in a Mumbai slum; Harold Odhiambo, a Kenyan xenogeologist; Peng Wu, a Chinese doctor and taikonaut; Sophie Kline, a paraplegic astronaut and nanorobotics expert based on the International Space Station; and, a last-minute addition, roboticist James Stone, son of Dr. Jeremy Stone from The Andromeda Strain. They must journey into the deepest part of the jungle to study and hopefully contain the dire threat that the anomaly seemingly poses to humanity. But the jungle has its own dangers, and it’s not long before distrust and suspicion grip the team. They’ll need to come together to take on what waits for them inside a mysterious structure that may not be of this world. Setting the story over the course of five days, Wilson (Robopocalypse, 2011, etc.) combines the best elements of hard SF novels and techno-thrillers, using recovered video, audio, and interview transcripts to shape the narrative, with his own robotics expertise adding flavor and heft. Despite a bit of acronym overload, this is an atmospheric and often terrifying roller-coaster ride with (literally) sky-high stakes that pays plenty of homage to The Andromeda Strain while also echoing the spirit and mood of Crichton’s other works, such as Jurassic Park and Congo. Add more than a few twists and exciting set pieces (especially in the finale) to the mix, and you’ve got a winner.

A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247327-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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SHAKESPEARE FOR SQUIRRELS

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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