Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Geek Reading

I know it's hard to believe, but Geeks do indeed read. Not just web sites, tech manuals, and hacker instructions, but actual, honest-to-G~D fiction. That's right - Geek stories actually exist.

Geek Mafia
Right now, I'm reading Geek Mafia, by Rick Dakan:

Here's the blurb about the book:
Fired from a job he hated at a company he loved, videogame designer Paul Reynolds is drowning his sorrows in late-morning margaritas when he meets an alluring, pink-haired conwoman named Chloe. With her gang of techno-pirate friends, Chloe helps Paul not only take revenge on his former employers, but also extort a small fortune from them in the process. What more could a recently unemployed, over-worked videogame designer in Silicon Valley ask for?

I like Geek Mafia because the story uses actual technology hackers/crackers use. Anyone in Network Security should read Geek Mafia. The author's writing style needs practice and polish, but like I say, "A good story will beat poor style." Dakan's style isn't poor, by any means, but there are parts in the story where there's a bit too much telling instead of showing. But, the story of Geek Mafia is just plain good.

You can even download a free copy of Geek Mafia here. You can choose the format you want. If you click on the picture above, you can download the .pdf file of the book.

Here's Rick Dakan doing a talk about his book at PhreakNIC - a hacker convention:

And here's a link to the book on Amazon:

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
This book isn't available yet, but when Neil Gaiman recommends something, I listen:
"I'd recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I've read this year, and I'd want to get it into the hands of as many smart 13 year olds, male and female, as I can."

"Because I think it'll change lives. Because some kids, maybe just a few, won't be the same after they've read it. Maybe they'll change politically, maybe technologically. Maybe it'll just be the first book they loved or that spoke to their inner geek. Maybe they'll want to argue about it and disagree with it. Maybe they'll want to open their computer and see what's in there. I don't know. It made me want to be 13 again right now and reading it for the first time, and then go out and make the world better or stranger or odder. It's a wonderful, important book, in a way that renders its flaws pretty much meaningless."

Little Brother is about some hacker kids in San Francisco. Here's a blurb from Cory about the book:

"...hackers who declare war on the Department of Homeland Security. Every chapter has got a real-world how-to about why homeland security does not work, and how you can defeat it. And it talks about the math and computer science and information science behind the war on terrorism, the junk science behind the war on terrorism. But it's also meant to be an instruction kit for teaching kids to be culture jammers and technology jammers. I've been calling it Encyclopedia Brown meets The Anarchist Cookbook. My editor at Tor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, called it Wikipedia Brown. So I just finished it, and finished the outline of book two. It's a two book series."

I've added a countdown button to the release of Little Brother on the right side of the page. I'm a Doctorow fan, not only in Cory's fiction but his activist efforts too. Here's a link to the Little Brother MySpace page:

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow MySpace Page

The next book isn't a fiction, and I haven't read it yet. I highly intend too asap.
The Pirate's Dilemma - by Matt Mason
Here's a pretty cool presentation about the book:

And here's a link to the book on Amazon. You can read through the first few pages:

I hope this book comes out with an audio version soon.

Read up, folks.

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