Brain Jack Book Review

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

In the not too distant future, the world is on the brink of war. A cyber war. Unknown enemies have destroyed Las Vegas, leaving behind a nuclear wasteland, Neuro-transmitters are all the rage, but seriously addicting, and terrorists threaten national security through hacking. Seventeen-year-old Sam, hacker extraordinaire, is the best at what he does, so good that he is enlisted to work for National Security, fending off would be hackers and hopefully preventing another incident like Vegas. But there is another threat, one that no one expects and this time the enemy is themselves.

In the vein of M.T. Anderson's Feed, Brian Falkner takes the idea of Internet downloaded directly to the brain to a whole different level. With the aid of well-thought out and visualized technical jargon, Brain Jack takes on a life of its own, rolling from one hack to the other, until the true enemy is brought to light. The basic concept...if you can hack a computer, could you hack a human brain? If you could erase the memory of a computer, what about a human brain? If you can add files, what about creating new false memories? The implications are mind boggling.

Amazing. From the beginning I was sucked into this world Falkner has created. Part action flick, part meditation on the powers and perils of technology, Brain Jack is a fast, fun read. Sam is one of those teens we all extremely bright and talented person who walks, talks and lives for technology. He is vibrant, intuitive, and leaps off the pages as well as the other characters in this novel. My two favorites being Dodge and Vienna. The prologue captures the reader and doesn't let go. In fact, I think I will let the book talk for itself. You can also find this prologue on Amazon. I highly recommend making this and The Tomorrow Code part of your collection.

Right now, as you read this prologue, I am sifting through the contents of your computer. Yes, your computer. You. The one holding this book. I am reading your e-mails, looking at your digital photos and images you have downloaded off the Net opening your most private documents and having a good read, or a good laugh, depending on the content. To be honest, most of it is utterly boring. Except for a few files. You know the ones I mean. I know you don't believe me, and I prefer it that way, but think about this. When you bought this book, you used a credit card or a debit card. That created a record in the massive computer systems that the banks use. The systems they claim are impregnable. But they are on the Net. And nothing is impregnable on the Net. So I monitor hose systems for transactions with the ISBN of this book--that's the International Standard Book Number. You'll find it on the publisher's copyright page on page iv. Have a look now. It's 978-0375-84266-2. When your transaction went thought, I got an alert from one of my monitoring programs, and, as I had nothing better to do, I dug a little deeper. I got the credit card number from the transaction log, and that, with just a quick poke around in the "highly secure" databases of the bank, gave me your home address and telephone number. I cross-matched that with the Internet service providers in your area to find your broadband connection. Then I checked to see if you have a static IP (that's the electronic address of your home computer). You don't , so I raided your ISP's DHCP server to get your current IP. It didn't take me long to find out where your computer lives on the Internet. Your router's firewall was a joke--and not even a very funny one. The built-in firewall on your PC was another story, though. That held me up for a couple of heartbeats. I has to use your peer-to-peer-file-sharing client to slip a Trojan past your security and gain remote-administrator access, shape-shifting a little as I did it so as not to attract attention from your antivirus software. No matter. It took me less than ten minutes from seeing the transaction to obtaining complete access to your hard drive. So now, while you're reading this, I'm looking through your computer and having a great time. You could turn your computer off, but you'd already be too late. I could delete a few files, but I probably won't. I could change your passwords and lock you out of your own system, but I can't be bothered. And I won't crash your system or delete the contents of your hard drive or anything like that. I am not malicious or evil, or even particularly bad. I'll just quietly leave and erase any trace that I was ever there. But i know you now. I know who you are. I know where you live. I know what you've got. And if the time comes that I need something from you, something that you might or might not want to give up, I'll be back. That time is coming Sooner than you think. But in the meantime, don't worry about me. I'm not worrying about you. Right now, I've got a much bigger problems to think about.