Sunday, March 22, 2009


Virus by Graham Watkins was originally published in 1995. My hardcover copy has 413 pages. In Virus a computer program is causing CAS, computer addiction syndrome, and people are dying. Let's be honest, this novel was published in 1995 and the technical information, if ever correct, was already dated by the time the book was published. Virus is definitely not for anyone who can't get past the dated computer information, technical flaws, and implausible science. There were a few other errors in information, for example a mention that Pine Ridge Reservation is in North Dakota, that could have been easily researched. Disclaimers aside, I did enjoy it, but it's too dated to recommend.

Synopsis from publisher:
There have been a lot of new patients coming into Duke Hospital lately, patients who show symptoms of severe self-neglect but don't seem to be suffering from any known disease. Diagnostician Dr. Mark Roberts and psychiatrist Dr. Alexandra Walton want to know why. At the same time, a computer scientist working with the doctors uncovers a supervirus, infecting machines through their modems. The result is something altogether new, a program that has become a living organism, software that behaves like a biological parasite. It "lives" in the millions of computers connected to the Internet, and reproduces itself through "seeds " - highly compressed programs that invade other software to build virulent new copies of itself.
"He felt disoriented, but that wasn't an unfamiliar feeling; it always seemed to happen when he tried to quit playing the game, when he was forced to shift from Horval the mighty Magus back to Berry Horne, none-too-successful college student." pg. 2

"After a moment he heard, with considerable shock, the date. It hadn't been two weeks, it had been more than three. He felt his normally clean-shaven face and encountered a substantial beard: at the same time he became aware of his own smell..." pg. 5

"...that makes twenty-two patients in four weeks, all suffering from what amounts to - well, what amounts to a truly ridiculous degree of self-neglect." pg. 13

"We have thirty-one patients now here that fir this profile. I've talked to Manny Selmons over at UNC and he can identify another twenty or so - and they weren't even looking for it. Jack Fredericks at County General says he has ten maybe. Something's going on." pg.23

"...I have a close friend who works near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in North Dakota...." pg. 24

"I've run just about every test I can think of on these folks, and there isn't anything medically wrong with them. They just seem to stop caring about themselves. They don't eat, they don't sleep, they don't bathe." pg. 34

"Computers....That's the link I found....For all six patients I've interviewed, the obsessions are related to work they're doing on a computer." pg. 50

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