Saturday, June 15, 2013

Glass House 51

Glass House 51 by John Hampel
Bzff Books, 3/17/2013
paperback, 432 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0962799228
Glass House 51 is the insanely amazing adventure—or misadventure—of a lifetime, of one Richard Clayborne, a hard-charging young marketing maverick at gigantic AlphaBanc's San Francisco branch.
Hyper-ambitious Richard has been offered an intriguing assignment: Get online via NEXSX and make e-time with the lovely, brilliant (and doomed) Chicagoan Christin Darrow. All to set a trap for the reclusive—and very deadly—computer genius, Norman Dunne, aka the Gnome.
Three lovely young women dead in the streets of Chicago. And the Gnome, a former AlphaBanc employee, is the main suspect. But there just might be another AlphaBanc agenda in the works. . . .
Little does clueless Richard know what is in store: a tangled, twisted—and very treacherous—journey through the AlphaBanc underground, but by the time he realizes it, he's in too deep to get out.

My Thoughts:

When John Hampel wrote Glass House 51 his goal was an updated version of 1984. What makes his take on the future so chilling now, is the current controversy on exactly how much personal information the government is collecting on all of us. In Glass House 51 the giant banking corporation
AlphaBanc is collecting, storing, and using all kinds of information about their employees - and many other citizens. Richard Clayborne is an employee on the fast track to the inner echelon of  AlphaBanc. But what exactly are the plans these power-hungry men (and woman) have and does Richard really want to be a part of these plans? And have they revealed their true reasons for wanting to catch the Gnome, a coding genius?
I had to chuckle at Hampel's description of the programmers AlphaBanc seeks:
“But seriously, it is the ones who fail to show up for the interviews, those who favor long hair down to their shoulders—or are shaved completely bald—and wear the same wretched plaid lumberjack shirt for weeks on end because they are positively glued to their workstations, those are the ones we seek out.” (Location 1277-1279)
Take note of the following quote:
“Well then the world we live in now is totally crazy—and really frightening,” said Clayborne. “Is that the trade-off today? Personal freedom, the right to privacy, sacrificed for our fight against terrorism?”
“Right now it is. I have to admit that even I was kind of freaked out about the, uh, incredible surveillance technology out there, but now,” the Epenguin yawned, “I guess I’m just resigned to it..." (Location 1708-1711)
The absolute most chilling thing about Glass House 51 and AlphaBanc is the news while reading it. The NSA's collecting information on average citizens, the IRS targeting citizens, the complicity of technology companies in granting them access to collect information, the new X-box requiring a camera which is potentially always watching and listening ... Good golly! It is well on it's way to the new 1984 in John Hampel's Glass House 51. That's maybe all I want to say because this book review is probably already being flagged for my mention of the NSA... twice.
highly recommended
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Bzff Books via Netgalley for review purposes.


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