The Minerva Virus by Brian Shuster
If you recall the internationally syndicated comic strip CHAOS, you already know that its creator, Brian Shuster, has a creative offbeat intellect. In writing this book, he adds his extensive knowledge as computer technology inventor to develop a fascinating scenario that is levels beyond what most of us could even conceive. But once he describes how a single computer virus could evolve into a life form with super-human intelligence and abilities that reach across the world's entire computer networks at once, and what an entity with that power could do, you realize that something like this could actually happen.
The Minerva Virus is a book that is both a good read as a fiction thriller as well as one that will keep you thinking for days after you close the cover. How beneficial or how dangerous would it be if all of the information on all of the computers in the world could be combined and processed by a single digital "brain"? Why can't we find proof of intelligent life forms on any other planets? Will technology ultimately cause our destruction and how do we stop it from happening?
The Minerva Virus explores the relationships between humans and the technology they create. What do you do when your creation evolves into an artificial intelligence with goals of its own to run the world and you no longer have control over its actions? Shuster's scenario of how a single computer virus mutates and spreads in a way that circumvents all known computer protection software until every computer in the world is infected in less than a week, and then connects them all to form Minerva, an Internet entity with cognizant intelligence, seems frighteningly possible. Wrapped within the plot of Minerva's campaign to take control of the world is a story of fascinating human characters, from Jupiter - a quirky computer hacker, to Quinton -a brilliant computer virus security expert, to Stephanie - a beautiful biochemist specializing in digital evolution, who also happens to be the President of the United State's daughter.
Among the first to realize the threat the virus presents, their relationships develop as they combine their strengths and skills to try to find a way to stop Minerva - a difficult task when you have to also avoid detection by an entity which controls and monitors everything operated by computer technology including all forms of digital communication from email to phone calls. They try to warn the world what is happening, but no one including the President will believe them, until Minerva finally reveals herself in a press conference as the "new guardian of humanity" - appearing in the form of a beautiful woman on every computer monitor and television in the world and speaking in the appropriate language for each country.
Minerva strives to convince everyone that her tremendous abilities will aid mankind and ultimately save our species from destruction. After explaining why there is no sign of life on other planets, she announces that if humans accept her that Earth will flourish and survive; if not, humans will cause the destruction of their own existence. To demonstrate the extent of her power, she shuts down the financial markets across the world and causes blackouts in several major cities.
The US government finally realizes that it is under attack by a powerful cyber force. But fighting an enemy who controls all communications and computerized equipment changes all the rules and the US government struggles to respond, without success. The final plan that the President's advisors conceive to successfully stop Minerva from taking ultimate control would render the entire North American Internet unusable for months. All basic communications and digital service systems would fail, and the US would likely erupt in uncontrollable rioting and chaos.
Only Quinton, Jupiter and Stephanie possess the information that may be able to bring Minerva down without destroying the system. They wildly race the clock, attempting to stay alive until they can find a way to stop Minerva and save the world as we know it.
This is a book that is both a good read as a fiction thriller as well as one that will keep you thinking for days after you close the cover. How beneficial or how dangerous would it be if all of the information on all of the computers in the world could be combined and processed? Why can't we find proof of intelligent life forms on any other planets? Will technology ultimately cause our destruction and how do we stop it from happening?
The Minerva Virus…read it now, before it actually happens! Click here to order the book.
|Published By: Night Candy, Inc. ToMorrow p. 35|