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The Termination Node
Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg
Del Rey Books, 314 pages

The Termination Node
Lois H. Gresh
Lois H. Gresh is a freelance computer consultant and writer. She designs and codes corporate websites and CDs.

Lois H. Gresh Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Robert Weinberg
Robert Weinberg has written more than 15 books including the Masquerade of the Red Death trilogy for White Wolf and he has edited more than 120 anthologies. He is also the co-owner of Weird Tales and the V.P. of Argosy Communications Inc, which owns the rights to numerous pulp magazines. He was a two-time Vice President of the Horror Writers Association and has won the World Fantasy Award twice.

Robert Weinberg Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rodger Turner

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While you are busy reading this, Judy Carmody could be stripping your hard drive bare. Judy is the heroine of The Termination Node and knows her way around Macs and PCs or any computerized gizmo you could name. Suppose you have a link to your bank account -- she could empty it as quick as spit. Or perhaps, it controls your home security system -- she could change your password. Wouldn't that be fun, eh? But, you think, I'm reading this through the firm's firewall. She'd smirk and say check out your personal page on the intranet. You may say this isn't possible with today's network security. Dream on, sweetie. Did you hear about those poor goofs who thought they were logging on to a free XXX site which automatically switched them to an East European 900 number racking up $11 per minute charges to their phone account? No urban myth that.

But Judy hacks for fun and charges corporate clients a boatload of cash to break their security systems so she could do what she truly loved -- hang out with her buds, skate and generally look for happiness. She's a member of a select group with their own sites, their own software toolboxes of creative utilities and their own lifestyle. She's content and would like to keep doing this forever. But the guys with the black hats are disrupting her fun and killing her fellow hackers. Judy thinks she may be next. Some suspicious types appear one day saying they're government agents and she's needed to help them with their investigation. Judy's not ready to take them at their word and a mortal scuffle sends her on the run. Why are they after her? How could they erase her records, making her an outlaw? She moves from place to place looking for answers, picking up a rotating bunch of sidekicks along the way.

If I were doing a movie pitch, I'd say this is a cross between The Net and Hackers. But this would be a rude distortion of the actual plot -- not unexpected, given the way Hollywood mangles entertaining SF novels like this one these days. They give us one-dimensional plots because some think we can't follow complicated ones. They take intriguing actresses such as Sandra Bullock and Angelina Jolie, make them cute-as-a-bug and wonder why we don't find them believable as hackers. Not so in The Termination Node. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this novel are the characters. Judy Carmody along with Calvin and his brother Dan Nikonchik read like folks you'd run into on the street and think, geek, straight-off. So? We all have warts, some are even visible. Thanks to the authors for a cool, clean portrayal of characters suited to this type of story. It adds immeasurably to the credibility of the novel. I was entranced.

Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg have created a nerve-tingling story with monstrous consequences for you and me. Most of the book's devastating computer alterations are disarmingly simple and can happen today. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Buy this book and see if you're in jeopardy.

Copyright © 1999 by Rodger Turner

Rodger has read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in forty years. He can only shake his head and say, "So many books, so little time."


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