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Paranoia

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the got-some dept.

Books 158

Peter Wayner writes: "The novel Paranoia begins with one of the most tantalizing premises I've read in some time. Young Adam Cassidy was just sliding by as a junior product line manager in the router division of Wyatt Telecom, when he discovered that the company wasn't doing much for the retirement of his pal down on the loading dock. So he impersonated the VP of corporate events, faked a few invoices, and booked the same caterer who brought in the steaks and lobster for the executive suite. Alas, Nicholas Wyatt, the CEO, wasn't happy with the steep bill and gave Cassidy a choice of 20 years in prison or life as a corporate spy. In no time, Cassidy decides he's quite willing to go undercover and find out just what the heck is going on the skunk works over at their competitor, Trion." Read on for the rest of Wayner's review.

It may be hard for anyone who's endured the economic downturn in the computer industry and the ascendance of the DRM lawyers to see the romance of tech, but the computer business continues to be one of the most exciting and explosive corners of the zeitgeist. Fortunes are made and lost in days; products depend upon the synergy of the hackers and the marketeers; and everything turns on the information passed along in IMs, emails and whispers. This world is a rich backdrop for the new thriller by Joe Finder, the spy novelist who set his previous books in the world of the three-letter agencies and the military justice system. This time he's plumbing the depths of corporate politics and industrial espionage with his story of a company racing to deliver the next big Palm Pilot replacement.

The thriller is a reminder that electronic gizmos continue to be a tumultuous and exciting domain where creative people with whip-smart minds can change the company's destiny. I suppose it would be possible to set a similar novel in, say, the auto industry, but it just wouldn't have the same resonance. No engineer, designer, or bright employee is going to make much of a difference at Ford or General Motors. Much of their future is dictated by the cost of medical care for the retired workers and the problems are not about cars qua cars. Producing great cars would be nice, but it's not the main challenge for the companies. At least in Silicon Valley, there can be some direct link between action and reaction. Newton's law still holds.

The beginning of the book is an irresistable hook. Who wouldn't want to throw a party on the corporation's dime?

Many of the elements of Silicon Valley's mythology appear here. There's a boss who keeps stable of young, blonde administrative assistants around. There's another boss who works out of the same size cubicle as everyone else. Secret research labs to develop the next generation of gadgets are locked away in a perimeter guarded by other gadgets that scan eyeballs or examine fingerprints. All of the characters drive slick cars and worry about the quality of their real estate.

As the novel unfolds, Cassidy's allegiance and soul is pulled in a tug-of-war. Who deserves the information he's gathering? Is there right and wrong in corporate espionage? Which company deserves to win?

The novel is similar in tone and structure to John Grisham's The Firm or Michael Crichton's Disclosure, two other novels that mused about the nature of the modern workplace. Finder's characters are richer and better drawn, at least than Grisham's earlier works. The search for the next gadget isn't really the point of Cassidy journey in the labyrinth, it's just an excuse to work through the modern world of corporations and the way they organize people and their creations. The book is not filled with the neo-Marxist questioning of the capitalist system that comes from places like the Baffler , but there are similar themes that echo in the cubicle bins.

This is, of course, because it's a thriller, not some postmodern master's degree thesis. The twists are well-handled, the pacing is good, and the ending may open the doors to debates. I spent some time wondering whether it was the best ending on many different levels. That kind of resolution is something that doesn't come from standard thrillers by people like Tom Clancy or James Paterson. In those books, the author's point of view is as solid and fixed as, say, those opinion shows on Fox TV. Someone's always dying or trying to destroy America in those books and stopping the murder or saving the country is the only possible resolution.

Finder's earlier books delved into the mirror world of espionage and the realm of three-letter agencies. Moscow Club focused on a coup and an assassination in Soviet Russia. Extraordinary Powers explored the possibility that various spy agencies could tap clairvoyance and other extra-sensory powers-- a premise that David Moorhouse later confirmed was very real in his book, Psychic Warrior . The world of covert assassination in Latin America took center stage in High Crimes.

The tone is also much lighter than Finder's early books, with their heavy body count. After watching the movie version of High Crimes, I kept wishing someone would write a nice comedy for Ashley Judd. She deserved it, after the blood and betrayal. This time, death isn't part of the stakes, and this leaves Finder a bit more room to maneuver and play people and allegiances off each other. Cutting down on the raw danger gives him the freedom to build suspense with action and character. The book is really a light-hearted romp through a semi-mythical world where fortunes are huge, dreams are made real through engineering, and everyone drives a slick car. I say "semi-mythical," because despite the downturn, there's still plenty of money in some corners of technology. Will it always be there? Well, that's not the point of this book.

It's worth commending Finder for his insight into the technology world. His background is more in Russian literature and spy things, not in programming. Yet, the tech world he creates is as true to life in Silicon Valley as books like Po Bronson's The First 10 Million is the Hardest and Douglas Coupland's Microserfs. Technology is a wonderful domain for a novelist to work within, and we should be glad he came in from the cold to check it out.


Peter Wayner is the author of 13 thrilling technical books on topics like building secure databases ( Translucent Databases ), steganography ( Disappearing Cryptography ), and stopping cheating ( Policing Online Games ). You can purchase Paranoia from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999294)

fp

rock on (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999312)

n/t

Re:rock on (-1, Offtopic)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999329)

thx

Re:rock on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8000164)

np

verified (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999324)

fp indeed

In case of slashdotting.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999318)

It may be hard for anyone who's endured the economic downturn in the computer industry and the ascendance of the DRM lawyers to see the romance of tech, but the computer business continues to be one of the most exciting and explosive corners of the zeitgeist. Fortunes are made and lost in days; products depend upon the synergy of the hackers and the marketeers; and everything turns on the information passed along in IMs, emails and whispers. This world is a rich backdrop for the new thriller by Joe Finder, the spy novelist who set his previous books in the world of the three-letter agencies and the military justice system. This time he's plumbing the depths of corporate politics and industrial espionage with his story of a company racing to deliver the next big Palm Pilot replacement.

The thriller is a reminder that electronic gizmos continue to be a tumultuous and exciting domain where creative people with whip-smart minds can change the company's destiny. I suppose it would be possible to set a similar novel in, say, the auto industry, but it just wouldn't have the same resonance. No engineer, designer, or bright employee is going to make much of a difference at Ford or General Motors. Much of their future is dictated by the cost of medical care for the retired workers and the problems are not about cars qua cars. Producing great cars would be nice, but it's not the main challenge for the companies. At least in Silicon Valley, there can be some direct link between action and reaction. Newton's law still holds.

The beginning of the book is an irresistable hook. Who wouldn't want to throw a party on the corporation's dime?

Many of the elements of Silicon Valley's mythology appear here. There's a boss who keeps stable of young, blonde administrative assistants around. There's another boss who works out of the same size cubicle as everyone else. Secret research labs to develop the next generation of gadgets are locked away in a perimeter guarded by other gadgets that scan eyeballs or examine fingerprints. All of the characters drive slick cars and worry about the quality of their real estate.

As the novel unfolds, Cassidy's allegiance and soul is pulled in a tug-of-war. Who deserves the information he's gathering? Is there right and wrong in corporate espionage? Which company deserves to win?

The novel is similar in tone and structure to John Grisham's The Firm or Michael Crichton's Disclosure, two other novels that mused about the nature of the modern workplace. Finder's characters are richer and better drawn, at least than Grisham's earlier works. The search for the next gadget isn't really the point of Cassidy journey in the labyrinth, it's just an excuse to work through the modern world of corporations and the way they organize people and their creations. The book is not filled with the neo-Marxist questioning of the capitalist system that comes from places like the Baffler, but there are similar themes that echo in the cubicle bins.

This is, of course, because it's a thriller, not some postmodern master's degree thesis. The twists are well-handled, the pacing is good, and the ending may open the doors to debates. I spent some time wondering whether it was the best ending on many different levels. That kind of resolution is something that doesn't come from standard thrillers by people like Tom Clancy or James Paterson. In those books, the author's point of view is as solid and fixed as, say, those opinion shows on Fox TV. Someone's always dying or trying to destroy America in those books and stopping the murder or saving the country is the only possible resolution.

Finder's earlier books delved into the mirror world of espionage and the realm of three-letter agencies. Moscow Club focused on a coup and an assassination in Soviet Russia. Extraordinary Powers explored the possibility that various spy agencies could tap clairvoyance and other extra-sensory powers-- a premise that David Moorhouse later confirmed was very real in his book, Psychic Warrior . The world of covert assassination in Latin America took center stage in High Crimes.

The tone is also much lighter than Finder's early books, with their heavy body count. After watching the movie version of High Crimes, I kept wishing someone would write a nice comedy for Ashley Judd. She deserved it, after the blood and betrayal. This time, death isn't part of the stakes, and this leaves Finder a bit more room to maneuver and play people and allegiances off each other. Cutting down on the raw danger gives him the freedom to build suspense with action and character. The book is really a light-hearted romp through a semi-mythical world where fortunes are huge, dreams are made real through engineering, and everyone drives a slick car. I say "semi-mythical," because despite the downturn, there's still plenty of money in some corners of technology. Will it always be there? Well, that's not the point of this book.

It's worth commending Finder for his insight into the technology world. His background is more in Russian literature and spy things, not in programming. Yet, the tech world he creates is as true to life in Silicon Valley as books like Po Bronson's The First 10 Million is the Hardest and Douglas Coupland's Microserfs. Technology is a wonderful domain for a novelist to work within, and we should be glad he came in from the cold to check it out.

Re:In case of slashdotting.... (-1, Redundant)

nessus42 (230320) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999389)

Umm, can slashdot itself be slashdotted?

|>oug

Re:In case of slashdotting.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999413)

yes

Re:In case of slashdotting.... (-1, Redundant)

tsunamifirestorm (729508) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999453)

Yes, but can you slashdot the slashdot about slashdot?

Re:In case of slashdotting.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999597)

Who modded this informative? Morons..

Paranoia? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999319)

What's this all about?

Is it good or is it not so good?

TEH REAL QUESTION: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999407)

Is it out to get me, or is it not out to get me?

Hype (-1, Troll)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999323)

Sorry, it sounds like a big "so what?" Corporate espionage between PDA makers? I for one can't wait for the summer blockbuster movie adaptation!

Maybe I'd be more interested if the reviewer hadn't started off over-hyping it:

The novel Paranoia begins with one of the most tantalizing premises I've read in some time.

He must not read much if a catered lunch for loading dock workers is amongst "the most tantalizing premises" he's read in some time. After that intro, I was expecting the CEO to plot to puree the dockworkers and turn them into Soylent PDAs or something. How about a discussion of the book's premise and insights without the hype?

Re:Hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999438)

> CEO to plot to puree the dockworkers and turn them into Soylent PDAs or something

LALL no it's darl mcbride who turns workers into toylet paper LALL!!!

Re:Hype (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999495)

what the fuck exactly is 'LALL'?

Re:Hype (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999537)

Its LAUGHING OUT LOUD duh if you couldn't see that.

Re:Hype (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999586)

It's a term a moron named Fastibook in #spychat on freenode irc uses. Those of us who are unlucky enough to have met the malodorous one himself know he uses "lall" spoken out loud when he would usually put "lol" in a typed sentence. It's aol nerdkiddie culture turning in on itself like a klein bottle.

Re:Hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999624)

just book me now dan-o, if i ever meet someone that tries to pronounce netspeak i will stuff my fist down their throat.

in a non-sexual kinda way.

Re:Hype (2, Interesting)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999530)

I still think the old Paranoia game [wikipedia.org] is far more interesting.

Re:Hype (1)

ryanwright (450832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999632)

In fact, all members of Alpha Complex's society are mutants who belong to secret societies.

The hallmark of every great computer game: Mutants and secret societies. Where do I sign up?

Re:Hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999775)

Seeking Linux SysAdmin to work on world's 5th fastest supercomputer [tgc.com]

You're looking in the wrong place. Most people here haven't even graduated high school. In fact, judging by the quality of posts, most are in grade school. You'd be better off in an AOL chatroom (any subject.)

Re:Hype (3, Interesting)

objekt404 (473463) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999595)

Until you have read it (& I'll admit that I haven't), it is interesting from the root description if only (& this being a single layer of interpretation) being from the POV of a "schoolbook-machiavelli" character w/a streak of moral feeling (that is slightly "Das Kapital").

Don't think it's worth your time, fine. That's you; just remember, "There are no statues built for critics."(tm)

Re:Hype (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999963)

I made a Jay Sherman statue out of toilet paper rolls, but unfortunately, it stinks.

To Painful (1)

Haxx (314221) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999338)


After what some of us have been through, This might be all to painful to read. I'm sure its good. I'm still stuck on political non-fiction.

Re:To Painful (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999386)

"too" is the word your seaching for.

Re:To Painful (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999513)

"alot" is not a word.

Re:To Painful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8000243)

Political non-fiction is an oxymoron.

Tantalizing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999342)

Sounds a little ridicorous to me.

Make that ludicorous.

Not sure if this is going to make any sense... (5, Informative)

com_64_dejour (741320) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999349)

But I feel the need to tell all the geeks out there how great Finder's writing is...I know I hate it when people write stuff that has obvious factual holes, and he's able to always get it right without sacrificing creativity. Excelent reading for people who can't stand bugs :)

Huh? (-1, Flamebait)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999353)

I don't get it. How is this news for nerds? Because the main character happens to be an "engineer"? I hope VALinux is at least getting a kickback for this...

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Ryosen (234440) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999486)

>>How is this news for nerds?

Because some of us enjoy the occasional break from reading "The Bible of Google Linux Hacks" and "Teach Yourself How To Be An Ungrateful Slashdot Poster in 21 Days". There have been non-technical related books reviewed here and they have always been appreciated.

As for the technical relationship, the book takes place in the same world that many of us work in. It presents a romanticized notion of corporate espionage based in the technical industry. Thus, it is a subject that appeals to a significant amount of Slashdot's readership.

Slashdot exists to provide a community that fosters discussions on a wide range of topics. Let's try to keep that in mind before we start shooting down a book review that clearly took a significant amount of thought, time and effort.

Excellent work, Peter, and thank you for the recommendation.

Re:Huh? (-1, Flamebait)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999528)

Then go take a break on a site that reviews non-technical books. We come here for reviews of such titles as "The Bible of Google Linux Hacks", a form of useful literature that you apparently scorn.

This is news for NERDS, not news for bookworms!

Re:Huh? (0)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999909)

But if it was something simular to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy...that would be different, how?

Re:Huh? (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999958)

It wouldn't be any different. But since I keep getting modded as "Flamebait" for voicing my opinion, I will stop posting mine.

Great review for a great book! Almost as good as "The Firm" by Crichton!

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8000036)

If it was similar to h2g2 it *might* be acceptable, given that h2g2 is a major geek cult book.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8000309)

Slashdot exists to provide a community that fosters discussions on a wide range of topics

You must be new here.

Or, if this doesn't interest you (4, Informative)

mcc (14761) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999359)

There's also Paranoia [everything2.com] , the much-loved and sadly out-of-print Logan's Run meets McCarthyism meets Douglas Adams meets Kafka role-playing game.

Re:Or, if this doesn't interest you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999440)

But the Computer is my friend . . .

Re:Or, if this doesn't interest you (2, Funny)

Orion442 (739483) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999510)

Logan's Run meets McCarthyism meets Douglas Adams meets Kafka

I'm not playing unless its Logan's Run meets McCarthyism meets Douglas Adams meets Kafka meets Battle Star Galactica's fem bot

Re:Or, if this doesn't interest you (-1, Offtopic)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999550)

As long as we're on the subject of RPGs, Shadowrun [shadowrunrpg.com] is my favorite, and it contains lots of corporate espionage and worse.

As a matter of fact, the world is getting closer and closer to the corporate world in Shadowrun every day.

Re:Or, if this doesn't interest you (1)

AceCaseOR (594637) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000034)

Nahh. More like getting closer to the Cyberpunk 2020 (or whatever frelling year it was) RPG that R. Talsorian games put out. For the world to be getting closer to Shadowrun, we'd be needing Magic...

But, anyway, to bring this lil' thread back on topic, is there anything particularly minable for RPG material from "Paranoia"? (the book, not the RPG)

Re:Or, if this doesn't interest you (2, Informative)

MKalus (72765) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000337)

Paranoia was way over the top. I liked the setting in the sense that you couldn't die because you had clones etc.

Problem is: Unless you have a group of players who has a very very strange sense of humour (read like mine) they'll hate it. Nothing is as it should be and with the right people it is a lot of fun.

Re:Or, if this doesn't interest you (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999694)

Yep. Any novel titled "Paranoia" that isn't set in or around Alpha Complex is a source of treason. Please report immediately to the incineration units. Thank you.

Re:Or, if this doesn't interest you (4, Funny)

Our Man In Redmond (63094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000335)

Here's how West End Games promoted Paranoia:

SERVE THE COMPUTER. THE COMPUTER IS YOUR FRIEND!

The Computer wants you to be happy. If you are not happy, you may be used as reactor shielding.

The Computer is crazy. The Computer is happy. The Computer will help you to become happy. This will drive you crazy.

Being a citizen of Alpha Complex is fun. The Computer says so, and The Computer is your friend.

Rooting out traitors will make you happy. The Computer tells you so. Can you doubt The Computer?

Being a Troubleshooter is fun. The Computer tells you so. Of course, The Computer is right.

Troubleshooters get shot at, stabbed, incinerated, stapled, mangled, poisoned, blown to bits, and occasionally accidentally executed. This is so much fun that many Troubleshooters go crazy. You will be working with many Troubleshooters. All of them carry lasers.

Aren't you glad you have a laser too? Won't this be fun?

There are many traitors in Alpha Complex. There are many happy citizens in Alpha Complex. Most of the happy citizens are crazy. It is hard to say which are more dangerous - traitors or happy citizens. Watch out for both of them.

The life of a Troubleshooter is full of surprises.

Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy!

I knew a few of the people at West End, and they were all certifiable. The world is a slightly more normal place because Paranoia is out of print, and that is indeed a shame.

Paranoia 2: The Gates Directive (3, Funny)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999399)

It all started one day when young Joe Bloe Linux user signed onto the web and started reading Slashdot... There was a news story on Microsoft and he just couldn't resist.................

holy shit. (-1, Offtopic)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999411)

i feel like my life is about to implode.

i make synthesizers.

Funny you mention automakers... (2, Informative)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999436)

One major automaker passed a corporate rule that outlaws the use or possession of a camera-phone within buildings.

Apparently, a "tourist" glimpsed a model of something, snapped a couple quick shots, and was later sold to the competition. The estimated losses were in the millions.

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (3, Informative)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999508)

Thats true, I work for them (General Motors). They now don't allow us to bring our phone-enables cell phones into the plant at all! We have to leave them at the security office and pick them up after the workday is over.

Of course this sucks, since now I need to go get a non-camera phone. I think a lot of companies will follow suit.

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999551)

It's been happening all over the place, too. Corporate and personal privacy are finally in the forefront of many people's minds. My fiancee still doesn't understand why I enforce WEP (soon WPA) on my wireless router. "It slows it down a bit, and who's gonna hack our network?" Of course, she'd probably have a problem if someone with a camera-phone took her picture in the locker room at the gym and posted it on the Internet. *sigh*

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (2, Funny)

jargoone (166102) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999741)

So your fiancee knows what WEP is, and also knows that it slows down your network? Impressive!

Also, I have heard of the whole take picture in the locker room thing. I'm wondering how common it really is. I sure as hell wouldn't be taking pics of dudes in the locker room, and don't know any other guys that would either. I would assume the same holds for women. Though if you know of any women that would, I would appreciate an email address. =]

Personally, I think that camera phones are a joke. Even though I see the convenience factor, the picture quality is horrendous. Until that's fixed, I'll stick with my non-camera monochrome LCD.

I thought Japan had problems with this... (1)

rbird76 (688731) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999907)

I thought I had heard (on /. or somewhere similar) that Japanese police had had problems with people (men mainly, I assume) using camera-enabled celllphones to peer up women's dresses and take unauthorized pornographic pictures. Depending on how good locker room security is, I figure someone could sneak in and take pictures of women in locker rooms and showers (most locker rooms that I've been in forswear responsibility for stolen goods, implying that they cannot control access to them). These are people looking for naked women, after all - you could probably shoot pictures through a diffraction grating and people would still be interested in seeing them.

Re:I thought Japan had problems with this... (1)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000244)

"I figure someone could sneak in and take pictures of women in locker rooms and showers"

I assume you know that camera-enabled cellphones are not the only devices that can take pictures of women in locker rooms, right? It's a device that utilises non-digital light rays impacting on light-sensitive shiny paper that captures images of objects in front of its double-refracting glass housing. I can't remember what those durn things are called at the moment, though...

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8000317)

Of course, she'd probably have a problem if someone with a camera-phone took her picture in the locker room at the gym and posted it on the Internet. *sigh*

And posted on the Net using your wireless network!

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (4, Funny)

ryanwright (450832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999733)

They now don't allow us to bring our phone-enables cell phones into the plant at all!

They make phone-enabled phones now?! Where can I get one of these high tech gadgets? ;)

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (2, Funny)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999850)

They make phone-enabled phones now?! Where can I get one of these high tech gadgets? ;)


Yes!! so now, instead of spending 30 agonizing minutes keying in "HLO HW R U?" you into those tiny lil buttons on the phone, you can just call them!

Pedantic... (4, Insightful)

jargoone (166102) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999526)

passed a corporate rule that outlaws

Sorry to nitpick, but a company's policy doesn't make something outlawed. It just means that they can make whatever rules they want and kick your ass out if you don't obey them.

With our corporate-influenced government, I think it's an important distinction.

Re:Pedantic... (2, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999602)

Law does not simply mean "governmentally passed and enforced" rules. There are laws of physics, law of the land, etc. There are plenty of rules which are laws within their respective contexts. I would consider a law to be any rule that an authority (In the case of physics, is the Universe an authority?) sets and reasonably attempts to enforce. So corporations can have their own sets of "laws." But hey, I'm just arguing for the sake of arguing. Better get back to snapping photos of secret projects.

Re:Pedantic... (0)

tr0llb4rt0 (742153) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999714)

You should be modded extra funny for this line.

'I would consider a law to be any rule that an authority (In the case of physics, is the Universe an authority?) sets and reasonably attempts to enforce.'

Reasonably attempting to enforce the laws of physics.

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999751)

One major automaker passed a corporate rule that outlaws the use or possession of a camera-phone within buildings.

Jaguar has this rule too, along with it's parent company Ford.

It's more common than you think and one thing that really could hinder the adoption of camera and video phones (given that the baseline for new phones these days is colour screen, polyphonic ringtones and camera).

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (2, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999825)

Unfortunately for the competition, the millions of losses were theirs because the pictures were of the Pontiac Aztec.

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (0)

Paleomacus (666999) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999966)

IMHO, the Aztec is the fugliest vehicle on the entire planet.

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8000101)

I thought the same exact thing.... Until the Element came out with plastic 'bumper-fender things' that cover half of the side of the vehicle. Now the Aztec takes a close 2nd for me.

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (2, Funny)

Issue9mm (97360) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000156)

It used to be really pretty and sleek, but then someone snapped its picture and they had to redesign from scratch with a MAJOR deadline.

-9mm-

Re:Funny you mention automakers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999936)

Chip manufacturers require this as well too. I know first hand that Micron Technology doesn't allow camera-enabled cell phones anywhere in their new fab facility, let alone on the fab floor (of course, all cell phones are banned from the fab floor for fear of static electricity).

Camera phones banned at my work, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8000206)

I work for a major defense contractor, and camera phones are also banned. Of course, the policy is basically unenforceable unless you are an idiot and try to photograph the security guard.

Jeez, that review is long (5, Funny)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999461)

Can someone write a review of it so I know if it's worth reading?

Here you go. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999606)

A fast-paced thriller about a young router engineer. 9/10

Re:Jeez, that review is long (1)

I Be Hatin' (718758) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999613)

Can someone write a review of it so I know if it's worth reading?

No, it's not. It sucks.

How's that?

Re:Jeez, that review is long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999618)

"This book starts off just like the corporate job you hate, then moves on to a bunch of tired, cliched bullshit. 5 stars."

A "thumbs up" review! (-1, Informative)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999463)

As mainstream novels go, Joseph Finder's Paranoia is the cream of the crop. There hasn't been one of this caliber since the heyday of Michael Crichton. Finder, a former intelligence officer who has written and published extensively in the field, writes with a flair that sets him above his contemporaries. Like Crichton, he is smart, believable, and persuasive - and also writes a hell of a good suspense story. His crisp, fluid prose keeps the story moving along at breakneck speed: he oodles out loads of suspense that will keep those pages a-turnin'. This is, as some of the better current writers have shown, a winning formula: it keeps the mainstream reading public interested, while also dangling enough substantial meat to insure that more sophisticated readers perk up and pay attention also.

I hate to keep the Crichton comparison running, as it is never fair to an up-and-coming writer to be compared to an already-successful one, but Finder's novel also shares another characteristic that Crichton's work has always had in spades: it is timely. Corporate crime is at an all-time high in America, and this book tackles the issue. Finder explores the underhanded actions and questionable motives that drive much of the modern business world. How closely it parallels reality is debatable, but the reader's credulity is not stretched past the breaking point - and it is entertaining. Early critical raves that Finder has somehow "rewritten the rules for the contemporary thriller" are premature, but the book does feature several fresh aspects that are a breath of much-needed air for readers disgusted with the sorry state of the contemporary novel. Chief among these is Paranoia's unique protagonist. Far from a hero, perhaps even an anti-hero, Paranoia's Adam Cassidy is something the likes of which we patient readers have not seen in quite some time. Though the book is narrated in the first-person, here we have a story in which the protagonist's main concern is not, essentially, the book's main concern - a fact that the novel's denouement makes abundantly clear.

And there we get to the book's one real weakness: its ending, which is far too inconclusive. A sequel to the book is not really possible, given the aforementioned denouement; taking this into context, the actual ending of the book is far too sudden and abrupt. It casts something of a negative light onto what is otherwise a quite enjoyable, very readable, and mostly successful contemporary thriller.

In summary, all fans of contemporary thrillers should line up to buy this; fans of Crichton and the like in particular should apply. Finder is a rising star in contemporary writing, sure to become very successful and popular in ensuing years. Paranoia should help him.

Re:A "thumbs up" review! (4, Informative)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999559)

Re:A "thumbs up" review! (0)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999846)

So? I didn't say it was mine!

Re:A "thumbs up" review! (1)

SmilingBoy (686281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999957)

Well, looking at your history, not much of what you post is yours - either taken from other websites or simply copied comments that received high scores in previous discussions. Just stop it, it's plain silly.

Re:A "thumbs up" review! (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000005)

It's not silly, it is "Informative". If I really give my opinions I get marked as "Flamebait" or "Troll". So I have stopped giving mine for the sake of my Karma.

Thanks

Re:A "thumbs up" review! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999993)

I know I am feeding, but if you use the word 'I' in the text, you implicitly claim ownership.

Re:A "thumbs up" review! (1)

SmilingBoy (686281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999881)

and if you are at it, could you please also mod down some of the other comments of 110010001000 [slashdot.org] .

There are still some modded up comments - it is just too easy to fall for the copy troll trick.

Related to the film "Cypher"? (3, Interesting)

osullish (586626) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999477)

I ownder if this book is related to the film Cypher [imdb.com] - plot sounds very similar, a guy is un-willingly placed in the world of corporate espionage? This got a limited release here in Ireland last year so I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds interesting.

Coolest event of 2004! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999488)

Spymac 3 is opening within the hour! [spymac.com]

Re:Coolest event of 2004! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999582)

all the hype means it's going to suck

Re:Coolest event of 2004! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999721)

I renounced my moderatorship at spymac and never came back after finding the site's owners get their funding from large scale spamming [livejournal.com]

sounds pretty lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999532)

That's *not* an interesting plot or premise if you ask me.

Someone steals lunch so the CEO tells him to become a corporate spy? Right. I bet.

It's about as believable as Clifford the Big Red Dog. How could a dog get that big?! He's as big as a house!

SHITTIEST Slashdot day ON RECORD. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999584)

Really. I'm sitting at work, bored out of my fucking skull, and there's nothing but CRAP on the front page. The usual M$ crap, hyperbole about potentially (not actually) colonizing mars. A few subjects I've never heard of AND THAT NEITHER MYSELF NOR ANYONE ELSE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT.

Fuck this crap; I'm letting my subscription lapse unless the /. editors manage to find some stories to post THAT ARE WORTH READING!!!!!!!!!

Re:SHITTIEST Slashdot day ON RECORD. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999689)

You can't blame the editors for 4 day's worth of crap for news. I mean some weeks there's lots of news. Like whenever SCO gives a press release about thier considering issuing a press statement regarding possibly thinking about taking steps to bring someone to court over thier alleged Linux ownership. At times like that, news is blasting out of the pipe like my shit after dinner at Taco Bell. But it looks like today they are scrounging because there's just not a whole lot of shit to put on the front page.

Is your boss around? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999734)

"I'm sitting at work, bored out of my fucking skull, and there's nothing but CRAP on the front page."

Is your boss around? If not, you could always...

--
Rate Naked People [fuckmeter.com] at FuckMeter! (Not work-safe [unless your boss likes pr0n as much as you do])

Huh? (-1, Offtopic)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999599)

" one of the most tantalizing premises I've read in some time."
Yeah right. How about this one: he's in a car accident and the other guy doesn't have any insurance so the judge sentences him to be Wyatt's butler.

After reading that review... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999609)

After reading that review I'm glued to my seat. No, really. Someone put glue on my seat and now I'm stuck. Help!

BUSH plan is good for USa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999636)

President Bush (news - web sites)'s economic agenda has one goal: to make sure every American who wants to work can find a job.

To create the conditions for job creation, the president delivered relief for American consumers and provided incentives for businesses to grow jobs.

To help American consumers, the president delivered relief to employees, families and seniors. We cut payroll taxes, doubled the child tax credit and added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. As a result, we've seen gains in retail sales, consumer confidence and disposable income.

To create new jobs, the president delivered tax relief to the 25 million small-business owners, quadrupled the amount small businesses can expense for capital investments and cut needless regulations.

The president's support for mom-and-pop entrepreneurship resulted in a recent surge of small-business activity. Homeownership, which is a key prerequisite to entrepreneurship, is at its highest point ever, and more Americans are chasing the American Dream by starting businesses in their garages. Last year, we saw 350,000 more sole proprietorships.

Thanks to President Bush's jobs agenda, America's economy is strong - and growing stronger. In the third quarter of 2003, our economy grew at its fastest rate in 20 years. We have created more than a quarter-million new jobs since last summer. But there is still more work to do.

First, we must reject any plans to increase taxes on families and small businesses. Under current law, many vital aspects of the president's tax relief will expire in coming years, including marriage-penalty relief and small-business expensing. Congress must make President Bush's tax relief permanent so that businesses and families can plan better for the future.

Congress also should pass the other components of the president's six-point jobs plan, including health care reform, expanded free trade, litigation reform, regulatory reform and a comprehensive energy plan. Congress also can strengthen our economy by following the responsible spending limits proposed in the president's budget and by passing compassionate immigration reform.

Thanks to the president's leadership, our economy is creating jobs after the shocks of recession, terrorism and corporate scandal. We can be pleased, but not complacent.

President Bush will not rest until every American seeking work can find a job.

Donald L. Evans, who chaired President Bush's election campaign in 2000, is secretary of Commerce.

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7999674)

...corporations spy on YOU!!!!

How is this. . . (-1, Offtopic)

WinterpegCanuck (731998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999678)

going to help with my php coding or secure my linux box? I am sure there are lots of good points of this book, but is it really slashdot worthy?
Given the choice between this and CNN's over-rated jako coverage, I will choose the lesser of two evils, but still.

Just another book (0)

seems so green (717796) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999772)

About how they're all out to get me... every book lately has been about that...

The PDA... (0)

OtakuHawk (682073) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999892)

Is Your Friend. Trust the PDA...

sounds like a... (0)

fitten (521191) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999968)

Choose your own Adventure book?

This tantalizes him? (1, Troll)

GeekedyGeekGeek (702813) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999969)

Does he normally read cereal boxes and other various labels for entertainment? I was annoyed by the premise to be honest, the guy is only bright enough to supervise a production line, steals company funds and impersonates a company officer, he somehow helps his friends retirement account by buying him steak and lobster and then the boss sais either be a spy for us though you have allready stolen from us and shown your lack of loyalty to the company, or go to jail? Uh, are you #^$^# kidding me? And as for Sillicon Valley corporations producing superior stuff and not having to worry about the bottom line, uhm, No?? Most of the software from the "valley" is utter crap that's released too soon to be a truly working release version due to market and financial pressure. And as for guys with whip smart minds making a difference in the company, from reviewing history, those types usually get fed up with the corporate crap and leave to create their own start-up and do it their own way with their own corporate crap. Please, this book and this review is so not slashdot worthy, what next, the bio of Billy Boy??
GGG
What you want your spam spam spam spam beans and spam with no spam? EWWWWW

Can people be more inventive with the names? (2, Funny)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000103)

Adam Cassidy? Nicholas Wyatt? Sounds like a bad porn story already...

The theme song has been leaked (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000182)

I have to protect the identity of my sources, but apparently, some studio wants to adapt this book for film, and I've received a leaked copy of the film's theme song.

Download MP3: "Paranoia Theme" by Naoki Maeda [bemanistyle.com]

Unbelievable plot (3, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000197)

Alas, Nicholas Wyatt, the CEO, wasn't happy with the steep bill and gave Cassidy a choice of 20 years in prison or life as a corporate spy.

Except that's called extortion/blackmail, and it's illegal. Being willing to report it would probably get you a plea deal, if not a get-out-of-jail-free card from the DA, because going after the exec = good PR, going after the little guy = bad PR...and besides, what'd this retirement gig cost? $10k maybe? That's not the kind of thing that lands you in jail for 20 years. Hell, Enron execs hid BILLIONS and their accountant's going away for 10-20; his wife got 5-6 months(mostly because they both did plea-deals, but anyway...)

I know it's fiction, but lets try and have a semi-believable premise, yes?

Let me get this straight.. (1)

mdw2 (122737) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000255)

his BOSS gives him the choice of 20 years in prison, or a lifetime of corporate espionage.... for ordering CATERING?

Pardon my saying this but... (1)

jonnykelly (663111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000262)

<YAWN>...

I've read it... can't say I really liked it (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8000290)

Sure its been researched, has plenty of the latest buzz technologies and namechecks in it, and provides something for the bored office worker in all of us. Afterall, who wouldn't appreciate a change of life like Adam Cassidy?

Aside from that, I thought it was a very ordinary story , that redeemed itself only somewhat by the ending.

Too me, a book needs to be good all the way through and not just rely on the last few pages, in order to stand out as something worth reading.

And the ending itself? Inconclusive and rushed. Which is a real shame, as the whole novel was set up in order to spring it.

I hear that its to be made into a film, which it would be well suited too.

Don't think I'll be reading it again though.
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