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Posts Tagged ‘Hacker

aliftheunseenName: Alif the Unseen

Author: G. Willow Wilson

Genre : techno-thriller/fantasy/cyberpunk

Pages : 448

Publication Year: September 1, 2012

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 4/5


Alif the unseen by G. Willow Wilson is part techno-thriller, part fantasy and part cyberpunk. Alif the unseen set in near future in a middle eastern fictional city. This fictional city is ruled by dictator who is watching closely all the internet activities and throwing all dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups in a prison for talking against the state.

The protagonist a young Arab-Indian hacker shields these groups from State’s electronic security force. He goes by the alias Alif – the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. Then one day his computer is breached by someone in State’s electronic force who in hacker circles is knows as ‘The Hand’ putting all Alif’s clients at risk.

Next day Intisar sends him a book titled ‘The Thousand and One Days’ which is the book of Jinns and suddenly Alif is exposed to the hidden world of Jinns – who are living with us in parallel reality unseen by human eyes. Alif must find out in time to save his hacker buddies, clients and himself from the State – why ‘The Hand’ and the evil Jinns are after the book?

In this book you will find the shades of Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, and The Thousand and One Nights, Alif the Unseen is a tour de force debut—a sophisticated melting pot of ideas, philosophy, religion, technology and spirituality smuggled inside an irresistible page-turner.

G. Willow Wilson did an excellent job in developing both the male and female lead characters as well as raising philosophical, metaphysical and religious topic for debate. Technical aspects in the book is describe very neatly that you don’t have to be a geek to understand the topics discussed in this book.

Wilson has beautifully portrayed the world of Jinn’s and also the legendary city Irem – which is known as ‘City of Pillars’ or ‘Iram of the Pillars’ in Holy Quran and in the early 1990s a team lead by amateur archaeologist and film maker Nicholas Clapp and adventurer Ranulph Fiennes, archaeologist Juris Zarins and lawyer George Hedges announced that they had found Ubar.The conclusion they reached, based on site excavations at the site of a Bedouin well at Shisr in Dhofar province, Oman, and an inspection of NASA satellite photographs, was that this was the site of Ubar, or Iram of the Pillars, the name for an ancient city destroyed by a natural disaster.

Overall a very good techno-thriller come fantasy come cyberpunk novel. A must read for all fantasy/techno-thriller fans.


Name : The Accidental Billionaires

Author: Ben Mezrich

Genre : Non-fiction

Pages : 260

Language: English

Publication Year: July 14, 2009

Is Review Spoiler: No

Awards :

Movie based on this book : The Social Network

Rating: 4/5


The Accidental Billionaires is the story of founding of Facebook and revolves around the founders Mark Zuckerberg’s and Eduardo Saverin’s friendship as Harvard undergrads and how the social networking site (Facebook) which is famous for connecting people tore the two best friends apart.

The accidental billionaires is the story of the founding of Facebook written Ben Mezrich.  The only thing missing in the above book is the direct contribution from Mark Zuckerberg. In the first page of the book, Ben Mezrich mentions that “The accidental billionaires is a dramatic, narrative account based on the dozens of interviews, hundreds of sources, and thousands of pages of documents, including from several court proceedings”.

As author says the main source of the book is “Eduardo Saverin, without whom this story could not have been written.”

If you haven’t seen the movie The Social Network yet (which is highly unlikely), you can read the book first and then watch the movie. If you saw the movie, then still you can read the book. The flow of movie and the book is totally different. I enjoyed book more than movie.

I watched the movie first and then I read the book, there are many things which are not in movie but are in the book. This book is not fully technical or geek book, you can only see few geeky words in the book. This book is revolves around the finance and how Facebook became Harvard’s Drom Room project to one of the most successful internet company.

Ben Mezrich has very cleverly described the student life in Harvard and Mark Zukerberg’s personality. The book contains some very interesting moments, moments like when Mark hacks into the Harvard database while simultaneously blog’s about it and creates Facemash in single night which instantly becomes hit and withing 3 hours it crashes the university’s server.

Plot : Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg – an awkward maths prodigy and a painful shy computer genius – where the archetypal social misfits of polished elite Harvard. Yet one day master-hacker Mark created a rateable database (Facemash) of female students, which was so popular it crashed the university’s server. Narrowly escaping the expulsion, the two friends refocused the site into something less controversial – ‘The Facebook’  – and watched as it spread like wildfire across campuses around the country and beyond. Suddenly everyone – from hot girls to venture capitalists – wanted to know Eduardo and Mark.

Yet amidst the popularity, cash, glamor and power, what began as a simple argument spiraled into a out-and-out-war. The great irony is that Facebook succeeded by bringing people together – but it’s very success tore two best friends apart.

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