Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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Digital Fortress

It's rare when I read a book that I've wanted to throw across the room into a wall half a dozen times.

Usually, after one or two throws I'm done, it's not worth my time. Dan Brown makes so many misstatements about computer technology and encryption and decryption that the book would have been pretty battered if it weren't library property; but the people and the mystery and the sheer action of it was enough to lure me back. I was also bemused to see that cliches that the romance novel industry now routinely edit out made their way into a techno-thriller with no problem. Bleh. It ended with a point that was too cute for belief, but most of the rest of it made sense. And the elegant solution was exactly that, which won enough points for me to keep being interested in Brown as an author.

The Too-Smart single woman in the midst of a male-dominated culture made me wince a bit, as it's too close to home, in some ways, but how he wrote it was too far away from reality. If she'd really been in that situation as long as she was supposed to have been there to get where she was going, she would have known how to handle genius boys much better than her shrinking violet methods, and she wouldn't be wearing the kinds of things he had her wearing if she had any sense. It makes sense for a best-seller, but no sense from an old, out-numbered, techno-girl point of view. Just made me doubt her supposed IQ.

There were points where she did come up with the cool answer. It was also fun to solve the crypto puzzles when the data was first presented, though why they were in digital instead of hex is another one of those techno-booboos that I hated. They were simple enough to make the exercise kinda fun instead of frustrating, so that was kinda cool, though it did throw me out of the "this is hard stuff" belief... okay... okay... so I studied the mathematics of digital communication theory for a year at Caltech... but I forgot everything but the first principles! Shouldn't that make it harder? Ahem...

I couldn't get The Da Vince Code at the local library. 29 copies and they're all checked out. So I started with some of his other books. Angels & Demons is pretty cool, calligraphy-wise, but I've already thrown it a couple of times for stupidity points and technology muddle-speak. But the mystery's been interesting.
Tags: books, review
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