Headcrash By Bruce Bethke It takes place in the year 2005. The world has become a world controlled by computers and large multi-billion dollar companies. Our lead character, Jack Burroughs, has an adventure in Cyberspace (on the Internet). In order to understand the plot, one must understand the technology of the time. While most people today have a dial up TCP/IP connection to the Internet running at speeds up to 56Kbs, the Internet connections at that time where immensely greater then what we have today.
In the year 2005, one is able to strap on a Virtual Reality suite and actually browse the Internet in real time, meaning a super fast connection to the Internet Now, where does Jack Burroughs fit into all of this? Well, quite frankly, he doesnt really have much to do with it, except that Jack is an employee of MIS, a branch of an immensely large company. His branch of the company provides hardware, software, data, and network support to all the other subsidiaries. The way that the internet and Virtual Reality relates is the fact that Jack spends a lot time in his mothers basement playing around with his VR headset, and other various accessories, in a virtual, multi user dimensional VirtualBar called Heaven. He masquerades around under the alias, MAX KOOL with his friend, Gunner, or Joe LeMat. The plot of the story really starts to develop when MAX KOOL is offered a hacking job by an amorous woman named Amber.
He is offered 1 million dollars for the job. Having lost his job with MIS just recently, (oh ya, I forgot to mention that. Oh well, now you know) he accepts it. Jack and Joe decide to work together on this one. They take the $10,000 in money to rent a room in an office.
Being a very complicated job, Amber sends Jack some new experimental interface to help him. With all the new interface plugged in (and with the ProctoProd sung in its place), Jack and Joe realize that the new interface makes them “Super Users”. Super Users can do thing in Cyberspace that defies the laws of the Internet. They are infinitely fast, strong, and see and do things that no one else can do. After setting up their equipment, Jack gets ready to hack into MISs computer system with his new equipment (Oh ya, hes first assigned to steal files from his old employer, MIS, which he doesnt mind doing.) Being a natural Cybergeek, Jack has no problems.
He gets the files and returns them to Amber. It turns out that this last run was just a test set up to test MAX KOOLs skills. Satisfied with his performance, they get ready to do the real heist, to acquire evidence that this author stole the only copy of another authors book and published it as his own. With the help of some other folk, Jack and Joe brake into the “Castle Frankistilen”. In the castle, nothing goes as planned.
They go though many different virtual scenarios, and in the end, the alarms goes off as they get the info and the Nazi guards start pouring in. When Jack gets the info, Amber double-crosses him and takes it. After all this confusion, they are all captured and are taken to a mock trial, (with a teddy bear as a judge and a bird as a defense attorney, etc.). The reason for the trial was that the computers in Cyberspace got mad at all the Super Users and decided that either they are going to control everyone or go to a dessert island. This comes to that and Jack is sent off to the island.
It turns out that the “Island” is not and island. Jack walks to the other side and gets a job as a towel boy at some hotel, which concludes our story. In this book, I believe that there werent many major conflicts. The major conflicts are as follows: Person vs. Person and person vs. self. Person vs.
person is shown throughout the book. Jack is always in conflict with something, if its his mother, all the way to Jack vs. Eliza. The more obvious person vs. person was with Jack and Eliza, or with Jack and Melinda.
Since Melinda was Jacks boss, they were always arguing and threatening each other. Eliza actually attacked Jack many times in cyberspace in the book, showing a very obvious person vs. person conflict. Person vs. self is shown through jacks alter ego “MAX KOOL”. Jack secretly longs to be like MAX KOOL, with his leather jacket and black jeans, his glasses and 1100cc Harley.
Instead, Jack is stuck in his mothers basement, playing pretend games with other Cyberpunks. The main characters in the book are as follows: Jack Burroughs and Joe LeMat. There is also an innumerable amount of other, lesser characters that only appeared in either the beginning or the end of the book. Jack is a very typical, yet strange character in many ways. Jack is a typical Cyberpunk.
He lives in his mothers basement, makes model rockets, and is a computer nerd. He hasnt many friends, hates his job, spends most of his time alone, and has had nothing interesting happen in his life. He is a typical anti-social person who realizes that wants to be different, but also realizes that if he was, no one would notice. He has a very Grey outlook on life and has a very childish like attitude towards everything. It seems, in this book, that everything to him was a joke.
Joe LeMat is a very cryptic figure. The author in this book didnt develop him much at all. The most I can say is that Joe is jacks best friend, likes beer, sex, and also seems to be a Cyberpunk. Jack and Joe are pretty much similar, except that jack is more of the type that gives up, and Joe is more of the type of friend that isnt extremely loyal or trustworthy. The theme of this book seemed to be that “Cyberspace is a dangerous place”.
This theme is shown everywhere in the bookIn heaven, on the Infobahn, ECT. Just like in real life, there are crazy people on the Net. People like MAX KOOL, for example. Max killed people for no reason sometimes in Heaven by smashing people over the head with bottle or using his Monoatom switchblade. The whole idea of hacking into other server screams out “Cyberspace is a dangerous place”.
During the hacking attempts of MAX KOOL, many civilians (and Nazis) were killed. During the opening trip with Max and his Harley, and the instance between him and the old hippie Mac all show this theme. This following quote shows the basic style of writing and humor that the aruthor does, as well as shows the concept of Virtual Reality. “Pyle,” it said in Melinda’s voice. “You are dead meat.” I spun around, shotgun at the ready.
“Can you hear me, Pyle?” From the sound it was clearly off to my right, but–oh no, it was invisible. I hate it when they’re invisible. “Take off the stupid VR headset, Pyle.” I dove left and fired blindly. It answered with a soft, metallic, faintly musical sound The sound was vaguely familiar. It sounded like–keys.
I took off the VR headset. Melinda was standing there. The real Melinda. She was jingling her key ring. “Oops,” I said.
There are many things I can say about this book. It was a really fun book to read and an easy book to follow (for me, at least). I read the book easily in a few days and enjoyed every minute of if. If you like books with no character development, weak plot, and a whole bunch of cursing, sex, guns, hacking, blowing up of things, comedy and just down right fun, youll like this book. The book was hilarious and I recommend it to anyone.