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Posted January 27, 2006
Wow. Um, wow. - This book is shockingly bad. Poor writing, stupid plot, cartoon characters and a story picked straight from the headlines of 1988 combine to make reading this a singular experience in horror fiction. - The plot concerns an evil computer genius driven mad because his classmates mocked him for his excessive weight in high school. Now he's all grown up and seeking revenge on . . .total strangers? Wait. That's not really revenge, is it? - The strangers: a group of BBS members in New Orleans. They are the best of the best, or so they think. The evil computer genius, now disguised behind his BBS identity - The Succubus - challenges the BBS group to break into his system and recover files. When they actually succeed in stealing the files, it turns out the files are more valuable than The Succubus anticipated, setting off a war between the two factions. - For those who don't remember, Bulletin Board systems were the precursors to the modern internet. They were interactive, dialup systems where people could chat, play games, hook up, etc. There are still a few around, but most people just use IM these days. Chet Day's use of them as a plot device seems oddly quaint in the 21st century. - There really isn't anyone in this book to root for. Chet slams us over the head repeatedly with the fact that these mighty electronic warriors are, in real life, weak, insecure, frail people. One is in a wheelchair, another a teenaged Japanese girl. One is a high school teacher, another an addled Vietnam vet. As good as they are in front of their avatars, they are just ordinary people behind them. Day seems to think this will excuse their rude, boorish braggadocio, but it did not for this reader. I kept thinking all these loudmouthed punks needed a swift kick. - The Succubus himself is a standard-issue bad guy and doesn't break any new ground. He's smart, he's crazy, he wears a monk's robe and hurts himself in order to get closer to God. Yawn. Never seen that before. Even though this novel was written in 1989, this particular character was already hoary and boring. - Add to all this the slow-moving pace (the first 'attack' doesn't occur until page 121) and you've got all the makings for something you'd find in the penny bin at the Goodwill store.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.