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Shimmer
     

Shimmer

4.1 6
by Eric Barnes
 

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In just three years, CEO Robbie Case has grown
Core Communications, a data technology company,
from 30 people to over 5,000. Now a $20 billion
company made legendary by its sudden success,
Core is based on a technology no other company
can come close to copying, a revolutionary
breakthrough known as “drawing blood from a
mainframe.”

Overview


In just three years, CEO Robbie Case has grown
Core Communications, a data technology company,
from 30 people to over 5,000. Now a $20 billion
company made legendary by its sudden success,
Core is based on a technology no other company
can come close to copying, a revolutionary
breakthrough known as “drawing blood from a
mainframe.” And Robbie, its 35-year-old CEO, is
acclaimed worldwide for his vision, leadership and
wealth.
Except that all of it is based on a lie. The technology
doesn’t work, the finances are built on a Ponzi
scheme of stock sales and shell corporations, and
Robbie is struggling to keep the company alive,
to protect the friends who work for him and all
that they’ve built. Each day, Robbie tries to push
the catastrophe back a little further, while his
employees believe that they are all moving closer
to “grace,” the day their stock options vest, when
they will be made rich for their faith and loyalty and
hard work. The details of the lie are all keyed into
a shadowy interface that Robbie calls Shimmer, an
omniscient mainframe that hides itself, calculates
its own collapse, threatens to outsmart its creator
and to reveal the corporation’s illegal, fragile
underpinnings.

Shimmer is the story of a high-tech crusade nearing
its end. The shell game Robbie has created is finally
running out of room.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This topical fiction debut from Memphis news publisher Barnes is a cautionary thriller about ambition and corruption in corporate America. Robbie Case, the 35-year-old CEO (and largest shareholder) of Core Communications has managed to grow the business from 30 employees to more than 5,000 in three short years. But his $20 billion company, linking mainframe computers worldwide to the Internet backbone, is built on faulty technology, false promises and questionable finances. Weary of the day when everything inevitably unravels, Case's slow (but accelerating) downward spiral drives the narrative through a number of timely plots, including Ponzi schemes and toxic assets: "The people who worked here, the companies we acquired, the stock we sold-all of it was an unseen disease." Readers may find it difficult, if not impossible, to empathize with Case, but the corporate intrigue should hook anyone fascinated by the collapse of Wall Street and the crimes of Bernie Madoff.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781932961676
Publisher:
Unbridled Books
Publication date:
06/30/2009
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

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Shimmer 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gl More than 1 year ago
Synopsis: The book opens at the top of a Midtown skyscraper in NYC at 6 am on Monday in the middle of the weekly senior staff meeting of one of Wall Street's technology darlings, Core Communications. Through the banter, Barnes shows the relationships between and among most of the book's main characters and CEO Robbie Case. Clearly, Robbie is regarded as a genius among geniuses, with vision and incredible technical skills such that even those who have worked with him every day for the past 3 years and have participated in the company's growth hold Robbie apart. Understandably so since Robbie's guidance, savvy and tech skills transformed Core Communications into a company with the size and culture reminiscent of Google - a $20 billion dollar company offering technology unmatched by any other. Core Communications offers a way to maximize server capacity and data processing through its secret "Blue Boxes". The market appears to put no limit to Core Communication's potential growth and revenues. No one understands exactly how the Blue Boxes work and it turns out that neither does Robbie Case. Instead, Robbie has based Core's technology on a lie and through this combination Ponzi scheme and shell game, Robbie has been able to keep up the charade. Robbie barely sleeps as he works feverishly to come up with a way to create the necessary technology that can save his company. To suppress his tension and fear, Robbie increasingly relies on anonymous sex and alcohol. While the employees keep going, waiting for the time that they can cash in on their stock options, Robbie is anxiously waiting for the company's collapse. Review: Other reviewers have mentioned that Shimmer seems particularly relevant for these times with the headlines of corporate fraud by Bernie Madoff. Though headlines of corporate fraud are not new, Shimmer does strike me as an unusual and interesting read because of the degree of business details incorporated in the story. I enjoyed reading how Core Communications handled stock options in a company so young and successful that its early employees and nearly all employees are multimillionaires. I don't know anyone that worked at Google or Microsoft in the early days but I imagine that the anticipation, anxiety, and fixation with the time that first employees are allowed to exercise and sell their stock options, this period of "grace" would be all consuming and much like Eric Barnes's description. I'm not particularly technologically savvy, so I had to pause and write out the explanation behind Core's unique service. I'm not sure whether it's service is viable or not - but that lack of knowledge didn't impact my appreciation and enjoyment of the book. If you're waiting for a mindcandy technothriller in the Michael Crichton style, this book doesn't have the violence and gore of those books. Instead, enjoy the tension that comes with the unravelling of the financial fraud. Don't be fooled by the lack of violence - Shimmer is an absorbing action thriller. Publisher: Unbridled Books (June 30, 2009), p288. Courtesy of Unbridled Books.
ReadingwithMo More than 1 year ago
Core Communications is on top of the world. Their blue boxes are installed on mainframe computers all around the world. Corporations are scrambling to acquire this breakthrough technology. Years of long hours and hard work are beginning to pay off for the senior staff at Core. With their IPO behind them, they are striving to achieve grace so they can cash in on Core's success. There's only one problem. The blue boxes don't really work; the entire company is based on a lie. CEO Robbie Case struggles to find a way to keep Core from going down. He knows the end is inevitable, but still he hopes for a breakthrough, a miracle. The only other person at Core that knows the dark secret is Trevor Case, sales person extraordinaire. It was Trevor that began the lie, but Robbie who continued it to an astounding level. This book is scary, in that the premise is not too fantastical. It would surprise none of us to see a similar story on Fox News. This is a shining example of how a lapse in judgement can snowball into a giant avalanche of pain and sleeplessness. Eric Barnes provides a unique insight into the culture of a mega corporation. The challenges, accomplishments, inadequacies, and insecurities are all laid bare. I truly enjoyed this book. The author gives you just enough to figure things out on your own, there's no spoon feeding here. The characters are rich, they have strengths and faults. A few even have vices such as hookers or adulterous affairs. The ending will provide you with closure and a reassurance that no matter how things change, they remain the same.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago