Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Open Source  
By M .M. Frick
ISBN: 978-1-453-71985
A 2012 release from the author
334 pages

Here is a fascinating premise, in this newly shaped world of aggressive social media and instant information exchanges. Suppose, for an instant, you are a special operative for a foreign power—any foreign power. You have been assigned to monitor blogs from various sources in order to determine certain attitudes of leaders regarding the drilling of a new oil field in, oh, Canada. Your employer wants an early warning about possible strikes that could lead to a change in oil prices on the world market. He also wants you to track the Internet conversation about this subject. You have a search bot which travels the world of the Internet matching words, phrases, and collecting data.
Now let’s assume you are a bright and inquisitive citizen with an ordinary job. You live in Georgia and one of your hobbies is searching the Internet for odd events of interest to you. When you find such an event, you blog about it. Perhaps your interest is oil fields. You read open sources on the Internet, construct a possible scenario, just for fun and it triggers the operative’s search bot. That triggers ripples through shadowy organizations and suddenly evil people are questioning how you know certain things and where you get your information. You of course, are merely a bright person raising questions based on  readily available information.
But your connections and your questions on your blog begin to look dangerous to people who are suspicious of everybody. YOU begin to look dangerous. Soon an operative is dispatched to deal with you., an operative who knows how to kill.
My scenario, like that of author Frick, is fiction. But this world-spanning thriller is as real as it gets and might cause you, my gentle reader, to think twice about what and where you post.
Open Source is a clean, well—constructed thriller with only one serious deficiency, one which detracts very little from a gripping, fast-moving story. One of the characters seems to me to have some personality defects which are troubling enough that she would probably not have been hired into the important position she has with a private data-mining company.  However, she is in most other aspects a competent, bright and charming woman who otherwise fits nicely into the scenario constructed by Frick in his debut novel. A very interesting and challenging story, and one which should provoke thoughtful consideration by all of us who regularly use social media.

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