Friday, May 13, 2011

Infecting an alien architecture, Part VI (repost)

This got blitzed yesterday in the 

google blogger outage

THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2011

Infecting an alien architecture, Part VI

Hurray, we're back to military science fiction! John Ringo's latest masterpiece The Hot Gate (preceded first by Live Free or Die and then with Citadel) continues the tradition of Frank Herbert (Dune), David Drake (Hammer's Slammers), David Weber (any of the Honor Harrington series), and the ultimate treatise on infecting an alien architecture, Piers Anthony's Macroscope. I have maintained all along that The Holy Grail of virus creation is my principle #7 for The Perfect Virus, Black Box Portability. This is the ultimate retaliatory defense in our cyber arsenal and will mean victory or defeat in the inevitable Cyber War we're going to be fighting with China and/or Russia and/or—let me here make a "calculated overstatement which I will later clarify in context with one of Ringo's major literary elements—jihadists? Forget the jihadists, as some contend that they haven't had a technological breakthrough since the invention of our numbering system. But I'll address this last sentence two paragraphs hence.

In my fifth diatribe on infecting an alien architecture, I pointed out that the Chinese are rapidly weaning themselves from dependence on Western cyber technology. Therefore Black Box Portability will be a critical weapon in our arsenal. So when I read Ringo's newest installment on our response to a truly alien invasion, all kinds of lights went on. Because The Hot Gate not only deals with an alien race that completely misunderstands our psyche, but it deals with our own cultural blind spots. Specifically, Ringo does a credible job of dramatizing the difficulty of working in a military partnership with…well…Argentina. Without spoiling your entertainment by giving away a major part of the book, let me just predict that The Hot Gate will not be selling well in Argentina. In fact, paraphrasing the late Hunter S. ThompsonThe Hot Gatewill have the same general effect on an Argentine as a full moon on a werewolf. John Ringo will have infected that alien [Argentine] brain with the next best thing to a terminal virus. Their cumulative reaction to The Hot Gatewill probably resemble the howling of the damned on Easter Sunday in hell.

Which brings me to my "calculated overstatement" at the end of the first paragraph: "Forget the jihadists, as some contend that they haven't had a technological breakthrough since the invention of our numbering system." I don't believe this to be a true statement, but it is designed to demonstrate the ease with which one can launch a pretty good data bomb in the psyche of another culture. Besides, the Iranians seem to have done a passable job in their initial response to Stuxnet (although I suspect the guy claiming to be an Iranian was really an elite gaggle of Iranian government programmers trying to save face). John Ringo, other the other hand, carefully builds a plausible viral infection that should cause some measurable blowback from our neighbors down south. And for that reason, I wouldn't think that Baen Books will spend a cent translating this into Spanish. Call me silly, but…!

Beyond causing a giant rush of pus to hit the average Argentine brain, The Hot Gate also gives some Macroscope-like technical hints for achieving Black Box Portability in a computer virus. And for that I thank (and congratulate) John Ringo. What are those technical hints? Sorry, but my professional gambler father always told me not to play my cards face up.

So thanks, John. I can't wait for your next installment. Heaven help the Rangora!

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?