The Infinet (Trivial Game Book 1) by John Akers (book review).

April 26, 2018 | By | Reply More

‘The Infinet’ is both speculative Science Fiction and a thriller, set in the not-too-distant future. One company, Omnitech Industries, has grown to be the most profitable technical company in the world. It’s all due to the success of their Univiz product which allows people to interact with computers in a completely new way. It’s essentially a headset which gives the user a virtual or physically augmented environment. It also comes with its own helpful AI assistant. Customisable of course.

The Univiz is a personal assistant, a business tool, a communicator and home entertainment device all in one attractive package. After its introduction, 10 years ago, it had quickly made phones, desktop and tablet computers obsolete. Just about everyone in the developed western world now had their own Univiz headset.

Univiz inventor and CEO of Omnitech, Oreste Pax, might be incredibly rich but he’s facing a shareholder revolt after three straight quarters of missed earning targets. He refuses to sell the product in markets with repressive dictatorships. Of course, if they were to sell the Univiz into those countries it would more than make up for the missed quarters and make the shareholders even more disgracefully rich.

Before we venture further into this new world, I need to drag you back to the book prologue. It would appear that there’s a very disgruntled individual who in some ways is the epitome of computer hackers or at least how they are portrayed in the press. His desk is surrounded by litter as he’s about to launch a computer virus designed to bring about the end of the world. While his white hair denotes his age he still has a youthful hacker moniker ‘M3k@nIk’. If you’re wondering how to pronounce that it translates to Mechanic in proper English.

The hacker’s activities haven’t gone unnoticed, though, as he detects a quantum computer infiltrating his network. It manages to avoid his counterattack before closing the connection and retreating. It doesn’t stop him from going ahead with his plan to launch the virus though.

Coming back to the main story, from chapter 3 there are fairly brief updates on the progress of the Mechanic’s virus at the start of the chapter. This might be a police report or the personal experience of one of the victims. It doesn’t grab the attention of Oreste Pax, though, as he has more pressing matters. On top of the shareholder revolt, his pet project to control the Univiz with the power of thought has hit a problem. Pax is counting on this project to save him from the shareholders.

Pax also suffers from peer pressure in the form of his oldest friend, Cevis Pierson, a brilliant, perhaps genius biologist and chemists. He has created numerous cures for human illnesses, but he remains a secretive person living alone on a mountain and rarely socialising.

Pax aspires to be as clever as Pierson but, each time he unveils a new super thing, Pierson trumps him. This happens again after Pax reveals he’s cracked the problem with thought control. Pierson’s counter-announcement is in a different league with the potential to alter civilisation but I’m not going to tell you what it is. ‘The Infinet’ is, after all, a thriller and it wouldn’t be thrilling if you knew what happens.

I will say that a secretive group manage to evade all of Pax’s home defences and security alarms one night and kidnap him. That’s about as far as I can go without throwing in some spoilers.

The near future presented to us in ‘The Infinet’ is plausible with its self-drive vehicles and augmented reality headsets with built in AIs acting as personal assistants. The move to mind control for the Univiz would be a logical progression for a company wanting to further develop the product and keep the profits coming in. It does, of course, depend on people being around to buy the product and that might not be as probable as you would hope. The reasons for this are complex and not immediately obvious.

I did enjoy reading ‘The Infinet’ which has a sub-title of ‘Trivial Game book 1’. While there isn’t a book 2 yet, I hope there is one. The ending is a bit confusing with some loose threads to tie-up. While it’s slow in some areas’ the technologies on show are interesting and I like the way the social impact of them is explored.

The one gripe I have about the story is the quantum computer. I wouldn’t have minded if the author had called it the magical computer or the pan-dimensional super-computer. The problem is I have been following the development of quantum computers for several years and it is highly unlikely they will have the general computational power as suggested in ‘The Infinet’. They will be able to solve some specific types of computations much, much faster than traditional computers but, in others, they will be slow and inefficient.

Perhaps I’m being grumpy, but I hate it when people accept fiction as fact. There’s a popular perception that quantum computers are going to be revolutionary. If they are, it will be for very limited areas of computing. The traditional digital computers will be with us for a very long time.

Anyway, I enjoyed ‘The Infinet’ and I suspect you will to. Go on and treat yourself to a copy.

Andy Whitaker

April 2018

(pub: Tech Noir Press, 2017. 392 page ebook/paperback. Ebook: Price: £ 2.11 (UK). ASIN: B076F5WFVL. Paperback: Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-99919-061-6)

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Category: Books, MEDIA, Scifi

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About AndyWhitaker

I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties.

My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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