by Marc D. Giller
Review by Nicki Lynch
Spectra Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 0553383310
Date: 31 May, 2005 List Price $12.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The story centers on Cray Alden, who works for the Collective. It starts out as a routine job of trying to capture a runner in the Zone.
Runners are a part of the trafficking in illegal information, in most cases proprietary information from a major company. The people runners worked for are hammerjacks, who like hackers before them, target proprietary information for theft and black marketing. The runner is used to transport the proprietary information once the hammerjack's method of hacking has succeeded. The proprietary information has to be put on flash, an artificial virus used to carry information, to avoid the tracers from reporting where the info is. The runner acts as the transport system that isn't connected to an internet system. Very few people can do this, as Cray knows as he used to be part of that world.
While he manages to catch his runner, Cray discovers that what she was carrying was not the usual flash DNA, but something else a lot more advanced, so advanced that when perfected, it would be the next advancement in biological storage medium. Cray's boss has been experimenting outside of the Collective, the corporation that "owns" this part of the world. Should the Collective find out that it isn't getting it's cut of this new biological storage medium, things could go badly for his company's profits.
To protect his assets, Cray's boss claimed that the best known hammerjack, Heretic, had stolen some proprietary information. Heretic has long been an obsession of Cray's, a man who had hammerjack skills on the same level as Cray. Heretic is also rumored to be working for Inru, a group who started out opposing the Collective replacing the governments of the world and had evolved into a group opposed to the advancing of science where it fails to enrich humanity.
After being hit with these bits of information, Cray is summoned to meet with the General Secretary of the Collective Assembly to answer some questions. Along the way he meets a mysterious girl in the airport, receives taunting message from Heretic, and discovers he is being watched by a free agent, one of a handful of extreme warriors. Finding out about the experimental flash was just the start to his adventure.
Nicely written for a first published work, Hammerjack has some rough edges and is occasionally too vague in the explanations. Still, if this type of future sets your heart racing and mind spinning, it's worth reading.