Dissecting the Hack: The Forb1dd3n Network by Jason E. Street and Kent Nabors has been sitting on my night stand forever, just waiting for me to read it. I originally got it in the mail from the publisher in exchange for reprinting rights for my article on Helix. (That’s right, 404 Tech Support has been cited in published work!) I’m finally getting to that review even though there is now a revised edition which no longer mentions Helix, likely since it turned to being a paid product. (You can still download the previous version of Helix for free from the official store.)
Dissecting the Hack is 410 pages total but only 127 of those pages are the actual story. The rest are used to explain technical terms and references. It’s a great way to learn about the technical culture as the main fictional story provides an example of when and how something might be used and then you can flip to the back pages to find the references that provide further back story.
The main story covers a few different people that get mixed up in a little hacking job. What had previously been paranoia then turns into real life terror for some of them as they use technology to survive and investigate all the things that are suddenly going wrong. It reads a little like a book by Cory Doctorow and has the technical chops to back it up and keep experts interested in the story.
The revised edition is updated (the common struggle with technology books) and adds a whole second section that was previously only an epilogue.
I’d give the book a 4 out of 5. It was a short story that provided examples of technical usage and stretched the use of endnotes to seem more like reading an article online with links to references for completeness. It was an educational, enjoyable read.