The NECEN voyage. (book reviews) Russ Lockwood.
Do you remember the old movie, "Fantastic Voyage"? Through feats of technological wizardry, a team of scientists and a ship shrink to microscopic proportions, enter the human body, and perform a delicate operation. If you enjoyed that show, you might be interested in The NECEN Voyage. Through feats of technological wizardry, a team of computer scientists and a ship shrink to bytesize proportions, enter a computer system, and foil the plans of a megalomaniacal hacker.
In this combination science fiction/computer education novel, Georgie Hacker takes over the Northeast Central computer (NECEN) that controls all communication and transportation systems between Boston and Washington D.C. A crack team, complete with programmer Ada Byron and hardware designer Ned Lud, are reduced inside an eight-module ship and sent (via satellite) to enter and retake control of NECEN.
As a science fiction novel, the prose receives poor marks. Wooden characters, bland descriptions, and inane dialog make reading this book a tedious chore. The book has some value as an introduction to computers, but the material covered is too basic and too hard to ferret out to be considered worthwhile.
If you want a science fiction novel, buy the outstanding The Many Colored Land series by Julian May (Del Ray, New York). If you want to become computer literate, pick one of the good introductory texts already reviewed here. The NECEN Voyage is a brave attempt to combine the two. Unfortunately, it falls far short of covering either.
Review Grade: C