Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The Eagle Eyed Daemon

I recently read a very good book that definitely deserved a blog post all of it's own. The day I finished reading it though I watched a film that shared so many ideas and themes with the book that I decided I'd write a joint book/film review. OK I'll stop waffling now and start by telling you about the book.

I often get annoyed with films and books when computer technology is depicted as it never seems to be accurate or even feasible! For instance, don't get me started on using a computer virus to beat the aliens in Independence Day -- probably one of the worst abuses of computers in film history! So when I saw an advert for the novel Daemon by Daniel Suarez I was intrigued enough to order a copy. Daniel Suraez is currently an independent consultant who has previously developed enterprise software for the defence,finance and entertainment markets so he should know a thing or two about software development and computers in general. Fortunately he can also craft an exceptionally good novel. Rather than trying to describe the novel myself here is the blurb from the back of the book
Computer genius Matthew Sobol is dead, but his final creation lives on. An infernal web of autonomous computer programs, Sobol's Daemon feasts on the lifeblood of our hyper-connected society: information. Gathering secrets and stealing identities, it soon has the power to change lives as well as the power to take them. Those who serve the Daemon are rewarded; those who defy it are eliminated. Recruiting acolytes from the dispossessed and disaffected, the Daemon grows stronger with each passing day. We face a stark choice: confront a faceless, formless monster or learn to live in a world in which we are no longer in control.
It really is a cracking good read which effortlessly weaves good and accurate computer information into the story without it getting in the way. As an example, if you know why putting ' or 1=1-- into the username and password fields of a website might get you logged in then you should enjoy this book.

So the evening I finished reading Daemon I sat down and watched the film Eagle Eye. I won't try and write a review as I'm sure I'll give away the plot so here is the trailer:

So you can see similar themes: a computer contacts people and forces them to do what it wants. Now there are vast plot differences between the book and the film and other than the general theme they have almost nothing in common. I would say that the book is infinitely superior to the film but if you don't have time to read 450 odd pages but would rather be entertained for the evening then I would highly recommend the film. Of course my star ratings are a little biased as I have to both compare the film to the book as well as other films I have reviewed.

My Rating for Daemon: 5 Stars A really good book. A terrific thriller and with the added bonus of accurate and believable computer details.

My Rating for Eagle Eye: 4.5 Stars A really good entertaining film. It doesn't quite make 5 stars simply as it is similar in theme to Daemon but not in the same league.
10 May 2009 at 11:34 , Bryony said...

I ought to point out for those of you out there that I'm afraid I'd only give the film three stars. Not yet read the book yet though...

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