Thursday, February 18, 2016

Erec Stebbins's The Anonymous Signal Ready for Movie Production!


Mr. Craig, Sir."
A man in a chauffeur's uniform held a door open patiently. The CEO of Goldman Sachs stalked toward the car. Silver-haired, dressed in a tailored business suit with a golden watch that glinted in the sunlight...Two bodyguards left his side and walked to a second car parked immediately behind.
Jack Craig nodded to the chauffeur and stepped into the limo..."World Financial Center, Miles."
Continuing to stare outside his window, Craig felt a weariness descend. Soon, he knew, they would reach their exist and the nasty courting ritual would begin at the hotel. A presidential speech on financial reform, dutiful agreements from the top managers, handshakes, TV moments, and reporters' questions. Too much money had changed hands for there to be any real concern. They owned the committees. The damn politicians had to trot them out every few years, give them a public tongue-lashing, and then it was back to business as usual.
A black spot in the sky in front of them caught his eye. What the hell? He disengaged the sound suppression.
"Miles, can you see that thing in front of us? I thought it was a plane, but it's something else..." something was wrong. The craft, whatever it was, seemed way to low. Too small... He could see his driver straining upward and nodding...Damn if it's not going to hit us."
The object careened straight for them, slowing its approach until it paced the car. He could see it better now...A mass of spidery arms underneath held what looked like a cylinder, the bottom shining like a large metallis disc. Craig felt a strange unease. It's like some giant insect from Mars...
"Miles, take the next exit...Just do it!" Craig wasn't sure what was happening, but his instincts were never wrong. He had lived too long as a predator and master of the games of power...Right now, his alarms were ringing frantically.
The limo darted across lanes toward the exit to a chorus of horns. The small flying thing matched their motion, and continued to close the distance...Then the impossible! The small craft accelerated and slammed directly onto the roof of the car.
Craig jumped. Shit! "Pull us over, Miles. Now!...Goddamn thing is stuck to the rooftop," yelled Craig, grabbing the handle of his door. He prepared to leap out of the behicle.
A large explosion rocked the corner of 53rd and Sutton Place. Windows of surrounding buildings shattered, facade stone fractured and fell, and debris from a black limo blasted outward with a fireball that set nearby trees and garbage on fire. Smoke surged upward from the demolished vehicle, only a chassis and partial skeleton remaining...
Above the growing chaos, unseen by anyone below, a frenetic buzzing purred. An apple-sized object hovered hundreds of feet above the fire, a propeller whirling above an octagonal hardware collection ending with a downward-pointing lens. The mechanical  insect watched over the scene with a cold stillness. As the first sounds of sirens began to spill toward the carnage, it climbed above the buildings and disappeared into the sky.
~~~


The Anonymous Signal:
Book one of An Armageddon Duology

By Erec Stebbins

Wow! It's probably because I've been working with different types of computer systems all my professional life, that I found the latest by Erec Stebbins to be so fantastic...and horrible... Fantastic because of his details and imagination in concocting the story... And horrible because it could happen in reality to a greater or lesser extent than here in his book... which were truly disastrous events...

Internet Review of Books said of Erec..."Stebbins is the Master of the Thinking Reader's Techno Thriller" To me, when the techies give praise, it is not said lightly. Stebbins is brilliant and uses the expertise he's developed together with his creative genius to move from one book to another in various genres and areas of interest. I've only had the time to read 5 of them over the years, but I did and would still highly recommend all of his books (See link to reviews below combined book trailer video.) But this one...it became my favorite of those I've read...

The First Strike was toward company CEOs and politicians, sometime using

drones. These scary little mechanical creatures had been acquired by the thousands and will terrify you in some of the scenes as completely unmanned machines kill and destroy.

But consider them as merely hors-d'oeuvres to the main meal...An unstoppable worm eating up and through the world-wide Internet... eating through corporate files, government information systems and on to Wall Street and other markets...it was unstoppable... Soon phones were gone, utilities...while money was being moved out of all accounts never to see seen again...

Rioting began in the streets as transportation was dowm and people were going without food...


"Word on the Capitol?"
Lightfoote nodded. "You've seen the footage on the news. Main entrance and steps are blown to hell and back. Few were hurt at this time of night, but the point sure was made. The building is structurally sound, however. It would take a lot more firepower than these little drones can carry to serious damage it."
"And what if they have bigger drones?" asked Cohen.
Angel bit her lip."Then it could be a lot worse. But the scurrying of governmental staff is creating power vacuums. Basically, we're moving to a crisis mode unlike anything except during the Cold War. Not even 9/11 approached this. The apparatus is gearing up for siege."
"This is not going to end well," muttered Savas. "update me on this worm."
"It is hard to get visible, and wow, what a beauty." Cohen arched her eyebrow. "Seriously, Rebecca, this is the Michaelangelo of hackers. The damn thing self-assembled from thousands of computers around the world on some mysterious signal."
"Self-assembled?" asked Savas.
"Yes! We thought that it was hiding on various computers. Only parts of it were. Like the distributed code I mentioned? I didn't realize that the entire worm was networked. In other words, it doesn't exist as a single piece of code on any computer, but like a neural network that's the sum of a bunch of minor worms on millions of computers. It's incredible. Powerful. Unstoppable."
"Unstoppable?" said Cohen.
"Well, I don't know how to stop it. I don't think anybody would. It's unprecedented. It's a distributed AI that's taking over the distributed brain we call the internet."
"But it was activated with the Anonymous broadcast?" asked Savas.
"It ran the damn broadcast, John! I tried to get inside the code that activated, but it quickly detected my efforts and erased itself. Wiped the hard-drive. I'm reinstalling from backup..."
Savas felt his head pounding. He needed something concrete, something practical. "Tell me what the threat is."
Lightfoote looked at him in shock. "John, it can do anything. Write any code, erase data, create data, shut systems down, modulate system function. Turn off the water and lights. Open the Hoover Dam. Drop half the airplanes from the sky. Delete the world's money supply. Anything.
What's the threat? It's fucking digital Armageddon."
~~~

A thousand years scarce serve to form a state: An hour may lay it in the dust.                                          --Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage



Stebbins begins his book in the midst of of United States Armed Forces Special Tribunal, which is the Plaintiff, versus John Savas, Defendant. Set before The Anonymous Event Commission...

There is a certain arrogant attitude established by the writer right at the beginning. You see, the very people who worked diligently and had "saved the world" were now being put through "hell" because of the way they handled things. OMG, Bureacracy at its finest..."Thanks for saving the world, but now, we need to pick all of your actions apart to cover those of us who couldn't--save the world that is..."  Stebbins' outstanding choice to frame his book in this fashion lends so much more credibility to what happens--again leading readers to the horrors of the "possibilities..."

Special Agent John Savas is the head of the team that some were saying had gone rogue... Duh, so while all communication was down, the bureaucrats expected to be totally kept in the loop on what the assigned group was doing to stop the disaster. I loved the sarcastic and emotional amazement expressed by those giving their depositions...
CBD: Thank you, Mr. Miller. You understand that your testimony here is on the record, and your words might later be used to charge and try you as an enemy combatant of the United States?     Mr.Miller: No, I don't understand that. [REDACTED] Have you not been informed of your rights and requirements under the new Tribunal Act?     Mr. Miller: Yes, sir. But none of this makes any sense to me. {REDACTED] You have been informed of the law?     Mr. Miller: Yes, Jesus.
Be prepared for a complex, fast-paced, story that still provides readers with detailed information on what was happening and what was being done to investigate who was behind everything. 

I enjoyed John Savas as the leader and coordinator but there were three exciting heroes who actually responded to the primary activities. One was a brilliant computer genius and a husband-wife team that had earlier been declared criminals and wanted by the government who were brought in by Savas... Kinda supports many of our concerns about actions of government officials, since those three heroes disappeared after all the work they'd done, without any praise or thank yous...in fear of their lives...

What I'm trying to point out is that in the creation of the book, I believe Erec Stebbins has done everything possible he could do to make the story one of the most realistic books you may ever read. It my opinion, it would make a Armageddon techno-thriller movie that would prove to be a major success! And extremely believable, given the time frame and technological advances and connectivity now present across the world.

"Jen, What the hell is your son doing at my
computer?"
The black hair of a young boy popped up from
behind a monitor, his eyes wide behind oversized
 glasses. Several books were positioned around
him on the desk, and his hand clutched a computer
mouse in an iron grip.
A red-faced man stood in the doorway to the home
office, his teeth bared, high-end casual clothing
draping an athletic form. A woman rushed past
him into the room, placing herself between the
boy and the man, hands up as if to ward off a blow.
"Now, Richard, he just wanted to try some
programming. It's for his class presentation."
She smiled wildly. "His will be so much better
than all the other children's! He's a genius,
you know!"
...His stepfather didn't like anyone to use his
things. His stepfather's computer was important.
The things on the computer were serious work.
Maybe it was true, maybe he didn't know how to
code like a grown up yet. He wasn't sure. No one
would teach him at school and his programs
didn't always work like he wanted. He knew he
needed to learn more.
But he could delete files. He knew how to do that.
He could delete ALL his stepfather's files.
He opened a terminal window and began typing.
~~~
The only thing that breaks the realism is the villain...because he is just a flawed, even though brilliant, human.
And that's what makes the book fun!
Readers gain sufficient background about this character to learn that he was born a genius, well beyond the capability of his parents to control him... And unfortunately he turns out to be a psychopath with, perhaps, a god complex... In any event, I loved the connection developed between the hero computer whiz and the villain computer whiz... Because, no matter how he had been prepared, and no matter what hardware and software he had acquired, she beat him every time! After meeting the Daughter of Time in his trilogy, I have come to greatly admire Erec Stebbins for his strong female characters. He has continued that recognition in this novel with my and, I am sure, other women's gratitude. 

In fact, one of Stebbins greatest abilities in his writing is in his character development. While at the same time, his brilliance and expertise brings forth some of the most unique science fiction stories I've ever enjoyed. They are intense, dynamic and complex enough to force the reader directly into the world he's created. If you don't plan to enter in right at the beginning, you might as well forego starting his books because he'll leave undisciplined readers behind...He's that good!

But don't let me scare you, for those who are into Computers? This is a must-read! Could you beat the anonymous signal that may end the world?!


GABixlerReviews



Erec Stebbins is a biomedical researcher who writes novels in a variety of genres, focusing on thrillers and science fiction. His work has consistently been praised for its action and thrills alongside a deeper, often philosophical angle. 

His novels have been called "unique" and "pulse-pounding" (THE RAGNARÖK CONSPIRACY), "altogether profound, reminiscent of Bradbury and Dan Simmons' Hyperion" (DAUGHTER OF TIME TRILOGY), and "startlingly dark" (EXTRAORDINARY RETRIBUTION) with five star ratings in Foreword Reviews, San Francisco Book Reviews, Portland Book Review, and others. 

Author Website: http://www.erecstebbinsbooks.com/
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5990247.Erec_Stebbins