It seems bizare considering the amount of time I have been online (and how fragile computer technology often seems) that I can not think of a true internet 'disaster' (news headlines might suggest otherwise - The Worst Internet Disasters Of The Decade from December 2009 for example - but the 'disasters' in the list are a bit underwhelming imho...).
As both our lives and infrastructure continue to move onto the internet it becomes increasingly interesting/hard/scary to think about what the impact of a 'real' internet disaster could be...
Cyberstorm, by Matthew Mather, is a prequel to the Atopia Chronicles. It tells a disaster story that has the internet/hacking/cyber warfare at it's core. But if you immediately imagined a hard science fiction tech filled novel with jargon and heroes typing into terminal windows you might be surprised... While there is a bit of cool tech and the author uses the book to raise questions about technology/internet related issues (what kind of issues? read Schneier on Security for an idea), the majority of the book revolves around our need for water, food, shelter and security and the truly terrible consequences when those basic needs become scarce (the Siege of Leningrad is referenced a number of times in the book, certainly a horrifying example of human needs/disaster/scarcity - Effect of the Siege of Leningrad on the city, Siege of Leningrad begins and The Siege of Leningrad, 1941 - 1944).
There were moments in the book where the characters seemed a bit stiff and an occasional discussion that I skimmed - but those minor details are dwarfed by all of the scenarios/details in the book that feel real enough to be quite uncomfortable/interesting/terrible/thought provoking and well worth reading!
This post is based on an advance copy of the novel that I received from the Matthew Mather at no cost.
Rating: 4 of 5 First Read Date: March 2013