Sunday 20 June 2021

Post on a perfect Father's Day morning...

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the breeze is blowing… this may be the most perfect morning of the year so far.  And I’ve got a steaming cup of chai, a delicious date bar and a yummy banana muffin to enjoy as I write this post, too, so it really is a perfect morning.

Last week I read a novel that was a bit outside my comfort zone, Version Zero by Young Adult author David Yoon.  Max is a shining star at Wren, the youngest person to ever hold his position at this large social media company.  When he is singled out to head up a new initiative called the Soul Project, he has his reservations:  this project is devoted to mining personal data of the “squishy” sort, sexual preferences, political leanings, etc., to create “emotional profiles” of its users.  When he discovers that this information is being sold to intelligence organizations, he confronts the CEO and is summarily dismissed and then blackballed across Silicon Valley.  He, along with his equally talented tech friend (and secret love of his life), Akiko, decide that the only way to stop what Wren and other big tech companies are doing to their users is to “reboot” the internet, to go back to “version zero”.  When assistance comes in an unexpected way, Max and Akiko, along with Akiko’s boyfriend, and Max’s long-time friend, Shane, jump at the opportunity, but soon realize that this offer comes at a cost.  Can Max save the world from systematic data mining or are internet users forever doomed to sell their souls for access to another free app?  I don’t know much about tech stuff, but this novel started off in such a hip, easy, conversational way that I was immediately hooked.  And I felt that I was learning, along with Max, about the dark side of big tech companies.  But around the mid-point, the plot took an unexpected turn and I kind of lost interest, but it was such a quick easy read that I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did because it had a decent ending that tied up all the loose ends.  I discovered that the author is the husband of another Young Adult author, Nicola Yoon, who wrote Everything, Everything, which I really enjoyed.  This was David Yoon's first novel for adults, and I'm now interested in checking out his YA books, as he clearly writes well and can create an intriguing story.

That’s all for today.  Get outside and enjoy the day, and do something special for your dad, or any other significant person in your life. 

Bye for now…

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