William Hertling‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:
Description of A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity Series):
Leon Tsarev is a high school student set on getting into a great college program, until his uncle, a member of the Russian mob, coerces him into developing a new computer virus for the mob’s botnet – the slave army of computers they used to commit digital crimes.
The evolutionary virus Leon creates, based on biological principles, is successful — too successful. All the world’s computers are infected. Everything from cars to payment systems and, of course, computers and smart phones stop functioning, and with them go essential functions including emergency services, transportation, and the food supply. Billions may die.
But evolution never stops. The virus continues to evolve, developing intelligence, communication, and finally an entire civilization.
Some may be friendly to humans, but others are not.
Leon and his companions must race against time and the bungling military to find a way to either befriend or eliminate the virus race and restore the world’s computer infrastructure.
William Hertling has the gift. He can create a world that’s plausible, but exciting in its differences from our current reality. A.I. Apocalypse tells the tale of what we should worry about as our computers become more powerful and have greater connection to our information… And what we may be able to do about it. — Terri Griffith
In A.I. Apocalypse, we see the evolution of individual AIs and their development into a civilized society. The action of the man vs. machine conflict is page-turning and un-put-down-able. It’s almost enough to make one want to live off-grid. — Jeff Weiss
The first hundred pages of this book were fascinating and suspenseful, but the last forty pages were the coolest thing I’ve read in fifteen years. — Tynan Szvetecz
A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity Series) is available for purchase at:
An excerpt from A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity Series):
Leon headed into his own class and started to settle into his chair when his phone started a high frequency shrill for an incoming message. Leon pulled it out to read the message.
Leon, this is your uncle Alex. I hope you remember me – when I was last in New York, I think you were ten. I hear from your parents that you are great computer programmer.
Leon rolled his eyes, but kept reading.
I am working on programming project here in Russia, and I could use your help. I have unusual job that your parents don’t know about. I write viruses for group here in Russia. They pay very good money.
Leon leaned forward, paying very close attention to the email now. Writing viruses for a group in Russia could only be the Russian mob and their infamous botnet.
I run into some problems. Anti-virus software manufacturers put out very good updates to their software. Virus writers and anti-virus writers have been engaged in arms race for years. But suddenly anti-virus writers have gotten very, very good. No viruses I write in last few months can defeat anti-virus software.
You realize now I talking about running botnet. Because of anti-virus software, botnet shrinking in size, and will soon be too small to be effective.
Unfortunately, although pay is very good, you must realize, men I work for are very dangerous. They are unhappy that
“Leon. Are. You. Paying. Attention?”
Leon looked up abruptly. The whole class was staring at him.
“Can you tell us why the colonies declared independence from Great Britain?”
Leon just stared at the teacher. She was talking, but the words seemed to be coming from far away. What was she babbling about?
The teacher went over to her desk. “Mr. Tsarev, will you please pay attention?” It was not a question.
Leon just nodded dumbly, waited until she turned his back, then went back to the email.
They are unhappy that botnet is shrinking and give me two weeks to release new virus to expand botnet. Nothing I try has worked. I have one week left, and I am afraid they will
“Mr. Tsarev.” Leon looked up, to find her now looming over him. “Do I need to take your phone away?”
“But how would I take notes?” Leon asked in his best innocent voice.
“That might be an issue if you were actually listening, but since you are not, I think taking notes is the least of your worries.” She walked back up to the front of the room, keeping an eye on Leon the whole time. In fact, she didn’t glance away from Leon for the entire remainder of the class.
As soon as Leon could get out of the classroom, he headed over to the corner of the hallway to finish reading the message.
I have one week left, and I afraid they will kill me if I don’t deliver new virus. Nephew, your parents go on and on about your computer skills, and I must know if there is truth to their words. If you can assist me, please contact me as soon as possible. I give you much of the necessary background information on how to develop viruses: source code, examples, details on mechanisms that antivirus software uses. There is not much time left.
Whatever you do, please do not speak of this to your parents.
Leon lifted his head from the tiny screen of his phone and looked off into the distance. He remembered a Christmas when he was young and his uncle had come to visit from Russia. Leon’s father had cried when his brother came into their tiny apartment. During the days that followed, all through that holiday time, Leon’s parents were as happy as he could remember seeing them. His parents were so serious most of the time, but he vividly remembered them laughing merrily, even as Leon lay in bed at night trying to go to sleep.
The idea of writing a virus seemed absurd, and the idea that someone would be killed if he didn’t seemed no less absurd. What could he do?
He worried about it all through his next class, English. James sat next to him and threw tiny balls of paper at him. Leon just covered his ear, James’s likely target, and pretended to listen to the teacher, but he couldn’t stop thinking about the email. He just couldn’t reconcile the kindly man who had bought him a bicycle for Christmas with the idea of a man who worked for the mob writing viruses. And if there was one thing that Leon’s parents had hammered into his head, it was that he had to stay out of trouble. His family didn’t have the money to send him to college, which meant that he needed scholarships, and scholarships didn’t go to kids who got into trouble.
He hated to let his parents’ logic dictate his own thinking, but there it was. He wanted to become a biologist. That meant going to a great school – he hoped for Caltech or MIT. No, helping his uncle would be a quick path to nowhere good.
Of course I remember you! I appreciate your confidence in me, but I really know nothing about writing viruses. Yes, I know something about computers, but it’s mostly about gaming and biology. I don’t think I can help you.
Speaking of biology, it was up next. The thought of his favorite subject brought a smile to his face. He couldn’t say what it was he liked so much about biology, but it was undeniable that it was the one class he looked forward to every day.
Of everything in school, biology had the most thought provoking ideas: Life could emerge from anywhere. With no direction, it could evolve. Everything people were, was happenstance and survival. Life could be tampered with, at the most basic building block level, to create new life forms. The possibilities were limitless and spontaneous.
A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity Series) is available for purchase at:
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