THE JONES, a short sci-fi/fantasy novella no doubt of particular interest to computer knowledgeable readers by Jacob Whaler.

Plot: A new virus has surfaced on the Singularity Project. The project is a computer program that had been established in the early days of computers by Homeland Security when it was believed that a machine or aberrant algorithm might become self-aware/conscious in a human manner and develop a superhuman intelligence to become a threat to civilization. After numerous years of monitoring and no aberrant activity discovered, the Chinese owned and operated world’s largest weapons corporation had acquired the project with the requirement for continued monitoring service. A hundred years had passed when suddenly viral activity began with an immediate need to know what was transpiring. Chang, the company CEO asked Jim, his top employee to hire the best person available who was Flynn, a former college roommate who is ‘the best’ of all computer hackers. Just one week out of Rehab, Flynn discovers that “it is a digital life form with undefined abilities and intentions” but cannot determine anything further with equipment presently in use. Chang calls a meeting of Directors from throughout the world and insists that they sanction spending of whatever funds required to discover the virus and its intentions. With new, expensive but highly effective equipment, Flynn finds the culprit to be of a biological base almost as large as the Mesh itself and positioned throughout. Its activity is to devour all data and leave only detritus behind and Flynn believes he can devise a manner of communication. He titles his project “Sentient Entity New Object Jabberwocky (SENOJ) or backwards to suit his dyslexic mind, JONES. The story progresses as Chang sets forth a nefarious plan to harness it for personal and company gain and the tale continues with the various steps taken by Flynn and JONES to accelerate the action to a proposed question and interesting conclusion.

Discussion: This reviewer’s level of understanding computers is limited to having used them as a tool from their introduction as ‘word processors’ to their present stage. Ludicrous, no doubt and most thoughtless always to be too involved with writing to gain any further understanding of their actual functioning processes. However, from this unenlightened level, the tale is interesting and amusing as is the final question. The viewpoint of more computer knowledgeable readers of course may differ.

4* Interesting/amusing, thought-provoking sci-fi/fantasy from reviewer’s limited knowledge.

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