Laughably but not lovably bad, unlike SOS at Midnight, which was lovable.
There are four things going on in Digital Fortress: characterization like mid-era , some actual sex and violence to update it, a haphazard rehearsal of the privacy vs. gov't knowledge arguments, and a gormless attempt to use cryptography in the plot mechanics. The last provides most of the humor.
I am, for instance, hardly sure that a NSA manager wouldn't carry unauthorized assassination reports around in clear; or that the NSA has no important bottlenecks controlled by one unaudited person. If those are likely, then the parts of the story that hinge on the NSA'a gold-plated caution and brilliant techno-wheezery are less believable, so Brown loses me either way. Characters are also good or incompetent at specific skills at the convenience of the plot.
But the actual giggles were all in the climactic scene, in the countdown to disaster; we are to believe that a roomful of cryptographers and chip-wizards, many of them military,
There were a couple other howlers, but those linger.
There was one interesting character, but he was dead the whole time. The plot revolves around his being immeasurably cleverer at math and/or psychology than the rest of the NSA. I can't tell if this is supposed to suggest that he was right in combating the NSA's plans to surveil us all. I think it more likely that Brown wrote him as another MacGuffin and failed to notice that he was not just smarter than the rest of them, but the only character who repeatedly acted on painful and examined moral considerations.
ISBN: 0312263120So wrote clew in Fiction (21st c.). | TrackBack