The novel takes place during the dot.com bubble and bust period of 1999-2003. It involves the murder of the CEO of a network security company, who was, it seems, a reformed hacker himself (see the “Chat Board” comments).
The neat thing about this project is the depth of the experience you get via the Hackoff.Com website. Not only can you read each chapter as it is posted (chapter 1 is up and chapter 2 is scheduled for 9/22/05), you can also click around to embedded links such as the link to the fictional company, and once you’re there to normal company related “About Us,” “Team,” “Support,” and even “Careers” pages (I think the job posting for “Portfolio Manager” is notable). The story begins with the CEO’s death in 2003, but chapter 2 will go back to 1999, as the company works towards its IPO.
Based on chapter 1, I’m interested in seeing where the story goes and look forward to reading, and experiencing, this project. It’s early but so far it reminds me of a more immersive Michael Crichton experience, which, in my book, is high praise.
One minor criticism: I don’t like it when movies use gratuitious cursing, and I don’t like it when books do it either. It is virtually impossible to offend me and, as my secretary will attest, I have been known to use a lot of colorful language. But I don’t do it around my kids or other kids. There is a word used on the fictional chat board that simply doesn’t need to be used. Granted, kids are unlikely to read this blook, but there are other less offensive words that could have easily been used for the same effect (the “b” word, while still a curse word, would be less offensive). I think that as blooks become more common, we need to keep in mind that they will be more accessible than traditional books (now I’ll step off my soapbox).
You can read Tom’s blook via the web site (which I recommend for the total experience) or via RSS or email subscriptions.