Five hackers—an Anonymous-style rabble-rouser, an Arab Spring hacktivist, a black-hat hacker, an old-school cipherpunk, and an online troll—are detained by the U.S. government, forced to work as white-hat hackers for Uncle Sam in order to avoid federal prison. At a secret complex known only as “the Lodge,” where they will spend the next year working as an elite cyber-espionage team, these misfits dub themselves “the Zeroes.”
But once the Zeroes begin to work, they uncover secrets that would make even the most dedicated conspiracy theorist’s head spin. And soon they’re not just trying to serve their time, they’re also trying to perform the ultimate hack: burrowing deep into the U.S. government from the inside, and hoping they’ll get out alive. – Goodreads Synopsis
Zer0es is an intriguing work of hacker-love fiction. At its roots, its your basic “Underdogs overcoming (maybe)” story. It’s conspiracy theory done right and come true. Finally, its a tale of Artificial Intelligence that is extremely disturbing because its… well, you’ll have to read and find out for yourself.
The pacing is fantastic, the dialogue is always believable. The technological stretches are not too fantastic for believe at the rate we’re progressing currently. The characters are a nicely varied mix that are fleshed out and avoid the typical character archetypes. My favorite two characters were Wade, the not-so-paranoid-after-all survivalist/old school hacker and Chase, the not-exactly-adept hacker. I absolutely couldn’t stand Reagan, but she still got a few giggles from me later on in the book.
” Oh, whatever with justice. Piss on that idea. Justice is some made-up human nonsense, Dalton. And you know it even if you don’t want to admit it.” – Chuck Wendig, Zer0es
Overall, this was a fantastic book that definitely earned itself a place on my shortlist of Science Fiction books I’d recommend. I didn’t even mind the wrap-up, and y’all know by this point that I hate wrap-ups! Its not blaster-guns and outerspace, but instead a veritable essay of hacker-appreciation. Underdogs overcome (maybe), quips are traded rapid-style, and mistakes are made. What’s not to like? Zer0es well earned its place as #6 on my Top 10 “Scifi and Scary Reads of 2015”.