Silicon Man

Book Card  -  Volume 29  -  Book Review Number 1  -  Wed, Sep 22, 1993 3:39 AM

TITLE: The Silicon Man
AUTHOR: Charles Platt
PUBLISHER: Tafford Publishing

[Editor's note: I did the following review for Wired Magazine; hopefully it will be published in a few months. It is written in Wired's hip, flip style.]

Book Review, Wired Magazine, 9/7/93

Part one starts with a simplified map of LA circa 2030 and ends with a screaming man strapped to an operating table while an honest-to-god mad scientist peels away his brain. Quaint. But part two begins with a simplified map of MAPHIS - that's Memory Array and Processors for Human Intelligence Storage for you biomorphs - and from there things become quite interesting. We see the ultimate user interface in action as our hero tries to reconstruct his wife. We discover what it's like being inside a computer during a system crash. And anyone who has ever been at the mercy of a maniacal system administrator will appreciate the encounter with a hacker who can hack from the inside out.

Charles Platt's Silicon Man charts new territory in our understanding of hi-fi virtual reality. True, writers like Stanislaw Lem were toying with disembodied brains back in the '50s. And William Gibson's lyrical descriptions of cyberspace have already fired the imagination of a generation. But what does virtual cake taste like, exactly? And what does one do on a typical day in cyberspace? Platt does what very few have done before: takes us inside cyberspace and, in gripping detail, explores the astonishing advantages and chilling disadvantages this brave new world has to offer. His account is vivid for a very simple reason: he actually believes it's going to happen. And when it does, all bets are off. - John Cartan

The Silicon Man, by Charles Platt, US$19.95. Tafford Publishing, P. O. Box 271804, Houston, TX, 77277.

John Cartan (JohnCartan@aol.com) is an OracleCard programmer and writer. He edits the electronic journal Archipelago from a romantic Victorian on the island of Alameda, California.