Sunday, January 18, 2009

When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth

Title: When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth
Author: Cory Doctorow
Published: Baen's Universe, 2006
Genre: Science fiction, short story

Rating: 7/10

Thoughts: I don't think you would enjoy this story unless you have met some sysadmins before. I have met and worked with them and from the story it's easy to tell Cory Doctorow has first-hand experience with them too. Many of sysadmin descriptions are very spot-on for the sort of people you find configuring the servers into wee hours of the morning.

This story deals with a postapocalyptic scenario where the major cities are all attacked by a bio-weapon and a number of sysadmins all over the world survive in the data ceters with good isolation and their own power generators. The protagonist of the story is Felix who finds himself watching the CN tower topple over from his data center in Toronto. The rest of the story deals with the consequences of the catastrophe.

Overall, it was an interesting story with some good internet-related humor. However, I felt the ending wasn't as strong as it could be and I was a little taken aback by the way Felix coped with the catastrophe aftermath. I will consider reading some other Cory Doctorow fiction now, I imagine I might like some of his other writings better.

1 comment:

  1. The most unfortunate thing about reading this story online, even on Doctorow's site, is that it doesn't have the textual elements (specific fonts) that the story does in print form in the Wastelands collection. That alone adds to the story, in my opinion, and I just couldn't find it online in that format anywhere.

    This was one I really enjoyed. I know a few sysadmins, but it was more my own limited knowledge of computers and tech that helped me to see the humor in the story. I think there is at least one Doctorow story in the pile of collections I am reading right now so I look forward to seeing how his other work is.