Piper Vaughn and Xara Xanakas
Less Than Three Press LLC, 2012
“There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don’t.”
RATING: 3 out of 5 stars
Contrary to the classical bit, ∣0⟩∣0⟩ and ∣1⟩∣1⟩ are but two possible states of the qubit, and any linear combination (superposition) thereof is also physically possible. In general, thus, the physical state of a qubit is the superposition ∣ψ⟩=α∣0⟩+β∣1⟩∣ψ⟩=α∣0⟩+β∣1⟩ (where αα and ββ are complex numbers). The state of a qubit can be described as a vector in a two-dimensional Hilbert space, a complex vector space.
And so now I’m boring you out. I bet you did not even realize that I was not talking about binary. If you survived reading the first paragraph (or maybe you’re patient enough) good for you because it’s finally time to review a book about a geek’s love story after those countless YA novels featuring awkward girls and cool guys. We reviewed some geek guys falling in love to some of the hottest girls (always) or vice versa (super seldom): case in point is my all-time favourite book character Colin Singleton in An Abundance of Katherines. But now we read the story of a party boy and his struggles to win a geek boy and his attempts to understand his world thereby giving us a glimpse of the daily life, secrets and ways of the geeks. So welcome to our world.
In the beginning of every chapter are geek themes that the authors took time to explain, and their uses to non-geeks, connecting it to how the geeks behave, ending in to life lessons of some sort which I find cool. The story of the chapters almost always took off from these themes.
This is how this review works: 1st paragraph is the explanation of the chapter, 2nd paragraph is my take on the chapter’s story. Let the role play begin.
Star Wars v Star Trek: A Primer
No need to explain what Star Wars is. If you don’t know, please die.
Of course the first chapter is about Star Wars and before you begin to wonder, I don’t care about Star Trek so drop it. Ash is the party boy in the story who met Fee, the geek and IT wiz. His character in that of a real geek, shy and proud and sarcastic giving the novel a dash of reality.
It means “Read the Fucking Manual.” “Read The Fucking Manual” or RTFM, is an expression that cannot be spoken out loud, but cannot be repeated often enough. Probably 80% of the problems people experience with their computer can be resolved by RTFM. (From readthefuckingmanual.com)
This chapter is fun to read as Ash tried to learn more about geeks and how he could meet Fee again, starting from watching all of the Star Wars films to visiting the guy’s book club site.
Is He a Mac or a PC?
Personally I am a PC guy because Macs are so expensive, seriously. Though I have an iPhone so maybe that counts. I think this chapter was a long shot as a title for this chapter but as a part of Ash’s struggle to know more about Fee’s personality, it works.
A Torrent of Misunderstanding
A torrent is a file sent via the BitTorrent protocol. It can be just about any type of file, such as a movie, song, game, or application. During the transmission, the file is incomplete and therefore is referred to as a torrent.
This chapter is when it gets exciting because this is where Fee finally agreed to meet Ash, you can say after Ash clicked the magnet link, it is finally downloading.
(Sky)Rimming a Dragon in the Dungeon
Skyrim is the fifth instalment to the Elder Scrolls series, an action role-playing open world fantasy video games. Don’t ask me I don’t play those video games, I am more of a Plant vs Zombies type of guy, thank you.
This is the part when it gets frustrating. By making Fee reluctant to date Ash, it gives more excitement to the whole story with a mix of annoyance. I am not sure about the significance of the title though, maybe Fee was trying for a role play (playing as a party boy) to get to know Ash better?
You’ve Been Steampunk’d
Stempunk is a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology. I don’t like it that much so don’t force me to explain it further.
The Halloween party is cool but I am not sure if it is always a norm for geeks there in the States to dress like that. But then again, what do I know? My favourite part of this chapter is when Ash asked Fee this line “was this a date, Fee? Or was this just us being friends?” and Fee’s answer “this was a date.” Finally.
Binaries: There are 10 Ways to Look at it
The word binaries is used as a set of files which are produced after compiling essentially the object code that runs on machines (and virtual machines/runtimes in case of Java/.NET). While there are other things like JPEG photo, MPEG video, Zip files etc. are also binary in the sense they are not text or ascii files, but word binaries (used in context of software development) doesn’t include them. In the linux/unix world, developers and geeks prefer source code to executable binaries so they can compile and tweak them themselves. When an app is free that is awesome. If it is distributed as binary, that is still awesome. When it is distributed as source that is really awesome. (Taken from the answer of one of the geeks from the chatroom of programmers.stackexchange.com/)
So back to the novel, this is a cool part when Ash and Fee finally have their relationship in place; I mean like a good novel it takes half-way through the pages to have the protagonists together.
Of course in relation to this chapter the story is about Ash learning the “language” of Fee, taking it slow and his daily musings, his frustrations about not having sex for a long time is sort of funny.
“Are you…I mean, are you saying we can’t do anything at all? Not this”—Ash gestured between himself and Fee “—or any other kind of touching or anything?”
Hacked to Bits
In the computer security context, a hacker is someone who seeks and exploits weaknesses in a computer system or computer network. Hackers may be motivated by a multitude of reasons, such as profit, protest, challenge, enjoyment, or to evaluate those weaknesses to assist in removing them.
Inserting Ty, Ash’ bestfriend and his problem and connecting it with Ash’s attempt to make Ty accept Fee is kind of late in the game if you ask me, and the title? I’m not sure about that, maybe because of the convention thing? But it’s tattoos so I don’t think so.
This is a boring convo with his brother and I don’t know why it was included. This is much boring than the Dumbledore-Harry convo at King’s Cross, kidding (about the Harry Potter thing). It showcases all the things that were wrong in the book, that it is almost too perfect: Ash having a cool family and cool friends (though his bestfriend Ty has a loneliness problem, maybe for a book 2?)
Denial (of Service) Attacks
In computing, a denial-of-service (DoS) attack is an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users, such as to temporarily or indefinitely interrupt or suspend services of a host connected to the Internet.
I don’t get the conflict in the story. I mean yes, Ash might be blinded by his insecurity but he is not stupid enough to realize the real reason why Fee did not want him to be introduced with his father. I mean he overheard the convo with his mother for heaven’s sake. But still this is a good way to end the story; I mean imagine if they have goons in it, that’ll kill the fun.
It is good to have a point of view of a geek, not that we don’t have that but it’ll be cool to read how a geek could tame a party boy and the things he will do to achieve it. The discussions about geek stuff are way beyond cool and Fee was portrayed as such pretty convincingly. Though one major flaw is that he has a great body? And Ash, amidst all his tattoos, is scrawny? Come on.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, the story is reeking with clichés: super friendly friends, cool family, too perfect love story. But despite it all, this novel will stand out not just because it differentiated itself from other love stories by tackling a geek and partnering him with a party boy, but also because the story is real, the feelings, the thoughts the struggles of each geek in socializing, in forming a relationship, all discussed in the pages of the story. Here’s to hoping that all geeks will have a happy story just like Fee’s.