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by Randall Ingermanson
Published by Bethany House Publishers, 2004
Highly recommended by: Greg Slade
Thank you for sending me a review copy Double Vision, which I have finished and liked. You were right when you said that the romance elements are fairly understated and that there's no purple prose. (Red and blue poetry, maybe...) I mean, yes, romance is a part of the story, but it doesn't take the story over, and turn it into a romance in the guise of a high-tech thriller. (That sort of "bait and switch" tactic really annoys me.)
To be honest, I thought your idea of "quantum encryption" was just a bunch of high tech handwaving, but shortly after I finished the book, I spotted the January issue of Scientific American, which has quantum encryption as the cover story. Granted, your description of how it works led me to expect something different than the Scientific American story described, but you obviously weren't making up the idea out of whole cloth. In any case, I've argued for years that people shouldn't trust encryption. The kind of computing horsepower it takes to crack a password takes a server farm this year, but in a few years, that kind of power will be available on a desktop, and a year or two after that, it will be entry-level equipment. Thus, all a potential snoop needs to do is log encrypted communications, and store them long enough for the ability to decrypt them to become affordable. As far as I'm concerned, "life and death" stuff should never be sent electronically, period. Encryption only delays the point at which stuff like that gets revealed, it can't protect it forever. (Hmmm... for some reason, Luke 12:3 springs to mind.)
It may sound funny, but I actually found myself wishing that I was more like Dillon. Not wishing Asperger's syndrome on myself (I'm already nerdy enough, thanks), but wishing that I were as straight-arrow as he is. Every time he would come out with something on an entirely different topic when Rachel or some other character assumed that they knew exactly what he must be thinking, I was partly amused, and partly, well, envious. However, after going to such great lengths to establish that, for Dillon, lying is the next thing to impossible, you kind of spoil the effect at the airport, doncha think? Anyway, I think he made the right decision in the end.
As I said, I enjoyed the story. In particular, I got a kick out of all your self-referential allusions. You're following in hallowed footsteps, there. After all, C.S. Lewis introduced himself as a minor character in Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, but I don't recall him criticising his own gardening in the process. You are, I'm afraid, on less solid ground when it comes to tying together your different fictional universes. Isaac Asimov, in his later years, tried to tie together his robot novels with his Foundation trilogy, but to be honest, the plot threads simply weren't up to the strain of stitching together two disparate universes. Actually, at first I thought you were following the example of Lois McMaster Bujold, who has admitted to her fans that she hates thinking up character names, and re-uses them whenever she gets a chance, but when it became clear that Rachel was Rivka's cousin, and that Robert really was Kaggo, I began to suspect that you were having us all on. And, well, yes, you were. I spotted a couple of your red herrings before you gave them away, and, well, I think you let the whole Dr. King thing get so convoluted that even you couldn't decide what was really going on there, but for the most part, it was a fun romp, with, of course, some serious issues included for good measure. But I do wonder if, having worked all this stuff into one novel, you'll ever be able to tell a story which doesn't tie into this one somehow. Is your next thriller going to be about "Dr. King"? (Well, okay, you didn't quite work in anything about "The Bible Code", but I was half expecting it by the end.)
Anyway, it was fun, and I'm looking forward to your next one more than ever, and I really look forward to meeting you at ConSecration.
Greg (February, 2005)
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