Big Brother is Watching You!


The Traveller, by John Twelve Hawks, has a quote on the cover calling it “the new Da Vinci Code”. In fact, The Traveller is better written than the Da Vinci Code and deals with a quite different type of fantasy. The similarity is that this is also fantasy based on reality, but in this case technological rather than historical.

Twleve Hawks posits a world in witch computerized surveillance has reached new heights of efficiency and ubiquity and there is an organization of nasty people who are determined to make sure that no one falls off the grid.

The conflict between this cabal and the Travellers, free-thinkers who are able to send their spirits to visit other dimensions, is set up as a conflict between good and evil.  Of course the reader has to sympathize with the Travellers in this context, but Twelve Hawks has set up a straw man here.  No one in his right mind wants a world in which his every move is registered and monitored for political correctness, but computerized surveillance has its uses and we can’t all move to small communes in the desert in order to be free (and incidentally, the freedom of life in a small community leaves much to be desired.  Nosy neighbors are a more immediate threat to liberty than a surveillance camera).

The useful lesson in this book is the reminder that not only can digitized information be abused by official bodies who are entrusted with it, but the more powerful the technology becomes the more ways there are for enemies foreign and domestic to hack into the data for their own purposes.




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