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4.0 out of 5 stars The Book Behind Mercury Rising
I have not yet seen the movie "Mercury Rising" but it is based on Simple Simon (Screenplay by: Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Directed by: Harold Becker, Produced by: Brian Grazer, Karen Kehela).
What interests me about both the book and movie is the extent to which they reflect our society's awareness of cryptography and the many ethical dilemmas this...
Published on 29 Mar. 1998

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing premise not fully explored
The title character of Ryne Douglas Pearson's "Simple Simon" is a 16-year-old autistic boy with a remarkable skill for doing puzzles. One day, he is given a magazine from a group for the super intelligent. The magazine includes an apparently random series of letters and numbers, which Simon decodes in a matter of seconds, thereby doing what computers could...
Published on 2 Feb. 1998


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing premise not fully explored, 2 Feb. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Simple Simon (Paperback)
The title character of Ryne Douglas Pearson's "Simple Simon" is a 16-year-old autistic boy with a remarkable skill for doing puzzles. One day, he is given a magazine from a group for the super intelligent. The magazine includes an apparently random series of letters and numbers, which Simon decodes in a matter of seconds, thereby doing what computers could not. The message hidden in that series instructs him to call a number to say that he has solved puzzle 99. As it happens, Simon, who needs explicit instructions to get off the bus at his own house, has just broken the most sophisticated code out there, and he therefore becomes a danger or a valuable commodity to those forces with an interest in the code. Those forces include, at the most lethal, a Japanese woman who is expert at sado-sexual torture and in fact thrives on such work. After Simon's parents are murdered, Simon is cared for by a nurse and her FBI agent husband, who must seek to protect the boy while extricating himself from danger as well.
The puzzle angle of "Simple Simon" serves as the hook for what is otherwise a fairly standard thriller--capable and interesting, but with little to set it apart from others in the genre. That Pearson declined to use more puzzles or to explore that angle more fully is too bad, for the idea of an autistic (whether the depiction of autism is accurate I leave to others with more knowledge of the topic) boy is an intriguing one as well as a relatively fresh one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Book Behind Mercury Rising, 29 Mar. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Simple Simon (Paperback)
I have not yet seen the movie "Mercury Rising" but it is based on Simple Simon (Screenplay by: Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Directed by: Harold Becker, Produced by: Brian Grazer, Karen Kehela).
What interests me about both the book and movie is the extent to which they reflect our society's awareness of cryptography and the many ethical dilemmas this technology creates. For example, a large percentage of Americans now use software applications (web browsers) that contain relatively sophisiticated encryption (as opposed to things like the password protection in Office applications).
But not many people know that our government still reserves the right to declare any encryption scheme, however, it is expressed, whether described in a patent application or sketched on the back of a knapkin, a matter of national security, and thus the property of the United States government.
It will be interesting to see how the public reacts to the moive. Certainly the novel itself was a very clever way of playing out this type of government thinking as a very human drama.
Stephen Cobb, CISSP
Certified Information System Security Professional
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced and engaging, 16 Nov. 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Simple Simon (Paperback)
An interesting plot with an autistic teenager breaking a supposedly unbreakable code. The usual good and bad guys but an inexorable story which should appeal to thriller readers.
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