The books shown on the left are by Roland Hughes. Click on the cover to order.
This interview was conducted by Teri Davis on
Recently, I had the opportunity to read Infinite Exposure by an up-and-coming author, Roland Hughes. The implications in this fictional novel are terrifying
April 23, 2011.
and realistic. Without any further ado, let's get on to
What influenced you to write this novel?
Roland Hughes: This novel was in response to an interview question for one of my “geek” books. The interviewer, Tyler something or other, tossed out what he thought would be a fluff question of “Where do you see IT in the next five to ten years?” and was completely unprepared for my response of “I see it being at the root of a nuclear war before the end of 2012.” In the time and space allotted for the interview there simply wasn't time to flesh out the logic behind it in a way he could understand.
Teri Davis: What do you view as the most susceptible area to our country?
Roland Hughes: Any country can off-shore any job where they only requirements are a basic high school education along with two-seven days of on the job training. Off-shoring that type of work does not threaten the stability of the country in any significant way.
Once you start off-shoring jobs which require four to eight years of college before one can become “entry level” then you have committed treason against your country. We can always make more physical labor workers, but we cannot recover from “brain drain” in a timely manner.
Besides banking, what scares me most now is the medical field. 80% of the people “practicing medicine” today would have been put in prison for practicing medicine without a license prior to the debacle in Congress which created HMOs. Now, we have high school kids working a summer job denying critical care to their own parents and “foreign medical professionals” being imported by the thousands without having spent even one day in a U.S. medical education institution.
Teri Davis: What changes do you see are needed for us?
Roland Hughes: They won't happen until after disaster strikes. Too many of these mega banks have lobbyists buying votes in Washington each and every day. What would be ideal is for the FDIC, or, the Treasury Department, to create a Web site listing each banking institution and the country or countries where PRIMARY data centers are located. Backups don't count. Most of those “backup” locations won't be hot or live, meaning, they will have all of the equipment sitting there and hooked up, but will require a “recent” backup set be restored onto them before production can resume.
Teri Davis: How did writing this novel change your viewpoint on terrorism?
Roland Hughes: It didn't.
Teri Davis: Being in the computer industry, how does this give you advantages with our country's “war on terrorism”?
Roland Hughes: It doesn't give me any advantage. You either have the ability to step back from the news reports and see the big picture, or you don't. In that respect, being involved in some very large scale system designs has helped me avoid becoming “spell bound by the colors” like a Microsoft user.
You have to understand that this concept has been in my mind since this news story originally saw the light of day.
http://www.newsweek.com/2004/08/15/bin-laden-s-back-channel.html. To me, publishing this story was the highest act of treason you could ever commit against this country. This went beyond freedom of the press. To me this was the equivalent of the NY Times running a story stating we had nuclear bombs two years before we dropped the first one on Japan. When I read this story I desperately wanted to bitch-slap the reporter and work the editor over with an axe handle in a dark alley.
In many ways, this article is a perfect example of why the truth of Churchill and Coventry will not be declassified until our grandchildren have grandchildren and why the story is so believable. Most level headed people believe that a government would always choose the death of thousands over the death of millions. Here, we had one reporter and one editor choosing to aid and abed al-Qaeda by sharing this information, thus extending the war on terror indefinitely.
Teri Davis: Why is this book not going to be available on Amazon?
Roland Hughes: Nobody with even the tiniest shred of ethics can choose to do business with Amazon.com. While I cannot control the sale of “used” and “reviewer” copies, I can tell you that NOBODY sold you a new copy via Amazon.com that was actually a legitimate new copy. It was either used or pirated.
Teri Davis: Other than diversifying your banking and looking for small independent banks, what other recommendations do you have? Is it wise to have a bank account in another country?
Roland Hughes: Most people will do fine using a small or regional bank. You should never have more than $250,000 in any one bank, nor should you have more than $1million in any brokerage account since that tends to be the standard insurance limitations. The country of origin for your bank is not relevant. You must find out where their primary data center is. If the primary data center is not located in a NATO country, Russia, or China, then run, don't walk, run from that bank. We must put an end to all financial institutions locating their data centers in third world countries until those countries are no longer third world. This is a world wide vulnerability, not just a United States vulnerability.
My knee-jerk answer used to be NATO country for data center, but, any country involved in the cold war at the start spent a lot of money on IT and record keeping. Any country which participated in the cold war also has a solid understand of what it takes to keep data and backups secure from both theft and attack.
Right now, you could say the problem has to do with great 80s movies like “War Games.” When you combine that with some of the bank security footage you see on shows like “Royal Pains” it leaves the consumer with the impression that all banks have a really hardened data center so there is nothing to worry about. Well, banks which existed back in the 1970s and still have their primary data centers here in the U.S.A. really do have hardened locations because there were all kinds of insurance regulations and most banks put the data center in the basement of their primary banking location. Now, with the move to try and run stuff on $300 PCs which don't require special cooling or humidity control, we have opened the door to truly sloppy security.
Teri Davis: Who did you base the characters on? Anyone from your past?
Roland Hughes: Every character an author writes is always based on someone from the past. In many cases they are simply a face you saw or a voice you heard and decided to create a virtual life around. I've worked in the health care, financial, and even waste handling industries over the years. This exposed me to a large number of people which I can combine to create characters from.
Teri Davis: Why did you not use quotation marks in this book? Was there a significance with the unusual spacing and the small print? Why was the word café always written with a naught sign over the final e?
Roland Hughes: I could feed the conspiracy theorists here and say “if you had figured out the code you wouldn't be asking,” but that simply wouldn't be true. None of the ebook versions, including the free promotional version containing the first 18 chapters http://www.free-ebooks.net/ebook/Infinite-Exposure have the traits you mention. Of all the reviewers and readers so far, exactly three have commented on it. The first loved it. The second thought it added to the quality of the message since the book was really about looking at the news reports you hear every day differently it sort of enforced the idea by being in a different format. The third would be you, who was confused or at least unnerved by it.
The simple truth is, I wrote the book with Lotus Symphony from IBM on Ubuntu Linux using Free Times from the t1-cyrillic font set. When it came time to publish, I was out of state working on a consulting project for an IT client. The hotel I was staying in did have free Internet, but it wasn't Linux friendly free Internet. Their security (which has since changed) required an entry in the Windows Registry. Thankfully this type of security for “free” networks is disappearing from the world. I mean really...you use security and Windows in the same sentence???
Basically, the Windows compatible zip file containing the fonts from the Debian t1-cyrillic package, or, the Windows version of Lotus Symphony PDF export function had some kind of issue. It printed a space for each quotation mark. This “error” got through all proofing that I did and all proofing that the printer did. I actually read through the entire book without noticing. So did my account rep. It wasn't until after the print run happened that I noticed the lack of quotation marks...completely by accident. Then confusion really set in because my account rep said my book came off the brand new press system which had dropped punctuation on a couple of other books, but, my research eventually
proved it was due to the file PDF being created on an icky nasty platform like Windows instead of a good operating system.
Then I was faced with a choice. Pulp and re-print, or, experiment. I handed out a boxes of books to people I knew. Nobody noticed. I started paying for reviews and sending books from the original 1200 copies to the reviewers. An odd thing happened. I got glowing reviews without any mention of the quotation marks and since they mentioned tiny aspects of various subplots in the reviews, I could tell they actually read the book. Then I finally received a review stating:
His format uses a space between paragraphs and no quotation marks to delineate dialogue. Albeit unconventional, this unique style of writing does a great job of simplifying the complexity.
So, I'm going to leave it up to the readers. The ebook version has all of the punctuation, but, it appears the paper readers actually like this format better. You can pull down the promotional PDF and compare for yourself. When it comes time for the next print run, I may just leave things as-is, or, if enough don't like it, generate new PDF for the printer.
Teri Davis: With the end of the novel being unfinished, do you plan a sequel to Infinite Exposure or is that just left to the future?
Roland Hughes: I've written a couple of “geek” books since completing the novel. One of them was released as a completely free PDF: http://www.free-ebooks.net/ebook/The-Minimum-You-Need-to-Know-About-Java-and-xBaseJ. The other should be printed and available for sale on the Barnes & Noble Web site. Currently I'm working on “John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars” which takes place many decades later. Some may view it as a sequel since it will mention the nuclear war which started over banking, but, it's difficult to view a novel where Earth now has 12 continents and less than 1/12 of the people it used to have a sequel. I'm certain many people will be shocked by the mention in its opening chapter that cell phones turned out to be the government monitoring/control devices first predicted in Orwell's “1984.”
Teri Davis: Thanks once again, Roland, for agreeing to do this interview with me!
Read Our Review of Infinite Exposure by Roland Hughes
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