Brad Quentin's Attack of the Cyber-God Review
The following appeared in Jean Reese's Internet Books for Educators, Parents, and Students. It was recovered here.
Attack of the Evil Cyber-God
New York: HarperCollins, 1997. (http://www.harpercollins.com).
103p. (The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest #8). ISBN: 0-06-105722-3.
Ages 9-12. Softcover, $3.99.
Jonny Quest is a popular adventure television show. And now there is a series of novels surrounding the science fiction hero as well. In Attack of the Evil Cyber-God, Jonny and his father, Dr. Benton Quest, must bring down an evil monster who is stalking the Internet before he destroys civilization. Written for the preadolescent group of nine- to twelve-year-olds, this science fiction book with a touch of the Internet provides some twists and turns and lots of adventures.
Jonny is playing an online game called "Castle of Dread" with his father one day, when he notices something funny. Parts of the game are missing. Hadji, Jonny's adopted brother and best friend, is a whiz at computers and programming. Because this is science fiction, there are lots of possibilities to get to the bottom of the mystery. Int his case, Jonny and his father decide to "jack in" to QuestWorld and then to the Castle of the Dread, sot hey can see what is going on. Soon they are sitting in the computer room in the AD (Alternative Dimension) recliners that will take them into cyberspace. Once they enter the Castle of Dread, Jonny is even more convinced that something or someone has been trashing parts of the game's software. As they look around, suddenly a loud BOOM echoes around them, followed by even louder footsteps. It sounds almost as if the giant in "Jack and the Beanstalk" were coming. Unfortunately, it's worse than that. A huge monster is coming their way. Before he can get to them, they are transported back to the real world. When they study the downloaded image of the monster, Dr. Quest realizes that they have encountered a Cyber-God. And you'll never guess how he grows: he has created himself and stays alive by eating binary code taken from computer games. To continue to live, he will eventually destroy the whole Internet and subsequently the world, once he begins attacking databases, government sites, hospitals, and everything else. Jonny and his father set about making a plan to "kill" the Cyber-God. This will involve returning to cyberspace and trying to get any leftover parts of the computer programs to help them fight the monster. Can you imagine such "superheroes" as Pegasus, the winged horse; Samuel Clemens and his riverboat; Fred Friendly; the Help module from a financial planning software package; and Thelma the Typist, from a typewriting tutorial? As Jonny and his father gather leftover ships, planes, and bombers to attack the Cyber-God, nothing seems to be slowing him down. They've got to come up with an answer before the Cyber-God breaks through the wall and comes into the real world.
Younger kids will enjoy the vivid descriptions of the Cyber-God. If you can imagine a huge monster made up of all the parts of the programs he's eaten, you'll get the idea. There are also vivid descriptions of what it's like to be in cyberspace, as Jonny and his family move around trying to combat the evil monster. And of course the suspense: what will work to end this monster's reign? What will happen if he manages to break down the wall and get into the password-protected parts of cyberspace?
The Internet is a main theme as the means for accessing the game "Castle of Dread." The Quest family has its own network, QuestWorld, at the compound overlooking the Altlantic Ocean. For any Jonny Quest fans, this will be a must read. If you haven't read any others, try this one if you like the 'Net and cyberspace.