Maybe your best advice for a stubborn computer is to turn it off and back on again, and maybe you think a fork bomb involves pointy eating utensils.
Or maybe you’ve hacked into the Pentagon. Either way, these books are a surefire way to help you experience the thrill of making technology do something, while also providing a story that will keep you glued to the page.
1. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Marcus isn’t just your typical script kiddie. It’s nothing for him to get around the school’s surveillance program so he can get a jump on a geo-based game’s latest clue. But he never would have anticipated this stunt would catch him in the middle of San Francisco during a major terrorist attack. Picked up by the Department of Homeland Security, he and his friends are interrogated in a secret prison off the coast.
But even worse is what he finds when they’re released. Under the guise of a nationwide war on terrorism, the city has turned into a surveillance state. Everyone is suspect to investigation, and no one is spared the repercussions. Marcus, taking up the name m1k3y, won’t stand for this violation of privacy rights.
Inspired by the protests against Vietnam, he decides to create his own war against the DHS with nothing but an army of determined teens and Xboxes.
2. Zeroes by Chuck Wendig
Zeroes follows five very different hackers. Reagan, the troll. Wade, the conspiracy theorist. DeAndre, the card jammer. Aleen, the Arab Spring hacktivist. And Chance, who has absolutely no idea what he’s doing, especially not when the government picks him up to work in a secretive compound hacking foreign adversaries.
Chance has to learn what he’s doing fast, or risk being “washed out” — removed from the camp to serve out his prison sentence. But it soon becomes clear that even the government doesn’t know what’s going on. Elusive files and cryptic references to myths of the past characterize this fast-paced novel that appeals to everyone, black hat or white.
3. I am Princess X by Cherie Priest
Libby died years ago. When she passed, she took Princess X with her– the graphic series she worked on for years, following the princess as she battles with the Needle Man who took her away from her parents. So May definitely shouldn’t be seeing Princess X stickers or buttons around Seattle. There is absolutely no reason she should be seeing updates on a website retelling the story.
May is convinced Libby is still alive, and enlists the help of her friendly neighborhood IT guy, Patrick “Trick” Hobbs, to find the person behind the website and get her friend back.
4. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
Michael spends almost all of his time on the VirtNet, the gaming universe offering complete body-mind immersion. He and his friends, Sarah and Bryson, consider themselves fairly good hackers, but overall, they’re harmless.
However, there is one hacker taking it too far. Kaine is holding people captive in the VirtNet, causing their bodies to become brain-dead. No one knows who he is. No one knows his motives. But the government has enlisted Michael and his friends to find out.
5. The Cipher by John C. Ford
Smiles doesn’t know a thing about computers. But his friend, Ben, the quirky MIT student from the apartment down the hall, certainly does. And he might just have discovered something to destroy methods of encryption everywhere. Credit cards, bank accounts, emails, text messages, anything encrypted by the system instated by Alyce Systems would fall to Ben’s code– that is, anything encrypted by the company owned by Smiles’ father.
With the NSA on his tail, Smiles is faced with the challenge of saving Ben from those who would use his information for ill while also keeping this entire escapade a secret from his ailing father.