Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars

John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars
by Roland Hughes
Pub. Logikal Solutions, May 30, 2013
Print, ebook & Audio, 272 pages

John Smith is in his 80s and has lived in the bunker built and supplied by his family since he was eleven and the World that Was ended.  As he puts it, the Universe decided it was time to reboot.

It's been over 60 years and he has been discovered by scouts from one of the organized enclaves who have now sent one of their twenty-something female reporters to interview him about the the Microsoft Wars and the end of the World that Was.

The interview style reminds me of the Socratic Dialog method demonstrated by Plato as John Smith attempts to lead her towards understanding by slowly building up her knowledge base on the foundation she came with until she has enough context to draw the conclusions he leads her towards.  She spends much of the first half of the book in a state of incredulity throwing snarky remarks and questions back at him as he keeps leading her off on what seem to her like irrelevant tangents.

What does this have to do with the Microsoft Wars?  Why are you telling me all of these myths and made up stuff?

He says at the outset that she has no frame of reference to even ask the questions relating to the Microsoft Wars.  How can someone who has no concept of computers, cell phones, satellites and space stations, microwaves and lasers, nuclear power and nukes, submarines and space shuttles understand the methods of the players in those wars or their motives and objectives?

So he assumes the role of teacher and storyteller.  This was my favorite aspect of this book--the respect for story as both a transmitter of information across time and a shaper of reality.  This concept was imparted by frequent references to familiar stories from Merlin and King Arthur, Joan of Arc, Atlantis, and Pyramids to Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Peter Pan.

The dialog format also made for a quick read that drew you in and on as question followed question followed answer.  John Smith's relating of the way things were in the before gave me much pause for thought as he puts new spins on information I was aware of and shares things I'd never heard about leaving me wondering how much fiction Hughes has woven in with his facts, hoping that some of the more disturbing things aren't true yet more than half sure they are.

This is an intellectually stimulating story that has me wanting to drag out all my reference books and shoot Google a hundred queries.  One of my favorite things to do.  Second to getting lost in an intriguing story.  

From the Publishers:

What if the Mayans got the start of the end correct because they had survived it once before? What if our written history was just as accurate as the old tale about three blind men describing an elephant? What if classic science fiction writing and television shows each got a piece of it correct, would you know which ones? If your eyes can only see a tiny portion of a collage do you know it is a collage?
Many might jump to the knee-jerk assumption that this book is a sequel to “Infinite Exposure” but they would be wrong.  This book does occur after that book and will make reference to the outcome of the prior book, but it is definitely not a sequel.

“John Smith” ties together Atlantis, cell phones, the Mayans, God, the Egyptians, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, and the outcome of the terrorist attack yet to come all in the form of an interview between the last known survivor of the war and a reporter for the largest newspaper of its day, serving 5000 people twice monthly.
During the course of this interview the reporter and reader will learn what did and did not survive, both this time and the previous times.  Throughout the course of this interview both blatant and subtle nods are made to such works as “1984”, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, “Peter Pan”, “Battlestar Galactica” (the new one), “Star Trek TNG”, and “Babylon 5” because one must both acknowledge greatness and build on what the fans already know.
To steal a line from the Rolling Stones, “but what was-in you is the nature of this game.”  When one finishes reading this book they should fall into exactly two categories:  The morally offended and those who sit around for days questioning their beliefs and the true meaning of life.
The book should be incredibly easy for an organization like the SyFy channel to turn into a film or made for TV movie, interspersing clips from old movies and shows, with or without sound, where their topics are being discussed and where they are being directly referenced.

What they are saying:

“John Smith is the last known survivor of the Microsoft Wars, which are not directly related to the Microsoft company we all know today. The story begins with a young reporter interviewing a man who lives in the bunker, which allowed him to survive the Microsoft Wars. One of the first things said to this young woman is that she has no frame of reference to ask any questions of the Microsoft Wars. This leads into a discussion of many things including nuclear power and subsequently, warfare. Religion is explained to Susan Krowley, the reporter, as well as many other things that no longer exist. She experiences a computer and telescope, first hand and becomes intrigued at the International Space Station.
Roland Hughes spins a very diverse tale, which makes you think about the world around you in a new way.  This is a publication that makes you think, it is a very enjoyable read for those that enjoy science fiction and tales of things that may just be true. As I began the book I thought I would find the interview style annoying to read, but I was sucked in within a few pages.” -D. Martin, Amazon Reviewer
“I believe that Roland Hughes’ novel should be considered as important as ‘1984’ and Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’. Highly recommended as a thought provoking and fascinating read.”-Susan Parkinson
“This story freaked me out a little bit. It reminded me of “Cell” by Stephen King where the technology causes you trouble. What if this book were true and all the what ifs in it were also true? The world as we know it would be extremely different. I often think about the Mayan calendar and wondered why they picked what they did. I was also nervous about my computer crashing on 1/1/2000.   This was definitely a thought provoking book for me and I will be wondering about some what ifs for awhile.”  –Vicky, Deal Sharing Aunt
“Intriguing style of writing. Microsoft Wars is written from the point of view of a reporter interviewing an individual who is supposed to be the last known survivor from a war or series of wars that involved Microsoft. The book is set in the future – although I certainly hope the future painted in this book is not one that we follow after. I was very entertained as this fictional history unfolded. The story is not overly complicated but still done in a way that draws a reader into the setting. Definitely worth five stars in my opinion.”CherylH72, Barnes & Noble Reviewer
“It has a great storyline that makes you wonder can this happen, truly? Can we honestly do what he tells Susan in his interview. It was amazing at some of the history he told her, ranging from all time era’s. I laughed when she had no idea what a computer was, or a microwave. It makes you think about how one with no knowledge of the past can truly affect the future. Microsoft Wars is a great read, a good page turner. Once I started it I had to finish it. Roland Hughes has a great story that will have you thinking and guessing about the facts and fiction stories that are told. Some things I could believe some are just myths to some, but I will leave that up to you. I gave enough information, but there is so much, much more I am leaving out.   This is a must read.  I look forward to more of his stories, once you start you won’t put it down. I know I will be wondering what will happen.  Five Stars.”- Ana Torres,  Barnes & Noble Reviewer

Roland Hughes is the president of Logikal Solutions, a business applications consulting firm specializing in VMS platforms. Hughes serves as a lead consultant with over two decades of experience using computers and operating systems originally created by Digital Equipment Corporation (now owned by Hewlett-Packard).
He is the recipient of the 2008 Best Books Award Winner in the category Business: Computers/Technology/Internet for his book, ” The Minimum You Need to Know About Service Oriented Architecture” and a 2009 Finalist Eric Hoffer Awards.
Buy John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars:
Follow the blog tour for more reviews, giveaways, author interviews and guest posts: 

So Many Precious Books Mar 3 Guest Post & Giveaway
Voracious Reader Mar 6 Review
Reading for Sanity Mar 7 Review
Sweeps4Bloggers Mar 10 Valerie Review & Giveaway
Joystory Mar 11 Review
Readers Muse Mar 12 Review
Readers Muse Mar 13 Guest Post
My Readers Block Mar 17 Review
Cassandra M’s Place Mar 18 Review & Giveaway
Tracy Riva Mar 20 Review
Tracy Riva Mar 21 Interview
So Many Precious Books Mar 21 Review


1 tell me a story:

Teddy Rose 3/11/2014 9:44 PM  

Thanks for taking part in the tour. What a wonderful and detailed review! I am so glad you enjoyed John Smith!

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