Olsson presents a novel based upon the next stage of enemies of the human race. This is AI (Artificial Intelligence) the existence of foes that started out by being made by mankind, evolved their own persona and began attacking their creators believing that humans were their own worse enemies.
The events begin in Stockholm, Sweden just prior to Christmas with a sudden citywide blackout: television, radio, phones, internet and all electric lights wink out throwing the area into chaos. In the city room of a silenced major newspaper, Christina Sandberg tries to piece together the reason for the blackout and has the eerie feeling that her ex- husband William is somehow involved. On his part William who is a cyber security expert and professional code breaker had received an e-mail just prior to the blackout occurring with very specific instructions to be followed. The military police, aware of this correspondence take him into custody before he can act on the contents of the email.
We follow William, as he becomes free and begins tracking the blackout, and subsequent attacks on many nuclear plants around the world trying to find the cause of these disruptions and take action to thwart them.
Explanations of what is going on are well delineated by the author and while the novel could be categorized as science fiction, current events and discoveries do make it a near term possibility. Why is William thought of by authorities as the cause of the attacks and sought by police and military is a fair question to broach.? Will he be able to determine what is happening, why, and fix the problem? Olsson is very conversant about the area he postulates and immediately grabs the reader’s attention supplying clues and bringing his audience to accepting the events of a very engrossing novel with central characters acting as they certainly would under the circumstances. Be prepared for some missed sleep when reading the book.
5/18 Paul Lane
ACTS OF VANISHING by Fredrik T. Olsson. Little, Brown and Company (April 24, 2018). ISBN 978-0316335027. 464p.