Transmission

Oh my love, o my darling
I’ve crossed the line of no control
I hear your gunfire in my valley
You’ve tripped my wire
You have my soul
I’ve crossed the line
The line of no control

Transmission by Hari Kunzru follows Arjun Mehta, a computer programmer from India dreaming of the great lifestyle America has to offer. He is offered a job by a silicon valley based anti-virus company as an anti-virus specialist, where he soon realizes the glamorous life of America is not what he expected it to be. On top of that, he realizes he is on the soon to be fired list, which pushes him to create a virus in hopes to come up with the solution, and thus making him indispensable to the company. True to his fanaticism to Bollywood star, he names the virus after his celebrity crush, Leela Zahir. The book takes on different points of views as well, showing how the virus affects these individuals.

Things take a turn for the worse after an unforseen bug in Leela (the virus) emerges. Zahir’s fame increases exponentially after the spread of Leela, Guy Swift’s – a business/marketing guru –  life is changed as the virus continues to ruin businesses. This book is a constant reminder of the the detrimental effects of the computer virus, which has now transcended all physical barriers. All of these seemingly unconnected characters were connected through Leela, and given the grave tone of the book, it’s not always a good thing.

The technological virus vs. the organic virus are in many ways very alike. Although, one difference could be the research behind these types of viruses. In The Ghost Map, we saw how important research was on an ever changing physical virus. Although, with the recent boom in technology, there are new and emerging, man made or machine made, occurrences, there is not as much understanding. Therefor less control and making it a new monster our society as a whole must battle.

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