REVIEW: "Double Vision", Randall Ingermanson

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Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Hannah

Aug 7, 2006, 3:09:49 PM8/7/06

"Double Vision", Randall Ingermanson, 2004, 0-7642-2733-5, U$12.99
%A Randall Ingermanson
%C 11400 Hampshire Ave. South, Bloomington, Minnesota 55438
%D 2004
%G 0-7642-2733-5
%I Bethany House
%O U$12.99
%O Audience n- Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 384 p.
%T "Double Vision"

In the book it is implied that Randall S. Ingermanson may be the
pseudonym [p. 379] of a female, part time Chief Financial Officer who
is moonlighting as a novelist [p. 19][All right, yes, I know, it's a
literary device. It's a pretty heavily overused one, by now,
particularly among the conspiracy theory crowd.]. If so, don't give
up your day job: this is not your breakthrough novel [p. 380]. (And
you're a wimp for giving in to your editor [p. 380, 382].)

(Is it fair to have a novel about ambiguity where one of the
characters states outright that the novel is about ambiguity [p. 380]?
I'm of two minds about that.)

Ingermanson confuses the communications system that uses the quantum
properties of photons to send encryption key data in a form that is
difficult for an eavesdropper to determine (and where the fact of
eavesdropping can be detected) with the theoretical possibility of an
exceptionally fast computer that uses quantum states. Which is
remarkably odd, since, as a physicist, he should know better. In
fact, some passages in the book demonstrate that he does know better,
he just doesn't seem to care.

The book also recycles the conspiracy theory that the NSA (National
Security Agency) has some secret backdoor into all current encryption.
At the same time, the story seems to preach an almost religious trust
in the US federal government, and presents the contrary arguments
(those for privacy preserving technologies) in the most simplistic
light. Given current news reports, it is rather ironic that one of
the characters states that "[t]he Fourth Amendment strictly prohibits
[the NSA] or any other government agency from spying on U.S. citizens
without a search warrant. The President's Intelligence Oversight
Board ensures that we comply with all regulations [p. 333]." Shortly
thereafter the novel makes it clear that the NSA is willing not only
to spy on American citizens, but to mercilessly hound and harry them
[p. 351]. And provide bad marriage counselling advice [p. 365-8].

Ingermanson seems to have read too much Marabel Morgan. Even if the
right girl is modest and clever and Christian, she should also be
willing to dress up in Saran Wrap to get her guy. (I assume that a
number of guys who claim to have Asperger's Syndrome will be delighted
at some of the implications of this novel. I suspect that a number of
people who claim to have Asperger's Syndrome simply use it as a
convenient way to avoid having to give due consideration to other
people, social niceties, and possibly hygiene, which is not fair to
the people who really have it and have to deal with it.) Given that
she is willing to degrade and embarrass herself in this way, it's
rather too bad that she gets killed. But it all turns out OK in the
end [p. 346].

In the end, Ingermanson lets us know that, Surprise! there aren't any
bad guys in the world, just a few who are a bit silly [p. 339, 342,
346]. (But the NSA *is* spying on you, and *can* read all of your
encrypted messages [p. 333-7].) I'm sorry to spoil the ending ... no,
on second thought, it is not possible to spoil the ending of this

copyright Robert M. Slade, 2006 BKDBLVSN.RVW 20060716

====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into
superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.
- George Bernard Shaw
Dictionary of Information Security

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