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Review. The Rise of Siri, by Shlok Vaidya

Blackwater and Walmart, not the government, were the first on the ground with supplies and help after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. In an era where our government is rather clearly hollowing out, The Rise of Siri posits a near-term dystopian future where a threat no one predicted changes everything. The government becomes a mostly useless appendage. Corporations, in this case Apple, pick up the slack, and in the process becomes a virtual country itself.

Without giving away the plot, Apple (and the United States) face an existential threat when worldwide supply chains collapse. How they cope is the subject of this first book in a trilogy. In the background is a hostile foreign power. A major city is viciously attacked by an unknown network using drones and cyber warfare that takes out power grids and slaughters innocents. The US military falls into their trap.

The characters in The Rise of Siri are drawn from real life. Tim Cook is CEO of Apple and fights a pitched war against Scott Forstall (who was fired recently in real life.) Michael Bloomberg is president. Petraus is vice president. Other household names appear as characters as Apple re-routes around the damage and re-invents itself in a startling manner in a changed world where the previous rules no longer apply.

The Rise of Siri is tautly written and well paced. It hits close to the bone. John Robb talks about the probable societal reset that is coming and this is precisely the topic of this fine mini-novel available as a Kindle book for $2.99.

Shlok Vaidya interview with Pandodaily. He blogs at shloky.com.

Where did this idea come from?

My background is kind of varied. I was a terrorism analyst and consultant to the military and intelligence communities, working on energy security and information warfare. And then I transitioned into the entrepreneurial world and building out the startup ecosystem in Austin. Those were the two tracks I was interested in: geo-political disruption and entrepreneurial aspiration. So with my fiction, I try to smash those two threads together.

I look forward to the sequels. “In the next one, I smash the military-industrial complex into Silicon Valley. Lots of carnage. Much darker,” Shlok tells me on Twitter.

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