7 Things About The Hive

Cassie Mckinny, daughter of the famous hacker Harlon Mckinny is a believer in the Hive. Before the Hive, the Internet was the Wild West; a lawless digital landscape dominated by trolls, pirates and doxxers. But, the Hive put people in control. It allowed the public to meet out justice to those who those who violate the codes of common decency. 

But when Cassie makes an offensive joke online she becomes a fugitive from Hive Justice who declare that Cassie's joke was so dangerous and toxic that the only thing to do is to hunt her down and kill her. With the help of her mother and an underground group of hackers, she must find the truth about the Hive before it's too late. 

1. Yeah Pretty Much The Logical Endpoint of Social Media:

The story of Justine Sacco of course comes time mind while reading this book (and most likely provided some inspiration if not the template for the book). Justine Sacco, if you don't know or remember, was the woman who made an arguably racist joke on twitter (I'd argue that she was making a wry observation about white privilege but nuance is often lost in situations like this). However you look at it, she made a bad joke and her world exploded.

The Hive does what a lot of good sci-fi does and takes real-world problems and uses technology to drive it to it's logical horrific conclusion. But it does it in a rather clever way. Because if the Hive did exist it would point to situations like this as a reason that there needs to be some system to prevent a woman's life from being totally ruined because of an innocent —if poorly thought out— joke.

2. Anger is Energy

Let's not forget that the mob can be a powerful force. Emperors, dictators and warlords since ancient times knew well that the people needed to be appeased or else they would drag your ass through the streets and throw your body into the Tiber. Conversely, the mob could be a useful tool for getting other factions in the state to fall into line. 

3. A diabolical equation

So you've got a public that can be whipped into a frothing madness at the slightest provocation and a leader with the tools to direct that madness at a specific target, what you've managed to do is weaponize social media.

4. Quick note about the modern portrayal of dictators.

After Donald Trump I fear that every American political leader with authoritarian leanings portrayed in a book is going to sound like an assholeish third grader with a head injury.

5. Good concept... okay execution

The book is very much a YA novel and follows that formula pretty faithfully. Which is not inherently a flaw, it's one of the best selling genres out there so obviously a few people enjoy it. But it does prevent this from reaching its full apocalyptic. The story flirts with that idea but collapses inward. 

6. Cassie and the abortion joke heard 'round the world

Really a snarky teen with a bad attitude is the perfect protagonist for a world in which one poorly timed remark could spell death. As a former obnoxious teen with a bad attitude and a chip on my shoulder, I'm rather glad that most of my writings from that time period are not immortalized in the digital realm.  Which also meant that I deeply identified with her. But, again, the formula sort of limited where she could go.

7. The Verdict ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Again, it's very formulaic. The story hits all the points that it needs to hit, big climax a rather satisfying conclusion, tada! I guess my problem with this is that its a very light read for dealing with this kind of subject matter. I'd still recommend it but, at the end, it's your basic YA novel. Likely a very good book for introducing young people to the complexities and implications of the world that they will inherit, but jaded old farts like myself will probably walk away with a bit of a shoulder shrug.


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