Part 1- Pattern
Pattern- Concept/Data Predators. Collection of concepts or data that takes the form of a predatory animal of the real world
- “Computer virus mosquito in amber” pg. 96
- “Luxophage” pg. 147
- “Conceptual shark/Ludovician attack” pg. 327-380
- “Mr. Nobody” While in the book the closest thing we get to Mr. Nobody’s composition is the “brown water” the line “Two black conceptual sockets, crawling with tiny thought prawns and urge worms stared out his face” on pg. 144 does indicate that even he himself is a collection of concepts, and his attempts and desire to control Eric throughout the story fulfills the predation condition. 144
Part 2- Analysis
The significance these predators show is not only as a driving threat to Eric by taking the form and function of real life animals that are harmful, as well as being comprised of conceptual bits of data that represent things that are harmful to your technology, but to show us that this story does in fact overlap through three realms of computers, text, and the real world. We’re given an overall grasp of the atmosphere of the world Eric is in where the real and conceptual are both just as “real”. The computer virus mosquito is made of code very reminiscent of the Melissa Virus, and is made up of jumbled chaotic code. Now the way the Melissa Virus works, is that infects your email and loads itself into your computer where it would replicate. Interestingly enough, the mosquito is also an infamous holder of real life viruses that multiply and can easily spread from person to person. The luxophage is in the form of a lamprey. The way a lamprey feeds is that it attaches to its prey and uses its sharp teeth to burrow a hole into them and intake the blood that would spill out. The luxophage also does something similar only it feeds on the thoughts of their prey. You can also see this in the form that they take; if you notice from the tail down it seems to make up one complete thought that seems to lose coherence. In computing, there’s also a form of malware, or rather a method, that does the exact thing, and it’s called backdooring, which means you create an opening in your victim’s computer in order to steal data or personal info. The conceptual shark also takes a form and function that parallels the luxophage, only the damage would be on a larger scale. We see as the shark comes closer in its attack, its text composition changes; this time reflecting more a memory loss rather than a leakage in coherence. It should also be noted that the shark is made from an excerpt taken from the book, which is a strategy email viruses often use. They would take excerpts from books and put it in their body to fool email clients that contain spam detectors. But now we’re left with the odd one out, Mr. Nobody. Well to begin, he works for a megalomaniacal company called Mycroft Ward, a reference to Microsoft Word and the company Microsoft itself. The entire sequence over him not taking his pills and his missing eyes, actually show the type of “predator” he represents. A predator that transcends both the realm of life and computing, and that is of the faceless individual with power. When discussing things such as hacking and corporate espionage, what’s often the narrative of the face to these things? Powerful anonymous or “faceless” people. All of which show an unimaginably scary but completely real reality on all fronts, our data from computer to our own thoughts are ripe for theft and exploitation.
Part 3- Exam Question
Discuss the significance of computing in The Raw Shark Texts. What purpose does it serve? How does it change our notion of how both the form of computing and text should be done?