I found this page after doing a Google search for How to Own a Shadow which lead to a page on Digg which pointed me here. Amazon had 1 August as release date and O'Reilly in November. Syngress doesn't even mention the book. Do you have a somewhat reliable date?1. How many books in the series have you read?
I've read all three books.2. Which book is your favorite and why?
I would have to say Stealing the Continent. I loved How to Own a Box, but when I read Continent I really liked the interconnection between the stories. I found myself wondering about Knuth during the entire book. It was great that the plot continued in the Identity book. However it was still similar to Continent whereas the jump between How to own a box and Continent was a big improvement.3. Are there books in the series you do not like (please explain)?
No I enjoyed them all.4. Do you prefer completely unrelated stories (How to Own the Box) or stories that are connected to the same plot (Hot to Own a Continent and How to Own an Identity)? Please explain why.
As I stated I like the connected ones better. Since the connected story is much longer than just a single short story there is much more room for things to happen. My favorite story in How to Own a box was h3X's adventures in Networkland. It was also the longest story, it had different character point of views.
If I'm reading a great book I don't want to put it down, I want to know what happens with my characters. If it's just short stories my interest is in the current story when that is read I'm not compelled to read the next one. (Though I stayed up late reading the Box one anyway).
There is however one advantage I see about having unrelated stories. If you don't have much time it's great to be able to read one chapter and be able to put the book down knowing you don't have to worry about forgetting the plot. It you picked up the book a few weeks later you can just read the next story (or which ever one you like).
Still I prefer the interconnected ones.5. Do you think the level of technical detail is too low, too high, or just right for:
How to Own the Box?
How to Own a Continent?
How to Own an Identity?
I won't comment on each book, but I don't think it's that important. I think the books should be very technical, but they shouldn't be a tutorial / howto guide. The main points (as I see it) of the books are to be entertaining and educational. If someone doesn't understand a subject there are other ways to learn. You could set up a website where you recommend further reading for each chapter. As Jeff Moss says in the foreword to the first book; "it provides a glimpse into the creative minds of some of today's best hackers". This is the interesting part, the creative way people think and how they use that knowledge. If I want to learn about IDAPro I will buy another book. If the author of a chapter feels he / she is getting to technical you could include a little box with a note about what's being done. This doesn't slow down the pace of the story.6. After reading any book in the series, did you find yourself looking forward to another book? Why or why not?
Yes, I loved the combination of fiction and technology. In fact it inspired me to start writing short security stories on my blog
.7. Which chapter of all the books was your favorite and why?
Perhaps not a single one but the ones I liked the most:
h3X's adventures in Networkland, book 1
Control Yourself, book 2
The beginning, book 38. Which chapter of all the books was your least favorite and why?
I don't really want to name one since I enjoyed the books so much. But if I have to it would be Flying the Friendly Skies. The reason is that I want more action, the character is bored in an airport and connects to a wireless network and then flies away. Not much of a plot in that one…9. Are you more drawn to the characters, the plot, or are you just along for the tech?
It has to be a combination of all three. I'm more drawn to the reoccurring characters than the ones just appearing in one chapter. Knuth is the most interesting one. I probably wouldn't read the books if it wasn't for the tech, but for the future all three are important.10. What tech would you like to see covered?
Can't think of anything specific, but as I said (or meant to say) I don't read these books to learn about technology. I would however prefer new technology things compared to older stuff, still The beginning was one of my favorite chapters.11. Would you be interested in other tech fiction books or short stories?
Yes, as I said I started writing my own stories too. I don't know how big the market is but I really enjoy the genre and I tend to get angry at what Hollywood throws out where there are so many errors when they use technology. Are there more books planned?12. Feel free to provide any other comment, suggestions, criticisms, etc.
Not related to the contents of the books. First of all when I go to Syngress.com it would be nice to find something when I search for How to Own a Shadow.
Secondly I love the format (size) of the books. With many computer books I think they are to heavy, I want to be able to bring books in my laptop bag and there are just so many books that doesn't fit. I'd rather have to small ones than one big brick. Besides if I fall asleep reading the book I don't want it to fall on my head and kill me.
I think the price of the book is a bit expensive, compared to other fictional books. However I will still keep buying them with the current price tag.
What would be nice to see is more interconnection of characters and plots. In How to Own a Continent, there is some connecting dots, the Don meeting Sendai, Saul and Mathew. However mostly the stories 2-9 are connected with chapter 1 and 10 not with each other.
I can imagine having a group of hackers working together, each chapter with a different point of view. If the other characters also appear in a chapter which isn't "their's" we get to know them better.
I laughed out loud at the end of the second book when I read "And sir, can you tell me your name"