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Format C: Hardcover – May 14, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Brookline Books, Lumen Editions (May 14, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571290788
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571290786
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,544,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A Y2K-induced millennium meltdown is the subject of Black's over-the-top first novel, which pits a self-infatuated investigative reporter against an even more egomaniacal computer mogul who's trying to implement a bizarre form of mind control through the software he manufactures. Dan Levin is the independently wealthy freelance journalist who learns that Windgazer CEO Ben Hinnom has assassinated one of his corporate competitors, allowing the Windgazer operating system to dominate the market as the race to beat the Y2K bug picks up steam. After landing a book deal to expose Hinnom, Levin is assisted in his investigation by his girlfriend, Park McGuire, a programmer whose teenage son also happens to be a computer prodigy. When Park is transferred from Chicago to Israel to assist in a top-secret effort to break Windgazer's stranglehold on the market, Dan accompanies her and finds that deep within the holy city lies the key to his rival's defeat. After rummaging through a series of ancient scrolls, Dan uses dodgey biblical archeology to hunt down Hinnom. The battle between journalist and executive remains fairly believable for the first half of the book, but Black goes off the deep end with the mind control subplot. On the eve of the millennium in Jerusalem, the freedom of the world hangs in the balance as the equally unsympathetic Levin and Hinnom struggle over a formatting solution for the year 2000. Hinnom's fraudulent fix will give him terrifying power, while the "format c:" of the title will save the day. The potential of Y2K as a storytelling device gets lost among Black's many detours to remote desert spots, leaving readers to wade through pages of clich?s as this erratic yarn veers toward a preposterous conclusion. 150,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The theme of religion and computers has been explored before by Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash (1992; Bantam Spectra, 1993. reprint), but journalist Black makes the issue even more real by using the current computer industry wars and the impending Y2K crisis as his backdrop. The richest man on earth, owner of the world's biggest computer company, uses Y2K to make a play for global domination. What results instead is a battle between good and evil, fought in the Holy Land as the millennium turns. While at times this first novel is bogged down by geographic detail, for the most part it is an entertaining and provocative examination of our dependency on computers and the amount of information we reveal about ourselves each time we log on. Though the appeal of this work may fade once the Y2K crisis passes, it is still worth adding a copy to your collection.ADebra Mitts, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lib.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Edwin Black is the award-winning, New York Times and international investigative author of 120 bestselling editions in 14 languages in 61 countries, as well as scores of newspaper and magazine articles in the leading publications of the United States, Europe and Israel. With more than a million books in print, his work focuses on human rights, genocide and hate, corporate criminality and corruption, governmental misconduct, academic fraud, philanthropy abuse, oil addiction, alternative energy and historical investigation. Editors have submitted Black's work nine times for Pulitzer Prize nomination, and in recent years he has been the recipient of a series of top editorial awards. He has also contributed to a number of anthologies worldwide. For his work, Black has been interviewed on hundreds of network broadcasts from Oprah, the Today Show, CNN Wolf Blitzer Reports and NBC Dateline in the US to the leading networks of Europe and Latin American. His works have been the subject of numerous documentaries, here and abroad. All of his books have been optioned by Hollywood for film, with three in active production. His latest film is the screen adaptation War Against the Weak, based on his book of the same name. Black's speaking tours include hundreds of events in dozens of cities each year, appearing at prestigious venues from the Library of Congress in Washington to the Simon Wiesenthal Institute in Los Angeles in America, and in Europe from London's British War Museum and Amsterdam's Institute for War Documentation to Munich's Carl Orff Hall. He is the editor of The Cutting Edge News, which receives more than 1.5 million visits monthly.

Black's eleven award-winning bestselling books are IBM and the Holocaust (2001 & 2012), Financing the Flames (2013), British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement (2011), The Farhud (2010), Nazi Nexus (2009), The Plan (2008), Internal Combustion (2006), Banking on Baghdad (2004), War Against the Weak (2003 and 2012), The Transfer Agreement (1984 and 2009), and a 1999 novel, Format C:. His enterprise and investigative writings have appeared in scores of newspapers from the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune to the Sunday Times of London, Frankfurter Zeitung and the Jerusalem Post, as well as scores of magazines as diverse as Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Reform Judaism, Der Spiegel, L'Express, BusinessWeek and American Bar Association Journal. Black's articles are syndicated worldwide by Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, Los Angeles Times-Washington Post Syndicate, JTA and Feature Group News Service.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Having just submitted a full review of this for the Providence Journal, I will point out only that Black follows the tradition of Huxley's Brave New World and Orwell's 1984. He provides a new form of Big Brother for us to speculate about and gives a few intriguing insights into Jerusalem and Judaic tradition that are worth exploring.
I object to the stereotypes and the blockbuster quality of the final chapters, and when the red Del Sol was smashed I nearly walked out. (I began to wonder about halfway through if Black began this manuscript as a film script.) But Black has potential, and I anticipate a good read when his next production appears.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David L. Haubrich on April 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I tried to like this book, I really did. Even though the protagonist and I both like single malt Scotch, it just wasn't enough. Once you get through all the obvious villainy of the Gates character and the products name dropping throughout, the ending saves the world with a MANDATORY SABBATH-KEEPING O/S. Yes. The world is saved from the bad guys and now quietly reflects on it's pro-Jewish superiority from sundown Friday until Saturday night, when computers will work again. Even though the writing wasn't very good, the fast -paced plot was readable, right up until the sales pitch for the Decalogue.
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Format: Hardcover
What a great book! It's a real page turner and the descriptions of Washington landmarks make it hard for me to believe this is a work of fiction.
This is the first book I've ever recommended to friends that I haven't yet finished. It's a good quick summer read. You'll surely enjoy it if you like suspense, mystery, and computer wars.
Richard Hayman Rockville, Maryland
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hiroo Yamagata on May 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
There's this bad guy, modeled after Bill Gates, who monopolizes all OSs on the planet. His Windgazer99 was supposed to fix the Y2K problem, but it also had a feature that makes people confide in it and give out private info. Oh my, this guy is trying to bring everybody under his control! It's an evil plot!
The good guys realize this, and then realizes an even deeper conspiracy. Get this, by doing some Kaballah number stuff, you realize that computers are 666! AHHHH! So this was all a masterplan of the devil! And this OS auto update in 1999/12/31 midnight is the final piece! In order to prevent this evil plot, you must persuade people to do Format C: and erase the hard disk!
So, in 1999/12/31 midnight the god worshipping good guys and this Bill Gates devil fight it out in Jerusalem (of course, of course)...
(But do you realize that by that time, half of the world is already well into the year 2000?)
The ending gets even better, but I won't spoil it for you. Shallow thoughts, thin plot, technological nonsense babble, cheap style... Huxley? Orwell? Ah, come on. Don't drag them into this. These people had real concerns that are still valid even today, where as this cheap shot is a hack job, with no content at all.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Aaron M. Bond on August 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Edwin Black's surrealistic look at what could have been a catastrophe certainly makes for an interesting read. When approaching the end of this page turner, I could barely put it down. Then I slammed it shut as the ending fizzled out.
The book makes an interesting satirical point about our dependence on computers and technology. Also, the few jabs at Bill Gates always make for an interesting piece of humor. The Biblical and historical references are well founded and, while far fetched, based on fact.
While Edwin did his homework, purists may not enjoy his work. He strays from normalcy about as often and he betrays the laws of what is possible. If you are looking for a realistic book, check the begining of the review: this is very surreal.
Last, the book is incredibly fast paced. It had me sweating until the last page. However, despite the pace, Blacks novel comes to a moral-bearing and unfulfilling end. Almost like a cheesy sitcom, the novel ends on a life lesson that doesn't seem to match the plot.
While I enjoyed this book, the pitfall at the end and the slight bit of realist in me prevents anything above a 3-star rating. This is still a good read, if you keep an open mind.
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Format: Hardcover
Format C: is a captivating ride through corporate America and modern Israel that takes you to a very real hell and beyond. From the Boardroom to the Senate a true look a monopolistic power at it's worst.
Loved it to the last page.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is by far the worst book I've ever read. I still really can't tell if this is written for children or if the author is just pulling our legs. We are beaten over the head with the obviouse constantly. I won't "give away" the ending but suffice it to say all the characters show up that you would expect to be present in an apocalyptic tale. The authors secret is to take a cliche, magnify it 100 fold and then beat you over the head with it. Still, I did finish the book because quite frankly I had to see how bad it could get. I was not dissappointed. If you've never watched a movie just because you couldn't believe it was so aweful then you may not see the beauty in this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am a 15 year old girl, and my dad knows the writer of this book. I read a pre-publication galley of >Format C:. I liked this book very much. It is written very good, with a lot of connection to reality, the Y2K bug and the way everyone are trying to find a solution to it. A part of this book took place where I live, in Jerusalem. When I read the book, I always wanted to keep on going because I had to know what will happen next. I also like computers, and because I like computers, I connected to this book. In the book, you can read about the fight between good and evil, and in a way, there is a fight between good and evil everywhere in the world, not just the computing industry. Once you read this book you realize you dont have to do what others do because you don't wanna be different, and that you should do what you think is best for you.
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