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The War Bug
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-113-9
Genre: Science Fiction/Humor/Speculative
eBook Length: 287 Pages
Published: March 2004

From inside the flap

In just a few hours, Abner Hayes' wife and daughter are going to die, and the only way he can save their lives is to team up with a deadly computer virus and travel through time and space in a virtual universe that itself has only hours to live. Through suicidal game worlds, virtual landscapes that threaten to devour the unwary, and a series of insidious cyber traps, Abner and the virus must stay one step ahead of sinister forces that will stop at nothing to destroy his family in order to steal their incredible secret. Spliced with dark humor and intricate characters, The War Bug is a non-stop roller coaster thriller into a terrifying future.

Reviews and Awards

"Hysterically funny and very witty! If you know anything about computers and the Internet you'll laugh out loud"   

"Biff Mitchell has a quirky, delightful sense of humor attested to by the larger than life characters in The War Bug. Mr Mitchell's words leap from the page, grab you by throat and waltz you through this hilarious and poignant sci-fi adventure. An irreverent and bizarre look at the future, computer technology, the Internet and Artificial Intelligence." ~ Dana

Reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Imagine if you will a computer crafted on a strand of DNA that is able to store all the information that is available today and is also able to process any problem in hardly any time at all. The creator of this commits suicide and the computer is lost for 150 years. Yang Yin rediscovers the DNA Bubble Computer and when he is "screwed" by the marketing group, he unleashes a program to exact his revenge

Fifty years later, Abner Hayes has taken the DNA computer and used it to create a world wherein he has created a family and enabled them with life that may be immortal. Bella Bjork, the richest person in the world wants the secret of immortality and will do anything to et it.

The only problems are that not everyone is as sane as they need to be and a rogue program, THE WAR BUG, that was introduced by Yang Yin to destroy the net at a future date.

Mitchell has taken a very unusual cast and given the internet a twist to give us a look at a future that may not be what we expect. This is an interesting and unusual book that deserves more than a passing glance. Give it a try.

Blue Iris Journal - Reviewed by  Susan DiPlacido

So. What do cheese soup, sentient virtual reality beings, and a seven-hundred pound sado-masochist have to do with each other? Pick up The War Bug and unlock the mysteries. Part sci-fi, part action adventure, and plenty of dark humor is what Biff Mitchell weaves together, along with his eclectic and electric cast in his latest offering.

Abner Hayes is Virtual Code Geneticist, where he works online studying DNA codes of plants and animals and then simulating them offline. However, his offline world is a drag. He's alone, he lives in a hovel, and his parents have already been "included", which Abner fears will also someday happen to him. Especially if his secret about his online life is to ever leak out. Because online, he has a beautiful wife and daughter. They are not avatars from the real world like he is, nor are they flat coded programs. His wife Claire and daughter Cassie are the only two online entities to have made the leap from programs to sentient, thinking and feeling, beings. However, their time is limited because the 'net is under siege and ready to collapse. Abner has created a bubble protection for his family, but they've been abducted by some sinister forces who've figured out his secret and want to unlock it for themselves. The only way to save his family is to team up with the deadly, ultimate destruction virus, known as The War Bug, to find and rescue his family before the entire world crumbles to oblivion.

Thrills and chills abound as the clock ticks down and the race is on for Abner to save his family. This is a rich and complex world, but Mitchell makes it wholly comprehensible without ever losing momentum. In his signature style, the satire and laughs are woven throughout, along with a plethora of zinging one-liners and unique descriptions. The characters are rich and varied, fully-fleshed and wholly intriguing. The good guys have edges, the bad guys have allure. And even amid the brewing chaos in this strange landscape, the story flies so high and resonates because it's so very human.

It's rare that a novel can so thoroughly capture the mind, heart, and imagination. Biff Mitchell is a blessed breed of writer who mixes the real, surreal, and potentially real by fusing philosophy, science, human emotions, humor, and terror. And The War Bug is this writer at the top of his game.


The War Bug by Biff Mitchell
01-19-2005 -- Science Fiction

Two-hundred years in the future, nanotechnology is at its peak, although research still commences. Humans not only live and work in the real world, but also live and work online as virtual beings interacting with software programs. Abner Hayes, a Virtual Code Geneticist, prefers living in this virtual world. Using DNA coding, he's illegally created the first sentient programs - Claire, his wife, and Cassie, his teenage daughter.

Unbeknownst to Abner, immortal life is sought by Bella Bjork, a beautiful perverted sex-monger and murderer. She teams with genius programmer Jeemo Roosenvelt, a seven-foot, 700-pound sado-masochist, who seeks to break the coding of Abner's sentient programs.

But the Net is falling apart as war rages between online cities, placing Claire and Cassie in life-threatening danger. So Abner's created the world's smallest bubble computer as a sanctuary for his beloved virtual family until a new Net is developed. But before he can transfer his family's programs to the bubble computer, Claire and Cassie disappear.

As Abner searches online for Claire and Cassie, he meets the War Bug, a conniving virus behind the Net's degeneration. The War Bug, at a steep price, offers his assistance to find Claire and Cassie. But can this destructive virus and Abner save them before the Net completely crumbles, or before Jeemo fragments and deletes them all?

Biff Mitchell does a stunning job pulling a reader into his virtual world. Characters are honely carved and dialogue spiced with dark humor. Love and deceit fill the pages, as does technological intrigue and adventuresome thrills. To me, the ending is set up for a sequel, which I'd enjoy reading if ever written and published. So I highly recommend  "The War Bug" by Biff Mitchell to Science Fiction fans who can stomach sexual perversion, grotesque humor, and total cyber satire.

Patricia Spork, Reviewer
eBook Reviews Weekly
Author of Haiku Used and Abused

Despite the animated antics of the ?War Bug? this is not a virus to be trifled with, nor a trifling tale for the young or faint of heart. It is action-packed, edge-of-your-seat, adult, science fiction drama crafted into plausible reality by a talented storyteller. Matrix fan or computer buff, science fiction fan or not, Mitchell has endowed his characters and his world with plausibility and life that yanks you right into his imagination and into an unforgettable virtual adventure.

-Charlene Austin ? 2005 ( )

Read the Complete Review


The War Bug
 Biff Mitchell

Reviewer: Rita Porter (
Format: Adult, Fiction, e-book, 286 pages, 2004,


In the dawn of the computer age, many inventors came up with different programs, not all of which were benign ones. Some were designed specifically to destroy a company's complete computer system, such as the war bug, programmed to be set free in the company's system the minute the termination code was handed down. One hundred and fifty years later, this becomes a reality.

With the computer knowledge gained in the intervening 150, computerized worlds and laws for virtual reality lives within those worlds have been created. One inventor has created a computerized bubble to store his virtual family in. But something is starting to go wrong in the virtual reality worlds. Places are starting to disappear, just fading into blackness with everything within just blanking out. No one knows why or how. What is happening to everyone's families that they have created?

Will they all be just gone, or can someone save them?

"The War Bug" is a mix of science fiction and fantasy, utilizing computers, scientists, knowledge inventors and several futuristic programs. The high mix of characters, floating through this story, all headed on a collision course, makes for a very nice fast-paced plot builder to carry its reader along its twisting path.

Abner Hayes has built and written a special coded virtual world for his VP family, something unheard of in his time of existence 150 years into the future. Having forgone the normal standard VP family, Abner has written sentient VP code and modeled his VP family after it. Bella and her cohorts are after this program, going to any means to get to it. Bella craves everlasting VP life and hires Jeemo to ferret out the information for her. He is most willing to help her in her quest, because his desire for her type of pleasure is a life goal for him. All this must be accomplished just as the VP world is ceasing to exist server by server. No one knows the cause of this.

The computer age has grabbed us up in its palm. In "The War Bug," Biff Mitchell takes advantage of the way society interacts with computers. Writing about something most people have a little knowledge of and about their fears of not having their servers being available all the time, increases the sense of an online life. The virtual reality work and the friends across the miles makes this a capable modern science fiction read.

I liked the way the story played out. It had a lot of give and take throughout, letting the reader follow along without an in-depth description of things those not accustomed to computers to get lost by.

Cyberspace can be overwhelming to people who haven't a clue what computer users speak about. However, Mitchell did well in the way he brought all types of readers together, those who know some and those who don't know anything about computers.

The War Bug (Excerpt)

The War Bug

Biff Mitchell

Everything in this novel will be true. Nothing has been changed to protect the innocent, and any resemblances to persons living or dead will not occur for another two hundred years, or so.

"Personally, I like hanging from the ceiling, you know, just hanging from the ceiling and grooving on those small movements that air currents set in motion. Unlike you, I don?t spend my days worrying about the string suspending me from the ceiling. I never give it a thought."
~Betts, the paper mache fish
?Being human is a lot easier when you?re dead.?
~A dead guy
?You will settle.?
~A Reality Law
?Why is there an ant on the cover??
~Biff Mitchell



"If God truly is in the details, then DNA must be God."
  When Jared Friedman, the biocomputist who invented the DNA bubble computer said this, he failed to understand that it meant the details reflected God's work, not that God was just a bunch of details.
   So much for details.
   Maybe it was a tiny mishap in the sequencing of Jared's own DNA that caused him to misunderstand Goethe, or maybe he was just blinded by the boggling enormity of his invention: a computer that used simulated DNA structures to store information and to perform computing operations, though "computing" was not what it did in the traditional sense. Jaredís computer used strings of programming similar to DNA codes riding on waves of bubbles smaller than atoms to simultaneously access enormous data warehouses and spit out results trillions of times faster than any computer before it.
   Jared's computer was based on a biological entity that could replicate life, which on second thought, might make him right and Goethe wrong after all. But who really cares? They're both dead; Goethe for centuries and Jared, for, oh, about ten minutes. The details were just too much for him, so he jumped off his balcony?about an eight-foot drop, but he landed on his head and broke his neck.
   What drove Jared over the railing was the realization that this new computer of his?a computer that could fit into this period  .  but could store all the information currently contained on earth a billion trillion times over?was beyond anything he could ever hope to comprehend. Its implications were more staggering than his mind could handle.
   Cripes, he thought, and jumped.
   It would be a couple of hundred years before a young Virtual Code Geneticist would crack the encryption on Jaredís work and actually build a working DNA computer. And when that happened, he wouldn?t go crazy like Jared. He would keep his wits and neck intact because he would build his DNA computer for something far larger than eternity. He would build it for love.

A Hundred and Fifty Years Later?