Jon Ross, Bob Howard, and Felix Tremont are just a few noteworthy sysadmins of the science-fiction world. Tom Merritt lists the top five sci-fi sysadmins.
Heroes get all the glory, but where would they be without tech support? Who made sure the Rebel Alliance’s X-Wing coms stayed clear? Who kept the Enterprise’s LCARS interface up and running? Who took the Tardis down for system maintenance? Well, that last one is probably the Doctor, but who are the top five sysadmins in science fiction?
SEE: Top 5 programming languages for systems admins to learn (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Jon Ross from Daemon by Daniel Suarez. While not specifically a system administrator, he’s the hacker that helps Detective Pete Sebeck’s fight back against the autonomous Daemon bent on controlling the world.
- Bob Howard from the Laundry Files series by Charles Stross. Bob Howard isn’t his real name, but when you’re an IT consultant turned occult field agent that understands magic is just a branch of applied computation used to fight Lovecraftian horror, you keep your real identity secure.
- Felix Tremont from When SysAdmins Ruled the Earth. In this short story by Cory Doctorow Felix is one of the IT workers left alive after multiple coordinated attacks cause all governments to collapse. Those quarantined in data centers survive to rebuild.
- Randy Lawrence Waterhouse from Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. He’s an expert systems and network admin with the Epiphyte corporation. Epiphyte funds the creation of a data haven which leads to complications. And Randy is a key to a lot of it.
- BOFH by Simon Travaglia. The BOFH is a rogue computer operator who takes out his anger on those who pester whim with their computer problems. Travaglia posted the first BOFH stories on Usenet starting in 1992. They have been published over the years in Datamation, Network Week, and The Register.
See? Sysadmins can be heroes just as much as captains and smugglers–you just have to know where to look.