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The Deal
The Deal
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Joe gives an overview of the book:

Amazon.com Review: Joe Hutsko is a very visible high-tech journalist whose byline pops up everywhere from the New York Times to such citadels of nerdiness as Computer Life and Multimedia World. Unlike many of his peers, however, he has an insider's acquaintance with the industry. He spent his early 20s working for Apple Computer--mostly as an advisor to boardroom buccaneer John Sculley, who was then wresting control of the company from Steve Jobs. And indeed, his first novel, The Deal, is clearly a rerun of that celebrated corporate fracas. In this case, visionary wonk Peter Jones is busy running Via Computer into the ground. His rival, Matthew Locke, is determined to put the company's founder out to pasture and restore Via to a sound financial footing. Will the bottom line triumph? Or will the forces of virtue--meaning the spacy, Silicon Valley version of...
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Amazon.com Review:

Joe Hutsko is a very visible high-tech journalist whose byline pops up everywhere from the New York Times to such citadels of nerdiness as Computer Life and Multimedia World. Unlike many of his peers, however, he has an insider's acquaintance with the industry. He spent his early 20s working for Apple Computer--mostly as an advisor to boardroom buccaneer John Sculley, who was then wresting control of the company from Steve Jobs. And indeed, his first novel, The Deal, is clearly a rerun of that celebrated corporate fracas. In this case, visionary wonk Peter Jones is busy running Via Computer into the ground. His rival, Matthew Locke, is determined to put the company's founder out to pasture and restore Via to a sound financial footing. Will the bottom line triumph? Or will the forces of virtue--meaning the spacy, Silicon Valley version of individualism--prevail in the end?

To Hutsko's credit, he's introduced some variation into the story. The Deal is set in the 1990s, which means that the Internet can rear its virtual head at various points throughout the story. The author also ventures into the bedrooms of his protagonists, all of whom seem to have at least a nominal difficulty with boy-girl relations. Still, it's hard not to match up Peter Jones with his real-life counterpart: "Of slight build and tenuous stance, his physical composure was that of a lanky high school student. Yet his eyes revealed more. They were the eyes of a man wise beyond his years, whose mind operated at a cycles-per-second rate equal to ten brains (or so the story went)." Without these correspondences, in fact, Hutsko's debut would be pretty thin grist for the mill. But for people seeking an entertaining, thinly fictionalized Book of Jobs, The Deal will do just fine. --Bob Brandeis

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 Introduction “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
—Alan Kay I had the good luck to provide hands-on technical support and assistance to Alan Kay and his team during my time at Apple, from 1984 to 1988, when I worked as a technology advisor to then-Chairman and CEO, John Sculley.    Alan certainly invented the future: In the early 70s he created the computer language Smalltalk at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), which is recognized as the inspiration and technical basis for the Macintosh and other windowing-based operating systems.      In 1979, 24-year-old Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was given an exclusive tour of PARC, which sparked the epiphany to create a Graphic User Interface (GUI) for the masses.     The rest, as we all know, is history.     (Read more about Alan at www.smalltalk.org/alankay.html.)     Alan’s quote matters deeply to me because I invented my own version of the future when I began the earliest draft of this novel in 1988. After many rewrites, submissions, rejections, long hibernations, more rewrites, submissions, and publishing deals gone awry, I finally decided to just give the novel away as the e-book Undo on Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org/etext/480).     With the giveaway I wrote a lengthy explanation of the long, strange trip of the novel’s life (and my own).     That was that, and I let go of the idea of ever seeing the novel published as a traditional book—until, that is, Lisa Napoli, my longtime friend and former, fellow CyberTimes contributor to the New York Times, gave a copy of the manuscript to our ahead-of-his-time editor, Rob Fixmer. My pitch was to serialize a newly revised and updated version of the novel on the New York Times website.    Rob said yes, and we struck a deal that would see a new chapter a week on the site, with a button to buy the eventual print edition from Amazon.com. This was around 1997, and, unfortunately, book publishers didn’t at the time see much value in this new and unfamiliar thing known as the web. After many rejections, my agent said it was time to give up trying to get a book deal and move on. I followed his advice—for a couple of months, anyway.      On a whim, I contacted an editor named Claire Eddy at Forge (an imprint of the huge sci-fi house, Tor), gave her my pitch on the potential big-win that the New York Times serial would offer, and sent her the manuscript. A few days later she called to say she wanted the book.     Yet even this wonderful coup, of the first-ever New York Times web serialization of a novel and link to buy the hardback, was not without still another unhappy ending. On the night the serial was to go live I hosted a champagne and catered celebration party at a dear friend’s home in San Francisco, everyone’s eyes on the WebTV, waiting for the serial to begin.     It never happened.    The decision to pull the serial was made by an editor who’d been granted the temporary reins of CyberTimes after Rob Fixmer had recently moved to the print edition of the paper. It was said deputy editor’s opinion that fiction didn’t belong on the technology section of the site. With the serialization shutdown the publisher changed the novel’s huge first printing and major promotional plan that (would have) included a full-page ad in USA Today and author tour.     (A story about the saga of The Deal can be read at www.joeygadget.com/about.)    As reviews began to appear another terrible twist occurred, when a mix-up with the publication date didn’t see the actual book in stores until four to six weeks after the reviews appeared.     All the same, it was wonderful to finally see the novel in print, and also as one of the first commercial e-books from Peanut Press, an audiobook and, a year later, as a mass-market paperback.     So why re-release The Deal now?    Two reasons. First, the novel never got the chance it deserved to reach a wide audience. And secondly, readers may find it interesting that Alan’s words ring true in several ways throughout the novel—most notably in the finale, when the novel’s protagonist, Peter Jones, unveils a device that not only bears more than a little resemblance to the iPhone, but also closely mirrors Mr. Jobs’ own words and actions when he unveiled the iPhone on stage at the Moscone Center on January 9, 2007.     Keep in mind, I wrote the final draft of my story nearly a decade before Jobs took to the stage.     Do I claim to have invented the iPhone? Of course not. But I did conceive of an all-in-one communication device that stows in the pocket. No, some of the technologies and features I envisioned have not come to bear, but then again, the new iPhone’s openness to third-party applications could easily make those imaginings a reality.     Life imitates art?     That’s for you to decide.     As for me, I’m happy to have regained the rights to this novel to see it serialized on the site BoingBoing.net (thanks to my onetime Wired editor and friend, Mark Frauenfelder), and as a trade paperback, for those who prefer their books in printed form.     Special thanks to all of my friends, my family, and the many smart and interesting people I’ve had the pleasure to know and work with over the years. Joe Hutsko
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
June 2008
 joehutsko.com            A note on the text:This edition of The Deal contains the complete text of the mass-market paperback edition published by Forge/Tor in 2000.

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Note from the author coming soon...

About Joe

Author of Green Gadgets For Dummies.com. Author and freelance journalist specializing in tech-related stories for the New York Times and others. Also author of ...

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