Phone phreak 70s thriller?
July 7, 2007 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Bookfilter: 70's thriller featuring phone phreaking?

I've been trying to locate a book I remember reading in the late 70s or early 80s, which featured a pretty accurate description of blue boxing and used it in the plot.

I think the title of the book was "Fair Game" but apparently so are a zilion other books.
posted by skywhite to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's mentioned in Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman, although that's not a thriller of the usual kind.
posted by iconomy at 10:27 AM on July 7, 2007

In Six Days of the Condor, [spoiler] Ronald Malcom (Condor), a bookish low-echelon CIA employee, whose mundane job has him analysing plots of thrillers and mysteries, gets caught up in deadly intrigue. Unsure whether a rogue agency within the CIA is after him, but needing to contact them, he uses his knowledge of phone systems to evade phone-tracing. [end spoiler]

I don't think it's quite blueboxing that he uses, but to be honest, the novel has been eclipsed in my memory by the film, so it's unclear to me how explicit the description in the book is.
posted by Elsa at 10:50 AM on July 7, 2007

There's a novel from the late 70s/early 80s called Fair Game, which became the classic Cindy Crawford movie vehicle of the same name. The book was written by Paula Gosling. I have no idea if it features phreaking though.

Also, the movie War Games features phone phreaking. Just mentioning it because it has the word Game in the title, in case you're mixing your media.
posted by iconomy at 11:02 AM on July 7, 2007

It might be the Gosling book, but the synopsis doesn't really ring a bell.

Phone phreaking played a significant part of the novel. Someone from the phreaking community is enlisted by the protagonist somehow and this character actually describes blueboxing in moderate detail, and it is used to make free (untraceable?) calls as part of the plot.

I thought some phreakers might have discussed the book at one point so I searched Phrack and 2600, but instead mostly found links describing "fair game" as a phrase used in a Scientologist letter ordering dirty tricks against 'enemies.'
posted by skywhite at 3:36 PM on July 7, 2007

It's a longshot but mystery writer John Sandford seems to know a lot about hacking. His Kidd series includes some very accurate descriptions of pretty technical methods, for instance TEMPEST. I haven't read all his books so what you describe might be in one of them.
posted by scalefree at 5:15 PM on July 7, 2007

Hmm, you say you remember reading it that long ago, so it can't have been The Fugitive Game about Kevin Mitnick, could it?
posted by dhartung at 10:41 PM on July 7, 2007

I remember reading it while on a National Airlines flight to Walt Disney World. NA got bought out and subsumed into PanAm in 1980, so the book is from the 1970s.
posted by skywhite at 2:16 AM on July 8, 2007

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