Study Guide

Stormbreaker Technology and Modernization

By Anthony Horowitz

Technology and Modernization

In less than the time it took Alex to blink, the machine had passed its information down to a computer that had […] sent its own signal back to the circuits that controlled the elevator. (3.25)

Computers are fast these days. You probably can't remember the days of floppy disks and dial-up modems, but it really wasn't very long ago.

He then set out on a career that went from success to success. But what drew him to our attention was […] a quite revolutionary computer that he calls the Stormbreaker. (4.45)

Computers are one of the most powerful—and profitable—technologies in the world. A truly innovative design could change the world, not to mention make a healthy profit for its creator.

"It's ninety percent cheaper to produce than an ordinary chip because the whole thing is sealed in so you don't need clean room for production." (4.50)

The real story here is that the Stormbreaker is cheap and easy to produce, and this opens the technology up to a much wider group of people.

From the art and elegance of the main house, Alex could have stepped into the next century. Long white corridors with metallic floors. Halogen Lights […] Another world. (8.13)

Sayle Enterprises is defined by the contrast between the old-school accommodations and high-tech underbelly. This serves to highlight the frightening power of their technology.

It was a beautiful machine. iMac might have been the first computer with a real sense of design, but the Stormbreaker had far surpassed it. (8.21)

Product placement aside, this shows another reason that the Stormbreaker could change the world: It's cool, and cool sells.

Even in those brief seconds, Alex could feel the speed and the power of the computer. And Herod Sayle was going to put one in every school in the country! (8.21)

This is pretty nuts—it would be like Apple giving every school in the country a free top-of-the-line iMac.

"Think of it, Alex! Thousands of schoolchildren—hundreds of thousands—sitting in front of the screens, suddenly together. North, south, east and west. One school. One family." (9.48)

Sayle sees Stormbreaker as a way to unite the country and the world. Of course, we soon learn that he wants to unite them in tragedy.

This might change everything. A computer virus was the perfect piece of sabotage invisible and instantaneous. (11.19)

Although this doesn't turn out to be true, it shows how vulnerable we are to cyber-attacks. An increasingly computerized world means more potential threats.

The voice rang out over a loudspeaker system, neither male nor female; emotionless, inhuman. (12.10)

This is the disheartening side of our increasingly computerized future. If everyone has the same computer and looks at the same things, then what happens to our individuality?

The room was caught between the old and new, between stone colonnades and stainless steel floors, between the very latest in high tech and old curiosities from the Industrial Revolution. (16.21)

Like Sayle Enterprises, the London Science Museum illustrates the transitional nature of technology. The industrial revolution is over—it's the dawning of the age of computers.