This thread reminded me of a novel I saw in the grocery store checkout line in the 1990s - it was a computer virus that made the screen show a symbol that led to people who saw it turning to powder or dust (I think the virus was called "Powder") (I'm not thinking of Snowcrash). It was a standard mass-market paperback of the kind perfect for an airplane flight.

If I recall correctly, the cover featured an IBM PC.

1 Answer 1


Reaper (1997) by Ben Mezrich...?

From Goodreads:

In Boston, nine lawyers on a conference call suddenly convulse with pain, turn chalk white, and die. In Vermont, a young woman watching her favorite sitcom meets the same grisly fate, as does a group of sewer workers in Washington, D.C. Whatever has killed these people is spreading fast, and the task of eradicating it falls to young virologist Samantha Craig and paramedic Nick Barnes, whose brilliant surgical career was ruined by a crippling hand injury.

When Nick and Samantha discover that the virus, named Reaper, is spread through TVs and PCs, they realize that the information superhighway will become a killing field, with tens of millions dead, unless they can root Reaper out.

Their search employs a dazzling array of real-life wizardry, from Mylar body paint to Stealth helicopters to CIA-bred swarms of insects. At the core of Reaper’s madness, they find a suavely megalomaniacal, up-from-the-slums, high-tech billionaire, an icily ingenious hacker, and a high-powered cabal that will do anything to save the world from technology, even if that means annihilating the world.

From Wikipedia:

After a woman is killed by CaV in Washington, Nick begins to believe that computers are killing people. His belief is extended after joining an autopsy to learn that the virus attacks the brain and tells it to calcify all the cells. What terrifies him the most is the fact that the virus has only affected the people with the beta test run on the Telecon system. This starts the conspiracy that the killer is a computer virus that produces a subliminal light pattern that causes the brain to react.


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