Tag Archives: cory doctorow

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (unabridged audiobook read by Kirby Heyborne; 12 hrs on 10 discs): I’ve been meaning to read this for some time now, but when I saw on the cover that it had been blurbed by both Neil Gaiman and Scott Westerfeld, well, I decided I simply could not wait any longer. When San Francisco is attacked by terrorists, Marcus and his friends find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, and immediately detained by the Department of Homeland Security, where they are interrogated and tortured. This terrible and unjust treatment motivates Marcus to try to beat the system, creating a separate and untraceable internet using a fictional XBox network. There’s a lot of discussion of how much privacy and freedom one can sacrifice in the name of security, and a lot of questions are raised about how many of these intrusive security measures actually make us any safer. I can see some folks dismissing the whole tale as far too paranoid, but I think it’s still an important book to read, if only as a starting point to a conversation about the larger issues of liberty and security and terrorism. I do not have any answers, but I appreciate any book that makes me want to learn more about the world around me.

A note on the audio: Heyborne is fantastic. That is all.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow: The premise was what caught my eye. Julius lives in Walt Disney World in the not-so-distant future, in a world ruled by the Bitchun Society. That society has managed to eradicate both death and money: if you die you simply restore yourself using a quick-grown clone made with a backup of your brain, and all wealth is based on reputation – the higher people’s opinions of you, the more you can “buy.” The world is not run by governments, but rather small committee-like groups called adhocracies. This particular story revolves around the ad-hocs that run the Hall of Presidents and Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom.

I spent a little too much of this book feeling exasperated – Julius is hot-headed and does some pretty stupid stuff for no particular reason – but things work out in the end, and it’s short enough (just over 200 pages) that it’s worth the minor amount of effort required to stick it out. It’s a clever little what-if story and I enjoyed the sly pop-culture jokes (like the name of the Bitchun Society, for one). If you’re looking for something that deals with the headier questions of immortality, economics, and social interaction, this book would probably be a bit too shallow for you. However, if you’re interested in a quick bit of light Sci Fi, check this one out.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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