Thursday, December 17, 2015

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow is about a teen who gets illegal detained and tortured by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after a terrorist attack. The nation steps up its surveillance in the name of safety, and the teen (Marcus) vows to get back at the DHS.

So he creates the xnet, which is an underground network, and before he knows it, he's the face of a movement. Well, not technically, because he operates under a pseudonym, but his pseudonym is considered a leader.

The good about this book: it can be really scary. I'm guessing most of the technology the book describes is already here, and may be in use. The detaining and stuff are here too. So this is a ramped up version of what's going on today.

The bad: the technical stuff can get a little heavy at times. It would be OK if it's for world building, but parts of it reads like a manual for kids. Which it probably is, but I'm not found of instructions/messages disguised as stories. The political message was much better handled, since I guess the whole story was inspired by it. The story is the message, so the need for preaching was reduced.

Oh, and I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but each chapter starts with a dedication to a certain bookstore. I love bookstores a lot, but when I'm in a story, I just want to read what happens next. I'm not as interested in knowing where I can buy the book - I already have places where I regularly get my book fix (plus, a lot of these bookstores aren't available in Japan/Singapore). I learnt how to ignore the dedications pretty quickly though.

Even with the technical overload and the bookstore stuff, would I read the next book?


Once you finish reading the first half of the book, which is where the explanation of the TOR stuff and all that is, the book starts to pick up speed and I really started worrying for Marcus and his friends, hoping that the DHS would get their comeuppance. And they did (in a a manner that totally rocked).

By the way, the author chose to give the ebooks for free, so if you want to read it, just google and I think you can download a copy.

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