Friday, April 8, 2011

A review of Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother"

"An entertaining thriller and a thoughtful polemic on Internet-era civil rights, “Little Brother” is also a practical handbook of digital self-defense. Marcus’s guided tour through RFID cloners, cryptography and Bayesian math is one of the book’s principal delights. He spreads his message through a secure network engineered out of Xbox gaming consoles, to a tech-savvy youth underground."
--The New York Times
My opinion:
I have to say it. Take a deep breath, Bobby. Little Brother is an immensely weird book. There! I said it! Any young adult novel that's a techno thriller and a coming of age story at the same time is probably a pretty odd book, right? Well, imagine this: take that YA tech thriller and throw in a couple of highly intelligent discourses on complicated scientific, philosophical, and historical concepts, and you'll have Little Brother: an entertaining, action packed novel of ideas. Three terms that don't seem to have ever successfully coexisted. Then again, this is by the writer that also made a novel about a labor union of online gamers. It tells the story of a kid named Marcus, an erstwhile hacker, and follows his attempts to overthrow a dystopian regime placed on San Fransisco by the U.S. government. Along the way, he gets a girlfriend, is kidnapped, and probably clocks in more hours on his Xbox than is necessary. This book was a rare glimpse into the life of that fabled character archetype the "California Hacker", and was also a sort of "Snow Crash" for the smartphone generation, which made it equal parts entertaining and informative. A very entertaining book.

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