Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review - Corey Doctorow - Little Brother

Little Brother is a book that I cannot recommend highly enough. Whether you are a geek that wants a book where you get the in jokes, a non-geek who wants to understand geeks, or anyone at all that wants a book that will make them really think about the way the world works, then this book is extremely excellent.

This book was especially powerful for me because I went into it not knowing what to expect. I highly encourage you to do the same, and if you would like to do so now you can actually obtain a legitimate free copy at Or if you would like to know more, read on.

Instead of being just a book about a bunch of kids running around being awesome, Little Brother is actually an incredibly well constructed story about censorship and terrorism. These aren't really issues that YA, or really any fiction I can think of, usually deal with, yet they are dealt with in this book so elegantly that it really makes you see how these issues relate to your everyday life, and why they are important to consider.

I think that the message of this book is so poweful for two reasons. Firstly, it is so very plausable. The book is set in a time that is in the very near future, perhaps as close as next year, where there are only slight changes to the way things are now, better smartcards and a new xbox for example. Any of the changes he made are so small, and more importantly logically consistent, that you can see how they are not just possible, but likely. This is one of the things that makes some of the bad things that happen in the book utterly terrifying. The other reason is that it is happening to normal people. A main theme of the book is that it's not just 'those with something to hide' that need to worry, but that issues like this can affect even the most nomal and well behaved citerzins.

The novel is not just a dry paranoid tome about how the government hates us all. It is very focussed on people, and the way they react to things, and the serious aspects aside, it is also very fun to read for the excellent geek subculture that the book also expolores. It's actually quite a light and easy read despite the issues it deals with - I just recommend you are somewhere where you can concentrate for the first few chapaters.

Feel free to comment and let me know what you think!


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