March 15, 2010

Little Brother

I feel so hip. I finished Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, of Boing Boing fame. I can tell you one thing: I would have ate this up in high school. I had hacker friends back then but the internet wasn't nearly as wild as it is now. Actually it was more wild, but there wasn't as much going on. I'm talking late 80s here. We had bulletin boards, but everyone I found in those rabbit holes was either young or crazy and they were all hackers of one stripe or another. Good times.

Of course we didn't have the Patriot Act or the DHS to worry about either.

This roller coaster is part Neal Stephenson and part Ferris Bueller, with a big nod to 1984. My favorite bit was in the afterward when he points to Daniel Pinkwater as an early influence. Sweet! (Particularly Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy form Mars found in 5 Novels).

Yes, it's a bit over the top, but then so was 1984. That's kind of the point of dystopian fiction. It's not especially elegant or deep, but a fun read which touches on some great hot-button issues and well worth sharing with the YA crowd. This would be great paired up with Orwell because it's so much more immediate. I can just imagine the discussions. It'll definitely get kids fired up about the constitution and freedom vs. safety issues.

I read it for free on I wonder how many other authors are going to use a Creative Commons license for their novels? It's certainly a different way of doing things. I don't know if it's sustainable, but I sure enjoyed it. Mostly they have old public-domain classics on the site. Think I'll try a P. G. Wodehouse next...