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Context [Paperback]

by Cory Doctorow, Tim O'Reilly
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1, 2011 1616960485 978-1616960483
One of the Web’s most celebrated high-tech culture mavens returns with this second collection of essays and polemics. Discussing complex topics in an accessible manner, Cory Doctorow’s visions of a future where artists have full freedom of expression is tempered with his understanding that creators need to benefit from their own creations. From extolling the Etsy makerverse to excoriating Apple for dumbing down technology while creating an information monopoly, each unique piece is brief, witty, and at the cutting edge of tech. Now a stay-at-home dad as well as an international activist, Doctorow writes as eloquently about creating real-time Internet theater with his daughter as he does while lambasting the corporations that want to profit from inherent intellectual freedoms.

Frequently Bought Together

Context + Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future + Pirate Cinema
Price for all three: $33.02

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Editorial Reviews


"Cory Doctorow is the apotheosis of what we talk about when we talk about the Web." —SF Site

“Doctorow makes the complicated accessible throughout this great little guidebook, a GPS for the digital age.”
Publishers Weekly

“Part Poor Benjamin, part Dr. Spock, Doctorow is by now a wise, trusted guide in this messy—but eminently navigable!—world in which we’ve landed.”

Context is a great example of why [Doctorow]’s more than just a great novelist.”

Context is a deeply interesting and thought-provoking book.... The resulting collection is golden: and an absolute must-read for anyone who’s ever asked where all of this technology stuff is heading.”
January Magazine

“If you are interested in the context of our Internet-centric lives, Context is a must-read collection of essays.”
San Francisco Book Review

“Cory Doctorow’s Context is a treat for those who live in the digital world—as well as for those who would like to know more about it.”
New York Journal of Books

“There is plenty here to chew over here and will make you think.”
SF Crowsnest

About the Author

Cory Doctorow is a science-fiction novelist, blogger, and technology activist whom Entertainment Weekly called “the William Gibson of his generation.” He is the author of the best-sellers Little Brother, Makers, Pirate Cinema, and Homeland and the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing. Doctorow is a contributor to the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Wired, Locus, and many other newspapers, magazines, and websites. He was the director of European Affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy standards, and treaties.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616960485
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616960483
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #588,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Canadian-born Cory Doctorow has held policy positions with Creative Commons and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and been a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Southern California. He is a co-editor of the popular weblog BoingBoing (, which receives over three million visitors a month. His science fiction has won numerous awards, and his YA novel LITTLE BROTHER spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Essays... and delicious irony! February 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Cory Doctorows essays are more fun to read than a weekend of caffiene-fueled gaming. I first read the essays on my PC, then loaded 'er on my Kindle for a road trip and have reread them at least 30 times.

Ironically, his archnemesis, DRM, is the gatekeeper to a treasure trove of essays. That means ya can't take it with ya- no Nook or Kobo for you! Save your sanity and get a copy from Doctorow's website.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The vertiginous hilarity of our age of wonders October 27, 2011
When you consider the entirety of Cory Doctorow's creative output, it's actually a bit surprising that the first title in his bio (on his own site) is "science fiction novelist." After all, if you add up the amazing amount of blog posts, magazine articles, newspaper columns, speeches and various other non-fiction he produces, I'm pretty sure that they would add up to more words per calendar year than his fiction, and in terms of visibility it's quite possible that more people have seen his name connected to a blog post or newspaper column than on the cover of a novel.

Adding some balance to Cory's bibliography, Tachyon Publications just released Context, Cory's second collection of essays after 2008's Content. Fans of the author will know what to expect, and for readers who are only familiar with Cory's novels, this book is a great place to start and get to know one of the 21st century's most interesting and prolific minds.

Context collects over forty of Cory Doctorow's non-fiction pieces released since 2008. These were originally published in a number of other publications, including UK newspaper The Guardian, magazines such as Locus and Make, and blogs like Boing Boing (which Cory co-edits). Most of these essays are just a few pages long, making this one of those books that's great to nibble at, reading one or two selections at a time rather than tearing through the whole thing in one sitting.

As for subject matter, the book's subtitle is "Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting and Politics," and those four categories sum up the book's topics fairly well, as long as you're okay with filing "copyright" and "privacy" under one of them.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Doctorow's "Context" is a collection of learned love notes to technology and the creativity it fires. Most readers will walk away saying the copyright essays are the most interesting, but if you happen to be a new dad like me, it's Cory's thoughts on how to raise kids in a screen-lit world that make the biggest impression.

The unifying theory behind most of the essay topics is economics. Why over-investment in the dot-com bubble brought us closer to the future faster than normal. Why failure is now cheap enough to embrace. Why big piles of `good enough' content is squeezing out small piles of high quality content. I personally groove on economic explanations of human behavior and found these answers to be very satisfying. It was also a pleasant jolt to be reminded that...(snip):

"There's plenty in our world that lives outside of the marketplace: it's a rare family that uses spot-auctions to determine the dinner menu or where to go for holidays. Who gets which chair and desk at your office is more likely to be determined on the lines of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" than on the basis of the infallible wisdom of the marketplace." (Context, p.130, Kindle edition)

If you enjoy information overload but want to stop it for a moment to get your bearings, Doctorow keeps his promise to deliver context.
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