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Makers Hardcover – October 27, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765312794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765312792
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this tour de force, Doctorow (Little Brother) uses the contradictions of two overused SF themes—the decline and fall of America and the boundless optimism of open source/hacker culture—to draw one of the most brilliant reimaginings of the near future since cyberpunk wore out its mirror shades. Perry Gibbons and Lester Banks, typical brilliant geeks in a garage, are trash-hackers who find inspiration in the growing pile of technical junk. Attracting the attention of suits and smart reporter Suzanne Church, the duo soon get involved with cheap and easy 3D printing, a cure for obesity and crowd-sourced theme parks. The result is bitingly realistic and miraculously avoids cliché or predictability. While dates and details occasionally contradict one another, Doctorow's combination of business strategy, brilliant product ideas and laugh-out-loud moments of insight will keep readers powering through this quick-moving tale. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Covering the transformation of Kodacell (formerly Kodak and Duracell) into a network of tiny teams, journalist Suzanne Church goes to Florida and the inventors behind it all, Lester and Perry, who have more ideas than they know what to do with. The New Work (i.e., the network) takes off, with a mini-startup in every abandoned strip mall in America. But suddenly, it crashes, and things get really interesting. Lester and Perry build an interactive ride in an abandoned Wal-Mart, a nostalgia trip through their glory days, that catches the eye of a vicious Disney exec—and the old corporate giants fight their last battle against the new economic order. Doctorow’s talent for imagining the near future is astonishing, and his novels keep getting better. His prognostications are unnervingly plausible and completely bizarre, obviously developed from careful observation of what’s going on at the bleeding edge of technology and culture. The characters are simultaneously completely geeky and suave, lovable and flawed. Even the suits, marketing people and lawyers, are interesting. --Regina Schroeder

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 (boingboing.net), 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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Dmitry Portnoy VINE VOICE on November 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Remember "The Graduate"? Benjamin, a child of privilege, has no idea what to do with his life. At his graduation party, a colleague of his father's pulls him aside, and says "I have one word for you: plastics."

The rest of the movie isn't about that, of course, but about Benjamin's sexual and romantic exploits. But in some parallel universe, perhaps a different version of "The Graduate" exists, where Benjamin follows his father's colleague's advice, goes into plastics, becomes an inventor, strikes out on his own, and winds up rebelling not against Mrs. Robinson, but Exxon, or GE or IBM.

"Makers" is the closest thing in this universe to that version. It is youthful and exuberant, but also world-weary and wise, and freshly of-the-moment. Part I is a head-spinning avalanche of incident and invention, Part II, a meditation on failed revolutions, Part III the battle plan for a hard-fought, ambiguous, but plausible victory.

The book is many things: let me point out three. One: it is a catalogue of brand-new desirable products. My personal favorite is the lego-block-shaped ice-cubes. I want them so badly. You'll have your own favorites, I am sure. You'd have to go back to "American Psycho" for so many wonderful things to buy on each page. But "Makers" is much hipper: genuine cool versus ironic-cool.

Two: it is a detailed, extremely plausible, and only thinly disguised history of the dot-com bubble and the intellectual property wars since the World Wide Web came into being. It is thus simultaneously about the near future and the recent past. In other words, it is about this minute.

Third: it's the best popular business book I've ever read, better than "The Tipping Point," better than "Freakanomics," better than "The Black Swan.
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46 of 58 people found the following review helpful By LoneStarReader on July 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I won't summarize the plot since so many others have already done that. What I'll offer is a warning: It's apparent that Doctorow knows his science. What he doesn't grasp in this book are characters.

If you're a tech geek, you'll probably enjoy the book. All the bits about gizmos hold ones interest briefly, but after very few pages, I needed more humanity.

Doctorow's characters are as mechanical as his technology. I'm hardpressed to say I liked a single character, let alone can remember any of their names. That's depressing considering the vast amount of time I just committed to reading this book.

Final Analysis:

If you're into hard SF where the characters are secondary to the big idea, you might like this book.

If you need some flesh-and-blood people to populate your fictional worlds, this book isn't for you.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By C. Gruver on October 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I won an Advance Uncorrected Proof of this book. Just like everyone else, I love winning things, especially ARCs. So when I first started it, I didn't really have any expectations. Of course, the fact I only managed to read about twenty pages before setting the book down for the night led me to believe it would take a long time to finish it. Not so. The next night I managed about another twenty pages--not so hard to believe as small font, long pages and I only spent about an hour reading. The third night I read fifty pages and hated to stop. By that time, Cory Doctorow literally grabbed me and pulled into the story. I got so caught up in the lives of these five people that I hated to stop reading. First off, we have Suzanne Church, a journalist in a press conference given by Landon Kettlewell, new owner of Kodacell--a merging of Kodak and Duracell. A brilliant, manic man who's not happy unless he has some crisis to solve. Kettlewell ends up talking Suzanne into covering his idea of investing money in small groups of entrepreneurs. And so Suzanne ends up meeting Lester and Perry--two brilliant men with zany ideas who make things from garbage. Then Tjan joins them as the "suit" or management. This whole concept of "New Work" takes off. Suzanne ends up quitting the paper and blogging. When New Work tanks, Lester and Perry don't just sit around, they come up with newer and zanier ideas and Suzanne goes off to Russia--the new metropolis of cosmetic surgery.
I really loved MAKERS. The characters are all bigger than life and very easy to fall in love with. Of course, the villains are all easy to hate too, well, except for Sammy Page. Felt a bit ambivalent about him. The action is non-stop and the way Perry and Lester, and even Suzanne react to the world around them is awe-inspiring.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Snikvit on June 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
This sounded like a good title and I was excited to dig in, but the flimsy plot, wooden characters, and unbelievable socio-economic developments fail to serve. I found the "porn" scene particularly bizarre... competently done, I suppose, but unnecessary, uncalled for, and rather out of place in the underdeveloped novel around it. Occasional, ham-fisted nuggets of character-building dramatic sequences happen to the story, but these resemble bolt-on literary units rather than successfully setting the tone of the novel.

The author seems like an intelligent guy with a deep appreciation for geek culture, but his character and idea presentation are more like Michael Crichton's campy ain't-we-clever formula than Neal Stephenson's far more intriguing work. Some rare missteps jump out and molest suspension of disbelief as well, such as Doctorow's statement that the Roosevelt administration spent the US out of the Great Depression revealing the unfortunate truth that the author has gaping blind spots in his understanding of economics and history.

At this point the author seems more interesting than his work, and I hope his writing improves. This book will still do well with his fans, obviously, and true believers with an overdeveloped suspension of disbelief ready to latch onto generic celebrations of geek culture. But for something more compelling in this vein I suggest Neal Stephenson if you haven't already dived into that ocean.
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