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Homeland Hardcover – February 5, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Doctorow picks up the story of Marcus Yallow, two years after the events of Little Brother (Tor, 2008). Marcus and Ange are attending the Burning Man event in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, enjoying the myriad oddities there, when Marcus is approached by Masha. He had never expected to see her again and is even more surprised by her reason for contacting him. She gives him a flash drive containing the key to unlock more than 800,000 files that document numerous acts of governmental and corporate skullduggery and asks him to make them public if anything happens to her. Before Burning Man ends, Masha is snatched by Marcus's nemesis, Carrie Johnstone, and some rent-a-goons. As if this isn't enough, Marcus also meets the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation playing D & D, with Wil Wheaton of "Star Trek" fame as game master. One of the EFF founders gives Marcus a lead on a job working as webmaster for Joseph Noss, an independent candidate running for the California Senate. When he arrives back in San Francisco, he has to figure out how to release the incriminating documents without compromising his job. While Doctorow is known as a sci-fi writer, none of the science or technology here is fictional so the story hits close to home. The author combines excitement, romance, humor, and geekery with challenging questions for readers. Anyone concerned about the future of information should read this book.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Marcus is back in this sequel to the crossover thriller Little Brother (2008). While attending the Burning Man festival, Marcus receives a USB drive from a hacker, Masha, with more than 800,000 incriminating government documents, and she advises Marcus to publish the material if anything happens to her. Meanwhile, a contact at the festival recommends Marcus to California Senate Independent candidate Joe Noss as a webmaster, and he has his first real job, but can he fulfill his promise to Masha and keep his new position? Doctorow sends readers into a world of Darknet secret websites, Occupy protests, kidnapping and interrogation, and hacking. The narrative is threaded with geek teen culture, economic problems, election strategy, corporate greed, government conspiracies, and privacy issues, and technology nerds will eat this for breakfast with a cup of really good coffee—Marcus says cold-pressed is the only way to go. Libraries are going to want to “pwn” multiple copies to meet demand, and hope that readers take up the activism call to use their “skillz” for good. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Doctorow’s international following is already lining up for this long-awaited sequel. Grades 8-12. --Cindy Dobrez
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765333694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765333698
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read and loved Little Brother when it came out two years ago, but I was fuzzy on the details by the time I got around to Homeland, its sequel. So I approached Homeland essentially as a stand-alone novel.

Both are dystopian novels about surveillance societies, but in many ways, Homeland is a more immediate, present day thriller. The vast majority of surveillance technology Doctorow describes exists now, and is already deployed in schools and by governments and corporations. Schools are today monitoring kids, taking pictures of them at school, in their homes, in various states of undress. Governments are installing spyware, with its own weaknesses that then make it easier to for criminals to get access to your computer. Companies are turning vast quantities of personal data into ever-more targeted marketing.

While I recall being outraged at the spectre of draconian surveillance in Little Brother, that feeling turned more to fear in Homeland. The future is here, and it's not pretty.

As another reviewer noted, 'Severe Haircut Lady' is not very threatening as the villain of the story, but I would say the true antagonist is the surveillance state itself, rather than any one person.

Like most Doctorow novels, Homeland is one third entertainment, one third education about the state and direction of technology's influence on us, and one third practical lessons in privacy defense. Since reading it I've changed and lengthened passwords, turned on two-factor authentication, encrypted hard drives, and started using a secure VPN.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Homeland is the sequel to Little Brother, Cory's first novel about a dystopian near-future/present of the American Surveillance State, which was one of my favorite novels of all time. Homeland doesn't disappoint -- it's realistic enough to be scary, but sufficiently fictional to not be downright terrifying. Little Brother and Homeland are the Nineteen Eighty-Four of the 21st century -- a warning of an issue that society is largely ignoring, and that will affect every one of us.

Like Little Brother, Homeland must be read by anyone who cares about privacy, civil liberties, technology, or their intersection. Not only does the book address serious issues, it does so in a manner that makes it impossible to put it down until the very end. You'll be left actually thinking about social, legal, technological, and ethical issues, and that's exactly what society needs so desperately.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Little Brother several years ago and hadn't even realized there was a sequel until I saw this on sale. I remembered liking the first book, so I was willing to give this one a shot... and ended up regretting it. For whatever reason, I didn't enjoy following Marcus' anti-establishment adventures this time around. I found the youthful first person narrative grating. Even worse, the book seems overloaded with technical jargon (which in itself is fine) backed up by long-winded explanations about *everything*. Whether it's D&D, server technology or the latest slang among today's youth, too much of the book reads like a manual. Any movement in the plot gets bogged down by far too many details.

Perhaps the worst part about the experience is that it made me second-guess whether Little Brother was really all that good to begin with. I kind of hope that Homeland really does pale in comparison to its predecessor, but maybe I've just outgrown this author's writing. Regardless, it was a disappointing read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like much of Cory Doctorow's journalisting writing, and decided to check out this book for my tween son. He'll probably like it, but I found it overly simple and suffering from popularitis -- stuffing in too many pop cultural references (well not pop, but geek) without developing a great story. It seems like the need to introduce a new technology drive each new scene.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Sequel to "Little Brother" catching up with Marcus/M1k3y and Ange as 19 year olds somewhat bewildered by the post-Bay Bridge disaster (read 9-11) world while attending Burning Man, they are sucked back into their waterboarding CIA/Blackwater nightmares of the previous book and given a thumbdrive trove of NSA docs a la Edward Snowden which drives the action of this book. The Big Recession has depressive affects on the adults, so this contemporary read centers on young adult heroics in the face of Big Brother suppression by the adult world. lacking the humor of the original, the best moment of the book is a real-life cameo of Wil Wheaton playing D n D in a tent at Burning Man while a dust storm rages outside. The action gets stuck between deciding or not to release the exposing docs under the threat of CIA/NSA reprisal. Some of the secondary characters are more interesting than the main protagonists. Is it too much to expect a Canadian author to have a sense of humor?
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Format: MP3 CD
“Just because I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.”

Homeland is the sequel to Little Brother, though the novel gives enough of the backstory for it to easily stand alone. If you would like a synopsis, please refer to the publisher’s review, it does an excellent job and would be redundant here. The title refers to The Homeland Security Agency (and the NSA) and their seemingly insatiable need to watch and capture every bit of information traveling the airwaves. Our beloved cell phones, smart pads and computers are as transparent to them as any window.

Doctorow writes with authority and confidence about all things high tech, that which currently exists and that which is just around the corner. The listener is easily and comfortably guided by the author’s expert grasp of the technological nature of the material, neither overwhelming us with it, nor pandering to us. You don’t have to be a high-tech geek to enjoy this novel, because it affects all of us. And that’s where it gets truly frightening; because it’s real, not SciFi, not distant future tech, not aliens, but here and now government surveillance, using our very own gadgets to watch us, catch us and maybe even control us.

After listening to this exciting and thoroughly enjoyable novel, this reviewer was shaken to his paranoid core. It’s real, only the characters and the storyline are fictionalized. There is no question that they are watching us, Edward Snowden convinced us of that. Now that we know, do we go back to sleep, or do we follow the advice in the several appendices of the book. Doctorow clearly practices what he preaches, even going so far as to keep this audiobook off of Audible.com because of its onerous digital rights policy, very likely harming his own audiobook’s sales.
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