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Little Brother Hardcover – April 29, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
The setting is the near future, when some ill-defined terrorist group decides to blow up the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Marcus, our hero, and several of his friends are picked up in a rather wide sweep by Homeland Security forces as possible suspects. And therein lies the tale, as the actions of the security forces clash violently with Marcus's idea of what is right and proper in the supposed land-of-the-free America. What Marcus decides to do about this situation is an instructional manual to the reader in just how personal freedom and privacy have been restricted and what can be done about it in today's very high-tech world of security cameras, RFIDs, cryptography, computer databases, and the insidious insinuation of propaganda both at our schools and into everything we see and hear on the internet and our TVs and from the mouths of our political leaders.
The story bubbles with suspense, and the actions that Marcus takes are very believable as something a seventeen-year old could actually do. It is very easy to identify with Marcus and become very sympathetic to his cause, while the situation itself is stark enough to frighten the daylights out of the reader as being all too possible.Read more ›
It was with this in mind that I started to read Little Brother, and while I thought the book was a lot of fun to read, it probably wasn't nearly as cool as it would have been if I were fourteen years old.
Young Marcus Yallow, AKA w1n5t0n, AKA m1k3y, is a senior at Cesar Chavez high school in San Francisco, and he's what we used to call a "computer whiz" back when I was a kid. Marcus has an excellent grasp of how systems work, and finds great pleasure and thrill in either strengthening or outwitting those systems. Thus, he is able to fool the various security measures in place in his school building so that he can do the things his teachers don't want him to do - send IMs in class, sneak out whenever he wants, steal library books, that kind of thing. He's a hacker supreme, a trickster, and a very big fish in his little pond. He's so confident and cocky, in fact, that within twenty pages I wanted nothing more than to see him get his comeuppance.
Which is pretty much what happens. A series of bombs go off, destroying the Bay Bridge and killing thousands of people in an attack that dwarfs 9/11.Read more ›
Little Brother is the first-person narrative of Marcus, a 17 year-old with a talent for technology. Doctorow gets Marcus' voice just right. He alternates between street-swagger and vulnerability, between naivete and expertise. I found him to be an entirely believable contradiction, which is a pretty good definition of a teenager. At first, I found Marcus' love of explaining technology a little irritating, but I couldn't figure out why. Then I realized that it reminded me of my own poorly restrained tendency to try to explain computers to anyone who would listen (35 years ago). Nothing reaches you quite like seeing your own flaws in the hero.
Marcus finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time. Without revealing any plot details, suffice it to say that he comes to the attention of a law-enforcement agency with a broad remit and limited oversight. Deceit and mistrust test his family and friendships as he comes face to face with the conflict between personal safety and the responsibilities of a citizen.
Cory Doctorow has managed to create a wonderful fusion of science fiction, action novel, political thriller, and whimsical romp. It's very hard to bring those elements together, but he has succeeded admirably. I haven't seen anyone pull this off since "The Long Run" by Daniel Keys Moran.
Buy it. Read it. Buy copies for your kids. Once they start reading it, they'll finish it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a wonderful novel about CyperTechnology pitting young people in San Francisco and the U.S. versus the Department of Homeland Security. Read morePublished 6 days ago by ami-mac-sun
One of those book that you wish you would have read before. In fact, much before: when I was
a teenager. Read more
LOVE this book! The plot is great, the tech is great. I can't believe I haven't read this book before.Published 2 months ago by JZ2
Really great book. It kept my attention the whole way through and surpassed my expectations for sure. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Bob
This is, and always will be, my favorite book. (Okay, it's tied with the Harry Potter series and The Count of Monte Cristo, but still). I absolutely adore this book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Even the Stasi didn't surveil its citizens to the level of detail that the public are routinely tracked today by the various departments of blackmail.Published 2 months ago by St3v3
I didn't get to read this but my 13 year old son loved it and is already begging me to buy the second one! My husband liked It too. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kindle Customer