- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Tor Teen; First edition (September 4, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765333848
- ISBN-13: 978-0765333841
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.3 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 81 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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For the Win: A Novel Paperback – September 4, 2012
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“Doctorow is indispensable. It's hard to imagine any other author taking on youth and technology with such passion, intelligence, and understanding.” ―Booklist, starred review on The Win
“For the Win is not a perfect book―merely a glorious one.” ―The Seattle Times on The Win
“A rousing tale of techno-geek rebellion--as necessary and dangerous as file sharing, free speech, and bottled water on a plane.” ―Scott Westerfeld, Author of Uglies, Pretties, and Specials on The Win
“A terrific read... A cogently written, passionately felt argument.” ―The New York Times on Little Brother
“A believable and frightening tale of a near-future San Francisco. Filled with sharp dialogue and detailed descriptions…within a tautly crafted fictional framework.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review on Little Brother
“One of the year's most important books.” ―Chicago Tribune on Little Brother
“A wonderful, important book...I'd recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I've read this year.” ―Neil Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book on Little Brother
About the Author
CORY DOCTOROW is a coeditor of Boing Boing and a columnist for multiple publications including the Guardian, Locus, and Publishers Weekly. He was named one of the Web's twenty-five influencers by Forbes magazine and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. His award-winning novel Little Brother was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.
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What holds it together is a mountain of research that comes through in the author’s respectable command of a wealth of complex topics. He explored exotic locales, economic theory, gaming culture and business management without losing me. A laudable effort considering that I am an MBA that has worked in the gaming industry for 10 years. I assume that labor economists would be less kind because that seems like the weakest link in the book. It also seems odd to go so deep into labor economics without bringing in more politics.
In a way this book shares a lot in common with the gaming industry. Games are so complex and have become so big that they all have flaws. Winning in the market comes down to two things. Is it interesting enough to stand out from the crowd and are the mistakes/flaws small enough to now take away from the overall experience. Taking the comparison the the extreme I would say For the Win is Assassin’s Creed.
Recommended to Doctorow fans, Scalzi fans, lovers of near-future science fiction, and any gamers that have ever called in "sick" because they wanted to finish Just One More Quest.
Maybe I should say I love it!
Why write a Novel of Ideas when you could just write nonfiction essays, one commenter said. The reason is that we identify with the characters when written as fiction and the ideas permeate us more fully.
The best kind of novel would have the ideas, and the characters would also develop, like H.G. Wells Ann Veronica, or Jack Vance's character Wayness Tamm in the Araminta Station trilogy. But among the fifty-ish novels each of those two authors gave us, only one or two stand out as having the Character AND the Idea. Perhaps it is difficult to do both, and rare. Cory Doctorow gave us only the Idea, not the Character, in For the Win.
I thoroughly enjoyed For the Win. The idea kept me reading late into the night. I'd like to give the rest of this review to the Idea that Doctorow gave us in this book. The idea is compassion. It is not just a political stance, which could easily be catagorized as Liberal, with the value of Unions for exploited workers. But there are many scenes beginning about a third of the way through the book, and continuing through the end, that give an unconditionally compassionate perspective. For example, on p 179, the enlightened character Ashok says:
"You can talk all you want about 'Indian workers,' but until you find solidarity with all workers, you'll never be able to protect your precious Indian workers."
This is a perspective that does not (yet) belong to the Left or to the Right. What I want, I wish for others, even my competitors in other counteries, is a version of the Golden Rule, that has been around since Confucious and Leviticus and later Jesus. This is the Idea in For the Win. And I feel this Idea alone is worth five stars, and worth encouraging many people to read.
I am forty eight, and I bought a copy for my 22 year old daughter. She has struggled with optimism about the direction the world is going. If more people would read books like this, perhaps the enthusiasm of human solidarity would spread. That is the purpose of a Novel of Ideas. And if the people of the Writer's generation dismiss the Idea as something that will never happen, perhaps it will be the following generation, or 2000 years later that people still reading will say, "you know, I think he was right and let's do this Idea now."
For these reasons I feel this novel fits into the category of Wells' "Novel of Ideas," and this is an Idea worth supporting.