Makers, by Cory Doctorow

As with Dracula before, I’m not really sure how much I can say about this novel, as I’ve spent six months reading it!

I mentioned in my post on these serialized novels that Makers was proving far easier to follow along with because its installments came out regularly, and that was certainly true. But I did rather often find myself being annoyed that another chapter was in my Google Reader, starring it, and then forgetting about it until the next one came, at which point I would star that one and forget about it, until I would work up the interest to go back and read them all at once.

That, I think, is a product of the fact that I wasn’t really interested in the story. At the beginning it was good; two guys making cool stuff for shiggles and getting some nice attention for their troubles, a reporter going internet-based and making boatloads of money while fighting off a longtime rival. But then the story got really bogged down in business and lawsuits and fighting and I just sort of stopped caring until Disney showed up and then it was briefly engaging again and then it tapered off, again. I’ll admit that on the whole, and especially when I was reading chapters one right after the other, the story intrigued me. I just don’t think it worked for me in its serialized form. And the last few chapters are set ten years after the main story, which is a pet peeve of mine but which I won’t hold against the novel proper.

The good stuff is in Doctorow’s vision of the future, which is part of why I loved Little Brother; he’s got his future world and how it looks and acts all figured out, and the reader gets to see that bit by bit. I will keep reading what Doctorow is writing… but maybe only in book form. 🙂

Rating: 7/10
(A to Z Challenge)

See also:
Blogging for a Good Book

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow (1 June)

I got this Hugo-nominated novel for free from Doctorow’s site, you should, too! Right now. Go do it.

Without an e-book reader, I was stuck staring at my computer for HOURS reading the book in .pdf form. I took a couple of breaks to check e-mail and whatnot, but otherwise I destroyed my eyesight in the name of this novel. This is probably fitting, as the story is about some computer-hacking kids who get in a weensy bit of trouble with the law.

No, no, I guess weensy isn’t the right word for it. Marcus (aka w1n5t0n) and three of his friends are out on an ARG adventure (while skipping school, of course) when a terrorist attack hits the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. This is bad, obviously, but worse is that the friends are caught outside after the event and taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security, where they are all sorts of interrogated. Of the four kids, only three make it back out of jail, where they are threatened into silence about where they’ve been the past few days. Marcus returns home, keeping his silence, but when he finds his laptop (left at home all this time) bugged, he decides to take some underground action against the DHS and what they stand for.

The best part of this book is that Doctorow explains interesting things about hacking computers and the history of protesters and how his not-so-distant future rules and technology work without making you feel stupid about it. I was kind of glad to be reading it on a computer, eyeballs be damned, because I could verify his facts on Wikipedia (and then, of course, other sites) without leaving the story for too long. There’s also a bibliography at the end for those eager to learn more.

Also, Doctorow dedicates each chapter to a bookstore, giving me interesting places to go in my travels!

Rating: 9/10