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Homeland by Cory Doctorow
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Homeland (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Cory Doctorow

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4342824,268 (3.93)7
Member:nnschiller
Title:Homeland
Authors:Cory Doctorow
Info:Tor Teen (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Delker, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:professional-development, sci-fi, ya

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Homeland by Cory Doctorow (2013)

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English (26)  French (2)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
ABR's original Homeland audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

“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.

Wil Wheaton (yes Wesley Crusher on Star Trek TNG) does an amazing job reading the novel. There is even a part of the story where the main character meets Wheaton. This self-referential bon mot cracks the forth wall for a moment, something Doctorow seems to enjoy in this and his other books. Unfortunately, this excellent performance by Wheaten is slightly marred by the occasional lip smack or dry mouth noises that should have been removed in post-production. Fortunately, it is faint and should go unnoticed with ordinary ear phones or in a car. Don’t let this minor flaw keep you from enjoying an excellent performance.

If you enjoy high-tech novels, with all-too-human characters, this is a must read. Authentic, informative, exciting, and way too real. Homeland is paranoia developed to an art form.

Audiobook purchased for for review by ABR. ( )
  audiobibliophile | Jun 18, 2015 |
I read this book last week of March and used it in my CJ 200 Class it is a fiction but shockingly real compared to what is currently happening in our country a must read for all ages and everyone who is an American Citizen with concerns about our Govt. and Privacy rights ( )
  redheadish | Jun 12, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this audio book. Wil Wheaton's reading is both a piece of art and a brilliant interpretation of Cory Doctorow's book. Even if I dissed Wil's Australian accent - however as Cory tweeted back to me "it is meant to be a computer used Australian Accent!"
In this sequel to Little Brother we again follow Marcus as he battles government and business who conspire to control and beat the population down. Except this time Marcus joins forces with a political candidate who might just be able to make a difference.
My biggest concern with this book is how real it could be. I was oftener angered but the themes and actions in this story. To the point where I had to press pause and pull the headphones from my ears - and google pictures of puppies and cats!!!!
This is a powerful book and one that is a must read especially the extra bits at the end of the audio book!!!
Get it and enjoy!!! ( )
  Ben_Harnwell | Apr 26, 2015 |
This review and others posted over at my blog.

Homeland takes place a few years after Little Brother, after Marcus has had to drop out of college and is struggling to find a job. He runs into Masha at the Burning Man festival and she hands him a flash drive, containing thousands of files full of dirty government secrets. She makes him promise that if she goes missing, he has to release the documents. Marcus then gets a job with a local politician who promises change – then Masha goes missing. But if Marcus releases the documents right away, the world will know who did it and he could also cost his employer the campaign. Once again, Marcus is being shadowed by dangerous people and has to decide what to do with the documents before they’re taken from him.

What I liked:
Homeland wasn’t fast paced like Little Brother, yet it was still exciting. The focus was more on local demonstrations and hacking than evading evil government operatives. Although there are still evil government operatives attacking Marcus.

To be honest, I don’t quite know how to review this book. This time, I was more aware of Doctorow’s style and his voice – I also read the Afterwards more closely and fully realized that these two books aren’t just about hacker teens. They’re about speaking out (against the government or any organization I suppose) when you don’t agree with what’s being done; they’re about standing up for human rights and realizing that you can make a change. My thoughts about this book are all over the place, so I’m sorry if my review doesn’t have much of a point.

I don’t want to sound crazy, but these books are fun to read and occasionally made me laugh, and they also made me think, a lot. I got a little paranoid about technology and security, like when I read about lawful intercept, which could potentially involve fake updates being sent to your phone or computer, allowing people to spy on you through GPS, camera and mic. Then I got excited reading about hackerspaces, like Noisebridge, which is a place for technical-creative projects, run by their members to provide an educational institution intended for public benefit. I even learned about a website called Code Academy, where you can learn to code websites for free! Then I got scared when I read about Marcus being nabbed at a public demonstration: “The police were checking people, logging them, and copying all the data off their phones before letting them go.” Sadly, I can imagine something like this happening.

This book made me want to get up and do something! But then, I realized I was tired, and instead I went back to resting in bed. In all seriousness, Doctorow does provide a lot of helpful links and information in his Afterwards, so when I’m not feeling lazy, I can do some research and maybe go stand up for something I believe in.

Here are a couple quotes I enjoyed:

“Move one step in the direction of your goal. Remember that you can change direction to maneuver around obstacles.”

“It’s easy to feel hopeless in the face of the difficult issues that we face every day – how could one person effectively resist anything so much larger than herself? Once we stop acting alone, we have a chance for positive change. To protest is to stop and say that you object, to resist is to stop others from going along without thinking and to build alternatives is to give everyone new choices.”

What I didn’t like:
There’s really nothing wrong with this book – unless you count that at times it made me feel guilty for not being an activist and doing more for myself and my country.

~

To me, both Little Brother and Homeland are not your average young adult novels. I love that Doctorow encourages teens to learn more about the government and technology and how it’s used. I think these books are great for adults too and I’m glad I read them! If you’re at all interested in reading about technology and government conspiracies, with teenage protagonists, check out these books! ( )
  MillieHennessy | Nov 16, 2014 |
I liked it, but it lacked the vigor of Little Brother. Kids have to grow up, but the angst of the college student was just less entertaining to me than the angst of the wrongfully imprisoned high school kids.

Other random comments: Using the same villain was ... interesting. I didn't actually love this villain, but it gave Doctorow a chance to explore the protagonist's PTSD, which I appreciated. On the other hand, I didn't really love the guest appearances of big name Bay Area / Burning Man culture, and the general coolness vibe. ( )
  lquilter | Oct 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Mr. Doctorow is bang up-to-date (as Orwell never was) on the uses of rapidly changing technology, both good and bad. If you want to keep up, there's a four-page appendix on how to protect your privacy and use the Net productively—so long as you're allowed, that is.
added by sgump | editWall Street Journal, Tom Shippey (Feb 19, 2013)
 
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For Alice and Poesy, who make me whole.
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Attending Burning Man made me simultaneously one of the most photographed people on the planet and one of the least surveilled humans in the modern world.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A current day story about teens use of technology that gets them mixed up with political campaigns, espionage, and hacking government documents. It was too long and drawn out with descriptions that would only appeal to like minded computer geeks.
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When Marcus, once called M1k3y, receives a thumbdrive containing evidence of corporate and governmental treachery, his job, fame, family, and well-being, as well as his reform-minded employer's election campaign, are all endangered.

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