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Homeland by Cory Doctorow

Homeland (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Cory Doctorow

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3682429,459 (3.88)6
Authors:Cory Doctorow
Info:Tor Teen (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:best of 2013, own, reviewed

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Homeland by Cory Doctorow (2013)




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English (22)  French (2)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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 |
The best measure of how I feel about Cory Doctorow's Homeland is that I read it in the course of two incredibly busy days. I carved out time late at night and between highly productive work projects to devour this book. I really enjoyed it and it made me tear up a time or two.

It's not perfect. It doesn't have the impact of Little Brother, but it is a worthy follow up and does a number of things better than the first one. I think it does a better job of serving as a gate-way drug to geek skills than Little Brother, and that's a non-trivial data point.

The book is highly politicized, but I think Doctorow's restraint is important to note. Much more so than in Pirate Cinema (another didactic YA tech novel by Doctorow) Cory Doctorow paints his juvenile tech hero's path as one of restraint. Marcus Yallow (the protagonist) chooses intentionally how to exercise the power his tech skills grant him. This restraint is contrasted to the techno-anarchism or techno-vigilantism of Anonymous and other hacker communities. This fine and subtle distinction may be lost by those looking for clearer distinctions between the white and black hats, but I want to applaud the author for showing that the ability to do things with technology != the right to do them. Yallow chooses well, but his restraint may be lost on less sophisticated readers and/or reviewers.

In the end, I'm on board. Doctorow has done a fine job turning the moral quandries of the information frontiers into a very human novel for young people. In the end, it is better for all of us to empower ourselves to make as many choices as possible, since the alternatives are to surrender that agency to government, corporate, or black-hat computer criminal groups. The choices aren't easy, but better to make difficult choices than to be a pawn. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
I liked Little Brother so much I was excited to get my hands on Homeland as quick as I could. Unfortunately that was the only excitement I held for this though. The same group of. Hat actress returns, a bit scared and damaged from past experiences. To me though the new set of problems Marcus and company find doesn't have the same depth and sense of doom that the original book had. ( )
  capiam1234 | Aug 3, 2014 |
This sequel to "Little Brother" doesn't quite live up to its predecessor. At the end of LB, Marcus has gone from a somewhat cocky teen rebel to a wiser, scarred near-adult. He learns; he grows; he evolves. In contrast, Marcus ends Homeland in basically the same shape he starts in. It's a shame, because the writing in both books is good, if a bit tech-y in places.

In any event, the book begins with Marcus and his girlfriend Ange having a great time at Burning Man. They run into Masha, a former baddie in LB, who gives them a USB stick with a complete and very damaging dossier on "Severe Haircut Lady," the Big Bad from LB. She wants Marcus to leak it, Wikileaks-style, in hopes that the info will bring down the clandestine Homeland Security apparatus.

Then Masha disappears, and Marcus has a dilemma--how to release the info without drawing the attention of the baddies. In the meantime, he's found a dream job as a webmaster for an up-and-coming politician. The rest of the book covers his attempts to get the info out without losing his head, his friends, or his job.

I'll keep this one, because I do like the characters, it's a quick read, and the writing is good. I had the pleasure of hearing Cory Doctorow talk about Homeland on his recent tour, and I don't think we've heard the last of Marcus. I just hope that in the next one, Marcus continues to evolve, and the tension/stakes are higher. ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.’ - Marcus Yallow

Marcus Yallow’s mantra seems like the type of statement you would hear from someone who panics when things go wrong – not at all your typical hero. But what defines a hero is not the size of his muscles, or a cool and calm demeanor in a crisis, but a willingness to tilt at windmills, even when those windmills are the Department of Homeland Security.

Life is bleak for Marcus. When his parents both lose their jobs due to an ever-declining economy, he has to drop out of school at UC Berkeley. But an amazing quirk of fate lands him the ideal dream job – webmaster for an idealistic independent politician. So what should Marcus do when he is given a flash drive that contains an amazing amount of data depicting some pretty heinous crimes … committed by the government? If he releases this information to the internet, he puts his perfect job at risk, but his conscience tells him he needs to do something to help prevent these violations from proliferating. This story was a brilliant combination of morality tale and techno thriller adventure. For people who want action, there is plenty as Marcus is chased through the streets of San Francisco by people who can trace your every move via cell phone, web cam, or IP address. It is also one of those stories that presents its characters with a moral dilemma. We know there are injustices in the world. Isn’t it easier just to keep our nose to the grindstone and let someone else battle the bullies? This is the type of book that will not only make you want to think, but also make you want to fix some of the wrongs in the world. You’ll feel like you have to do something, even if it’s just running around in circles and screaming and shouting.

If you are debating on whether you should read this book in print, or listen in audio, the choice is obvious. LISTEN to this book. The narration is perfectly performed by Wil Wheaton (yes, Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame) and the best part? Wil Wheaton makes a cameo appearance in the story. I also loved that Cory Doctorow doesn’t just write David vs. Goliath stories about individuals against the establishment, but walks the talk. The first track of this book is a passionate discourse by the author on why his book isn’t available from Audible. As you can imagine, Audible’s requirement of forcing DRM (Digital Rights Management) would rub someone who is as passionate about individual rights as Doctorow the wrong way. So much that this book is not available from Audible, who has the lion’s share of the audio download market.

Great story – entertaining and it will inspire you to do your part to change the world, bringing out the hero in all of us.

I received a free download of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  jmoncton | Jul 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (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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Book description
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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