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Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present…
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Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Cory Doctorow

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5612217,757 (3.78)10
Member:Vermin
Title:Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present
Authors:Cory Doctorow
Info:Running Press (2007), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:eBook, Fiction
Rating:***1/2
Tags:science fiction, short stories

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Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present by Cory Doctorow (2007)

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» See also 10 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13754147
  cctesttc1 | Jul 20, 2016 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13754147
  Lunapilot | Jul 19, 2016 |
Short stories that you probably wanted to be longer. I'm a big fan of C D ( )
  troyka | May 5, 2016 |
In the story “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth,” there is a horrifying worldwide coordinated terrorist attack. It involves nuclear weapons, lethal bioweapons, computer attacks that essentially take down the Net, and much more. The viewpoint character, in Canada, sees the CN Tower fall. He is one of a group of computer experts in a secure facility who avoid the airborne pathogen that has killed a significant fraction of the world’s population. These survivors aren’t experts in biowar, etc., but they do what they can, given their area of expertise, and begin to rebuild a functioning Internet amid the steaming ruins of civilization. Then...
When they start trying to cobble together a rudimentary government, one debate involves a female sysadmin. We get this rumination from the viewpoint character:
Not many woman sysadmins, and that was a genuine tragedy.
The main character’s wife and baby son have just been murdered by bioweapon. New York City and Mecca are radioactive moonscapes. Human civilization has been destroyed. And... “Not many woman sysadmins, and that was a genuine tragedy.”
The passage continues:
Women like Queen Kong were too good to exclude from the field. He’d have to hack a solution to get women balanced out in his new government. Require each region to elect one woman and one man?
Look, I try to avoid political comments in my reviews. (In fact, generally such comments are part of the problem.) But you have to call out extreme insanity. An author who writes something like that is not mentally normal. You literally cannot satirize leftism any more; it deranges people’s minds so thoroughly that a worldwide bio-nuclear strike sets off editorials asserting the need for more affirmative action. A normal person, in the wake of WMD-caused megadeath, would blurt out something like, “Oh God, this is terrible! Billions of people have been killed!” People like Doctorow would blurt, “Oh God, this is terrible! Women are underrepresented in network-admin positions!”
There is also the fact that the story screeches to a halt so the author can insert his little Op-Ed piece on politics. One is haunted by the painful suspicion that Doctorow thinks he’s being subtle here. One also gets the sense that he is actually fantasizing about such a cataclysm because, hey, at least it would clear the way for proportional representation.
Anyway, at this point, of course, I stopped reading and started just randomly flipping through the remaining pages. A few days later, the protagonist and a friend are wandering outside the secured facility, trying to find some food. To get the absurdity of what comes next, a little scene-setting:

They didn’t see a single soul on the fifteen-minute walk. There wasn’t a single sound... It was like walking on the surface of the moon...They walked past a little hatchback and in the front seat was the dried body of a woman holding the dried body of a baby, and his mouth filled with sour bile, even though the smell was faint through the rolled-up windows.
A page later they encounter a woman wandering in the ruins of civilization. The following exchange ensues:
Felix held his hands up. “Seriously, are you a doctor? A pharmacist?”
“I used to be a RN, ten years ago. I’m mostly a Web designer.”
“You’re shitting me,” Felix said.
“Haven’t you ever met a girl who knew about computers?”
“Actually, a friend of mine who runs Google’s data center is a girl. A woman, I mean.”
“You’re shitting me,” she said. “A woman ran Google’s data center?”
Amid the smoking craters where there used to be cities and the corpses lining the streets, people say, “Wow, a female ran Google’s data center? That really strikes me as a surprising and dramatic fact worth taking note of!” WTF? (What’s surprising about that, anyway?)
As I write this, in April 2015, there is a tempest in a teacup in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy world about “right wingers” “taking over” the Hugo Awards. The “right wingers” are actually just people who want to replace fiction that is (1) horribly stupid and (2) politically in-your-face, like the above, with actual story-telling. The amount of pearl-clutching this has occasioned from the in-your-face crowd is hilarious; God forbid that people read a story that doesn’t bombard them with tendentious agitprop!

I flipped through the intros to the rest of the stories. In the last intro, Doctorow compares the siege of Leningrad in WWII to, well, read: When Doctorow visited the city with his grandmother, who had been in the siege, “She pointed out the corners where she’d seen frozen, starved corpses, their asses sliced away by black-market butchers; the windows from which she’d heaved the bodies of her starved neighbors when she grew too weak to carry them... My grandmother’s stories found an easy marriage with the contemporary narrative of developing nations being strong-armed into taking on rich-country copyright and patent laws.” Well, of course! Who, on hearing of the cannabalism in the siege of Leningrad, doesn’t instantly think of international copyright law?

Summary: If you want story, not a political lecture of elephantine unsubtlety, avoid this deplorable collection of idiocy. ( )
  Carnophile | Apr 12, 2015 |
I run hot and cold on Doctorow, sometimes he's really entertaining, and sometimes he doesn't do enough storytelling to cover up the fact that his books serve as a soapbox for him to share his opinions on technology.

This short-story collection contains 5 stories, and each star in my rating corresponds with each of the stories I liked. There were two I could have done without: "When Sysadmins Ruled The Earth" was too self-indulgent for my tastes, almost like it was fantasy wish-fulfillment for someone who takes arguing on the Internets way, way too seriously. "I Row-Boat" reminded me a lot of Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, except Down and Out was actually well-written. ( )
  BrookeAshley | May 20, 2013 |
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Book description
Contains the following short stories:

Printcrime

When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth

Anda's Game

I, Robot

I, Row-Boat

After the Seige

About the Author
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"In Cory Doctorow's new collection of stories, he offers up mind-bending science-fiction tales that explore the possibilities of information technology - and its various uses - run amok. "Anda's Game" is a spin on the bizarre new phenomenon of "cyber sweatshops, " in which people are paid very low wages to play online games all day in order to generate in-game wealth. "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth" tells of the heroic exploits of "sysadmins" - systems administrators - as they defend the cyber-world, and hence the world at large, from worms and bioweapons."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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