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Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present…

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

by Cory Doctorow

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5352018,829 (3.82)10
Title:Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present
Authors:Cory Doctorow
Info:Running Press (2007), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:eBook, Fiction
Tags:science fiction, short stories

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

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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 |
I spent a lot of time today, once I wandered over there somehow, on Cory Doctorow's site, looking at his opinions and downloading his books and thinking about it all. I decided I'd read Overclocked, since it's short stories and I didn't feel like reading anything long and drawn out. Of course, the short stories added up to more or less the same amount of reading time, but oh well.

There's six of them. I liked the first one, which is more or less microfiction -- I liked the end, anyway, and the concept. I'd have wound it tighter, hit harder, but I like the idea.

When Sysadmins Ruled The Earth made me laugh in places. I felt like it was a little dry in places where it could have been heart-rending, and skipped where it could have been interesting and got drawn out where it wasn't. Probably my least favourite of the six.

Anda's Game was quite interesting. The extra detail of Anda's life seemed a little dry, at times: it didn't live in my head, I couldn't really sympathise. I wish I had, it could have been awesome.

Next up, I, Robot. I liked this one a lot: it was a world I could get interested in and characters I could get somewhat invested in. I'd have liked more of it.

I, Rowboat made me laugh a good bit, at the start. I like the references to Asimov and the use of the three laws of robotics here. I also liked the introduction: "If I return to this theme, it will be with a story about uplifted cheese sandwiches, called “I, Rarebit”."

And After The Siege... I possibly liked the best. The version I downloaded was badly edited -- I don't know about all versions ever -- and there was some confusing name switching for some reason. But I liked the ideas, although again I felt like some of the emotional life of the story fell flat.

Definitely interesting, and worth spending the time with, but I probably won't revisit it. It feels very focused on the points Cory Doctorow's trying to get across, rather than the lives of his characters, but his ideas are interesting nonetheless. I did like that it's accessible speculative fiction -- no impenetrable technobabble. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
I'm a fiend for short fiction, and Doctorow's [b:Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present|115969|Overclocked Stories of the Future Present|Cory Doctorow|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1171719071s/115969.jpg|111691] is a thought-provoking collection of stories, often focused on intellectual property issues (it's more fun than it sounds).

I, Row-Boat and After the Siege were two favorites, though all the stories have something to recommend them.

My only complaint is that Doctorow is sometimes so eager to prove a point that he occasionally short-changes the story itself, or crosses that fine line between smart and preachy.

That said, this is a wonderful collection, and well worth your time. ( )
  TCWriter | Mar 31, 2013 |
Anche questo testo è ovviamente disponibile for free sul sito dell'autore che, come ricordo in ogni recensione, pubblica praticamente tutto sotto licenza Creative Commons.

Raccolta di racconti di qualità varia, di alcuni però vale decisamente la pena di recuperarli e leggerli.
Printcrime - ★★
Racconto brevissimo che evolve il concetto di stampanti 3D a replicatori di oggetti; contiene comunque i concetti cari all'autore.

I, robot - ★★★
Questo racconto è sia bello che scadente: è bello perchè si vede il desiderio dell'autore di avere un mondo digitale libero, è scadente perchè non lascia spazio alle opinioni (del lettore).
E' anche un omaggio ad Asimov, ai suoi robot dal cervello positronico e alle più famose leggi della fantascienza.

After the siege - ★★★★★
Questo racconto è disponibile anche in italiano come "Infoguerra".
La storia si ispira ai racconti sull'assedio di Leningrado che la nonnna raccontava all'autore; ovviamente il tutto è trasposto in chiave futuristica.
Nella città sotto assedio la tecnologia, più o meno velocemente, smette di funzionare e c'è la fame e ci sono i nemici alle porte.
Allora si inizia a combattere: la protagonista, Valentine, ancora una bambina, vedrà i genitori andare a combattere e dovrà lavorare per sfamarsi; un giorno però incontrerà un Mago, nella città, che vive in un'oasi dove tutto sembra essersi fermato a prima della guerra.
Oltre a riportare in vita la memoria di un assedio realmente avvenuto, Doctorow porta anche a far riflettere su guerra, tecnologia e media.
Un racconto da leggere.

Anda’s Game - ★★★
Questo è un assaggio delle idee che verranno poi ampliate in "For the Win". Il racconto ruota intorno al tema dei goldfarmers e alla contrapposizione tra paesi ricchi e poveri.
E' un racconto per certi versi semplicistico; se si è letto anche "For the win" il confronto non potrà mai reggere, anche per via del buonismo del racconto.

When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth - ★★★
E dopo l'apocalisse resteranno i system admin (principalmente perchè impegnati a sistemare server e altre amenità informatiche in edifici più protetti).
Questo racconto sottolinea le potenzialità e i difetti di Internet, e ancora una volta il sogno di un web libero da cui derivi una vera democrazia anche nel mondo reale.

I, row-boat - ★★★★
Un racconto molto particolare, in cui gli omaggi a Asimov la fanno da padroni: per prima cosa il titolo, poi Robbie, la barca protagonista e le più famose leggi della robotica.
Tutto però è stravolto: le leggi da programmazione sono diventate una religione e non si è obbligati a seguirle, e poi perchè seguirle? Gli esseri umani non esistono più, rimane solo la loro coscienza che può essere scaricata in robot umanoidi (ah che nostalgia ghost in the shell) interessati a particolari attività (come le immersioni).
Anche il cattivo è tutto particolare: chi avrebbe mai immaginato tanta malvagità in uno degli esseri più passivi al mondo?
( )
  Saretta.L | Mar 31, 2013 |
This collection of short stories shows Doctorow at what I think he does best: Taking an idea about technology or social interaction and playing with it by means of fiction. This is a strong volume that demonstrates what he can do. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Contains the following short stories:


When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth

Anda's Game

I, Robot

I, Row-Boat

After the Seige

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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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