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Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
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Little Brother

by Cory Doctorow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Little Brother (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,8243121,350 (4.07)2 / 238
  1. 201
    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (JFDR)
    JFDR: 1984's Big Brother is Little Brother's namesake.
  2. 100
    Feed by M. T. Anderson (snozzberry)
  3. 50
    For the Win by Cory Doctorow (jshrop)
  4. 41
    Makers by Cory Doctorow (SheReads)
  5. 41
    The Hacker Crackdown: Law And Disorder On The Electronic Frontier by Bruce Sterling (persky)
    persky: The book that turned Doctorow on to the EFF and a real world account of various government agencies cracking down on teenage hackers.
  6. 20
    After by Francine Prose (meggyweg)
  7. 10
    The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian (JFDR)
  8. 10
    The Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian (strande)
    strande: In chapter thirteen, Ange and Marcus call the media whores. "In fact, that's an insult to hardworking whores everywhere. They're, they're profiteers." Media Monopoly is a whole book about how the media turned into profiteers.
  9. 21
    Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow (ahstrick)
  10. 10
    Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For knowledge, the use and distribution, general purpose. Best for teens.
  11. 10
    So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld (snozzberry)
  12. 10
    Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet Out of Idaho by Jon Katz (writecathy)
  13. 10
    Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government Saving Privacy in the Digital Age by Steven Levy (kraaivrouw)
  14. 10
    Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow (PghDragonMan)
  15. 00
    Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (kaledrina)
  16. 00
    Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky (kaledrina)
  17. 00
    The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith (kaledrina)
  18. 00
    Z by Michael Thomas Ford (kaledrina)
  19. 00
    Scroogled by Cory Doctorow (Liberuno)
  20. 00
    Reflex by Steven Gould (persky)

(see all 27 recommendations)

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English (298)  German (3)  Italian (3)  Indonesian (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (310)
Showing 1-5 of 298 (next | show all)
Honestly I was expecting something more like a novel and less like one of Cory Doctorow's blog posts. There's a lot of infodumping in this - good info, but the whole first half of the book has more info than story.

And...well, books like this always date, but I feel like this one has dated badly in just a few years. Not the technology, that's all still pretty good, but the social situation. Reading about an upper-middle-class white kid going to war against the government in the wake of everything happening in Ferguson, Missouri makes me want to pat him on the head and give him a cookie. (Doctorow does address the race disparity once - but only once.) ( )
  jen.e.moore | Sep 11, 2014 |
This review and others posted over at my blog

Marcus and his three friends cut school early to play their favorite online/scavenger hunt game when the San Francisco Bay Bridge gets blown up in a terrorist attack. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, they’re picked up by the Department of Homeland Security and imprisoned for days. When Marcus is released under surveillance and warned never to speak of what he endured, the city is on lockdown and every citizen is treated as a potential threat. Bristling at the lack of their rights and freedoms, Marcus and other teenagers start an internet revolution to outsmart the technology of the DHS and take back their city.

What I liked:
I want to apologize now – I have a million stickies in this book and there are a lot of things I’d like to discuss, but I also don’t want this review to be incredibly long, so I’ll try to keep my thoughts organized. Just in case I don’t though…sorry!

Doctorow’s writing immediately grabbed me – I really loved Marcus’ voice. He was very smart for his age, yet not overly so, as he made his fair share of mistakes. He’s very tech savvy too, but each time he introduces a new phrase or gadget to the reader, Marcus explains it in a way that makes sense (well…except cryptology) but doesn’t feel overbearing. There’s a lot of technology in this book and honestly, I’m sure more of it exists then I realize. Marcus talks about gait recognition cameras that monitor the way kids walk through hallways to try to match their gait to a personal profile and tracking devices in library books because the government wouldn’t authorize putting tracking devices on students themselves. There are school-issued laptops that record every keystroke and only allow access to sanctioned websites. Debit cards, subway passes and fast passes in cars track the daily movements of the citizens who use them, creating more profiles that can be monitored for “abnormalities.” There are truancy apps that adults can use to post photos of the kids when they’re out and about during the school day, and other crazy inventions that really set the tone and gave me a “big brother is watching” feel that I enjoyed. In fact, it made me a little paranoid about my current use of technology (so many books making me paranoid this year – a sign that I’m reading a lot of excellent writers!)

Doctorow clearly did a lot of research on technology and it shows in a positive way. I was engrossed in both the plot and the new technological developments being thrown my way. There’s also a large focus on freedom and what that means to residents of the United States. When the bomb goes off and the city goes into lockdown, a lot of personal freedoms are sacrificed for safety and the general message is that we should not have to give up privacy for safety or security.

When Marcus is first captured he’s in shock and comments on terrorist in a way that made me realize I’m of a similar mindset: “I knew that in the abstract there were terrorist somewhere in the world, but they didn’t really represent any risk to me. There were millions of ways that the world could kill me – starting with getting run down by a drunk burning his way down Valencia – that were infinitely more likely and immediate than terrorist. Terrorist kill a lot fewer people than bathroom falls and accidental electrocutions. Worrying about them always struck me as about as usefully as worrying about getting hit by lightning.”

In the aftermath of this attack Marcus is questioned by the DHS as a possible terrorist himself and is told that “honest people don’t have anything to hide,” in keeping with the theme of sacrificing all personal privacy for the sake of stopping terrorism. There are a lot of great quotes on this subject, like “Imagine if someone locked you in the back of a police car and demanded that you prove that you’re not a terrorist.”

Doctorow also talks about freedom through Marcus and I enjoyed his perspective: “I can’t go underground [...] waiting for freedom to be handed to me. Freedom is something you have to take for yourself.”

“[...] no matter how unpredictable the future may be, we don’t win freedom through security systems, cryptography, interrogations and spot searches. We win freedom by having the courage and the conviction to live every day freely and act as a free society, no matter how great the threats are on the horizon.”

What I didn’t like:
While Marcus made mistakes and couldn’t constantly outsmart the DHS, I do feel like he was a bit of an over-hero. Yes, I realize there are teenagers out there who understand technology the way Marcus does and there are creative hackers who can outsmart any system if they put their mind to it. But Marcus still felt a little too perfect. He did have help from some friends, both in real life and via the internet, so this is just me nitpicking.

I was also greatly confused by cryptology. That was a topic that Marcus brought up several times and in great detail. I understand it was part of his character; he was very interested in it and understood it well, so that showed. But at times I was reading paragraphs about public keys and private keys and formulas and I felt like my head was spinning. I had to skim through some sections because I just felt the level of detail Doctorow was giving wasn’t of interest to someone who has no background in crypto and I really wasn’t interested in learning all the Doctorow was trying to teach me. But there were only a few sections muddied down by crypto so it wasn’t something that annoyed me throughout the whole book.

~

Overall I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading the sequel, Homeland. I would recommend this for anyone who is into young adult books with a tech-savvy spin, as well as those who are into more modern dystopias, if you will. ( )
  MillieHennessy | Aug 19, 2014 |
Cory Doctorow's novel, "Little Brother," a high-tech book about government surveillance and terrorism, is a kind of weird agitprop/YA mixture. Didn't care for it myself, but maybe I'm just too old and cynical to be reading books for Our Young People. Read the rest: http://thegrimreader.blogspot.com/2014/08/i-dont-think-little-brother-will-every... ( )
  nohrt4me2 | Aug 14, 2014 |
Little Brother takes place in a not-too-distant future in San Fransisco. There are four friends who are skipping school when someone blows up the Bay Bridge--giving the Department of Homeland Security(DHS)all the authority it needs to spy on people, harrass, and detain people without any real cause or habeus corpus (ability to see a judge). And a group of teenagers fight back with the slogan, "Don't trust anyone over 25!".

There were a lot of great things in this book, but I feel the need to relate what keeps it from being a four or five star book. It takes place in the future, I think....? There is no date for the book given, and that's not REALLY a problem, but the problem was I didn't understand if all the technological stuff that Doctorow talked about was real, or not? I got confused. The only other thing holding it back was the way too deep explanations of all the technical stuff--not needed. I'm not going to read the book and all of a sudden become a technical genius, I just want a book that talks about the US gov messing things up. :)

I would DEFINITELY recommend for anyone who doesn't know all of the powers that DHS has--because those, although they seem scary and untrue, ARE the truth in our post 9-11 world. The government can tap our phones and detain us without giving us a right to see a judge, attorney, or make a phone call. It's scary. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Little Brother takes place in a not-too-distant future in San Fransisco. There are four friends who are skipping school when someone blows up the Bay Bridge--giving the Department of Homeland Security(DHS)all the authority it needs to spy on people, harrass, and detain people without any real cause or habeus corpus (ability to see a judge). And a group of teenagers fight back with the slogan, "Don't trust anyone over 25!".

There were a lot of great things in this book, but I feel the need to relate what keeps it from being a four or five star book. It takes place in the future, I think....? There is no date for the book given, and that's not REALLY a problem, but the problem was I didn't understand if all the technological stuff that Doctorow talked about was real, or not? I got confused. The only other thing holding it back was the way too deep explanations of all the technical stuff--not needed. I'm not going to read the book and all of a sudden become a technical genius, I just want a book that talks about the US gov messing things up. :)

I would DEFINITELY recommend for anyone who doesn't know all of the powers that DHS has--because those, although they seem scary and untrue, ARE the truth in our post 9-11 world. The government can tap our phones and detain us without giving us a right to see a judge, attorney, or make a phone call. It's scary. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 298 (next | show all)
Little Brother represents a great step forward in the burgeoning subgenre of dystopian young-adult SF. It brings a greater degree of political sophistication, geekiness and civil disobedience to a genre that was already serving up a milder dose of rebellion. After this, no YA novel will be able to get away with watering down its youthful revolution.
 
MY favorite thing about “Little Brother” is that every page is charged with an authentic sense of the personal and ethical need for a better relationship to information technology, a visceral sense that one’s continued dignity and independence depend on it: “My technology was working for me, serving me, protecting me. It wasn’t spying on me. This is why I loved technology: if you used it right, it could give you power and privacy.”

I can’t help being on this book’s side, even in its clunkiest moments. It’s a neat story and a cogently written, passionately felt argument.
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cory Doctorowprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hayden, Patrick NielsenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heyborne, KirbyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoteling, SpringDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huang, AndrewAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lutjen, PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schneier, BruceAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shimizu, YukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Alice, who makes me whole
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I'm a senior at Cesar Chavez high in San Francisco's sunny Mission district, and that makes me one of the most surveilled people in the world.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
The ultimate tale of teen rebellion -- one seventeen-year-old against the surveillance state. Big Brother is watching you. Who's watching back? Marcus is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works -- and how to work the system. Smart, fast and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school's intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems. But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison, where they're mercilessly interrogated for days. When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state, where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765319853, Hardcover)

Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:26 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, California, seventeen-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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