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Makers by Cory Doctorow
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Makers

by Cory Doctorow

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Doctorow steers away from the singularity science-fiction & urban fantasy and returns to base roots -- boys with toys. The story chronicles two Makers -- people who build random DIY stuff just to see if they can, like a hive of Tickle-Me-Elmos that collectively drive a golf cart. Eventually they create some sort of "ride" that garners worldwide attention. Including Disney Parks, who wants to tear them apart, steal their ideas, and sue them to the short-and-curlies. Along the way, Doctorow interjects some singularity elements like drastic weight-loss medical procedures, 3-D printers, and advancements in shantytowns.

I don't think it's as good as "Little Brother". There's not as much tension, and the plot meanders. Lord does it meander. The first part, with the boom and bust of the Makers, acts more like a prologue. There's no real unifying goal for the protagonists to achieve (except maybe to be left alone so they can build their things). It's treated more like obstacle, overcoming, obstacle, overcoming. And the final resolution seems deus ex--the bad guy spontaneously learns the error of his ways and converts. Plus I don't get the "ride". Is it a museum? A fictional exhibit? A sort of play? And some things suffer from "24" disease (things happening faster than is plausible). It would be nice to see communication and events happen so fast, but I don't think that's realistic.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good book. But the story is more like a serial than a novel, and I'm no big fan of serials. ( )
  theWallflower | Nov 13, 2013 |
Is this a novel or a very long series of speculative blog posts? Cory Doctorow's excellent at describing plausible futures, but there's something bloodless and off-putting about how he strings the beginnings of thoughts together with a weak emotional story. I generally want fiction to have a good answer to "So what?" and the stakes in Makers are plenty high. Still, the conventional storytelling is just a wrapper--and a poor fit at that--for the ideas that practically bubble over on every page. Would have liked to see more formal weirdness, experimentation, integration.

Does Nerve still give out awards for bad sex in fiction? If so, I nominate Makers for all of the categories. ( )
  amelish | Sep 12, 2013 |
Makers is about a group of entrepreneurial folks who build a New Work movement, making new products from what is at hand in an agile development process that creates amazing things. These people are the love children of Ayn Rand and Eugene Debs, creating a utopian society of like-minded outcasts.

It only gets interesting after they crash the economy.

Makers is a polemic, and the agenda is both clear and compelling. That our society is unfair, and unsustainable, serves as an easily accepted premise; that we should try to change that, another. The failure that ensues, like any good tragedy, follows necessarily from these premises, yet is no less entertaining for its inevitability.
  EverettWiggins | Jul 30, 2013 |
Makers is set in the near-future, which is something that tends to interest me. I like seeing what authors think our future is going to be like, and CD apparently thinks ours is going to basically be like it is now, only with people wearing fetus necklaces as fashion statements. (Seriously.)

Other things in this book: a serious anti-fat obsession culminating in a medical breakthrough that makes people un-fat with a few pills, anti/pro-Disney flipflopping, people crying all over the place, a brief fling at a new way of running businesses that fails horribly, a REALLY TERRIBLE sex scene that did nothing except gross me the hell out, and various things CD is interested in, like blogging and inventing stuff out of garbage and so on.

The blogging and inventing stuff was the most interesting part of the book; the rest of it...oh, I don’t know. Like most of CD’s books, there’s a LOT packed in here. I don’t really want to unpack it all because I have other stuff to do, okay– but for once the multitudes of topics feels relatively even. Sometimes, in his earlier books, he’d go off on a tangent about wifi routers or whatever and it didn’t fit anywhere into the main plotline and made no sense in the context of the rest of the book. Here, everything fits. So huzzah for that!

Read the rest of my review at my blog. ( )
  herebebooks | Jul 3, 2013 |
Completely failed to get into this and gave up after 20 or so pages. Way too geeky and self-satisfied. ( )
  SChant | Apr 26, 2013 |
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For "the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things."
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Suzanne Church almost never had to bother with the blue blazer these days. Back at the height of the dot-boom, she'd put on her business journalist drag--blazer, blue sailcloth shirt, khaki trousers, loafers--just about every day, putting in her obligatory appearances at splashy press-conferences for high-flying IPOs and mergers. These days, it was mostly work at home or one day a week at the San Jose Mercury News's office, in comfortable light sweaters with loose necks and loose cotton pants that she could wear straight to yoga after shutting her computer's lid.
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What happens to America when two geeks working from a garage invent easy 3D printing, a cure for obesity, and crowd-sourced theme parks? Lawsuits against Disney are only the beginning in this major novel of the booms, busts, and further booms in store for America in the age of open source and its hero/hacker culture.… (more)

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