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Makers by Cory Doctorow

Makers (edition 2009)

by Cory Doctorow

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916589,587 (3.61)23
Authors:Cory Doctorow
Info:Tor Books (2009), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle Books, To read

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Makers by Cory Doctorow

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I have a good contender for worst read of 2015!

The first half of this book is simply a message with a story slathered thinly on top. The practically all-male cast is cardboard and hollow, and their characters seem to be half developed based on what clothes they wear and food they eat. The female main character is a Mary Sue who can do little wrong (every single male character professes himself in love with her at some point). The other female characters are weird wish fulfillment girl (a college student who offers sage advice and then throws herself at a main character 10+ years her senior, in a very awkward sex scene) or the frustrated wife of another male character who mainly exists to watch the children and occasionally gets angry at her husband.

There's all sorts of over-the-top telling. Like, a character will say "You really smell, man!" and then everyone in the scene will find this so funny they are described as doubled over laughing (or rolling around on the ground) with tears running down their face. Was this book meant for 10 year olds?

Also, the fat shaming. Doctorow is obsessed with describing everyone's body types. I counted three instances of really repulsive descriptions of people who are overweight in the first forty pages. I'm assuming this was added to set up the pointless fatkins storyline (what was the point of that anyway?), but it doesn't make these sections any less repulsive to me. Here's a sample:

The other commonality this stretch of road shared with Detroit was the obesity of the people she passed. She'd felt a little self-conscious that morning, dressing in a light short-sleeved blouse and a pair of shorts -- nothing else would do, the weather was so hot and drippy that even closed-toe shoes would have been intolerable. At 45, her legs had slight cellulite saddlebags and her tummy wasn't the washboard it had been when she was 25. But here, on this stretch of road populated by people so fat they could barely walk, so fat that they were de-sexed marshmallows with faces like inflatable toys, she felt like a toothpick.


"Right," Perry said. "That's next week, and this aft we've got some work to do, but now I'm ready for lunch. You guys ready for lunch?"

Something about food and really fat guys, it seemed like an awkward question to Suzanne, like asking someone who'd been horribly disfigured by burns if he wanted to toast a marshmallow. But Lester didn't react to the question -- of course not, he had to eat, everyone had to eat.

Anyway, this book was horrible. The story just kept going and going on pointlessly for 400 pages. I was excited to read something by Doctorow, because I really like his ideas, so this was definitely disappointing. And, okay, the ideas underneath this mess were actually very interesting (I DID like the idea of the crowd-sourced ride slowly turning into a subconsciously created story). But, I rather read about these ideas in blog posts and non-fiction. My advice? Don't read Makers and stick to Doctorow's non-fiction. ( )
  knsievert | Oct 31, 2015 |
Barely any plot, cardboard characters, a disdain for Midwesterners and fat people. Why did I finish it? To see where this exercise in imagining new technology and a new economy lead. In the end, a muddled and not very coherent idea of the new economy, but the technology was cool. (Although I can see that Doctorow's vision of technology will probably seem quaint in about 10 years - so much of what he writes about here is currently being developed, and the odds are strong that the products won't follow Doctorow's trajectory.) ( )
  Talbin | Mar 12, 2015 |
  activelearning | Nov 16, 2014 |
Doctorow loves to write about the near-future with the little guy going up against evil mega-corps and 'Makers' is no exception to that basic premise. Perry and Lester are hacking a post-modern living out of the wasteland of near-future America while living in the shadow of the evil Disney corporation. Suzanne is an ex-reporter turned blogger hired to cover their story. Together, along with a few other people, they create a cult of personality that changes the world - for a little while.

This book was up & down for me. Mostly up; the writing style is direct and easy to read. The characters are pretty well-conceived and have interesting relationships with each other. The back-drop of the post-modern, post-consumer world is rendered in great, but not over-bearing, detail. I'm not entirely sure what the denouement was supposed to be though? The last few chapters left me feeling flat as the story just sort of petered out.

I have to add that I did not really intend to read this book when I began it. Doctorow, putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to his stance on intellectual property rights, released the e-book version of 'Makers' under a Creative Commons license. That means it's free to download from online sources, (his website, gutenberg.org, etc). However... the cover artwork is not included in the licensing. So... here I had this blank bookcover on my e-reader and, having forgotten what it was that I downloaded several months ago, I only openend the file to see which book it was. I parsed a few paragraphs and was quickly hooked in & ended up reading this almost 600-page tome in just about four days. In short, it's an easy read that you can snag for free. Give it a shot. Even though the book is not perfect, it does contain a lot of cool ideas. ( )
  ScoLgo | Nov 5, 2014 |
A great book centering and the friendship between two guys that just want to make awesome tech stuff. They start a revolution, and the story gets told to the world by a tech journalist. ( )
  andystehr | Oct 20, 2014 |
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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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