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Little Brother

by Cory Doctorow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Little Brother (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,4083881,729 (4.01)2 / 273
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.
Recently added byBrookeW23, private library, jenmoyers, MadSeason, eric.maynard, drlaurensteele, gaylordkitten
  1. 261
    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (JFDR)
    JFDR: 1984's Big Brother is Little Brother's namesake.
  2. 100
    Feed by M. T. Anderson (kellyholmes)
  3. 70
    For the Win by Cory Doctorow (jshrop)
  4. 71
    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.
  5. 51
    Makers by Cory Doctorow (SheReads)
  6. 30
    Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow (PghDragonMan)
  7. 31
    Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow (ahstrick)
  8. 20
    Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (kaledrina)
  9. 20
    After by Francine Prose (meggyweg)
  10. 20
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both about teens fighting back against the greater power using computers.
  11. 10
    Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For knowledge, the use and distribution, general purpose. Best for teens.
  12. 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.
  13. 10
    Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government Saving Privacy in the Digital Age by Steven Levy (kraaivrouw)
  14. 10
    So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld (kellyholmes)
  15. 10
    Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet Out of Idaho by Jon Katz (writecathy)
  16. 10
    The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian (JFDR)
  17. 54
    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (JFDR)
  18. 10
    Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias (reconditereader)
    reconditereader: Both involve dystopias, resistance, oppression, technology, and interesting characters.
  19. 00
    The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith (kaledrina)
  20. 00
    The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi (g33kgrrl)
    g33kgrrl: Young people take on the system.

(see all 31 recommendations)


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» See also 273 mentions

English (375)  Italian (3)  German (3)  Hungarian (2)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Indonesian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (387)
Showing 1-5 of 375 (next | show all)
Kind of amateurish writing (though I guess it's being written by a teenager), and unrealistic characters and plot.

"I danced until I was so tired I couldn't dance another step. Ange danced alongside of me. Technically, we were rubbing our sweaty bodies against each other for several hours, but believe it or not, I totally wasn't being a horn-dog about it."

"Every night since the party, I'd gone to bed thinking of two things: the sight of the crowd charging the police lines and the feeling of the side of her breast under her shirt as we leaned against the pillar. She was amazing. I'd never been with a girl as...aggressive as her before. It had always been me putting the moves on and them pushing me away. I got the feeling that Ange was as much of a horn-dog as I was. It was a tantalizing notion."

"Ange nuzzled me a little and I kissed her and we necked. Something about the danger and the pact to go together -- it made me forget the awkwardness of having sex, made me freaking horny as hell."

Lots of cryptonerd free software worship stuff, which is annoying. Every Linux fanatic's silly fantasy.

I felt a bit choked up and/or defiant at parts, like the rescue scene, so that's good, at least. ( )
  endolith | Mar 1, 2023 |
2.5 Stars

Well that had a whole lot of 'splaining throughout which, whilst necessary, made for some long dull moments in this YA dystopia.

I know this has been very popular but I honestly feel like it hasn't aged well. The main character makes lots of pervy comments about girls and says he can't hug his kidnapped, injured and traumatised male friend because guys don't hug each other. I think we have moved past that mentality as a society right? On the positive side, I really liked the way the dystopic elements developed and how things became quite brutal quite quickly. Just okay for me.
( )
  Mrs_Tapsell_Bookzone | Feb 14, 2023 |
I have just started to read Cory Doctorow's books. This book made it onto the CBC 100 Young Adult Books That Make me Proud to be Canadian list so I figured it was one I needed to read. I am still woefully deficient in my YA reads probably because I thought they wouldn't be as challenging for an adult reader. This book proves that I was certainly wrong about that.

Four high school students, Marcus, Darryl, Vanessa (Van), and Jose Luis (JoLu), meet up in downtown San Francisco to play an alternate reality game that involves finding clues before other teams find them. Just as they are about to start they hear loud explosions resulting from a terrorist attack on a bridge and the subway system. The Department of Home Security quickly rolls into action and the foursome are detained on suspicion of terrorism. Darryl was wounded while the group escaped during a melee in the BART system and he was taken to a separate holding system. Marcus initially refused to provide the password for his cell phone incurring the wrath of the DHS investigators. It was five days before Marcus, Van and JoLu were released. They agreed they would not tell their parents they had been held for questioning; instead they told them they had been on the other side of the Bay and had to stay in a makeshift refugee camp for that period. Marcus is determined to find out what happened to Darryl but the DHS is running surveillance on communications and traffic and almost every public location. Even the classrooms in schools are fitted with cameras. Marcus devises an alternate internet system using X-boxes (which I don't pretend to understand) and cryptography which is almost immune to the DHS spying. He spreads this out to friends and gamers that he feels are trustworthy but there are still risks he will be caught. And now there are rumours that people charged with terrorism will be sent overseas to some place like Syria and never heard from again. Marcus and his buddies are certainly playing a high stakes game. Life is not all covert operations though; Marcus has attracted a like-minded girlfriend, Ange, and there are some sweet moments of teenage love and lust.

When this book came out in 2008 it was criticized as having serious themes that weren't appropriate for young adult audiences. A high school principal in Florida pulled the book from the curriculum in 2014 because it presented questioning authority as a good thing. Perhaps in response Doctorow has kept the book on his website as open source, meaning it can be read for free by anyone (or at least anyone with internet access). High school seems to me like a very appropriate time to challenge students with the question of when is it appropriate to question authority. It's a conundrum people face often as they head out into the workforce. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jan 4, 2023 |
I didn't see what people liked about this one. The message was larger than the story (as in, pounding me over the head with it), and the narrator's voice was condescending and explainy. Couldn't even finish it on audio. ( )
  Harks | Dec 17, 2022 |
Well, now I understand RSA encryption.
  ibazel | Oct 5, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 375 (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 (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cory Doctorowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gutzschhahn, Uwe-MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome 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)

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.

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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.

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