This novel is set in ‘current’ day San Francisco. A small group of friends skip school to play a live action multi-player geocache game. While out wandering the city, a loud concussive blast rumbles the area. A series of explosions have taken out the Bay Bridge and all four friends find themselves mindlessly following the herd of fearful humans to perceived safe areas.
Trouble doesn’t end with the explosion, is always one total dick hole in any large crowd. While white eyed fear ruled the mob, one of the four gets stabbed and nearly trampled. They escape from the crowd and begin desperately trying to wave down medical assistance. Covered in blood and nowhere near where they should have been at that time of the day, it is little wonder they are detained by a passing Homeland Security team.
What follows is a scarily realistic view of what any world government could do when given enough unchecked power. Tortured, interrogated, with their families left wondering if they are dead, these fictional teens are illegally held by a paranoid and Terrorist primed government agency. There are no lawyers, no phone calls, and no public recognition that they even exist. On release from ‘Guantanamo by the Bay’ they are prohibited from discussion of their experiences, discussion would ultimately risk re-disappearance.
Little Brother, a YA novel by Cory Doctorow, is a piece of work. This novel is devoted to the perspective of M1k3y and his underground fight to keep simple freedoms like ‘communication’ alive. At some points the story gets a little heavy handed, but this is to be expected. A novel about liberties being removed is almost certainly going to take liberties to adequately describe the world in play.
Doctorow attempts to ensure all readers will be equally treated, but there are times where being a geek will have definite interpretive advantages. Non Linux-savvy readers should be prepared for what at times may feel like OS religious drivel. A complete technical novice may have trouble with some of the concepts discussed (RFID hacking, firewalls, decentralized communication hubs, gait-identification).
Regardless of age anyone interested in grass roots and do-it-yourself methods to bypassing security measures will enjoy this. It is full of general ways to just completely fuck up a world that is heavily dependent on and regulated by computers. Even in the absolutely painful sections where individual liberties are stripped and stomped on, this book was still very funny, highly educational, and served the purpose it was intended to… Education and Entertainment.
Having read the hard cover version of this novel, I was treated to an afterword written by Bruce Schneier (subscribe to CRYPTO-GRAM, Bruce will ruin your faith in technological safety and you will thank him for it). Bruce put the final nail in the coffin, detailing out very common misconceptions in the daily safety of our modern technological world.
Read this.!\r\n- You can buy it in hardcover or paperback via pretty much any retailer.
- If you have an e-reader, the Doctorow provides access to it for free on his own site..
if you pay $9.99 for a kindle or B&N version, well.. you are just dense..:
- Pages: 384
- Publisher: Tor Teen (2008)
- ISBN-10: 0765319853
- ISBN-13: 978-0765319852