epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

Book Review: Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Marcus is a spoilt, smug high school student in San Francisco. He prides himself on being a master of technology and hacking. He has total contempt for authority and for everybody but himself and his friends. Then one day he and his friends are caught up in an attack on the city. As they are in the vicinity, they are detained and interrogated.

After several days of this he is released. He emerges to find the city is now a hotbed of surveillance. Marcus prides himself on liberty, freedom and his right to hack so he is affronted by his treatment. So he decides to bring liberty back by hacking, creating civil disobedience and inciting unrest. As a result of his actions the city spirals into chaos and Marcus finds he is a marked man.

Let's start with this book's flaws: Marcus is spoilt, smug and self-centred. Thousands of people died in the attack but he cares only about himself. The deaths don't seem to register with him. Also there seems to be no consequences from the attack on the city's infrastructure, although realistically there should have been huge consequences.

Marcus is smug about how is smarter than any adult and he has holier than thou attitude about his right to break the law. He is dislikeable. His parents also seem to lack any concept of discipline or parental authority. Also whole pages of this book have nothing to do with the story but are info dumps/manifestos/rants about hacking, covert surveillance and the government.

Leaving aside the flaws (info dumps and a dislikeable protagonist) this is a very readable and enjoyable book. The story is good even if the ending does seem extremely unrealistic and overly optimistic. If you can overlook the flaws, this is a great read
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