Little Brother

I’ve recently finished reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Set in San Francisco, a city I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few times, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, it tells the story of a group of tech-savvy teenagers who find themselves on the receiving end of the violent crackdown which the attack instigates. It would have been a thought provoking book under normal circumstances but coming in the wake of the riots in the UK where civil disorder was rife and a stern response from the state was generally desired, it was especially relevant. Most of the issues of security theatre, privacy protection and peaceful protest are still as applicable today as when the book was written a few years ago.

The story is by turns scary, frustrating and at times clichéd. A romantic sub-plot adds some character depth but ultimately distracts from the terrifying but sadly plausible events in the rest of the book. The author takes the time to explain the technical side of cryptography, RFID tags and other pieces of technology in an accessible way, although it started to interrupt the flow of the story and if you’re already familiar with the subjects, it feels unnecessary. But I was still interested enough to pick a few of the books in the extensive bibliography for further reading which is the sign of a job well done.

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    2 Responses to Little Brother

    1. I haven’t read this book (yet), but any Cory Doctorow book I have read has been a great read. He is the only “science fiction” author that I enjoy reading because his books are essentially a good fictional story with a technology theme and he doesn’t take too many liberties with the technical details. For example, other science fiction authors annoy me when they invent a plot which depends upon breaking a fundamental law of physics.

    2. Anton Piatek says:

      I thoroughly enjoyed little brother as well, and would definitely recommend it.

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