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Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow is a big name in the science fiction and online worlds. He has written numerous articles on online culture and intellectual freedom. Little Brother is marketed as a teen novel, but I think adults could get a lot out of it as well. Published in 2008, it was clearly written during the Bush presidency and communicates many of the fears of the time about possible government abuses of power in the name of national security and safety. It does seem a little dated now with a new president in office, but the themes, like those of its direct predecessor, Orwell’s 1984, are timeless.

The book follows a group of high school geeks and hackers in San Francisco in the wake of a horrendous terrorist attack in the very near future. The teens and many others become targets of Homeland Security in an ever growing paranoid police state. One teen decides to take the fight for freedom back to the government in the form of technological attacks on the draconian security measures in an effort to show the public how ineffectual they are.

My only real complaint about the novel is that it elevated the rationale for freedom over a false sense of security at the occasional expense of the plot. That being said it is a great introduction to the idea of blind patriotism and what freedom really means.

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