Saturday, March 7, 2009

Crazy about Little Brother

So, I've read Cory Doctorow's book "Little Brother".  I have so many things to say about this book and author that this post may seem like a rant.  Please, if you are discouraged by rants, avert your eyes.  This post will be long, wordy and passionate.

First about the author.  Cory Doctorow is a very creative cat.  This guy is all over and has had the experience to have some authority of the subject of the book.  I only want to say that while I was reading the book, my first idea was "who is this guy".  After Google and I had a chat about him, I kept reading with a new found respect and perspective of the person who wrote the words.  Highest accolades, for Mr. Doctorow.  I'll leave it at those understated words since anything more would just sound like I was kissing butt, which I'm not.  And in the effort to save a few bits, I'm going to refer to Mr. Doctorow as Cory for the rest of this article.

Second, the book.  Ok, so the book was released in digital format free to download.  This is the first big shift in the concepts of selling books.  I could just imagine in my head some stuffy boardroom where stuffy men called publishers would hear the words of the author, that he wanted to give away free digital copies of the book, where he would quickly be escorted from the room.  But it turns out that Cory was SO right on.  I mean to say that I downloaded it, I read it.  I liked it so much that I felt it would be a great have for my two boys 15 and 9 in the coming years.  So I bought it.  Yes, I had a free digital copy and had already read it, still I purchased a dead-tree version of the book.  Cory, thanks for proving them all wrong on this point.  That giving a copy for free doesn't mean you won't sell books.

Third, the content.  I, like Cory, am of the generation that were raised in the final decades of the cold war era while living in North America.  Which means we were both in school when the book 1984 by George Orwell would have been shoved down our throats for about 3 years of our education.  I remember that when they were making us read this book in the United States, they were really pushing the simile of Big Brother to the communist USSR of old.  I also remember at the time that the Orwell novel did not impress me nearly as much as it probably should have.  Cory's story is a thousand time better.  It is also spoken in the voice of the participate rather than someone recording the events from the 3rd person.  I was touched by Cory's book, really touched in a way that hasn't happened for a long time.

Fourth, the after.  Ok, I know what Cory wrote was fiction.  There was a lot of true stuff, but a healthy dose of fiction too.  I personally think that some of his fictional ideas in this book are worth seriously looking into.  I admire his creativeness with the concepts of the unreal stuff he made in the book.  But I think they are noteworthy and quite honestly quite possible to do.  I am not sure how, but Cory's book has inspired me to at least have the motivation of trying to work on my first open source project.  I really don't want to get into huge descriptions since that might ruin the book if you haven't read it.  But if Cory is guilty of nothing else, he is guilty of inspiring another member of his generation to possibly create, organize or at the very least dream of doing something.  Causes as they are have not been the forte' of our generation.  That was what "hippies" did for nukes and equal rights.  I really think that Cory may have identified the single cause of our generation that can get me excited.

Cory, thanks for your work, this book is great.  I'll also be happy to now join whatever "Cory Doctorow fanboy" club or status board is required to show that I am a full paid-up member.


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