electronic brain surgery since 2001

Little Brother

Little Brother

As you can see in my “currently reading” section on the right, I'm currently reading Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother". I haven't read a book for a long time that moved me as much as this one.

The name is obviously a play on the omnipresent “Big Brother” from George Orwell's 1984. Like Orwell's book, “Little Brother” is a dystopian novel describing a not too distant future.

What’s Little Brother about?

Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

from the website

What makes this book so disturbing is how close this dystopian future already is. Unlike when Orwell wrote his book, the technology used in Doctorow's book is already here. There is no time left to discuss probabilities. Many of the things happening in the book are already happening here and now.

I really recommend to read this book. You can download it for free under a Creative Commons license or just buy it as a regular book. I intend to give away a few copies as birthday presents.

If you read the book, please let me know what you think of it in the comments. Personally I find much of it still a bit too optimistic, but I'd love to hear your opinions.

dystopia, book, review, surveillance
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