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Little Brother Hardcover – Apr 29 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Teen; 1 edition (April 29 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765319853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765319852
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 3.2 x 21.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #239,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“A wonderful, important book…I'd recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I've read this year, and I'd want to get it into the hands of as many smart thirteen-year-olds, male and female, as I can. Because I think it'll change lives. Because some kids, maybe just a few, won't be the same after they've read it. Maybe they'll change politically, maybe technologically. Maybe it'll just be the first book they loved or that spoke to their inner geek. Maybe they'll want to argue about it and disagree with it. Maybe they'll want to open their computer and see what's in there. I don't know. It made me want to be thirteen again right now, and reading it for the first time.” ―Neil Gaiman, author of Sandman and American Gods on Little Brother

“A rousing tale of techno-geek rebellion.” ―Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies, Pretties, and Specials, on Little Brother

“A worthy younger sibling to Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Cory Doctorow's Little Brother is lively, precocious, and most importantly, a little scary.” ―Brian K. Vaughan, author of the graphic novel Y: The Last Man on Little Brother

“A tale of struggle familiar to any teenager, about those moments when you choose what your life is going to mean.” ―Steven Gould, author of Jumper, on Little Brother

“A believable and frightening tale of a near-future San Francisco … Filled with sharp dialogue and detailed descriptions… within a tautly crafted fictional framework.” ―Publishers Weekly starred review on Little Brother (Featured in PW Children's e-newsletter)

“Readers will delight in the details of how Marcus attempts to stage a techno-revolution … Buy multiple copies; this book will be h4wt (that's ‘hot,' for the nonhackers).” ―Booklist starred review on Little Brother (Selected as a Booklist "Review of the Day")

“Marcus is a wonderfully developed character: hyperaware of his surroundings, trying to redress past wrongs, and rebelling against authority … Raising pertinent questions and fostering discussion, this techno-thriller is an outstanding first purchase.” ―School Library Journal starred review on Little Brother

Little Brother is generally awesome in the more vernacular sense: It's pretty freaking cool ... a fluid, instantly ingratiating fiction writer ... he's also terrific at finding the human aura shimmering around technology.” ―The Los Angeles Times on Little Brother

“Scarily realistic…Action-packed with tales of courage, technology, and demonstrations of digital disobedience as the technophile's civil protest.” ―Andrew "bunnie" Huang, author of Hacking the Xbox, on Little Brother

“The right book at the right time from the right author--and, not entirely coincidentally, Cory Doctorow's best novel yet.” ―John Scalzi, bestselling author of Old Man's War, on Little Brother

“I was completely hooked in the first few minutes. Great work.” ―Mitch Kapor, inventor of Lotus 1-2-3 and co-founder of the EFF, on Little Brother

“Little Brother is a brilliant novel with a bold argument: hackers and gamers might just be our country's best hope for the future.” ―Jane McGonigal, designer of the alternate-reality game I Love Bees on Little Brother

Little Brother sounds an optimistic warning. It extrapolates from current events to remind us of the ever-growing threats to liberty. But it also notes that liberty ultimately resides in our individual attitudes and actions. In our increasingly authoritarian world, I especially hope that teenagers and young adults will read it--and then persuade their peers, parents and teachers to follow suit.” ―Dan Gillmor, technology journalist, author of We the Media on Little Brother

“It's about growing up in the near future where things have kept going on the way they've been going, and it's about hacking as a habit of mind, but mostly it's about growing up and changing and looking at the world and asking what you can do about that. The teenage voice is pitch-perfect. I couldn't put it down, and I loved it.” ―Jo Walton, author of Farthing on Little Brother

“Read this book. You'll learn a great deal about computer security, surveillance and how to counter it, and the risk of trading off freedom for ‘security.' And you'll have fun doing it.” ―Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media on Little Brother

“I know many science fiction writers engaged in the cyber-world, but Cory Doctorow is a native…We should all hope and trust that our culture has the guts and moxie to follow this guy. He's got a lot to tell us.” ―Bruce Sterling

“Cory Doctorow doesn't just write about the future--I think he lives there.” ―Kelly Link, author of Stranger Things Happen

“Doctorow throws off cool ideas the way champagne generates bubbles...[he] definitely has the goods.” ―San Francisco Chronicle

“Doctorow is one of sci-fi's most exciting young writers.” ―Cargo Magazine

About the Author

Canadian-born Cory Doctorow is the co-editor of the popular blog BoingBoing. He is the author of the young adult novel For the Win, and his adult science fiction novels and short stories have won him three Locus Awards and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He has been named one of the Web's twenty-five "influencers" by Forbes Magazine and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

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Format: Hardcover
Terrorists have attacked San Francisco, and Marcus and his friends have ended up in prison. Although they had nothing to do with the attack, they are interrogated mercilessly and neglected in bare cells.

When Marcus is finally set free, he discovers that the Department of Homeland Security is abusing people's right to privacy and free speech all over the city.

Luckily, Marcus knows a lot about technology and surveillance - including how to stop it. But can he stop the Department of Homeland Security?

"Little Brother" has a scary, intriguing plot that feels very real. It teaches an important lesson about the value of privacy - something we all give up too easily these days. But it never comes across as didactic.

I love that the main character is a teenager who is capable of creating a secret internet. The only thing I didn't like about this book is that sometimes, the technological explanations went on a little too long, slowing the pace of the book.

Overall, an excellent read!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a terrific novel! I loved it from the start and the ending left me wishing it were longer. Like Gibson's and Vinge's, Doctorow's latest is set in the frighteningly near future. And it is both full of the "now" -- like the bizarre power of Homeland Security and the insanity of ensuring security through abandonment of Constitutional rights -- and the then -- the Yippies, the Free Speech Movement, the murders in Philadelphia, MS, and Jane Jacobs.

I won't give away the plot, but if you know a reader from ~15 on up, this is for her or him.

Thank you, Cory!
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Format: Paperback
Disclaimer: Reviews will mainly concentrate on novels that I enjoyed, and in writing them I will attempt to be succinct and to avoid all manner of spoilery comments. A grading guide follows my reviews. Also, please note that while I have read widely in the genre, my tastes are quite distinct and thus readers should absorb my wisdom with, at the very least, a few pinches of salt. Cheers.


Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Characterization: 8/10
Marcus Yallow is a creative, uncompromising, crafty, and courageous protagonist who is easy to root for. But it is his curiosity concerning all things technological that makes him so interesting for me. He is a wonderful narrator who manages to explain complex processes in a way that, miraculously, isn't boring. The secondary characters are fine, but it is the strength of Doctorow's main character that carries the narrative.

Plotting and Pacing: 3/5 and 4/5
Even before the main conflict begins, I was hooked. Why? I don't know, exactly. Marcus's conflict with, and evasion of, the school's surveillance equipment was certainly interesting. The rapid fire introduction of new-ish technologies, or at least new uses of existing technologies, also kept my curiosity well-fed. I'm not sure I quite believe the ending would have worked out as it did in the novel, but it was still a satisfying conclusion. Well paced and well plotted, except perhaps for the ending.

Setting: 7/10
The setting is a near-future version of San Fransisco. I have never been to San Fransisco, so I can't vouch for the setting's realism on that front.
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Format: Paperback
Little Brother was the November book club pick here at Gin and Rhetoric, and I really wish that more people had participated in the conversation because this book is phenomenal. It's a fantastic story ' compelling, terrifying (not in a horror way) and eye opening. I think it's a book that every teenager (and probably every adult too) should read. It makes you think twice about the things that you take for granted, and definitely makes you want to go back to carrying cash instead of cards. RFID blocking wallet? I think so!
I've heard Cory Doctorow's name mentioned over and over again, but I'd never read anything by him. What caught my eye with Little Brother was the blurb from Neil Gaiman on the book's cover:
"I'd recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I've read this year."
Wow! High praise, right? How could I pass this book by? The answer is simple, I couldn't. And folks, here's some free advice, never pass up a recommendation by Neil Gaiman. The man is a genius, and he knows good books.
Little Brother is the story of Marcus, a high school hacker who ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Marcus and his friends cut class and end up being near the center of a terrorist attack on San Francisco. The teens get picked up by Homeland Security, and the story evolves from there. Doctorow deals with some strong themes and very important ideas in Little Brother. This book will make people think ' think about what they are willing to give up for the sake of safety, and think about whether or not that safety is just an illusion. After reading Little Brother, I feel very strongly that it's a book that should be read and taught in High Schools.
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