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Makers [Hardcover]

Cory Doctorow
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 27 2009

From the New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother, a major novel of the booms, busts, and further booms in store for America

Perry and Lester invent things—seashell robots that make toast, Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls that drive cars. They also invent entirely new economic systems, like the “New Work,” a New Deal for the technological era. Barefoot bankers cross the nation, microinvesting in high-tech communal mini-startups like Perry and Lester’s. Together, they transform the country, and Andrea Fleeks, a journo-turned-blogger, is there to document it.

Then it slides into collapse. The New Work bust puts the dot.combomb to shame. Perry and Lester build a network of interactive rides in abandoned Wal-Marts across the land. As their rides, which commemorate the New Work’s glory days, gain in popularity, a rogue Disney executive grows jealous, and convinces the police that Perry and Lester’s 3D printers are being used to run off AK-47s.

Hordes of goths descend on the shantytown built by the New Workers, joining the cult. Lawsuits multiply as venture capitalists take on a new investment strategy: backing litigation against companies like Disney. Lester and Perry’s friendship falls to pieces when Lester gets the ‘fatkins’ treatment, turning him into a sybaritic gigolo.

Then things get really interesting.

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“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

“A rousing tale of techno-geek rebellion—as necessary and dangerous as file sharing, free speech, and bottled water on a plane.” —Scott Westerfeld on Little Brother

“A terrific read…. It claims a place in the tradition of polemical science-fiction novels like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 (with a dash of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington).”

The New York Times Book Review on Little Brother “Enthralling…. One of the year’s most important books.” —Chicago Tribune on Little Brother


“Doctorow’s combination of business strategy, brilliant product ideas, and laugh-out-loud moments of insight will keep readers powering through this quick-moving tale.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Appealing characters and extremely interesting ideas that will appeal to his fans and SF aficionados as well as readers interested in cogitating on the social consequences of cybertechnology’s nearexponential growth. Enthusiastically recommended.” — Library Journal, starred review

“This is just one king-hell of a science fiction novel. Nobody in the world but [Doctorow] could have fabricated this amazing thing. It reads like it was written in 800-word van Vogt bursts in between yoga sessions, but man, this is the stuff. It makes twentieth century science fiction read like an antique collection.” —Bruce Sterling
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makers is a roller coaster ride Feb. 26 2010
Cory Doctorow's book Markers is a roller coaster ride (reference intended) of the ups and downs of the "New Work" era and beyond.

The main characters Lester Banks and Perry Gibbons have an infectious energy for the future and the creative process that is energizing and Suzanne Church's chronicles of Lester's and Perry's adventures gives this story an uncanny raised hair on the back of the neck vision of what our own future could hold.

Although the book is a SF novel, I often found myself thinking, this isn't science fiction, this is just around the corner technology.

I personally loved the laser translator. Imagine getting the job on the merits of your skills and talent rather than language requirements. And the earbuds, snitch-tags and the self-modifying robots were pretty mind-blowing too.

The story moves at a fast clip and when the characters crash, you crash right along with them, and when they pick themselves up, you dust yourself off too and move forward.

The only disturbing aspect of the story is the biotechnology angle. Oh, I hope that as a society we don't go down that path, but the temptation for some to become fatkins may just be too strong.

I enjoyed Markers thoroughly and recommend the book highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars what do you make? Nov. 17 2009
As Cory Doctorow points out: "It's the 21st century: Art will be copied. If you're making art not to be copied, you're not making contemporary art. It's lovely that someone wants to be the blacksmith at Pioneer Village, but that's not my job. I'ma science-fiction writer." Not only will things get copied, they'll be reused. 10K BoogieWoogieElmos. 100K garden gnomes. And just think what you can replicate with a 3D copier! This is a terrific novel taking place in the decaying parts of Florida and Silicon(e) Valley. You'll love Suzanne's reportage of sometime between yesterwhen and 2021.
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4.0 out of 5 stars first rate characters, great premise July 23 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
A loving bit of social, capitalism, occupy walls street, and science fiction. But mostly a really good read. Nostalgia into the future!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Culture Wars Defined for the Maker Economy Oct. 30 2012
Makers worked for me as a novel and as a view of a likely future. So if all you want is a great read, this is it. But if you want to also see what the struggle will be like as the new decentralized, more personal and more human world of the Maker emerges - this is the bible!

The central theme that I found in the book was the conflict between the worldview of the "Suit" and the worldview of Perry the main protagonist who is a Maker.

The suits are in the background as a archetype. Some are allies of the heroes. But the true Villains are still in the corporate world who are trying their best to survive the Maker revolution. The central "Villain" of the book, Jimmy, uses all the normal trappings of the old world to attack the new. In other words he uses the law and in particular copyright. But even he begins to see that what he really wants to do is to create and not to destroy. The secondary villain, a rip and burn journalist, Freddie, can only destroy and is in the end destroyed.

Death or Life are the choices that Cory Doctorow puts out for us.

We see that the pragmatic world of Ford is actually all about destruction and constraint. It is why, I think, that so many people today just cannot work that way anymore. In Makers we see that the old focus is all about death. In Makers we also witness the joy of creation and of participation. The Character of "Death Waits" is the embodiment of the darkness of the old - he is a Goth - and the awakening of the creator as we see him broken physically by his persecutors rise to discover his own worth. And talking about creation and life, Cory writes one of the most erotic love scenes in literature in Makers as well.
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