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Pirate Cinema [Hardcover]

Cory Doctorow
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 2 2012
From the New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother, Cory Doctorow, comes Pirate Cinema, a new tale of a brilliant hacker runaway who finds himself standing up to tyranny.
Trent McCauley is sixteen, brilliant, and obsessed with one thing: making movies on his computer by reassembling footage from popular films he downloads from the net. In the dystopian near-future Britain where Trent is growing up, this is more illegal than ever; the punishment for being caught three times is that your entire household’s access to the internet is cut off for a year, with no appeal.

Trent's too clever for that too happen. Except it does, and it nearly destroys his family. Shamed and shattered, Trent runs away to London, where he slowly learns the ways of staying alive on the streets. This brings him in touch with a demimonde of artists and activists who are trying to fight a new bill that will criminalize even more harmless internet creativity, making felons of millions of British citizens at a stroke. 

Things look bad. Parliament is in power of a few wealthy media conglomerates. But the powers-that-be haven’t entirely reckoned with the power of a gripping movie to change people’s minds….

Frequently Bought Together

Pirate Cinema + Homeland + Little Brother
Price For All Three: CDN$ 42.89

  • Homeland CDN$ 14.43
  • Little Brother CDN$ 12.59

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Product Description


“Doctorow is indispensible. It's hard to imagine any other author taking on youth and technology with such passion, intelligence, and understanding.”—Booklist, starred review on For The Win

Praise for Little Brother:

“Generally awesome in the more vernacular sense: It's pretty freaking cool... He's also terrific at finding the human aura shimmering around technology."  —The Los Angeles Times

“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)

“Doctorow pays homage to [1984] with an impassioned, polemical consideration of the War on Terror that dovetails with themes of teenage angst, rebellion, and paranoia ... Little Brother should easily find favor with fans of M. T. Anderson's Feed, Janet Tashjian's The Gospel According to Larry, and Scott Westerfeld's So Yesterday.” —Horn Book(starred review)

“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)

About the Author

CORY DOCTOROW is a coeditor of Boing Boing and a columnist for multiple publications including the Guardian, Locus, and Publishers Weekly. He was named one of the Web’s twenty-five influencers by Forbes magazine and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.  His award-winning novel Little Brother was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

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3.0 out of 5 stars Important topic though story a bit dry April 5 2014
By Christa Seeley TOP 500 REVIEWER
In Pirate Cinema, Cory Doctorow addresses a lot of very real concerns, especially for today’s younger generation. Illegal downloading, internet monitoring, increasingly Orwellian laws being passed with little debate in government. I think a lot of readers will be sympathetic to the characters in this novel and their rebellion against the system. Doctorow goes into a lot of detail about how certain laws come into being and what their effect will be on society – not surprising since he himself is a vocal activist for similar causes in real life.

It’s not without it’s flaws however. At times I felt a little dragged down by the amount of legal and technical detail in the book. He didn’t always find that balance between informative and preachy. Also many of the characters were homeless and I found he depicted their life through rose coloured glasses. Other then a few occasional troubles, their life of the streets didn’t seem to bad – in fact it often seemed better then my own. They were a very colourful and charming bunch of characters, however, and given that it was based in London it had a very Charles Dickens feel to it (just much more cheery).

Pirate Cinema is a timely and informative and most of all important book. It’s not perfect by any means but if you can get past all the legal and political jargon I think you’ll feel better informed having read it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  57 reviews
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit leaden Oct. 9 2012
By Woolfhound - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Doctorow and really like how he's done YA work - such as Little Brother - that doesn't talk down to its audience (& as a result makes good reading for not not-Y A's out there). But this is just a bit leaden, with characters too often suddenly regurgitating the author's essay work on topics like Trusted Computing and copyright law. Suddenly the novel seems to have turned into a public service announcement for a while.

So this is a bit disappointing, largely because of the high expectations set by Doctorow's much more deftly-executed work around some of these same themes.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Starts well, but disappoints July 30 2013
By Australian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This started as a very entertaining book, well-written for (I assume) the young adult market. The theme was very clearly about copyright issues on the Internet. Very interesting and topical. And made some excellent points in a compelling way. I liked the politicisation of the lead character and the range of issues and struggles he had to manage. Also the discussions about art, and what creativity is.
However, around (just over?) half way through, the book became a repetitive one-sided treatise against internet copyright restriction, and every single character seems to give exactly the same speech over and over again. Not subtle; not nuanced; not in any way enlightening - let alone entertaining. Tediously boring, in fact. Which is such a pity, because the first half of the book is particularly enjoyable.
It's very rare indeed for me to abandon a book before its end, not matter how bad it is. But this one has indeed been exceptional.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Embarrasingly Unshaded Polemic Set in a Stacked-Deck Universe Dec 20 2012
By Mike Harris - Published on Amazon.com
I am about 95% aligned with Doctorow's beliefs on copyright. This book, however, is so unsubtle a polemic that anyone, including Doctorow, should find it embarrassing to the "cause".

Characters break into long dogmatic monologues at the drop of a hat, dialogue that comes across as artificial as the faux-dialogue in student educational films.

The characters manifest skills in gourmet cooking and construction rehabilitation that are incredibly rare amongst the populace and quickly demonstrate said skills at genius levels that normally take a lifetime of work to develop.

The trash becomes a very obvious deux ex machina that drops absolutely anything the characters need into their hands as easily as the Enterprise's synthesizer. (I'm surprised they didn't just nick a few pallets of gold that the Royal Treasury was throwing out for being scratched.)

The subject matter is treated only with jagged strokes of black and white. The antagonists are portrayed as so evil that I'm surprised their lawyer wasn't twirling a Simon Legree mustache between two fingers. There's no character who examines or argues the opposite viewpoint in any sort of reasonable way.

And as his story universe's God, on multiple occasions, Doctorow allows remarkable but unrealistic coincidences to perfectly fall into place as needed (such as the hobby of the protagonist's movie star idol).

One might argue that some of these are permissible when writing for young adults, but pre-teens and teenagers are sophisticated enough to both notice and have problems with each of these issues. Read anything from Diane Duane's Young Wizardry series if you think the label of `young adult' excuses these sort of problems.

Doctorow once could be relied upon for writing touching character pieces that were set in environments created by creative, insightful, predictive yet mostly optimistic worldbuilding set in our near- or near-far future. Read "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" or "Makers".

With "For the Win", "Little Brother", and now "Pirate Cinema", Doctorow's work now is usually comprised of brassy action pieces, marching down the middle of the road proclaiming their theme simply by loudly shouting it, with characters that are so un-nuanced as to seem laughably, inhumanly zero-dimensional. Doctorow has become a Michael Bay parody of himself.

After "For the Win", "Little Brother", and "Pirate Cinema", I doubt Doctorow can find his way back to how he used to write. Writing polemical fiction is probably a lot easier and a lot more fun. But it's also a lot less readable and a lot less powerful. Whose works will be best remembered in 50 years, those of Martin Scorsese or those of Carrot Top?

I hope I'm wrong, though. I'd like to see something written with the skill, shading, and thoughtfulness Doctorow used to employ. It's been absent for a long time now.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Cory Doctorow at his best Oct. 5 2012
By William Hertling - Published on Amazon.com
I'm Cory Doctorow fan, having loved Makers, Little Brother, and For the Win: A Novel.

Like Little Brother, we have another young adult protagonist and his super-smart female love interest and their tribe, who become outraged at government and corporate interests and take action to improve the world.

As in other Doctorow novels, we get great, really rich settings. This one takes place in London's street/squatter scene. It's hard to imagine that Doctorow could write this stuff without having lived it himself. I'd love to spend six weeks with Doctorow and see what his life is really like.

In Pirate Cinema, the technology and the morals take place front and center, as they do in most Doctorow novels. This is about intellectual property rights, their effect on creativity, and the rights of corporations versus people. In his earlier books, Cory's prose sometimes read like an academic paper when he's talking about the serious stuff. This is still here, but I think he's done a better job of blending it in, and the fact is that I really don't mind the lectures: they're fun and educational, even for someone relatively conversant in the space.

I don't want to give too much away, but I laughed out loud and had to immediately text a few friends when I get to the scene on panhandling A/B testing. If you know what A/B testing is, I promise this scene will crack you up.

In short, if you liked Little Brother, Makers, or For the Win, you'll love Pirate Cinema too. If you haven't tried any of Doctorow's fiction, I highly recommend it. He writes about important issues in a fun and entertaining way. You can read for the fun or the lessons or both.

(Note to parents: my kids are still in their single-digit ages, but when they hit their teens I hope to feed them a steady diet of Doctorow novels, including Pirate Cinema. The language, street living, and drugs might be slightly edgy, but the lessons about corporate interests and activism are right on.)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not the finest of Doctorow's works Feb. 12 2013
By Umberto Nicoletti - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought PC after reading Big Brother from the same author. While with BB I was hooked from the beginning until the end PC fails to engage the reader and it all has a sense of deja-vu. If you have not yet read BB (read it!) your feeling might be different.

If on a narrative-level the book somehow fails to deliver a great reding experience on the other hand if you, like me, are sensitive to the issues of copyright and IP you will resonate to the protagonists' adventures.
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