on February 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.
on October 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.
My bet is that in 20 years time, we will look at this book in the way that many looked back in the late 1990's at the early work of Arthur C Clarke. We will see that Cory has shone a clear light into the issues that will be central for our future. A future that will see the clash of culture between the forces of true darkness and the forces of hope and life. If Tolkien was the metaphor, CD is the searchlight on the conflict that is arising. We live once more in a time like the Reformation where the world will be divided not by national boundaries but by cultural boundaries.
There will be no middle ground. This is not about left or right. It is about what is human or not. I hope that much of the left and right can find common ground in what is human.
Read this book!
on November 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.