Starting time: 9:57 PM
Ending time: 3:26 AM
Title: Little Brother
Author: Cory Doctorow
Genre: Contemporary, borderline Aliens Among Us
Summary: Teen hacker Marcus is in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets accused of terrorism, and is dragged off to a secret facility. When he gets back, his home town is a virtual police state. After everything he’s been through, Marcus can’t handle that, and he declares war on the Department of Homeland Security.
Thoughts: My feelings about this book are certainly mixed. I liked the characters — a stunning success on the race, gender, progressive lefty scorecard — and the prose, though there was something mildly off with the pacing. This book was recced to me as both good and important, and it is both of those things. That said, I didn’t enjoy it very much. I had a visceral reaction to the terrorism at the beginning, but beyond that… Hm.
I read mostly for escapism; that’s why so much of what I read is sf/f. When I’m looking at things like race and gender, I’m much more comfortable with looking at story subtext and seeing how that reflects the culture. But there is nothing sub about this text, and while important and engaging, it’s also a bit lecture-y. I agree with it, and I’m glad it was written, but it was an obvious case of story built around an agenda, not agenda built craftily into the story. So while it’s a good book, and I will happily loan my copy out to anyone who is interested, I doubt I will read it again.
Final thought? My favorite bits were the asides on math and cryptography. Sort of Neal Stephenson for the YA crowds.
And now, because it is 3:30 AM, I shall go to bed. I think tomorrow I shall start with something light-hearted and whimsical.